To be sent back in time
With the power to recall
The velocities at which we soar through galaxies
In order to feel alive in the touch of uncertainty
That forces colors unseen upon the canvas
Becoming the masterpiece
Unbound in the rules of folklore or form
A frenzied future in relentless passion
Forging its steel in the Sun
Alchemy of boundless inspiration
Untethered in conventions of value
Soaring through possibilities infinite
Shattering all assumptions of time and space
in ways we have already known and yet to reveal

For instance,
The plains in the distance
Still open in their futures are ripe with surprises laying in wait
The movement of fire creating wind through the wings of a pheonix
rising from burnt alkali scorching our fears into dust
Washed away in the water
We uncover our steps as we blaze forward into trails of darkness
Carried by feet that illuminate rich color
Searing compassion
In the marks of unbending strokes
That smash through walls
Words of impact collapsing into barriers that collapse
under the weight of their Truth
For We are all stories tall
Rooted skyscrapers in Babylon
Mirrors of a Zeitgeist intentionally reflected into our eyes
Blinding us from seeing the light that we already are
We must ignite our courage where our truest expression
becomes swords of bravery ready to cut down fear in its attempt
To suffocate the breathing force alive in each being
We are breaking loose of binds that keep captive
The coming alive of hands in the shifting and forming of loose color
That vibrate the echoes of a stirring unbridled
We are burning effigies frozen frames of time
Bending them endlessly in the waiting of clarity
Not all of us are patient enough to wait out.
Through creation there is destruction
In destruction is left sacred space for creation
Separated they are impossible sides of the same coin
Together they become the true form of currency still waiting to be redeemed

For there are countless new words still needing to be spoken into existence
As parables float in the ever shifting winds of evolving spirits
Guiding us into lands unexplored
through the courage to move forward into the unknown
In the readiness of alert and subtle memories
Swimming in the dreamscapes ready to be unravled
Follow in the direction in which hands move
They always show the way
Trusting in the push and pull of expressions that emerge
When the storms begin to require weathering
Study within the forces inside seeking to be unleashed
Pay attention to the impulse of creation or destruction
The pulsating rhythm if vibrating matter
reverberating through bodies in trance
in the time of eternal creation
Listen carefully
Bold and Bravely
As we find spirits and bodies together
finally ready to become ourselves.

The revealing

1.A dream within a dream
Where I found myself as a solitary traveler
Wandering towards destinations unrevealed
My feet, slow going on the highway
Blend frazzled fractured memories
Into dreamscapes still unfamiliar to my vision
My body felt weary from burdens I had carried for far too long
As if I were hunting after werewolves
Hidden under shadows of the darkest night of my eclipsed moon
Or dancing with demons of fear tethering my feet to the ground though I know I have the strength to move mountains with the stomping of my feet
Still brushing the dirt of my eggplant colored heart
When people say that purple signifies bruising
They speak of blood meeting under skin still too resistant to let go and if its true that divinity enters through the wounds
Then How did this image of a man, solitary and scorned, become me?

2. Awakening into a dream
I found myself rooted down
With an overwhelming sense
That I’ve been sent out on a journey
to discover the reasons I exist in this world
in the bodily ways that I do.
Lungs mimicking the movement of my prayers summoning divinity through the inhale and exhale of my breathe.
A beating heart, protected yet vulnerable
Learning love through the subtle movement of my hands
through the closing of my fists
And the opening of palms
Feeling my way to freedom
Like maps coming from my heart through psalms
Teaching me that love exists between the lines
Of learning how to let go, and when to hold on
In my chest, I carry remnants of the bridges I have burned
Just trying to understand the difference
Still, after all is said and done,
this!
Is the only way I know to walk
To proceed with cautious abandon
Throw reckless to the wind
Let everything else fall idle to the wayside
Until I find myself lost staring down the entrance of a road I’m sure I have never been.
It’s a lonely road to take I know,
But I must take it nonetheless

3. The rebirth of the Phoenix rising from the ashes
Is a redemption story unlike many others
With fire blazing majestically from its wings
The Pheonix in its attempt to return to all that it once loved
Once again, burns everything to ashes in the wake of its own flame
Even repaired bridges stand no chance at its fury.
So it is known that the Phoenix often rises,
never to be seen again
But the trees, the trees those burned bridges were once made of
Tell the story of rebirth in a much different fashion.
Each autumn, their leaves slowly ignite
mimicking the color of fire;
Blazing Reds
Bright-Tip Flamed Yellows
Orange that mirrors a reflection of the suns halo
For a season, their beauty displays crowns of splendor as a moment to revel in the royalty they are
Yet still, they must shed their leaves to the ground transforming beauty to ashes in the stripping of their branches left naked for the winter.
I asked them
And I remember that spring is just around the corner
Trust deeply in the cycles of life that you have walked
And You will know that rebirth is found not only in the purging flames of a fiery pheonix flying into the sunset
but also in the leaves of your autumn sacrificing themselves to become the new soil in which you root yourself down.

4.These are the lessons and dreams I have had to learn and see in order to blaze these wings freely, without burning everything that I love to the ground.

The Blood Of Womyn

I performed at an event last week to help raise awareness towards human trafficking and although it is often thought of as something that only happens in other countries, it is a huge issue amongst us here in America.  Sacramento in particular is one of the cities in America where it is a huge problem, and so this evening was an important way to raise awareness and to connect the artistry of the voices that speak against this injustice to connect with organizations that are already doing work for those that are getting caught up in these trafficking rings.

Anytime that I am asked to do a piece at these events I am torn between that fact that it is obviously not so much a showcase of our talents, as in other venues such as slam, but more so about using our art as a tool towards achieving an ends.  In this case, raising awareness towards an issue that needs the light to be shined upon.  And these are the kinds of events that keep me honest about what I am doing and why I do it.  I started out writing poetry with a lot of force behind the social justice aspect of it, and how poetry was often a powerful medium to speak out against the problems we see in our communities and how we can inspire others towards change.

This piece that I wrote in 2010 speaks so powerfully to the issues that we face as a society in this day and age.  Human Trafficking is a manifestation ,much like any injustices towards women and children (the list is too big to even begin) of the systems of patriarchy that are in place and the power of men becoming an oppressive and destructive force in this world.  And not because patriarchy is evil in itself, but more in the fact that the balance of masculine and feminine energy has become unbalanced and that in many cases, anything unbalanced is doomed to destruction if it cannot find  a way to right itself.

This piece is my attempt at speaking from the  side of men, and recognizing the imbalance that has been created from the structures of patriarchy running wild.  It is my hope, that the men of our society begin to realize the power that womyn have and the ways in which they are able to offer so much in the way of gift towards healing our society, but how can that happen when they are continuously  viewed as inferior to men? This is an invitation to revision of a world view that is so pervasive and intertwined in our dialogue that it often goes unnoticed.  This cannot happen any longer.  There need to be voices that begin to speak out against this imbalance in order for us to get right again.

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My Poem writing Process part 3

Second Draft- Free Write

Sometimes it takes me a while to get back to work on certain pieces. Maybe after reading it once or twice through, I don’t feel the same connection with it as I did before, and sometimes I’ll leave a free-write as it is. In this case, since I am trying something new, I am giving this another chance to take another step with it despite not feelin particularly connected with it right now.
I am going to give it another read and try to see if I can feel the spirit of its words still alive in me, see if that same spring of inspiration might be ready to continue on. So many times, I have to prepare myself mentally to get into the right space in order to work with a piece. I am finding that making sure that the things around me are in order and that my mental, emotional, spiritual self is aligned and ready to work. This usually includes breathing exercises and meditation. As well as focused intention setting. So for this piece, regardless of whether it will become a performance piece, I am still interested in diving into my own reasons for being an artist and what that means to me.

Often times, I find myself writing for the sake of having a piece to produce at the end, or have something new to perform at a salon, or Open mic or slam, and if that becomes too much of a focus, I can lose the heart of what I am trying to do and create, which is to help me reach my own creative potential and artistic expression, not to further myself or ego in any kind of criteria or scale for what is “supposed” to be “good” In those moments, I lose the unique sense of who I am and stray from my original goal of creating art, to express myself as freely as possible. In this way of writing, I can become a force of inspiration, not for others to mimic me in my style or imitate my words and content, but that they in staying true to myself others in turn would feel free to express themselves in whatever way is unique and particular to them.

So having said that, I am using this opportunity to not put any judgment on my free-write and try to make it go somewhere I may not be sure it wants to go, but to still honor it and spend time with it, knowing that it was an honest and pure expression at the moment, and deserves my attention still. So in this round, I am going to do a second draft free write, in this exercise I will be reading the original free-write on a different word document and do a free write from those ideas as they have grown and expanded in my mind: (If you want to read the original free-write again, you can find it here in part 1 of this series:

https://poetjohnpaul.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/my-poem-writing-process-part-1/

————————-Second Draft free write———————-

Someone once asked me what it means for me to be an artist,
Shocked that I didnt have an answer readily available
I went home that night knowing that I had something new to write.
The power to create a recipe for myself, spring together a concotion
of the magic juice that flows when inspiration is ready to strike
Instantly, with the question brimming on my lips, words already began writing themselves
Being an artist for me means
That I am always being sent back in time
To vividly recall the power in which I have been enthralled
In the velocity to soar through galaxies beyond the force of a passionate lover
To feel alive in the touch of uncertianty that forces me to paint in colors unseen
To become known for the masterpieces I have yet to create
Artistry for me is creation unbound by the rules of folklore or form
A frenzied future in relntless passion
Forging into the sun
Steel rings made of boundless inspiration
Untethered in the conventions of value
Artistry is the infinite possibilities that break through
time and space, shattering our assumptions
In ways we have yet to comprehend

For instance,  The plains in the distance
Are still open in their futures, ripe with surprises laying in wait
The swaying of tall green grass in the wind
Covering steps we blaze forward into trails of darkness
being lit by feet igniting words into rich color unmarkable
Searing compassion into canvass
The marks of unbending strokes
Smashing against walls
The words of impact into barriers that collapse beneath their truth
For we are all stories tall
Rooting deep into foundations unlimited
Scraping high into towers of possibilities
Artistry is the courage of expression becoming swords
of bravery ready to cut down the fear that threatens
to suffocate the breathing force inside
Breaking loose the binds that help captive
the coming alive of hands that
form and shift loose color into
canvas that vibrates the echoes of a stirring inside unbridled.
Artistry is the ability to break images into frozen frames of time
that bend endlessly in the waiting of clarity.
Not all of us are patient enough to wait it out.
For in our creation there is destruction
And in destruction there is creation,
Seperated, they are incomplete sides of the same coin,
together they are the true forms of currency waiting to be redeemed.

For there are new words that still need to be spoken into existence
As the parables of old stories float in the ever shifting winds of evolving creatures
Guiding us into lands yet to be explored,
For artistry is found in the courage to move forward into the unknown
in the readiness of alert and subtle memories,
Swimming in dreamscapes ready to be made real
Follow the directions in which hands move
They always show the way
Trusting in the push and pull of expressions that emerge
When the storms of life begin to need weathering
Study the force inside that seeks to be unleashed
Pay attention to the impulse of creation
the stage,
The Canvas
the Mic
The Beat
The Dance
The rhyme
The Lyric
The Stroke
The melody
The pulsating rhythm
of vibrating matter
reverberating through bodies
In the time of eternal creation
listen carefully
Artistry is waiting inside
bold and bravely
Ready to become itself.

——————————End Second draft Free-write———————-

In this go-round, I focused more on making it a conversation.  Something a bit more practical, more easily grasped.  The ideas are still very present, but I shifted the language from telling people something they should know, to speaking to myself about what I want in my own experience.  I am learning to focus more of my poetry on my own story and how that can inform someone as opposed to trying to speak as if I have the answers for someone and they need to listen to me.  I would much rather write as a poet that is trying to figure my own journey and how to navigate, while acknowledging that others have their own journeys and ways they navigate.  From that perspective, I would like to make this piece something more of a personal conversation and reveal a story of my own discoveries and how they have touched me.  As always, the hope of this work is more for it to speak on its own accord, in its own right not as authority, but not as something to be written off without meaningful thought either.  How I will pull that off, we will see….

My Poem Writing Process Part 2

Often, once I am struck with an idea and kind of have a sense of where I want to go with a piece, I begin to let it ruminate in my thoughts, do word associations, writing exercises, more free-write to see if any thing else needs to come out and be said.  One of my favorite things to do for inspiration is to look to my mentors for guidance.  My love for poetry began long before I began writing, and there are so many poets that have left powerful imprints on my evolution as a writer and artist.  Searching in the annals of my memory and remembering any references or ideas about the life of an artist one person immediately comes to mind.  One of my favorite poets and teachers is Rainer Maria Rilke.  In his third letter in the book “Letters To A Young Poet” in which he is corresponding to one of his students over a few years span about life and art and poetry, he says this about being an artist.

Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them. Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentation, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened. Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.

In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!

With this inspiration and guidance in my mind and heart, I let this speak and inform my writing as I take it to another step in its development.