Wild and desperate eyes I would not let her in Over and over I found her under my bed creeping down the stairs to my basement I locked my door against her and shut the blinds she took the door off the hinges The forest vines followed her to my table I shrugged and began making chicken and rice A pigeon made a nest in the coals of my fire and dreamt People showed up carrying bowls Walls became the inside of a hollow tree Root ceiling, earthen floor Stone in the soup The pot stays full A child filled their bowl singing the prophecies of their generation as they left my kitchen, I felt left behind, not sure of my part I followed to witness the creators of our universe walking in procession dry earthen paths lined by trees raising hands to the forever sky joyful dust rising among dancing, celebrating, stomping feet Robes of gauzy ochre fabric loose over limbs Wooden staff in human hand the face of the night bird looking back at me I have always loved a parade “Look” said my young guide and pointed out two mothers, a family, of brown skin and woven black hair each carrying one of their children high in their arms This child is called life, they are the creators’ allowance This one is death; they are the creators’ constant Both of their children are gifts
Don’t call it a nervous breakdown.
Call it an unsettling, an unwinding from a tightly coiled shape.
A springing-open seed pod of the
touch-me-not, jewelweed, goldfish-flower.
Rename the flowers, it’s been done before.
Coils of slick green, tiny grains of brown seeds
on a trajectory toward the sky and freedom and back to earth.
Call it a no-longer-enduring what has been forced,
coerced by the known and unknown forces
inside us, around us, woven through us.
In collusion with our mother’s grief and our father’s rage.
In cahoots with our mother’s most private madness
and our father’s unsurrendered tears.
Call it a reckoning, a shapeshifting, a transformation.
Return to the shining articulated mahogany pupal case.
Burrow back under the ground and wait.
Call it a rite of passage in a world without rites.
In a world where the incinerator at the funerary home
only gets lit at times when no families
are scheduled to visit their dead.
When our bodies ache and shake and burn and dissolve,
put down what we are carrying as gently as we can.
Sit down, fall asleep, tremble, wail.
We are all that we have
and sometimes it’s ghosts.
Call it the chewy translucent web left behind by the snake.
Each scale, each eye, inside-out gaping mouth.
She’s already through the grass and down the hole
feeling the earth against her new skin.
CLASS FULL!!! write with me on the untamed page
Six Sundays: Jan 10, 17, 24, 31 and Feb 7, 14 3 – 4:30 pm Pacific Time. (9 hours of class time)
Cost: sliding scale/pay what you can ***$90-$180 suggested range*** Payment plans available
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you want to join the class. Use the subject line “Untamed Page”
send payment either by paypal https://www.paypal.me/mikalina
or Venmo username @Mikalina-Remembers
Include your name and email address in the payment comments so I know where to send the zoom link.
I’ll send you a confirmation email when I receive your payment and a zoom link the day before class.
What we’ll do:
We’ll gather, a small group of six of us in a zoom room, Brady Bunch style, each of us in our little boxes. We’ll start promptly at 3 pm.
First we’ll sit
We’ll sit in quiet meditation for three to five minutes, connecting to our breath and our body, coming into ourselves, taking note of what’s here, making space for ourselves and our writing practice.
I’ll read a poem out loud twice while you sit and listen. The first time I read the poem, relax into it, let the words wash over you. I’ll offer some jump-off lines and prompts and then you’ll get to hear the poem again, listening for what comes up for you, hearing your first lines hit the page.
Then we’ll write together for ten minutes, keeping our hands moving the entire time, letting go of the idea of getting it right and getting curious about what’s actually here. What’s waiting to be said, discovered, remembered, revealed within us.
After we write we read out loud, one by one, listening to each other without commentary or feedback, just presence and witness. We offer gratitude hands or sparkle fingers when each writer is finished reading and we’re off to the next writer. And yes, you can always take a pass reading out loud. But you probably won’t want to.
We’ll do three short writes and read alounds over the hour and a half of class.
About this practice
This practice is a great way to “crack open” the writing mind. It’s a way to start to set yourself free from the inner critic; to get to know yourself better as a writer, and as a human being. It feels good — even when it feels kinda bad. When we do this practice in a group, we become a community, a circle, witnesses to each other. This practice helped me reclaim and develop my voice, to remember that I am a writer who writes. What will this practice do for you? Come find out!
This is a practice that comes from a lineage of many writers. My teachers include Laurie Wagner of 27 Powers, whom I’ve written with weekly for six years. Natalie Goldberg is the matriarch of this type of writing practice. I’ve taken online workshops from Natalie, and read her incredible books on writing. My mother first gave me her 1986 book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. All the writers I’ve written with over the years who told me to keep going, they are my forever teachers too.