Bows

after midnight
i parked at the moon lake
while Colorado slept
like Sleeping Beauty.
undressed my shame
sealing scars in a catalogue
of all the bad names
protecting my wounds
like a hurt tree
nursing sweet sap
to numb
pain.

i awoke in the dream
never white enough
to become American-like
liked or like them
but only grew darker with each
step along streets lit with
tags of dead Cherokees
and my heart turned cold
heavy and soiled
like rain socks
impossible to walk
getting blacker.

we were the first batch
of immigrants
we took the first arrow
for the Laotion millennials
to taste the freedom
to board Mustangs with cheerleaders
to do the all-pro thing

to-day.

but it took a lot of blood
drawn from the Denver sky
as i watched the swollen sun
force her ruby smiles
over the Norman Rockwell ruin
crushing coal before anything
could be cut of this diamond.

cool hipster transplants
or sons of Gen-X on Prozac
revived the modest
1970s shacks left to rot
embracing the ‘PC’
of this-land-is-our-land
but it’s your land
triple the price.
too fake
to truly feel
the moist red
cling of poison
at the end the bow
resurfacing on their back lawn’s
exit wounds.

i returned to the moon lake
and unrolled my mat
at the kundalini studio

exhausted in ritual
my mind flashed
knees broke
i shook
and fell…

in my vision
lucid mountains in hi-def
stood an elder
Native American prince
with face soft as sunrise
holding tears lining
horizons of his eyes

“i see men hurting men”
he said and he looked far away
to avoid watching
the red flow
into blue
then white
masking the
stars
flapping in the black
to the drumbeat
of murder.

i stopped watching the moon
because of him

because her calm face held
too many secrets

because her light tore and pierced
the wounds of many wounds

because the shaman in me
was too pained to move

like the first day
i set foot
in a town
filled with ghosts
of buried bows
and arrows

while others wonder
why Colorado columbines

continue to burst
through the numb earth.
 

Among the Fields

i live among the greats
in a small world
where giants behave
like bullied children
and the wise are
stomped into erosion.

i live among the greats
while you and me
silently majestic
are disgraced.

i live among the greats
wounded teachers,
guardians, masters, gatekeepers
who become the world’s
failed parents.

these big people
always talk down to me
because when they were small
the bigger people did the same
to them.

but now i know
how to live among the greats
because i have risen like a flower
empowering life
through beauty.

to be a giant
is to become cruel mistake of nature
for such a being
could never bend low enough
to smell
see
touch
or feel
the radiance

among
the fields.
 

First

The water in my cup
has always been the same water.
Each time I sip it
I am young.

I try not to look into the mirror
for it lies about finality and time.

I live my life knowing
of nothing finer
than the taste of wanting to love
for the very first time.
 

Healer

To my teacher
healer lover combined

I thank the patient earth
for sorrows you buried there

May fruits that grow
from fermented pain
enrich the air
for all to breathe
the fragrant bergamot
of new beginnings.

My healer,
altered star
disfigured
destroyed
to reconfigure
and make us whole.

My healer,
wind
hear me speak…

moons once flat
pasted on cardboard skies
awaken their bodies
perfectly round
as pearls
drop into the ocean
to pierce and reflect
the once dimmed
world…

I plunge her depths
forever looking
for you—
as you have done
for me…
healer
looking
for beauty.
 

The Welcoming

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” – Corinthians 13:11Woman in cave on beach - Poems by Ji Strangewayfor many years
i sat in this dark cave
a Plato
without sun or shadow
carved each letter
from the ether
pretending
i would be reborn a child—
perhaps to a family of three or four.

when i came into this world
i spat the ground god had given me
standing with my two small feet
i asked the same thing Jesus did
oh why … yes, and all that is forsaken.

but i didn’t know better
walking my life backwards
like all the rest
celebrating “birth” days
which were just marches towards death.

i stained my pillow
with dreams turned bitter
medicinal vomit of things
life had fed and spoiled within.

quieted i watched
how time would change
myself and others to discover
how people have always
remained the same….

i used to count
how many meals i’ve eaten
how many cups of coffee i have downed
in my entire life although my life
was only 40 percent spent
and the rest is like a deposit
incurring zero interest.

i have returned to the cave;
to pen my beliefs
with ink made of memory
running like condensation
dripping veins forming rivers
of muddy tears

i am walking forward
just like the Corinthian that
spake not of the child
once it became a man.

and though i am a woman
i am that man—
the maturity of my beingness
now welcomes me.

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When she’s not making films, she’s making word-pictures. Ji Strangeway is a director, writer, poet and executant of the ineffable. Made in Laos, former resident of New York, and creating in Los Angeles, she’s on the web at www.jistrangeway.com.
image 1: KimonBerlin via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons BY-SA); image 2: pxhere