September 9, 2013 * Dominique Larntz
I find myself getting out of the way
for folks a lot now.
I put my fingers on a door knob
and there is a pulse that pushes
like piano wires through my arm
to let me know there’s someone
one the other side.
I turn my wrist to release the tension
and there is a burden like books
falling from a bookshelf as I begin
to know the heaviness of being
I pull the door forward shifting myself back
and there is another person precisely
timed to walk through, arms full,
unable to carry their packages
and open the door.
I watch the parallax of their passing
and there is space for it like planets
that have plenty of room to play
amidst the outer stars.
It appears almost nothing is empty
except my need.
May 19, 2013 * Dominique Larntz
Dedicated to the Rights of Nature Movement
Nature purchased me early.
At 3 months old, the sun
scorched my skin
across the side of a mountain
like it thought I might be
an agent of photosynthesis.
I am owned by nature
and fail to fathom the delusion
that man owns land.
Like a long-running movie
with dramatic courtroom scenes
where everyone’s malnourished,
I’ve stepped out to get some air
and seen the scenes are two dimensional,
and the script’s someone’s trip to make money.
When I was young, the fingers of reality
found me for that mountain moment but now
I am old and nature finds me everywhere.
I refuse conversations about who-owns-what
and I silently grow thyme on my back porch
as the plants call forth their right to flourish.
I hear it like the thrum of my heartbeat,
a song so much fuller than the noise of commerce—
the verdant cadence of reality
trickling through fantasy as the ice melts
around schemes of domination and colonization—
old ragged frozen prehistoric fish rhymes.
Instead the letters of real things start to appear.
Lexicons that interweave breath making and breath taking,
water ways and solar rays, until I can walk up that mountain
at a time near my last breath making friends
with the sun, with technology, with my fellow man,
with the landscape, with the whole of the day.
We don’t own land like
I don’t perform photosynthesis—
which the planet needs to make air—
the air I depend on for every breath of life;
breath I gulp as the plants move me.
Dominque Larntz * January 23, 2013
Softness feels like my body
is buttered from the inside out
like I can relax and let the world be chaos
but my self be one single symphonic note
that is harmonious,
that is played from inside my hips,
lipped with an ancient drums skin’s timing.
Softer than that feels like liquid in my eyes
so I can forget speed and its need,
release the casual spasms of systems
beyond their expiration dates–
and remember instead the long slow
downbeat of freedom that glows under my skin.
Dominique Larntz * December 11, 2012
Even I fall
into the spire spiral
of seeking status.
From my solitude
there waits an imagined
audience, anxious for words.
I’m less prolific than I could be.
Shamed for writing too slowly, my pen nestles
as a needle against my thumb.
The drumbeat of my blood presses
me to create a clever lyric to hush
that great fool wanderer of a muse.
She laughs at my manufactured timeline
and its coated companion, stress. She trades
this suggested piercing for sunshine.
Her compositions blossom into me
off-demand when I am not ruminating
about my breathless audience.
When I am pouring a glass of tea,
liquid in the complete pleasure of being
myself within a wave of language.
November 25, 2012 * Dominique Larntz
We could build a wall, you and I,
and see it fall back into the particles
and pieces that all physical things turn into,
like Legos in earth’s generous toy chest.
You could write a cypher and make it cyber,
wed a hacker and the two of you could spend
your life staring at screens as your bellies quicken to text
and procedures instead of the bend of a baby’s elbow.
I could serve the neighborhood watch each night, my flashlight
joining the neighbor’s flashlight, repeating until the night yields
and the watch has to watch itself, being over-crowded
with people who need to turn the light on themselves.
You and I could amass a pile of nuts like a squirrel
or a pile of anything else that seems valuable now—funny
money that keeps changing forms—when I was young it was
cash and now it is a credit score or an abstract number on a card.
But we know, you and I, that nothing secures us to life,
not even our bodies, because we give them back too,
when destiny points directly to us and tells us it’s time
for the most courageous of human moments.
The only system that works for the human spirit is love,
life’s animating storyteller whose songs keep us fed, who meets
us at every grief and joy equally not as a fragile parent
but as an entire ocean for us to dissolve into as ice.
Dominique Larntz * November 21, 2012
As I peer through the cattails
of the competition
to see another situation
where I was left holding
a saddle I crafted
heavy enough to fit the buffalo
that I watched turn into a monarch butterfly,
here is how I cared for myself.
I reminded myself of the seeds inside me
that grow wild when watered,
that take over plots of my soul
like spilled ink takes over
a poem on a page.
Perhaps one day I will be able
to compete skillfully but for now
I can retreat from society’s
mechanisms of disappointment
and appointment—oh keep me away
from winning, too—those of us who
lose attachingly win with the same animal.
I will put these seeds back
into the rock tumbler of my journey.
I’ll wait for the smooth reflection to form.
When I am ready, those seeds will not be
quivers I can use in some Olympic feat
but worry stones in my pockets.
November 8, 2012 * Dominique Larntz
Be with me without thinking
through what I should do.
Be quiet about your
From your judgments,
icy stalactites and stalagmites arise
where moments ago
breath and water flowed.
I am surrounded by a society of judges
that turn conversations into caves
instead of skies.
People judge because they are
only one step removed
from the subject of their sentences.
Would it be too close
to say you are afraid to look
as vulnerable as I appear?
Be still, create space—
for as ugly as you think I am,
you with your unkind eyebrows
and the knots in your fists,
my heart is filled with love for you
as weak as you perceive that to be
it connects with you like nature
eventually overturns destruction
when you judge her irrelevant.
Dominique Larntz * October 31, 2012
I read in a book my mother gave me
that school children in China
learn to plant trees.
The oldest trees are Redwoods
in or near California,
whose smells and crackles
embolden my memories.
I’d like to be buried in those odors.
So far I’ve only learned to plant things
and I learned it on my own.
I couldn’t go around flinging seeds
just anywhere in this desert,
on this concrete,
in my enthusiasm,
in my greed for growth.
Surely the ground is too bricked,
despite the refrain of moss
and grafting that repeats
in my mind.
What if I had
from the structures
of my world
so that I had no need
to meet someone
from China to ask
if they really learned
to plant a tree
when they were young?
Dominique Larntz * October 23, 2012
Doors keep falling away;
The back screen door slid right off
the track—night before company came.
The front door keeps opening
as the wind signals a change in weather.
I left the back door open all day,
let the sunlight slither in like a snake
I’ll find under the table and need to battle
or avoid later by hoping it belly-slides back out.
I Let the wind carry in flying gnats
that Chuck will likely notice.
Made a mess because I didn’t fix that
broken, leaning door I have been using
like a divine barrier between me
and the dust
and the bugs
and the soil.
This is what gods do—turn
once proud barriers
into nothing but caves.
Dominique Larntz * October 22, 2012
Even the earth has caves
that inhale in Winter
and exhale in Summer
but they must have
Dominique Larntz * October 16, 2012
Knots surround me
and knots and fibers surround
these tears that somehow
reincarnated all over my face and
my wire form from this week’s
vessels class when I turned on
Native America Calling
and heard they wanted to celebrate
especially by hearing IAIA’s
I thought, maybe if I had more
indigenous blood I would
deserve to be an artist.
Maybe if I could draw like
Donita Grimm could sketch
those Palominos in the 5th grade
or maybe I would deserve to be
an artist if I had not colored
those shoes so black so black
and then colored over the lines
in the 3rd grade—like I was
trying to make a foundation
where I had nothing but wind.
When my eyes clear and the tears
steer into their own infinity,
age’s newest warrior whispers
from within wisdom’s hood
words that weave family
into every orphan’s knots.
She licks my heart with a wolf’s tongue
to tell me to howl my poems
for the moon to hear,
and when that queen moon
gives rise to tides,
oceans will respond.
She runs with me
around the basket
I form in spirals
like she is traveling
across a midnight mesa
with nocturnal eyes
that declare me an artist, finally,
a poet at twilight.
Dominique Larntz * September 18, 2012
I want to inspire
plumbers to want to help me.
I want those snakes
making my pipes into a slide,
glass-smooth as the tumbled rocks
I prepared as a young girl
and clutched quietly inside
my jacket pockets
on a Black Hills picnic blanket.
I want to inspire
plumbers to show up on schedule.
I want my water available
like you were, husband,
when we met over the
and until next we met
a deep breath
I want to inspire
while I kiss chlorine to mold
and cry over leaks
I feel helpless to plug
and find backup
Dominique Larntz * September 2, 2012
A New Habit
I think I did it first:
he asked me if I liked the shelf he finished
And in my mind I said,
are you kidding, it’s fantastic!
In my heart, I sang of the way a shelf
we carve into our lives to set a book upon
was made from a tree that reached as deeply into the dirt
as its branches stretched toward the sun.
He asked me again, a little perturbed this time.
“Do you like the new shelf?”
I shook myself and said aloud, “Yes, yes. I love it.”
I noticed this new habit we have—
assuming we have heard the other respond.
When we were younger and first in love,
we spoke together fast and secretly—so fast
that we would finish the others’ sentence
before listening and laughing in the joy of it.
Now our love life is ecstatic with age
and I can report back in time
that there is nothing more beautiful
than love well lived.
The love well lived requires both sides
to mature, both sides sometimes to be wrong,
a song of sacrifice lived behind the curtain
of deep desires to do something different than
is being done—requires abandoning the place of want
and its unending possibilities—those are ceded
with wonder and awe for the roots and depth
where we have best blossomed instead,
like two bookends slid securely into place
holding up stories on a shelf that will last for a while.
For twenty years, we have said and not said
so many wonderful things to each other; it seems
like sunshine to be around him.
Our relationship sustains this living landscape
and our daily lives are finally slow enough to feel it.
The other day, I asked him a question—
I can’t even remember what it was—
and he didn’t answer,
so I answered yes for him.
When you ask your next question,
only to wait and wait for its answer,
perhaps your spouse or child
or aging parent or God
is so ecstatic with you
they have this sense
you have already heard.
Dominique Larntz * August 13, 2012
Awake now, I crawl out
and open the top drawer
to pull out my underclothes
of helplessness and guilt
and I consider pulling them
over my tender skin.
I can smell what is cooking
delicious and certainly I
should cover up first.
Get dressed, then take
my plate to a quiet place
where no one can see
the depth of this
Dominique Larntz * August 10, 2012
(how do I find myself here again?)
I saw the spirit of the bird rise above the blacktop
as its body took another tire pattern like paper welcoming ink
while I watched cross traffic pour over its broken form.
softer than pavement,
and the things we forge into smooth surfaces
(its final chirp whispered into the eternity of that red light)
is the death that brings
the fortunes of civilizations to tears
no matter how we pave our roads,
if we drive over our birds,
blind our songs,
stifle our softness,
lay tire tracks to our heart’s coherence,
the paved roads lead away
from our true nature.
Dominique Larntz * July 8, 2012
Every child walks a mile as my child
and they make a trail of sacred steps
back to you, beautiful son.
I see to the needs of those around me
as if the mended ghosts of their wounds
will sing in the electricity around you.
I bathe the concave wombs I can save,
fill them with loving soup and soil,
set them out in the sunlight, let them go.
Dominique Larntz * July 2, 2012
Her body cradles the sorrow
in a canyon so deep
you can’t hear a quarter drop
when you let it go over the edge.
She’s been saying it’s fine
for you spin words of delusion
that swaddle her up to her throat
like a spider’s web.
Her body can’t heal any more
unless she follows the path
of rest and peace and joy,
taking every nap she desires.
Her nerves need a bath of love
and the culture is a river polluted
by overstimulation, by addicts
rushing to destruction.
Her cells weep in blood, the only
language they have, calling for life
to be lived, enjoyed, cherished,
preserved, flowed, balanced, loved.
Dominique Larntz * June 18, 2012
We might use cars like shopping carts,
picking one up a block away,
returning it after one use,
using it only when needed,
needing it only when hauling
Dominique Larntz * June 17, 2012
After this time of feeling
bruised by judgments,
it is enough that the woman
on the front porch of Kellers Farm Store
slouching on the plastic chair,
muttering into her cell phone,
maybe talking to her dad
on this father’s day morning,
paying no attention to me,
saw me return the cart
on my frail hip,
in my complete way,
pushing it into the others
as if I had never used it—
instead of leave it as a guidepost
to the ghost of my car.
It’s enough that she saw–
and not my husband
or mother or step-kids
and especially not
my unknown father
whom I’ll never shop for
and who will never know
if I have character or integrity or
if I do any small thing
to make the world more
navigable for others.
Dominique Larntz * June 7, 2012
I was walking down steep dirt in the desert
with the same hurt hip that visits daily
in my forties, and each next step became
the uncertain place that pain makes
its bed frame since the accident.
For a few steps, I relied exclusively on the right,
placing my left only momentarily where I knew
its sole would not slide amongst altitude’s tiny granules,
and landed gracelessly with several hard gaits on its companion.
There’s a shooting pain in this sort of imbalance
that no poem can soothe, because it is outside the words
and inside the music of movement in the space
surrounding what I call myself and my body.
I stopped moving halfway down that hill
and I started to meditate instead of hike.
I took my eyes from the bottom of the crest
and focused on the rock right in front of me.
I changed my mind’s calculation
from counting the steps to get to my car
to noticing that I am in this step.
I told my left hip, I am here for you now.
I sustained a simple, humble change
of awareness in each step,
and the pain dissolved quickly
in an unexpected surprise.
Surprise because I was just
trying to finish the walk without falling down
and I had no eyes for easy steps
where each side supported the other.
Wherever else uncertain,
I am sure to take this walk again,
and I may not always find such easy relief,
but I can dig my heel firmly into faith
in the restoration of balance
over an uneasy terrain.
(With kudos to Thich Nhat Hanh For his Walking Meditation which inspired my walking meditation today.)
Dominique Larntz * June 1, 2012
I have borne weight
like a snow flake
in an avalanche.
stress over ever-increasing
momentum of reaching
the wrong goals for me
and my type of life
sure take a while
to slow down.
Instead I would like
to make my next choices
like a seed in the soil.
Reaching down and up
at the same time.
This is a slower life,
and it requires a lot
Dominique Larntz * May 27, 2012
When I am gone and there
are trash bags full of silly things
I kept in drawers like band buttons
from when I was a fan at sixteen, things
I thought about tossing twenty times
and glues I wanted to try to bind
books with, I hope you can find
time to read my secret stash
of poems too.
I hope in addition to clucking
about my many abnormally
large faults, looking into them
like you would gaze at yourself
distorted in a carnival mirror,
and shaking your head about
how if I had just done this or that
I might have had a different fate,
you might recall that within
my many mistakes,
I loved you.
Dominique Larntz * May 25, 2012
It’s questionable to go through my kid’s stuff
but Twitter and Facebook matured
right along with him
and when I found his pixelated picture
on the Internet after 16 years
of indirect mothering,
my heart started walking into rooms,
forgetting what it walked into them for.
I found out I kept trying to make him proud
through things like salary leaps
and being kind to complete strangers
because I didn’t cradle him
against my chest with the permanence
to reassure us both that life longs for us
to spend our days peacefully,
in deep union with one another
and in a spirit of compassion
for ourselves and others
and any space between.
Dominique Larntz * May 24, 2012
My Summer’s just arriving
and I’ve read Emily’s poem
on letting go of hers
I keep the secret of seasons
like a rising loaf of bread
on my kitchen counter.
I use the knowledge
of the middle of life like
you pump air toward embers.
Dominique Larntz * May 23, 2012
What do I fight for?
Yesterday I heard
a news broadcast
and my body responded–
arched blood pressure
and clenched muscles.
I am self-aware
enough now to feel it
and that is something
spectacular to me.
Previously, I just ignored
my physiological response,
played the part, did my job,
assignments, projects, tasks,
and one could say my blood,
my body, was automated,
programmed to pretend
to ignore itself.
I am slow and mellow,
in a fast world.
In a fast world,
messages arrive in bulk
and slow processors
and when we say stop
stop stop stop and stop
we are told we
and before we
can process that
we are usually
Fast world, what would
the headline read
if you stopped
and accepted me
just as I am?