Posts tagged Family
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.
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 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 * 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 * 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 * 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 * April 29, 2012
Crater Lake Blue could be bottled
and then I could hold onto stillness with them—
my grandfather and my uncle.
When I talk to my grandfather now
through the gauze of Alzheimer’s,
I am no longer asking him if the travel
trinket I am buying is too expensive.
When I talk to my uncle through
the twisted lips of drug arrests
we don’t mention when we see
each other once per decade,
I can only thank him for teaching
me how to drive stick-shift
in South Dakota parking lots
when I was sixteen.
My moment with them was at Crater Lake,
swirling my sweaty hair up into
a knot at the center of my skull
and I felt safe with them on the road north
through California for a few days
in the middle of a chaotic childhood
but I was probably bored
and I had no idea it was important
to the forty-two year old woman I would become
who needed to know that at the heart
of each fractured person—
of each person who falls beyond cliffs
from which they can no longer send us
words we can decipher—there is a deep crater
of being that is as alive as the earth.
We don’t have to communicate in language
to love our families; we can sit together or
if we can’t sit together we can use their
illness as an opportunity to ask for help
or to help others whose faces remind us of theirs—to
widen the very concept of family
until we learn that there will be no saving
ourselves or each other. There will only be
a deeper, an ever deepening, cratering, caring
that pools in our spirits for us to gaze into
when we need space.
Dominique Larntz * April 12, 2012
On this birthday, death exhales his musings
into my carotid pattern and I wonder
if it is as stable as ever. I am in the middle–
this precipice point where I have let go
of the potentials of birth and I have begun
to embrace the vague details of death.
I care less and less about celebrating
the day of my entrance into this body,
but the fact remains that it is still marked.
I know the date, the time, the year
and the desert place in which my small fist
leaked out into this mortal blossom.
The date of my demise is unclear.
I might celebrate it in some sort of heaven,
dancing between layers of golden scarves
in a semblance of whatever my spirit
will know to be naked abandon in the afterlife.
There may be appreciation
for this sort of visceral joy.
We may gasp ourselves
into death with a breath
we do not yet know.
We might work ourselves to death
because we are in some sort of
reaching to grow into something spectacular
so that death is another birth.
In the womb of death’s wooing of me,
I am comfortable with the outlines of my mortality today,
stretching into the sky with fingers
that are large to my pupil but tiny to the moon’s eye;
exploring with legs that are huge
compared to the models of my culture
but small compared to the waves of an ocean;
kicking with hips that rotate open
to uncover a chakra base
tunneled into an earth
to sustain me for a long curious life
that for the sun is only the time span
it takes to glance around at its planets
and assure itself they are still there.
Today, I am thinking about people I care for,
primarily the people in my blood family.
I can feel them in the pulse at my neck as I breath.
They are as close to me as my carotid artery
and as far from me as the nearest stars.
I have been writing them secret love letters,
knowing I may leave first.
I hope they arrive.
Dominique Larntz * January 27-29, 2012 * “Love Letters to My Body”
No one paid attention when I was getting dressed
so I put on my tap shoes and smoothed my finger
along the top convex toe after I laced them up
with a little girl’s satisfaction.
In the California desert hospital they
clack-tapped for each step I took
but my grandparents didn’t look once
at the shoes that were so shiny
you could hardly believe they were black.
Despite the widening volume
made by each of my footsteps
along the fluorescent-finished tile path,
the hallways and turns ended
in my great-grandmother’s hospital room,
as cramped and dark as a camera.
Lung cancer was somehow a conversation
my memory stumbled into focus.
Suddenly carpeted in my own invisibility
I had my first portrait of death, too warm,
and full of unopened windows
and plastic tubes I felt I should ignore
as if they were not there–
a stopping point I had not expected at all–
and dense panic in the breath of
my family’s unspoken grief.
An unmeasurable time later we left, and I pretended
this never happened. I did not ask
the thousand million questions a curious child
must have had after such a visit,
perhaps because a kind child
does not want to intrude upon growling adults.
I still don’t know if I felt unsafe
or if I did not know how to ask.
Perhaps there is a time for questions
and a time for toe taps–
and our best efforts to act just right
play very little part, despite
how we choose our shoes.
Now I can feel free to visit with these
serious pictures. The echo of spirited footfalls
linger in my memory sometimes
when I am as quiet and gentle
as a hibernating bear.
I can recall my eight year old girl’s
confusion at unexplained experiences,
and realize it would have been nice
to enjoy an adult narrator at the time.
Now, in middle age, I can project
what it might feel like to take a grandchild with you
on one of the last visits you will make
to your parent in the hospital.
What possible words could you tell a child
about the sacred bond between generations?
There are these inevitables–death and
hospitals and vulnerabilities–
that may shock and dislodge
a dancing, exuberant child
but they will not interrupt our steadier steps later,
when we place our toe gently and then our heel firmly
through the same age as our grandparents once walked.