Posts tagged Wisdom
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 * 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 10, 2012
They propped up his vein
and I keep wondering how that would be–
to have the most tender pathways
inside me opened up by doctors and devices.
I trace a line along my sternum with my finger
when he is not here and when he is beside me,
run my fingers along his chest, trying to feel it.
I place my right ear against his heart,
feeling the gallop of it inside him,
grateful for his life, grateful for mine,
feeling him as intimately
as I feel the inside of my eyelids.
He is the resolution of my life’s projections
and almost losing him to a heart attack
helps me know love the way you see space
only by the things that fill that space.
Dominique Larntz * April 30, 2012
The dry soil absorbed me as quickly
as the drops of Lady Gray tea
slopped from the side of my cup
while I leaned the opposite way
to feed the lemon thyme Shauna
gave me for my birthday–
the perfect fit to replant
in the stands we made
just outside our front door.
My eyes kaleidoscope
on the radiance
of the escaped sky.
In its heated airways,
Summer is sending its missives
each day now, announcing itself
by thrilling our skin into moistening
and making intimate embers
where we are bare.
I know Summer will bring baking heat.
I will tend the garden,
tend myself and my frailties,
the skin that burns too fast,
the sense a transplant has
that it wants to wind its way
back down to sea level
and find a way home to the ocean.
I am as impermanent
as anything else
and the desert
is one of the most
to plant the idea
that we all root
in foreign soil
for a while.
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 * February 1, 2012 * “Love Letters To My Body”
A Little Physics of Preparation
The untied shoelaces of momentum
have me confused the past few days
as if I could run forward without
knotting up these sneakers.
There is a point in preparing
when you stop and crouch
to carefully tie your shoes.
If, instead, you slip your feet into
the rubber-soled foot skins
without taking the time
to loop over and under,
and to pull the ends together in a bow–
perhaps thinking momentum more important
than the feet doing the running
or the process steps themselves–
what clarity of experience you will miss
as you trip on the long untied strands.
Outfitted for excursion,
I am almost ready to go.
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.
Dominique Larntz * January 9 * “Love Letters To My Body”
There is so much I can’t do today
that I am reminded
to think small
and then to think even
I remember being eight years old
in elementary school.
The teacher polled us
on what we wanted to be
when we grew up.
I said I wanted to be president.
That stands as one of my brightest
as a child.
While I would have
voted for me,
it was obvious
even the teacher
at such a desire
and would not
have cast a ballot
While my campaign
I still find myself
of the avenue-of-where-I-think-I-should-go
and the boulevard-of-the-way-I-was-made
thinking I can re-route the-avenue-
to be anything other than
a traffic circle
bringing me again
to the same,
gentle, right turn.
An exuberant day
can make any future appear possible
and it’s easy to forget that to manifest
a career takes twenty-to-forty years.
Life also brings days like today–you
can call it depression, low energy, tired.
And I wonder how I can be
of service in my life
and in the world on such a day,
when I feel I am no good
for doing anything.
And it takes me a long time–until 3 PM–to
even be able to formulate that question.
Almost before the question is finished,
life has offered three lousy drivers
in oversized vehicles.
Each encounter necessitated
that I slow down
in order to avoid collisions.
I cry a little because I realize those drivers
will never see that I saved their lives.
They will probably never know
the mistakes they made.
I am humbled by my small destiny
on my neighborhood roads today,
and the invisibility of it.
I look into the heart of my eyes
and I wonder how many times
in the future I will be able to see
the same humble moments in others.
I wonder how many times
I will be able to see the deftness
and joy that others have felt
as they have traversed this planet,
making the world a better place
in a thousand quiet, transparent acts.
I may be slow to see
and to appreciate
and the smaller still
delights the pathways
of our lives,
but my eyes are
in the neighborhood.
Dominique Larntz * January 5 * “Love Letters To My Body”
Does my body bear fruit
like citrus, with some
usable outer peel
protecting an inside
so irrevocably liquid
that all you have to do is
twist your hand a bit
to release its juice
along with its
dozens of seeds
and possibly so sour
or so sweet
that it transforms the taste of what it is mixed with
and it cleanses what it rubs against
and it stings wounds it drops into,
and are there many chances–
from all those citrus seeds–
Or does my body bear fruit
like a peach or a plum
with a soft outer skin
that reveals strength
all the way to
a central core seed,
one purpose from which
this type of fruit
Or does my body bear fruit
like a coconut,
growing a series of shells
around sweet water
high up in a palm tree
until the day it is ready
to trust that falling
is part if its nature
and it joyfully releases its hold
from the branch
where it has suckled,
and it turns
to embrace the ground
as it stops resisting gravity
and holding onto the trunk–
with its singular seed,
complex and protected
inside many layers,
of its kind have been
picked up by waves
and traveled ten thousand
ocean miles to germinate
on a beach
where it started?