A Deep Swim to find an Old Poem

becauseI'mYoungThis morning, I took a deep swim for a bit, resulting in my previous post, The Other Option.  I posted that through my iPhone, from the patio of the local Starbucks, on a bright and sunny morning, as the bustle of traffic and progress buzzed around me.  (It has now been edited! Sorry about that, folks. No more trance-posting without editorial review.)  There was a Chai Tea Latte to be enjoyed, my trusty calligraphy pen in my hand, and a book I couldn’t wait to read.  The occasional dear friend popped by to say hello and give squeezes! Sounds like an ideal summer morning, right? You’d think.

“The deep swim,”  is what I call it when I slip into the deeps of the rabbit hole without really intending to do so, but I become opened to what is happening outside of my little body/life/house/town, and the feels just come flooding in, sometimes I get swept away. I can get lost down there in the murk, and as I am rather empathic, those feels become my feels and can be difficult to shake off.

Thing is, they aren’t my feels, so meanwhile the tidal wave comes crashing through me, my conscious, analytical mind is busy observing them. I am both experiencing this funk of the world and observing them from a distance.  When I came back from that swim this morning, I was aware of this palpable quality to the outer world…tension, fearfulness, mourning. I check FB later, and there is another school shooting. Didn’t this just happen? And the time before?  My friend Lynn comments that these have brought the longest period of “consistent despondency” she’s ever had. That was it. Those words capture the feels of the deep swim…relentless, “consistent despondency.”

Ghostbusters 2Picture me at that moment on the Starbucks patio, just like Ray and Winston in Ghostbusters 2, covered in the pink mood slime of these blargy feels of fear and resentment, angry that I’m laid opened and bare to these things, that this is the person I have become, in what this world has become, trapped in this problematic meat-suit <downward spiral diatribe redacted.>

This image comes to mind of how the world has this nasty, seething, hideous underbelly, and I was sick and tired of having to stare it down all the time. I didn’t choose this! <fists shaken to the Universe>


Maybe I did ask for this….that underbelly idea rang a few chimes. So I went back and found this poem I wrote my senior year of high school. I was 17, impetuous and so full of my own sovereignty it is a wonder I survived. This is before I ever had any idea that neo-paganism, or witchcraft,  existed…back when all I knew was that the Bible did not apply to me, that I was about to go off to college and I wanted to learn EVERYTHING (even the stuff the church said was “of the devil”,) and I could not wait to be out from under my mother’s thumb so badly that I could taste it. I wrote this poem as my anthem, it was the giant middle finger, brandished backwardly, as I galloped out of the South and into the horizon. I was such an asshole.

It was published in the Fine Arts Center’s literary journal called The Cripple Creek Review in 1992, so that is where I found it.  The 22nd anniversary of my high school graduation was this week. I am amused now to see how many of these wishes came true, literally and figuratively, for better or for worse. (I’ve covered that “drunk” and “pregnant” wish well-enough, let’s hope I earn the rights to try “old.”)

I wanted to discover the underpinnings of the Universe in unbridled exploration of the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I got my wish. Now I should write one called, “Because I’m 40 and Know Better…”

Alas, for your amusement…

Because I’m Young

Life, I said,
slam shut the faded covers
of instructions booklets, of bibles.
Open my eyes, guide me naked, white
through wet streets at midnight,
through Budapest, Brooklyn, Beijing.
Take my hand, envelope me in your time line,
play connect the dots with each fate I cross.

Show me the gray underbelly of shadows
that lie waiting like small dragons in alleys;
lull me to dreaming in the blue fog of grief;
slip me through cracks in this sidewalk;
show me those who have gone before;
let me love them, breathe them.
Lay me down, cradle my head on your black
lacquer chopping block, cleave open
my skull like Queen Mary* and pour
from your green goblet
of knowledge.

Show me Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha;
make me drunk, pregnant, old;
mold me in your Plaster of Paris of stomach
and spit me out.

Life, I demanded, pull back your thorny fist
and hit me for all you are worth.


*My kids make me aware that not everyone knows that when Queen Mary was beheaded that it took the executioner several swings of the axe to get the job done, which was some brutal, messy business. Then they found her dog hiding under her skirts.  She went to her death bravely and with grace.

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