Sunday, August 7, 2016

Beneath the Midnight Sun

Image © Mogul

We bear witness
to our birth,
our death,
to days that go by
spent beneath
the sun of the mystery,
only to rest
upon the breast
of Autumn's breath.

We are witness to change
and fall then rise
like leaves and snowflakes,
drifting and landing
on the lashes of children,
such dear souls,
playing, innocent,
upon the mighty banks
of Mother Nature.

We are witness to our birth
as Spring arrives,
unplanned for,
bearing buds
and bees that buzz
and blooms in June,
beneath the deepest eye
of the sun of the spirit.

She is on fire,
dear bright star,
dear friend.

- Miss Majestic Mother Nature,
Oh, how you make sweet love with Father Sky -

The night falls.

I sit beneath ancient raiment,
staring up,
and into us all -

Nothing to fix,
nor change
or even say -
but to simply be
now -

sharing my heart
beneath the Midnight Sun.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Begins The Crying Of The Guitar

My soul needs more than what is tangible in this foreign land. There are realms I may never experience, although I have fallen into quite a few, however, in times like these, the crying of the soul is not something I am able to taste or touch.

Federico Garcia Lorca understood when he wrote, La Guitarra or The Guitar: 

It begins, the lament   
of the guitar.                                                
The wineglass of dawn                                                        
is broken.                                                                                      
It begins, the lament
of the guitar. 
It's useless to silence it. 
to silence it.
It cries monotonously
as the water cries,
as the wind cries
over the snow. 
to silence it.
It cries for 
distant things.

The physical body perceives a spiritual yearning, a natural state of being, as "sadness" or "something that cannot be placed" yet I am not sad, or confused, quite the opposite. I am an empathic creature, human after-all and am supposed to be feeling. There is no "one way" to feel or be, just as there is not one path to anywhere.

This pull is lasting for months. There is a blind spot in my field of vision. I am not supposed to see that far yet, although my soul knows. I allow my intuition to take over and walk along trails left by those that trudge before me. I trust my instincts.

Every evening, I stand outside, both feet planted flat on Earth and watch the sunset and wonder: How may times can I write about this? I answer: Many.

The clouds do not take rest in the sky the same way twice and the canvas is alive with colors that humankind has yet to create. At dawn, I greet the day. I give thanks for all that is, as well as gifts on their way. This is prayer. These times are mine and only mine. These are times I feel most protected and guided.

When I step out into this world, and it depends on the day, I view everything in either black and white or bursting with color. This is nothing new, yet can be maddening to the mind for the soul instinctively understands. The mind attempts to rationalize what is divine.

There are times I must create space between myself, this reality, you, reading my words right now, and the one I exist in as I write them. They are indeed, two different realms.

My tribe is scattered across the globe and I am, wide open.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review of "Eulogy" By Lecturer Muhammad Ehtesham of Edwardes College

Lecturer Muhammad Ehtesham of Edwardes College, Peshawar, was kind enough to review/critique a poem of mine titled "Eulogy" published on Women for One. I am truly indebted to him. He not only has insight, wisdom and is learned, but is by far, the most knowledgeable mind I have met regarding literature. 

The poem is published on --> Women for One  and Rebelle Society & Black Elephant

Spoken word audio is above and on --> Soundcloud  

 Review of Susan Marie’s "Eulogy"

The voice of the divine – so transcendent yet anthropomorphized – is heard singing from a mountain of the “grandeur” of female spirituality and intellect. Susan Marie’s Eulogy has the voice of the woman Ubermensch that appropriates the tone of masculine assertion hence subverting the way power is seen.  Yet the tone is far from feminine itself. This power is the life-force, the voice of an animating spirit.

The duplicity of the female voice, one from the mountain and the other mediating is an “unapologetic” fragmentation of the consciousness that is “magnificent” yet “shrieking”; “unabashed” with all the vulnerabilities of nakedness.

Her brow wet
with brine,
upturned to the most holy sky,
arms raised
in supplication
to a dying world,
all that is.

The Ubermensch transcends suffering through suffering. And while the stanza is intertextual with:

    Here the stone images
    Are raised; here they receive
    The supplication of a dead man's hand
    Under the twinkle of a fading star.

    Is it like this
    In death's other kingdom
    Waking alone
    At the hour when we are
    Trembling with tenderness
    Lips that would kiss
    Form prayers to broken stone.

  - T.S Eliot; The Hollow Men

Yet the voice is far from hollow and rather than being an empty spectator to the death of man as a whole, the voice in Eulogy is messianic.

The “she” sits “cross-legged” (not cross-armed) in “brazen” sexuality in an earthly transcendence flaunting “gods” and “goddesses” yet quite beyond sexuality in the sense that the voice like Gaia encapsulates the whole of the Earth in it: all the “desire” and “madness.”

The Paradox of desire and madness makes the voice a neutral whole in its fragmentation.

Her howling
becomes one with the wind,
distress signals to the raiment,
the ancient raiment
that poets and sages
sat under and above
for millenniums.

The masculine image of “ancient poets and sages” is problematized by the female Ubermensch as she “howls” distress into the androcentricity of history.

Throughout the poem, the body parts of the “she” that are foregrounded are her legs. There’s a tinge of subverting the androcentricity of society and history through complicating spirituality and sexuality.

A eulogy to the past,
a welcome to the present,
an embrace to the future.

What it holds
is of no concern,
for she knows
where home is,
away from this society,
away from the busy-ness of life,
away from monotony
and dramatics,
away from this life
with triviality.

She is here
waiting for you,
to set you free
from chains
you have bound yourself with.

Whip your shoulders back,
allow them to fall.
Feel the weight

Grab her hand, willing,
pure and desirous.

Show her
how your soul
show her
how your eyes light up,
show her how you have released
from your very soul,
all the toxicity
of existence.

Henceforth, she becomes the voice of universal emancipation from what holds back humanity -- from all of its triviality. She becomes a part of all of us – in a very Jungian way. She becomes that part of human psyche that is female – the one that liberates; the one that nurtures and nourishes; the transcendental; the spiritual; the purgation of all that is “rotten.”

Spirituality is feminized and femininity is celebrated as a universal part of Nature – if not the whole of it, rather than a mere gender.

The present is to be captured, to be realized in a holistic experience when all the fragments of self-hood come together in a union, glued by the collective anima of being. This part of the human self is celebrated as a cleansing, invigorating, pulsating vibrancy -- the realization of which shall cause one to:

Sing of the grace bestowed upon you
for you are born to be supreme,
you are born with the ability to fly,
you are born with the gift to see
with six senses,

This force that is pushing man beyond his limits – so to speak, blowing up possibilities where he can see with six or seven senses, has less to do with fact and more to do with the force of language.

Muhammad Ehtesham
Lecturer in English
Edwardes College Peshawar, Pakistan

Thursday, July 14, 2016


A threshold, she stood.

Feet, bare, body clad,
in white cotton raiment
swirling about her ankles
as the wind sang like a lute
upon the still night sky.

A woman's song
carried upon the breeze
playing with the edges
of light and dark,
night and day,
the precious time
between dusk and nightfall.

Her ravensong
burst forth from mouth
wide open in awe,
chin upturned,
jawbone outlined,
tears precious
gifted in humble grace,
against the light
of the coming
of fresh eve.

A dreamcatcher
she was,
weaving lives within lives,
connecting dots
with fingertip raised
pointed at stars,
moving them across Father Sky
to meld into one another -

Bare feet
slapping upon
she pulls both arms outward
like some holy crucifixion
and met the maelstrom
head on -
for this

- Forward -

And he waited there, silent.
He knew she would not falter
yet kept watch upon her -
for his path led
in a line etched
from his soul
to her own.

And they tread into ancient firmament
where Gods and Goddesses exist, eternal,
and celestial wars rage.

yet apart,

- holding hands
as children tend to do -

they walked into the great abyss -

beyond all

Saturday, July 9, 2016

I Do Not Have An Answer

The universe we exist in is in a constant state of flux, just as our bodies are. True balance is inconceivable, an untruth, nearly impossible. Maybe for a short time, then everything changes from millisecond to millisecond.

The world we live in operates with short periods where things are peaceful then tumultuous. There are times when you see people show great compassion for one another and times when the seething darkness embedded in the human soul completely takes over.

These are tough times, hard times. The times you feel utterly helpless or extremely enraged far beyond anger.  For me, it does not matter if the issue directly affects me, what matters is that things are set straight, that truth is told, that people treat one another with love and kindness and that justice is met.

Values embedded within my own soul guide me to what is right and wrong and what is harmful or helpful. What I myself stand for, with and behind, in solidarity, usually has nothing to do with me directly, except for, and most importantly, my role as a human being.

Our world is a dangerous and beautiful place. This is the light and dark at play. 

However, I cannot nor will I even attempt for one moment to know exactly what it feels like to be repeatedly raped as in sexual trafficking, to have a different skin color and be condemned and killed for it, to be jailed for my beliefs, to follow a faith that directs me to hurt and judge anyone, as well as be abused for my faith, and carry myself as if I know what any of that feels like. I don't. I only know what I have experienced.

Yet what I feel is horror and hope, simultaneous. I am unable to control any government, nation, any political or religious organization and any group of people that have power and control in the name of fear, which equals hate.

What I am able to control is myself. That I am 100% accountable for.

As a human being, I stare out at this world, our world, sometimes fully engaged, sometimes as an observer, and always, in utter confusion wondering how people do not know how to be kind. Take that a step further and witness people being outright hateful. Another step further and witness murder, beatings, rape and abuse.

What am I to do?

A hell of a lot, that's what.

I stand in solidarity. I do my best to not project negativity, and in the very least, use my voice as one of reason to say, This is wrong. I am with you. You are not alone. 

Sometimes that is not enough. Sometimes this world needs a good shaking up. Sometimes it takes going through the deepest, most frightening tunnels in order to get to the other end where there is light. Sometimes it takes upheaval of all that is in order to retain some sort of balance. Sometimes.

No, I cannot nor will I ever claim to know what it feels like to be anyone but myself. What I can claim is that I am a rational thinking, extremely empathetic human being that cares for the rest of our race, the human one,  as a whole. Not just a skin color, a sexual gender, a faith, a group, or a nation.

All of us.

I ask please when you open your eyes everyday to in the very least try and put yourself directly into the shoes of another human being that experiences existence much differently than you do.  It makes a difference. It helps to take away some of the hate that is rampant in all societies. It helps you to understand what others are going through. It helps you to connect to your own town, city, state, nation and the world. It helps you to connect to other people. It helps you to connect to yourself. 

Make all kinds of friends, learn of other cultures, sexual genders, faiths and ethnicity. Expand your mind so far and wide that you cannot even conceive of allowing hate to settle within your bones for a solitary second.

As Leonard Peltier wrote in Prison Writings: My Life is My Sun Dance -

"“I don’t know how to save the world. I don’t have the answers or The Answer. I hold no secret knowledge as to how to fix the mistakes of generations past and present. I only know that without compassion and respect for all of Earth’s inhabitants, none of us will survive – nor will we deserve to.”

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Born of This

It is tiresome
being human
with a beating heart.

I wish to close my eyes to horror,
yet my soul was made to speak.

I shout atrocity from rooftops
with rusted gutters,
my jawbone clenched tight.

Hoping that the blind shall see,
and the deaf shall hear;
dead-men nod to my supplications.

The sky quivers and quakes,
roaring untold stories of ancestors.

Nature does not judge.

Instinct is the root
of coming
into becoming whole.

Oh, such peace
to be among the birds and trees,
the grass, green.

The deer and raven dine side by side.

I shall recharge like Walden,
gain clarity,
go home where I feel peace.

The human race confuses me,
and I am often ashamed to admit
that I am born of it.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

This Is How We Are Blessed

Selfless and passionate
birds cry,  melodic.

Rivers and lakes
streams and oceans,
the great majestic seas
roil like thunder,
yet rest our weary souls

This is how we are blessed.

The trunks of trees bear limbs
reaching down and out
from heavens sweaty brow,
holding our hands
made of elm and birch,
of oak and fir,
thunderous heads of hair,
crowns of chakras, all colors,
falling, falling as leaves,
blanketing grass, emerald and awake,
blinding our senses silly –

And this, this is how we are blessed.

Listen -
the human heart beats
like tribal drums,
circled by ancestral fires,
pounding treble and bass,
prodding the spirit onward,
towards destiny,
towards fate,
towards the next step -

In this mad world,
this great globe,
this utterly insane
human existence,
is beauty.


This, this is how we are blessed.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mother Nature, Father Sky

Mother Nature, Father Sky

Check out this wild lightning! I stood out here staring up wondrous and in awe at the sky. Now this, this is Mother Nature, Father Sky.

Also linked HERE

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day - Youngest Of Four, One Folded Flag

My Father was a World War II Marine.  He is not my biological father, but he is my Dad. He raised me and he raised me well.  He taught me about pride, how to stand up for myself, he taught me when to sit back and be silent.  He told me that I was still wet behind the ears and I still am.  He called himself a jarhead and taught me about Semper Fi.

When you think about crime, and active duty and war and all the crazy things that can happen to you, you never think that someone who is in the military is going to be taken by cancer.

When I was 15 years old, cancer took my Father home.  Being 15, that is a messed up time for anyone, you are confused about everything and no one tells you anything.

My memory is acute. I recall when I was a baby and around 2 years old, yet the day of my Father's funeral, I have no memory.  It is funny how the mind works because it protects you from things that may otherwise be disturbing.

I recall clear as day my family in the limousine driving to the cemetery.  It was a beautiful, sunny November and just like a knife cutting bread, WAP!  No memory, nothing, gone. 

I had to ask my Mother did they do a gun salute, did they perform TAPS, did they fold the military flag on his coffin, did they hand over the flag all neatly folded in a triangle?  She had to tell me all of that. I have no remembrance.

The years of illness before my Father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) and the chemotherapy treatments to follow, was devastating. My Father, an over 6 foot healthy, muscled Marine turned into a shell of his former physical self.  Once he was admitted, I was not allowed in the hospital because I was too young.  At the time, you had to be 16 years or older to get into ICU, the Intensive Care Unit, where he was being kept comfortable.

I never saw my Father before he died.

Several years ago, I flew to Washington, DC to see Bob Dylan and also ended up going to Arlington.  It was a pilgrimage.  Have you ever been compelled to do something and have no idea why you wrote a letter, got in your car and went to someone's house or made a phone call or sent an email?  It is your instinct telling you that you need to do this right now.

I said to my friend that I was visiting, we need to go to Arlington.  

If you have never been to Arlington, you must go.  My entire chest caved in.  We had to stop so many times inside Arlington because I literally could not breathe.  Arlington is a mirror of life itself.  There is all of this death, and alongside of that, all of this life. There are birds and gardens, fountains and trees.  Everything is alive and some of the grave markers are beautiful.  Arlington is life and death existing together.

I saw Iwo Jima.  I thought it would be a small sculpture.  Iwo Jima is at least three stories high and bigger than a school.  When I walked upon this sculpture, I felt so tiny to life, to the entire universe.  I was circling and circling this bronze, immense, mammoth sculpture and looked up at it and thought, That's my Father, that is my Father.

It is a long walk from Arlington to Iwo Jima. The entire walk back, I do not even know what I was doing, letting go of all of those years, yet not aware of it.  I was with my friend Ed and he just allowed me to go on and on ranting and crying and screaming.  He was silent, supportive, he understood. 

When we went back to Arlington, I wandered off on a path to some place I was not supposed to be and looked up and saw a large granite sign on the wall.  It was the oath that the sentinel takes for the Tomb of the Unknowns.

I was standing there trying to take photographs and abruptly to my surprise and shock, out of the door right next to me, steps a Marine.  He was but a boy and oh, my goodness, he stopped and saluted me.  It blew my mind.  I felt like I should be saluting him.  He turned on a perfect pivot click of heel and when he walked nothing moved but his feet.

We did not have a schedule.  We just went on a whim.  Neither of us knew anything detailed about Arlington.  We had never been there before.

So, I was sneaking behind the Marine wondering where is he going? knowing I had to follow him and I do. Then he turns around the corner and Oh, my goodness . . . the changing of the guard.

The Marine that saluted me was the next sentinel to stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. 

When we got back from Arlington, this is what I wrote:

My Father was a World War II Marine. His name is Edwin George Koester. He is not my biological father, but he is my Dad. He raised me and he raised me well. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

On Growth : An Avocado Tree From Seed


I absolutely adore growth. When I was 13, my first job was working with the Mercy nuns (Sisters of Mercy) at the convents cultivating their elegant and numerous gardens. 

When I had my first chunk of dirt in the city, I grew everything from carefully constructed herb rock gardens (that my chocolate lab lived in, loved and kept digging up), elegant rose beds of all variations, 7 foot sunflowers, all types of annuals and perennials, tons of vegetables and yes, I grew corn in the city (that grew beautifully and was delicious). 

Last year, I started all of my vegetables and herbs indoors during winter and had so many plants when Spring hit that I had to keep giving them away.

I will try (almost) anything. I have never attempted to grow fruit.

The simplest things in life make me happy like seeing avocado seeds burst with roots! 

This unique fruit is sometimes referred to as the "alligator pear" because it is shaped like a pear, is green and has "bumpy" skin like an alligator. The flesh inside the fruit is only eaten, discard the rest. Except for the seed. 

Avocados contain Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamins B5, B6 and Vitamin E. There are small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), and B3 (Niacin). An avocado contains more Potassium than a banana.

It is a "high fat food" meaning heart healthy poly and monounsaturated fatty acids. Oleic acid, the fatty acid present in avocados, is the main component in olive oil. This fruit is loaded with fiber and while some nutrients are "fat soluble" (meaning they need to be combined with fat in order to be utilized), simply adding avocado to salads, dips, and spreads increases antioxidant and nutrient absorbance. 

I adore avocados. There are various ways they can be eaten

Simply peel the skin off and eat it like fruit, when the avocado is ripe, use that as a spread [instead of using mayonnaise or a similar unhealthy concoction] on sandwiches, make a dip out of it for raw vegetables, add chunks to a salad, to rice with lime, to salsa, replace fats in recipes with an avocado, and of course, to make guacamole. 

This recipe is my personal favorite: Bruschetta with Avocado and Basil

Easy, cheap, quick , healthy and delicious. 

Avocados ripen well and when purchasing, unless you are ready to use immediately, make sure they are firm to the grip. An avocado is ripe when it is only slightly soft to the touch. 

My love for avocados led me to grow my own tree. This is the easiest thing I have ever grown and it was 100% free. 

To start, use a seed leftover from an avocado: 
  • Wash it well, do not scrub it. 
  • Put three toothpicks on a downward angle into the center of and around the seed.
  • Get a small clear glass container, fill it with water.
  • Suspend the toothpicks across the rims of the container. 
  • Let the seed sit in the water halfway. 
  • Place that in a warm place out of direct sunlight, uncovered. 
  • Replenish water when necessary, do not allow evaporation. 
  • Wait about 2-6 weeks. 

I started with two seeds and one grew. I would start with a few just in case. If none of them grow, keep trying! It takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks to see the root appear.

What occurs first is the seed covering cracks, falls off, and the entire seed cracks and the root can be seen growing out of the bottom.  After that, the new green growth comes out of the top. Replenish water so it is fresh and gently clean both seed and container regularly with plain water, no soap, to get rid of accumulations from humidity.  

After you see the root, follow further instructions HERE

Due to the below freezing temperatures in winter, I keep a 4 foot tropical Croton tree (diverse, complex group of plants ranging from herbs, shrubs to trees) in my living room. The avocado tree will be right at home!

I wonder what else I can grow . . .

Happy growing, eating, and experimenting!