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Oct 2020 · 173
Beautiful love
River Oct 2020
Do you see my hands,
My open palms
Clamped
Sometimes
Because I close
And I find it so hard to open to you
Love has always hurt before

You said you’re independent but tender
You make me feel so warm inside
Like fireworks or rainbows expanding inside me
Like the sweetest melody
Brewing inside my heart
You give me hope
Beautiful love.
River Oct 2020
I feel hollow,
Thrum thrum thrum,
See? Hollow.
It hurts to feel hollow
I miss things I shouldn’t miss
I’m remembering incorrectly
It hurts, it just hurts
I want to feel the sun and be whisked off my feet by joy
But my heart is heavy
I miss things I shouldn’t miss
That relationship, was a drug
An addiction
I miss things I shouldn’t miss
My mind and body and heart
Are craving a hit
I’m in withdrawal
Ouch
Shaking, hollow, thrum thrum thrum
Who am I?
I’m missing things I shouldn’t miss.
River Oct 2020
Pull me in with the tide
Green frothy foam rising up my thighs
Translucent teal
Bubbles popping, waves crashing
My imagination, whole
Home
At home
In the big green sea
Who’s hand should I hold?
Who’s bed do I want to inhabit
I spend my time thinking of the people I may love
But I always end up alone
But that’s ok
Because it’s safer to sleep
To keep this distance between us
Don’t worry
Just because we’re away
Doesn’t make this love unreal
Everything is real which I can feel
If I can feel it in my heart
And dream it in my mind
I know,
It’s real
But sometimes I have trouble distinguishing dreams from reality
But is it all really the same?
An undivided stream
Weaving threads, together in this tapestry
Who’s hand should I hold?
For now I hold my own.
Oct 2020 · 58
I know what I want
River Oct 2020
I want beauty like the blue sage
Beckoning the hummingbird,
Petals open
Fertile ground between throbbing lips
******* like mountain peaks,
Round and supple
Yearning to be touched and devoured in his hands
I want beauty, deep beauty
Raw beauty
And aliveness
Fully alive
I hunger to be fully alive
With this earth, with creation, with the pulsing energy of the cosmos
I’m alive
On fire
Pulsing
Awake and dreaming
I know what I want
Life,
To live.
Aug 2020 · 63
Untitled
River Aug 2020
So this is how the story goes,
I think I fall in love
But when I seek deeper
There are no roots
Just empty promises that never bloomed

It’s funny because
I always wonder what they think of me
How they feel for me
But when I look in my own heart
I find that I don’t even love them, just like I know they don’t love me

This one thought of himself as a knight in shining armor,
He said he was a romantic
But really he was so cruel,
Giving me what he knew I wanted in the beginning
Only to gain power over me to tear me apart

And I just couldn’t take it, one more day
Of him yelling at me,
Criticizing me,
Telling me to change
And then with his victim story
Of anxiety about the pain he caused me
He’s such a fool,
But so am I
I abandoned myself for his love
That I could never fully grasp no matter how hard I tried.
Aug 2020 · 63
Feminine
River Aug 2020
She’s a red, hot energy coursing through me
Awakening in my heart
She’s daring and unruly,
Truly wild, and set apart

She’s a blue flame
Dancing fluidly with the wind
Her blue courses through my veins
And washes through my beating heart

I thought maybe, I had to be different
To have her live in me
But that belief made her enraged,
She absolutely disagreed

But this belief was ingrained in me by the people who make the beauty magazines,
And all the flashy displays of ‘this is what a woman ought to be’
Even the men have picked me apart
Scrutinizing my features as if I’m not a work of divine art

They program us women this way so that we don’t feel good enough,
And when we don’t feel good enough we’re more likely to hand over our money
To be injected into and pumped up
With plumper lips, thicker hips, bigger ****
But when is it ever enough?
We end up like fattened cows stationary, hooked into a milking machine
We lose the meaning to life
Because plastic can’t let life in

I don’t want plastic
I want real
I want Her
To take me over
And bring me to life
I don’t want to compare myself to other girls
And believe the lack of love in my life is because of my ordinary looks
Or because they is something wrong with me
That I’m not feminine enough,
Attractive enough to men, put together enough, smart enough, wifey-material enough
And this is why I’m on my own
But it’s not true
It’s a lie
I am lovable and I am kind
I have a lot to offer
And I’m going to give it all to me
I’m not going to mold myself
Into what I think men want me to be.
Aug 2020 · 94
Expansion
River Aug 2020
Sometimes I ask myself,
What am I doing?
I wake up unintentionally at 4 in the morning
And I finally feel truly alone
It feels so nice to be alone
But that’s when the appraisal of my life starts
All this feeling of— this doesn’t belong
Remember when I used to have that feeling all the time?
All those years of I don’t belong here?
And yet I stayed in those places that felt confining
Until there was no other choice but to leave
And when that time came
Like a blessing from heaven
Grief was welcomed,
In it’s transitory glory
The slowness, the stillness, the savoring
Of saying goodbye
The opening, the excitement, the jubilation
Of starting over again, of being freed from my bonds

Now I feel it happening again
I’m resisting it, like I always do
But life, she’s kinda funny
Sometimes she takes away my ability to choose and makes them for me
Because she knows I like to sleep in
She says ‘rest for now, but I shall wake you up again soon’
And the soon is coming, I can feel it
Like I can feel the coming of change in season
I love summer, I don’t want it to go
But fall is in the air, there’s no turning back
And winter is well on her way
The anticipation of change is swirling through the air
I’m trying to make plans
But I know life will have her way
She knows better than me
She knows I’m scared but also knows I can take it
All she wants to do is expand me
And for that, I’m grateful.
Aug 2020 · 91
A Love Story (kinda)
River Aug 2020
It was sad you know,
But maybe do you think it had to go?

Who knows,
Maybe things would’ve been different
If we hadn’t taken all those missteps, and made all those mistakes
I think we just didn’t truly know each other
Before it was too late

Neither of us really trusted,
It was always a debate
Of ‘do you really love me?’
And ‘is this real or is this fake?’

Because didn’t we both say in the beginning it felt too good to be true
Hearts wide open
Overflowing with love anew
This gift seemed to fall into our laps— after years of hoping

Maybe our fears of it being an illusion made it so
Or maybe we’re two messed up people who ******* it up,
Maybe we’ll never know
I’m just not ready to give it up

But I told him to go
I showed my fangs and roared my fiercest roar
And then, silence
I didn’t hear from him no more

I can’t tell you where’s he’s gone
Just disconnected from me
I understand I went wrong,
But so did he.
Jul 2020 · 59
It’s hard to say hello
River Jul 2020
I had this sick feeling in my stomach
This pit in my chest
It was telling me to go
I felt an overwhelming sense of unrest

It felt like my life was beginning
It felt like my life was ending
It feels like I’m dying
In the slippery waters of the womb,
Being born anew

It feels like a blossom cracking open
The hot sun on my bare chest
I can’t quite understand
But it feels like my bleeding heart is visible under my *******

My heart was restless,
My mind, amuck
I couldn’t understand the push and pull within me
I was out of luck

I didn’t have words,
Just a smile of plaster
It’s easy to say goodbye
It’s hard to say hello— won’t you come into my heart?
Jul 2020 · 87
Make it work
River Jul 2020
Let’s just stay here in the darkness,
Under this clear navy blue sky
The stars pulsing with light

I wish I could look into your eyes,
Maybe then you’d see how much I feel for you
But we’re so far
And the fighting has distanced us even more

There isn’t much I know
But I know we have to make this work
Stay under this navy blue sky with me
Quiet our rambling minds, and just breathe together.

I wish I could just look into your eyes
Then you’d be convinced
That we can make this work.
Jun 2020 · 50
Return to darkness
River Jun 2020
Return to darkness, return to that subtle hollow ache
Eating me alive
Where the loneliness grows like unruly vines
Where there is no concept of love,
Just hate
Eating at my insides
And giving way to darkness.

The dark, hopeless, too heavy to carry
Too heavy to carry
My shoulders are bleeding
My heart is bleeding
I’m bleeding
I’m bleeding
Drain me.

I look at the world with a forlorn look,
And it scowls back at me
Screams at me
I’m a victim, a sad little girl curled up in a ball
I just want to go far, far away
I want to leave, I want the chaos to stop
I want to feel loved..
These are wild dreams.

Make my home in the darkness,
It’s not changing.
Jun 2020 · 53
So you can be free
River Jun 2020
I think there could be a switch
That turns off my mind
I wonder what would happen
If the thoughts stopped, if everything passed through,
If I didn’t hold onto anything

Maybe pure emotion would visit within my body
It could be waves of turmoil or waves of joy
But it goes away
It all goes away
Like waves, hitting the shore
It comes and it goes

And if I didn’t hold on
It’d all just pass through
But see, I have to step beyond
Because my mind is a prison with its endless melancholy song

Don’t you see?
It’s all a phase
You think you know who you are,
But that will always change
You are the one who experiences,
So just flow
Stop being so scared of pain
And of everything, let go.

(So you can be free)
Jun 2020 · 47
What if I just go?
River Jun 2020
What if,
One day
I wake up from this years long slumber
And just go? Just leave?
What if I left everything behind
Disconnected from everyone, from the world
And set out on my own course?

Sometimes, I feel that pull in my heart
There’s so much confinement here,
So much mess
I just want to leave the mess
I don’t want to live up to my predefined roles
I just want to be free

There’s always some nagging thought in my head, and nothing is ever quite right
Or healed or whole
And you don’t understand how hollow that feels
There’s so much pain
And the pain keeps piling on
My heart is a tightly closed rose bud,
I miss the times it was open
When my heart’s open, I can breathe

But when I’m outside, on a trail
Gravel underfoot
The crunch, crunch, crunch quiets the mental chatter
I keep walking, one foot in front of the other
Until the civilized world is far behind me
And I begin to forget
Forgetting— that sweet freedom
I forget the pain.

Maybe if I run away
I’ll forget the pain.
Jun 2020 · 55
Notice
River Jun 2020
Take notice, look up from your screen
Go outside, step into the natural light
Whether the sky is cloudy or clear and bright
Revel in all the goodness you can see with your eyes

And if you just took notice,
Turned off all your devices
And disconnected from the endless chatter of anxious minds
To simply look into another’s eyes
You’d feel the gift of connection without words
Or what if you saw a bird?
Bright yellow or bold blue?
What if you missed all of it
Because you never paused to look around you?

Sure, there’s a lot of things to be down about
So many of us are conditioned by shame, guilt and anxiety
But what if, for just a moment, we stepped out of that conditioning?
And what if we came to really love no longer being limited?
What if instead we
Loved freedom and beauty and experiencing life through the lens of gratitude?

Don’t hide inside your overthinking mind
That is so scared to experience life
You’re terrified of getting hurt again
But maybe, if you see it all as a gift
When something gets taken away
You can be thankful for all the blessings of that gift,
Even amidst the heart-opening pain of loss

So take notice, and cherish it all
Don’t you understand that life is temporary
All the people and the places and the things will one day change or go away
So please be intentional with your life,
Be intentional with how you treat yourself and others,
And how you spend your time
It’s so precious, all of it
I want you to experience it fully,
The temporary beauty of life
And love so bravely that it cracks open your fragile heart.
Jun 2020 · 135
Drowning
River Jun 2020
Lungs gasp
Air is all around but it’s not filtering through
Lungs filling with fluid
Drowning on the inside.
May 2020 · 71
Lovable
River May 2020
I had been feeling disconnected for some time
I didn’t feel whole and I didn’t know why
I was begging for the world’s acceptance
And feeling as if I was always falling short
I just never seemed to be good enough
And my striving for perfection felt like a bloodsport

I always hid away, so chock full of shame
I thought my very existence was a disgrace
And in my hiding I judged the world around me
Everything just felt so frightening
In judging and hiding I felt like I had control over a world that confounds me

I was a tightly closed bud, never letting anything in
Fear ruled and since I couldn’t be the best I hid away all my imperfections
So scared of being criticized and rejected
But I became a shell of a person
Smiling and stiff on the outside
But inside, deeply hurting

But this blossom is starting to bloom
I’m not so scared of being human anymore
Not so scared of being real and imperfect and me—
I choose me and I choose all of me
Because even if others reject me
And deem me unworthy
I know people's opinions are fleeting
They can’t touch my core, my true self
My wellspring of lovability, worthiness, and enoughness
Overflowing with joy and wonder
Liberated from the shackles of old programming that once confined me

I’m breaking free, and it feels so good
I’m open to all the goodness that is coming for me
I’m open and I’m opening
I’m healed and I’m healing
I’m ready
I’m worthy
Right here, right now
I’m growing into the full radiance of me.
May 2020 · 68
Healing Friend
River May 2020
On the surface we have chaos,
Protective parts of us at war
Because sometimes we trigger each other’s wounds
And we become angry at each other for making us experience old, unhealed pain

But our true selves will always be connected
I think we’re starting to see
That no matter how many old wounds get unveiled by the other
And how sometimes the unveiling of these wounds make us stand at the cord that connects our hearts, threatening to cut it with rusty scissors
We will always stay connected,
We will always be old friends
And once we turn inward and heal our wounds
We’ll begin to feel grateful for each other triggering our wounds
For with every triggering of a wound,
We can swoop in and love the unmet need from childhood inside ourselves
And thank each other for being guides in showing us where the pain lies within us

May we be thankful for this gift of love
The gift of each other
Being the guides to our healing.
May 2020 · 68
Wake up
River May 2020
“Wake up” I repeated to myself through tears
Wake up to the truth ringing in your ears
Look with your eyes,
You’ll see
Everything that is just is
So let it be
Stop trying to force it when you can be free

The pain in your heart is sore, I know
But trust me, it’s better to let it go
Who cares if no one understands you
Just don’t let that pain become a story of shame
Release the heavy burden of false identities
Trust me child, you can be free from all this pain

It’s okay if they called you bad
You don’t have to succumb to their words and prove them right
Despite the pain stuck in your heart
I promise you that you are worthy,
You truly are a brilliant star
And I hope you tap into your own expansive light

The truth is, you don’t have to care so much
You don’t have to be in control
Trust me child, there’s freedom in letting go
Who cares what others think of you
Who cares if anyone even truly loves you
Don’t be scared of lack
There’s always an abundance of support,
Even if you feel all alone, I’ve always got your back

I’ll show you how much I love you
That you’ll live from overflow
And maybe that love will pour out and touch others one day,
You never know.
May 2020 · 82
Stay in
River May 2020
I’m here in my cozy home
With my silly dog who makes me laugh
Waiting for the world to go back to normal
But who am I kidding?
I haven’t taken this seriously
This is a pandemic
The world doesn’t simply go back to normal after this
There is no set end date to this
People are dying,
The world is slowing down,
The skies are clearing of pollution
We have to stop
Stop everything
None of it has been working
Stay in,
And turn inward
Reassess
And right our wrongs
The way we have wronged this earth, ourselves, others
Reconsider
The way our go getter culture has been maladaptive to us,
To those we care for, to our life
Reconnect
To ourselves, to old friends over video chat, to the simple things
Take notice
Of what’s important
Cut out what’s not
Return to our heart
Remember how precarious life can be
So out of our control
All we can do is simply be grateful for it all
Be grateful for the people and things we cherish
Let these things impact us so deeply that our love for them resounds within us
Relish the simple pleasures
Grow in the peaceful, ever expanding silence of spiritual surrender
Let go
Let go
Let go
Forgive others
And forgive ourselves
Life’s too short to keep holding onto grudges
They didn’t mean to hurt you
It’s okay to let go now
The world will never return to normal
But the normal we were adhering to before wasn’t quite working anymore
So relinquish the old normal
To build the new
A life of being centered, connected, and living from love
Stay in,
And recreate the person you want to be in this novel world coming into form.
Apr 2020 · 524
Red
River Apr 2020
Red
dried red petals
in the palm of my hand
crumbling into dust
being carried by the wind

i don't know where it will settle
dancing on the breeze
it will return to the earth
a fragmented heart coming back to peace.
Apr 2020 · 63
Union
River Apr 2020
I’m calling to you
But my voice returns to me as an echo
Reverberating off these empty walls
Am I seen, am I known, am I loved?
My heart is wide open
Beating out of my chest and bleeding out onto the floor
Some might say
“Aren’t you afraid of getting hurt?”
But my fears have been overcome by the irrationality of unconditional love
My mind comes up with stories that cause separation and distrust
But there is an ancient knowing
A warm orange flame
Shrouded by shadows from the past
But still there
And I simply cannot ignore that flame
That knowing that defies all reasoning
To trust what I know deep down despite appearances

There is a storm
And I’m on a boat out at sea
All I can see is darkness
Powerful waves are crashing down on me
My body is crushed by pain
And my mind despairs
But my heart, that hopeful fool
Hangs on
And eventually the storm passes
The sea spits me out onto the shore
Morning arrives
With the sun and it’s promises of warmth
And again I come back to safety
A certainty within me that isn’t affected by what’s happening around me

Sometimes, you just know things
Sometimes, you just feel things
Sometimes you persist
Even when you don’t understand why
You just know you have to
It’s the truest path for you
Even if it defies logic
What I have with him is an extraordinary connection,
I would even dare to say it’s otherworldly
I asked for healing
And I found union
And in this union I’ve found
Freedom, love, light, joy
Feeling completely seen and known by another person
And I’ve found great pain
The resurfacing of old traumas
Fear of separation and our dreams of being together not coming to pass
Sometimes I reach my hand out to him
And he slaps it away
Pushes me away
Me and my wide open heart

Sometimes I just wish I could know the outcome of things
Or why something that could be so good brings up so much pain
We both said in the beginning
“This all feels too good to be true”
Maybe we’re not accepting how good it is
And how good it can become.
Apr 2020 · 98
Sunshine
River Apr 2020
Joy is pouring into me
Like a foreign liquid
Filling in the cavernous parts of my mind—
Synapses habituated by negativity
Are being transformed by fruitful possibility

Like light overcoming darkness,
The sun shines brightly
Yellow dream
Illuminating everything
Enveloped, but so free
I feel the darkness clearing
And my self blossoming within me.
Apr 2020 · 63
Weaver
River Apr 2020
These threads are tied to things
Intangible
I saw a life in front of me
Multi-colored and vibrant
Though in being entranced within this kaleidoscope
My inner world fell silent

These notions
Like heartfelt prayers lifted, open palms to the sky
Are given up with heartfelt devotion
It’s figments
Pieces of plans
Ideas never born
Seeds never sprouted
But it’s honey, so sweet
Appeasing a heart’s intermittent melancholy
To hold onto what may never be
To hold onto hope,
Let this run its course, and we’ll see

Spring is here and the world is coming alive again
Awakening from its stagnant slumber
I have awoken from a bewildering dream
Though, even now, I doubt I am fully awake
Threads from the past are braided into me
As are new threads of the present being woven into me
I’m a living, breathing tapestry
And experiences are always changing me.
Apr 2020 · 68
Hope is a good thing
River Apr 2020
Hope is a good thing, you see
Hope is a good thing when life’s got you down on your knees
Sometimes it feels like nothing ever goes your way
You’re sequestered away in your prison cell,
Your own skull-encased hell
The one you created by clinging to your fear and misery
Fear that when a good thing comes along it might leave
But didn’t you know
The gate of your cell was never locked
You could’ve left whenever you wanted
So now, go
You’re free to roam
That cell was never your home
Though you grew accustomed to it
You are free
From your suffering
If you choose to be
It may take half a mile through that last stretch of darkness to feel free
But don’t lose sight in that tunnel
When you’re out
Feeling the unrestricted ground beneath your polished, free man’s shoes
You’ll experience the electric joy of freedom
Coursing through your hope deficient body
And then you’ll know
All that hanging on to fanciful hope through the years of despair
Was a good thing.
Mar 2020 · 67
It’s Funny
River Mar 2020
It’s funny
I locked away my heart for years
Only to fall again
Let someone too close
But maybe it all happened too quickly
I showed him everything about me
My deepest flaws and my highest joys
And he used it all against me

It’s funny
This is exactly what I feared
This is why I locked away my heart for years
I feared if I ever let anyone too close
They’d not only hurt me
But use the things I entrusted them with against me

It’s funny
Now all I can do is imbibe alcoholic beverages
To dull the pain of a love that proved untrue
I thought maybe he could love me
But now I know that all along,
I’ve just been a senseless fool.
Mar 2020 · 69
A Childhood Dream
River Mar 2020
I remember when I was a child—
A happy time
A feeling of joy present inside
But life’s rendered me numb
******* me dry of all the fun
Of letting go and loving someone

We’re stiff, starched, confused
Perfection never made a muse
Maybe our hearts are shut down from past abuse
I just want our love to be set loose,
Free
Like how we were before
Cushioned within a romantic dream

But why must reality be so harsh
And have us crashing down
When we see our lover's glaring imperfections
And the fear of potential heartbreak causes us to close our hearts

Memories of pain skew what’s possible
I want real, deep love
Enthralled and enraptured
Enveloped in the blinding light
Of a childhood happiness lost
And needing to be reclaimed.
Mar 2020 · 56
Tell Me
River Mar 2020
Tell me what I want to hear
Because I can’t stand this pain
Tell me that everything you said in anger was a lie
And that everything between us will stay the same
Tell me to not run away
To just stay put
In this gargantuan pain
Swallowing me up

Tell me that I’m good enough
And that you don’t truly believe the horrible things you’ve said about me
Tell me that you want to hear me
And be there for me
Tell me that you don’t truly want me to leave
Tell me, because I can’t breathe

My body is stiff,
You say you regret opening your heart
And so do I
You say you wish we never met...
Your words feel like cold, steel knives
Right through my vulnerable, unguarded heart

I can’t make you love me
I can’t refute the story you’ve created of me in your mind
I can only sit with this pain
And grieve
And hope next time,
I’ll see
That no matter what people say or do,
I’m worthy
Mar 2020 · 53
Uncertainty
River Mar 2020
I wait and wait
But my longing doesn’t abate
It’s been three months of heart opening bliss
But when the heart opens, we’re more likely to armor up when triggered, like a closed fist
But do I regret opening up?
Not at all
For opening up
Has awaken me to the power of my heart

There’s no doubt in my mind that I love him
He says I always make everything about me
And he’s tired of catering
I guess I’m insecure, when I feel uncertain I just need more
More reassurance, more care

But he has his flaws too
He’s insecure as well
He wounds me with his words
And when he’s angry he’s a different man
But it’s not those things I see in him
I see his kindness too
I knows he loves me
He’s just tired,
So am I
Our insecurities and fears
Block the flow of our love
And wear us down

So here I wait
My heart is wide open
But ******, right now it hurts
I let myself fall hard
And now I have severely cut up knees that will turn into ugly scars
But I don’t regret it
Whatever the outcome will be
I know I will make it through this grief
With my wide open heart,
No matter what, the final outcome will be
Healing.
Feb 2020 · 55
Clear
River Feb 2020
I don’t know anything
That’s all I can think
I don’t know anything
I don’t know how to feel
This sadness turns into numbness
So that I can’t feel

I do care
There’s no doubt
I care so much
It wears me out
And I try to explain
Explain
Explain
But my explaining doesn’t erase the pain
And it makes me feel dumb
And listless
Repeating the same old stories
Trying to find myself out of the maze

How do I make it clear?
How do you make a person hear you
When their pain skews their perception
Making you into a devil with malicious intentions
And what am I supposed to do
With these shattered dreams
Just let the darkness of this reality
Wash through me
I tried to make it right
Again and again
But maybe I’m just not fit
For loving free from fear

I tried to work it out
But he just won’t hear me
His resentment grows out of control
And its thorny vines consume me
I really care about the guy underneath all the pain
But does he care about me the same way?
I have lots of pain
And he can’t stand it
I understand
I never meant to put it all on him to handle it

Everything just feels so unclear
But I trust I’ll be okay
Knowing that I will always make it through the disarray
I can break free
From fear and confusion
And live a life lead by my heart
Love, love, love
That’s a good place to start.
Jan 2020 · 238
New Decade
River Jan 2020
Can you feel the newness of this new decade?
This new life calling to you?
You’ve been standing on the precipice for awhile now
But now it’s time to jump
Arms wide open, into the unknown
Let it enfold you and unfold you
Sprout forth and open
Your years as a tight bud are behind you
It’s time to emerge from the cradle of safe certainty
And like a stray feather
Glide on the winds of endless, meandering possibilities.
Dec 2019 · 90
To live a beautiful life
River Dec 2019
I’ve let fear hold me back for so many years

Allowing it to cloud my perception of what could be,

Blinding me to all the possibilities awaiting me

To open up to a life beyond what I’ve always known—

A heavy fog



But what if the sky could clear up; open?

What if I opened?

What if I let myself

Explore beyond who I’ve always believed myself to be

What if I could love more fully

What if I could be happy

What if I allowed life to pour through me

And I didn’t try to stop it

Bottle it up or control it

What if I just let myself live,

Relinquished my fear of existing

And found security within the safe harbor of my own heart?



What if I said yes,

Not to a flawless life

But to a beautiful life?



(Inspired by and dedicated to Ram Dass. May he rest in peace.)
Dec 2019 · 77
The Courage To Heal
River Dec 2019
I’ve spent years stuck in limbo
Wanting to move forward,
Break through to the other side
Claim my vitality
But I was scared
Not scared— terrified
To leave my old ways
Those old ways that held me in a protective container
Shielding me from the senseless pain of living

It’s not that I didn’t have courage before
I’ve tried so many ways to heal,
But maybe those ways were inauthentic
Leading me to seek salvation by external means,
In an array of distractions
But nothing could fill me
The way I am filled
When I choose to open to life
Without a guarded veil skewing my perception
When I choose to love myself
In both my pain and my glory

Why do I feel like this times different?
I’m not sure
Maybe I’m just being truer to myself this time
Following the flow of my healing
Easing into it
Letting it just be, and receiving it
All the support and love
Is like a buoy that keeps me afloat
Maybe this time is different
Because this time I’m convinced
That I deserve better
Than what I’ve settled for all my life
I’m ready to take responsibility for my life
And change.
Dec 2019 · 67
Pine Tree Musings
River Dec 2019
Pine trees tower above my head
Green needles, crisp scent
Snowflakes ride on sharp winds
The cold air fills my lungs
My exhale escapes me in a vaporous puff

The sky is a gentle turquoise
Peppered with wooly clouds
I could get lost in that sky
If only I could climb those towering pines
To reach beyond, pierce through the sky

But I’m bound to this ground,
This redolent earth
Full of life and growth, decay and death
Though I often anxiously seek for answers to questions of transcendence
For now I’ll be content with the simplicity of this earthly life,
Revel in the spontaneous and unexpected, even if I don’t always comprehend it.
Dec 2019 · 72
Slow
River Dec 2019
Slow and steady wins the race, I’ve learned
Yet over the years all I’ve wanted to do
Was burn burn burn
Everything that held me back from my idealized life
But my ideals have changed countless times
I’ve traded in so many aspirations and dreams
That I can’t resolutely claim that what I want right now will still be what I want in the future
I will continue to change
This is all I know for sure

I can see my freedom like a mirage in the distance
I want to run to it and take hold of it
Claim it as my own and never let it go
But I’m still shackled to past trauma and its effects
That led me into circumstances difficult to egress
But I’ll spiral upwards now instead of downwards,
Steadily making my way out of the abyss,
Slowly but surely climbing my way to freedom
And when I reach the crisp air of the blue sky,
One step away from finishing the climb
I’ll thank the stagnant darkness for all of its unexpected gifts,
And everything I learned from it.
Dec 2019 · 223
Winter Starry Sky
River Dec 2019
Take me to a sky
In the night
And I’ll lay on the cold ground
And cry
As I let myself be absorbed into the stars
I’ll let the pain of believing I’m not good enough
Dissolve into the winter air
Releasing every burden, every care
Dec 2019 · 75
Life
River Dec 2019
Peace permeates through my body
The ocean swells in my chest
And waves explode onto the shore of my soul
I dove into the great expanse
Into the deepest depths
And found a truth more real than matter

There’s so much walking
But never getting anywhere, it seems
There’s so much time passing
And my skin is showing it’s age
I’ve only got this one body
I’ve only got this one life

It's pretty radical being human
The breath of life swirling through my nostrils
Maybe I’ll burn all my doubts
And all my insecurities
I’ll love myself
And live the life I want to live, fully
Dec 2019 · 673
New
River Dec 2019
New
New
Like the dawn
The glorious sunrise
Pinkish hues awash with silent beiges
And the sun
Is a fiery orb
Coloring life into every living thing

I feel the new
With my breath
In and out
And I think of the ocean
The powerful ocean
I can feel it within my heart,
The waves rumbling through my veins

I can see the new
In not so distant visions
Of a future full of growth
I’ve healed so much
And yet there’s more
More of the new
I open my doors
Let it all in
All the gloriously soothing beauty
Of life’s simplest pleasures
Healing me

There’s been a crack made in my lifelong illusions
I’m beginning to feel clarity, and not confusion
Saying yes yes yes
To more beauty.
Oct 2019 · 90
Our People
River Oct 2019
Have you ever felt alone
In a world so vast?
Have you ever felt different
As you look on at everyone else?
Because I think a lot of us feel this way,
Like foreigners in an unknown land,
Or a round peg in a square hole
Looking for community
In which we can be fully unveiled
And fully seen
Because it’s when we’re stripped of all our masks
That the heart has room to heal

But we are conditioned to hide our vulnerability
And instead wear practiced smiles to conceal our deep down fears
Maybe this is because many of us were raised by unsafe people
Who failed to hold space for our tenderness as children
And instead taught us to armor up
And always be in a state of protection

It’s true, it may take time to find the people you can be “you” with,
Without conformity and performance
Your people will be those who accept you for the simple you—
Without assessing your accomplishments, background, or identity
In order to fit you into some social hierarchy
And they’ll listen to you with an open heart
And you’ll feel understood for the first time in a long time

But your people starts with you,
My people starts with me,
Our people starts with us
Though there are many who currently prove themselves as unsafe to have our tenderness shared with,
Boundaries are essential
But for those who have gained and maintained our trust—
We can open our gates and share the truth of who we are!

But even if right now, you can’t find anyone who is safe to be yourself with,
Take time to cultivate this beautiful bond within yourself
Allow both your vulnerability and your strength to be fully expressed
And as you allow the full spectrum of who you are to be expressed, unaltered and unabashed,
You will witness the gradual blossoming of yourself.
Oct 2019 · 337
A Stream
River Oct 2019
The sun
It breaks forth through a quilt of clouds
And it shines down on me
Me, bundled in a scarf stitched with iridescent thread
Walking, with intent
My mind falls into familiar patterns of thought
The tiredness of monotony and the buried hope of eventual freedom

Some nights I have vivid dreams that scare me into waking up
Those dreams feel realer than my waking life
Real life feels dull, repetitive, lifeless
A gear stuck in it’s designed rotation,
Propelled by the surrounding gears that have also given up dreams to submit to the status quo of drudgery

What is this anyway?
Senseless pontification
Calling everyone a phony
But what happens when the finger is pointed back at me
And I have to reckon with my own disease?

Because I can see what’s wrong with all these systems and how “they” perpetuate it
But me too, I perpetuate too
And the pain of the world just feels too big for me,
And I just can’t please everyone, not even myself
But it kills me
To see us devolving into people in love with their image,
Kissing their reflection,
While our hearts turn cold and we become social media activists who are largely disconnected to the marginalized experience
Disconnected from our true, simple and beautiful humanity
I can’t bear to witness this descent in us,
Especially when I see it in me

I just, don’t want to think so much about it anymore
Whatever it is,
I just can’t figure it out
And it makes me angry
And wonder if I’m a misanthrope
Because it seems like no one cares,
And I’m starting not to care now,
But well,
Who cares?

But I do care, but it takes scary things for me to show I do
Like the feeling I get thinking about someone I really love leaving
But I don’t show it on a daily basis
I’m just a frazzled, mad person
Touchy, irritable, paranoid
Charming, but deceptive
Smiling, but lying
Because when I’ve told the truth
No one cared anyway
Or they hated me for telling it

What’s the point of this string of thoughts?
I don’t really know
Except that I had to get them out of me somehow
And unburden myself from the heaviness
Of these leaden thoughts clanging inside of me.
Oct 2019 · 285
Your Healing
River Oct 2019
You wanna heal,
Don’t you
But breaking the ingrained patterns of generations
Is hard
But you’ve grasped the idea
And now you just can’t let it go,
This notion that you could be stronger, healthier, more joyful— inviting all of life in through your senses
And just letting go
Of all the heavy burdens that have weighed you down for so long
You’ve spoken your burdens for years
But speaking never beget change
The change you ached for, the transformation you only theorized about
But what you didn’t know
Is that this idea of healing
Was a seed that was planted into your heart
And this kind of seed
Takes a long time to gestate
So even if you haven’t seen visible changes in yourself and in your life
Just know that the seed has cracked open
And is spreading deep roots,
Replacing the roots of your traumas
Your healing, when it is born and continues to grow in its visible manifestation
Will appear differently than how you imagined it
Yet you will be more overjoyed by its reality than by your limited fantasy of it
Your healing
Will be a revolution to yourself and to all those you have ties with
Some won’t understand your changes, neither will you at times
But just continue to listen to your heart, it’s simple, inviting song
And rest in all the beauty that is unfolding before you and within you.
Oct 2019 · 88
Childhood Dream
River Oct 2019
Joy was a dream I once had
My happiness is fake and imbibed,
Well really, contrived
Because no one knows my secrets
And what if they ever slipped?
And everyone saw me,
Naked, like in dreams
In public, my shame unveiled,
Bare
For people to see
But I don’t want them to see
Because what if they hate the real me?

But these things I didn’t overthink when I was a child
But in adulthood we create narratives that represent us falsely to ourselves
Adopting the labels others have assigned to us
Threading them into the fabric of our identity

I wonder, how can I embody joy again?
I’m so **** tired, and scared, and bitter
And I’m worried that everyone will hate me,
Or even worse, nobody even cares
I guess in childhood I had more stability,
Everything didn’t seem so fleeting,
So cold, so dark, so lonely

I guess all I can rely on right now
Is the possibly irrational notion
That things will ultimately work out
That I may not find the light,
But I can learn to create it and sustain it within myself
A reassuring ember of warmth,
Guiding me into reimagining my childhood dream.
Sep 2019 · 82
Greta Thunberg
River Sep 2019
The young people of this world will save us from our old, destructive ways
The young people, with their uncensored courage and brazen haste
Calling us jaded, complacent adults to change
Their pure, untainted hearts still unburdened by hate
Will become the very pathway to our escape
From the death traps we’ve made
Because for so long we’ve hated ourselves and we’ve hated the world
But the youth, with the full force of their fierce love
Are saying: “WE’RE NOT GIVING UP.”
They’re not giving into death and decay,
They won’t allow our earth to simply waste away
With all its beauty and all its wonder
But greed has corrupted our hearts and fear has led us astray
Filling our minds with hateful thoughts that cause disarray
But the youth, they’re here to stay
They wield their heart as their weapon
And pierce through the chaos our hatred and division has caused us
To make way for a better life,
Beyond our self-inflicted misery and strife

So carry on, young warriors
Brave and wise
Fight for this life we have taken for granted,
And save us from our own demise.
Sep 2019 · 69
Mass Media
River Sep 2019
The world is always begging for my attention
For my eyes and for my mind
It wants to mold me into something unnatural
And make me a foreigner to my own instinct
I feel anxiety tighten around me like a stifling rope
As my psyche is bombarded by an endless array of digitized stimuli
It’s created as an addiction, and this addiction suffocates
Painting illusions that cause a soul-rotting envy
But we’re all liars engaging the game
Knowing that we are imposters communing from a safe distance
Avoidance has become the most deadly form of complacency,
It is a dark comfort
To not have to experience the unpredictable world within our animal bodies
But instead, curate our perfected persona online,
And disengage from the body
By having the mind incessantly entranced by an onslaught of media.
Sep 2019 · 103
Symphonies
River Sep 2019
Colors dance through my mind
My heart is the artist
Spilling through the confines of reality
Because she knows
That seeing with the heart is more essential
Than seeing with the eyes

Flowers bloom in my tailored, skull encased reality
My senses light up as if on fire
My mind has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy
I clench my hands
As if to anchor myself
But then I release,
Knowing that I must allow myself to be carried within the ambiguous sea

Hatred is heavy like lead
Weighing me down in my chest
And causing too much air in my mind
Rotations of thoughts
That illicit bitterness
I point my finger and scream “Phonies!”
At the world
But the world is also me,
Phony, eager to please

Some symphonies are composed by harmony and beauty,
Peace and integrity
But unsuspected symphonies of chaos, malice and disorder
Crash into the melodic symphony
And cause disharmony,
Sadness,
Confusion

Though, at times
I’ve fancied the idea of eradicating the chaotic symphony altogether,
I find more beauty
In entertaining both the sadness and joy in my life
Inviting both to my table
Because I can see beauty in the sadness
And I find also beauty in the joy.
River Sep 2019
****, I think
It hurts
It hurts that trauma takes root
Like a thorny rose bush without roses
Stuck in the ground in winter,
A cold, neglected stump

The pain is ingrained
Like tire tracks in a road
Deeply grooved by years of daily repetition
I’ve tried so many times before
To reset my course
But my tires always fall back into those deep, ingrained grooves

I truly don’t understand how some people do it,
How some people make healing seem so effortless
Because healing feels like torture,
At least in the ways I’ve tried to do it
And my system just can’t tolerate torture anymore

So all I can do
Is make peace with my unmet longings
And bow in humility to this miracle of life
Be content with my lot in life,
And let go of the desire for the seamless life that is social media worthy,
But instead cultivate meaning through holy dedication to incremental, sometimes painful change.
Sep 2019 · 90
I can change
River Sep 2019
I can change
I assure myself
But doubt still dwells in me
Keeping me chained to old ways that are slowly eroding my joy
Fading colors until everything I see is covered in a film of grey
It’s so difficult to push against this
When the resistance comes from within me

But there’s a flickering flame
Igniting the hope that I can change for the better
That I can start caring for myself
Despite my upbringing of neglect
That I no longer have to be against myself
And disregard my needs
But slowly rise
In becoming stronger
By making incremental changes
Until one day, I tear through my chrysalis
To expose my wings.
River Sep 2019
You can’t always get what you want, they say
Daily grievances can burn a person’s resolve away
As the burdens increase
A person’s will can decrease
Leaving them faint and weary

The masses believe a little positivity can heal any rift
But recklessly imbibing positivity can make it difficult for reality and fantasy to sift
Reality can be draining, there’s no doubt
But you can’t live your life in a cloud.
Aug 2019 · 88
Uplevel
River Aug 2019
Do you want to uplevel with me?
Merge together and create something splendid?
Because I can see beautiful potentialities with you,
Envisioning brighter futures where I no longer have to suffer through trials alone
But instead becoming lovers in which we serve each other as a boon,
A buffer against the raw pangs of reality

Not only are you beautiful,
Which my heart craves
Your beauty is rugged and untamed
And that’s what I like about you

You’ve evolved, and so have I
Cynicism has changed the creases around our eyes
And it’s noticeable that we’re sadder now
But maybe we can help each other lean into joy,
Uplevel into contentment

Maybe it’s not so much about upleveling,
But regressing back to a childlike state
Of whimsy, gratitude and wonder
A time before our minds weren’t strong enough to war within us

I feel my heart, like a closed bud
Blossoming
And you’re knocking on the door of my heart.
Maybe this time I’ll let you in.
Aug 2019 · 196
Searching for god
River Aug 2019
As a child, I took an art class at the Brooklyn Museum of Art
We’d go to different exhibits and the instructor would explain the context of pieces of artwork
Once us kids stood together,
Looking up at a large canvas polluted with ambiguously painted circles
And the art instructor told us that there was some deeper meaning to it,
Though to our uninitiated young minds,
We couldn’t see this

We went to an exhibit one day full of gods made of stone and wood
Idols, the evangelicals would say
There was a god with a protruding belly and a folded face like a shar-pei
And the instructor pointed to it and uttered its name
I was floored.

My mind raced—
Surely, there couldn’t be other gods besides the one I grew up with,
And yet here I was, surrounded by hundreds of them with names and identifying traits and even faces

When I arrived home I demanded an explanation from my mother,
Who being only a nominal Christian at the time
And not well versed in scripture
Couldn’t give me a satisfactory explanation for what I had seen that day,
She couldn’t provide an explanation that could seal the crack in my perception of reality that had been made

When I badgered her demanding to know God’s name,
Since now I knew God isn’t a name but a title,
And that there were at least hundreds of gods throughout history with names
The only answer she could muster was “lord”
So I continued on in my perplexed state,
Though I stopped inquiring about it

Until my mother became involved with a cult,
Who spoon fed us answers that insure certainty and seal up all the cracks in our perception of reality
With a glue that we aren’t allowed to question
But had to apply liberally to our minds everyday

They provided me a name for this God I thought I had known all my life: Jehovah, they called him
And with God’s new name they provided a personality too:
Jehovah is a god who’s sick of everyone’s **** and is going to destroy everyone in a horrific fashion in Armageddon,
except the true Jehovah’s witnesses plus a few good hearted unbelievers who never had the chance to join the “one true religion”

Nice.

So all my questions were answered...
Until they weren’t
Certainty is a drug like any drug,
It only gives temporary relief
And it wears off and you run out of your supply,
Your body convulses violently
And you can’t stop the screaming in your mind
This certainty was a antidote that could control all of your existential anxieties
But in being exposed to reality,
My false beliefs founded in superstition
Withered in reality’s limelight

Reality bites
Because with reality comes an undeniable truth
A truth that doesn’t have to be rationalized
But is inherent and honest
In an unforgiving way
But honest nonetheless,
And I think I want honesty in my life now,
Yeah
But not the “truth” that religion purports to own,
Giving me the “truth” as long as I adopt its rituals, rules and customs
But the truth that belongs to both ugly and beautiful things,
And how in life there are endless, painful contradictions
And how it can be over anytime for any of us
And how no one really knows for certain when we leave our bodies of flesh if there is a continuation of our consciousness
But I want it anyway,
I want the painful, ****** truth,
And not the lies of certainty.
River Aug 2019
When you're a child,
Life is in technicolor
But as you grow older
A film of grey gradually wears the color away
Dampening your senses
Until your synapses weaken, burdened by drudgery

You become all mind
Deciphering all of the time
Caged by contemplation,
Causing a slow soul erasure

I want to feel what it's like to be a child again
To be fully present and aware of every felt sensation
But my body is tired,
And with fatigue the mind becomes a narrowed point
Of seeking to meet the most basic of needs:
Work, Sleep, Eat
On an endless rotation,
Leaving no time for child-like play.
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