Tag Archives: poetry

I Dreamt Of Flight


I Dreamt Of Flight
by Barefoot Justine

A dozen times two, have I dreamt,
Of flying under my own power,
Of joyous release high above all,
Of boundless breathless deliverance.

All that was needed was to run, to jump,
Until all my dragging anchors fell away,
Until each ticklish jump took me higher,
And I let go of all that held me down.

Such ecstasies I had never known,
Until I broke my body from the chains,
But with time each chain replaced itself,
Like the Hydra’s head, one for two.

After long years my dream was fulfilled,
Ringing clearer than any earthly bells,
This clarity had blossomed in another world,
More solid by far than this one we know.

More true by far than my own beginning,
This flight was my destiny fulfilled,
A second life lived in a parallel place,
Rebirth into a world of other dreams.

Never had I been more alive or certain,
That I was, that all was, or of what was,
Never had I been so singular, or satisfied,
That what I am, and of all that is, is real.

“This time,” I said, “it is no dream,”
And I began to levitate above all,
Above all worry and above all pain,
Above all bounds and limitations.

But for the limits of my rutted mind,
Which worked to root me to the ground,
A mind that had ruled me like a tyrant.
A mind now banished beyond a wall of will.

And all, yes all, I did was one,
Was one sacred task, to simply be,
To simply find clear focus on liberation,
To refuse any doubt that weighed me down.

To say no to any thought that ground me,
To let go, to be, to simply fly,
And I held this singular center in me,
In the third eye, a focus like a fire.

I flew eye to eye with the call of eagles,
Wind danced my hair like ripples on the water,
And all of eternity spread out before me,
No memories, no wants, no fears, just joy.

Yet when I woke, no disappointment came,
No sad regret in waking to this gravity,
Because I knew I had been boundless,
I flew, and I am that girl that flies.

I had lived without limits, I had enjoyed,
A second manifestation, another life,
In a world more real than all my mother knows,
It was no dream, that is stone to me.

And I brought back The Destroyer’s clarity,
That of knowing that I am boundless,
And all I have to do is say no to suffering,
And say yes to the eternal sea of milk.

The mark of a brush free from self doubt,
The beat of a heart free of regret,
The song of a muse free from censure,
The focus of a mind free from distraction.

Therese, the Lonely Otter


Therese, the Lonely Otter
by Barefoot Justine

Therese swallowed the last sugary sip of tea,
Turning towards the light outside, squinting,
She set her teacup into the saucer with a clink,
And looked across her table at the empty chair.

“Well, old girl, might as well go on out,”
Reaching across the table, she took her hat,
off the back of the chair where it always hung,
And shook yesterday’s leaves from its brim.

She never wasted any sunshine, our Therese,
And soon charged playfully from her well-kept holt,
Into the easy waters of the lake with a splash,
And rustled ashore through the reeds and grass.

“Quite a commotion up there,” she noted,
Dodging cypress knees as she followed the buzz,
Trotting across the old fallen log to the hive,
From a safe distance, she stood for a moment.

“Pardon me, how big and deep can loneliness be?”
Asked Therese of the cloud of busy buzzing bees,
In her experience, bees had precious little to say,
“Fine weather we’re having,” at best.

So it went, indeed, the bees had precious little to say,
Nothing of interest to anyone apart from other bees,
She never fit in with the bees, then, who does?
Why, not even the most cordial of crickets.

It’s no use talking to bees, as everyone knows,
Besides, how could they know loneliness, the bees,
Swarming all together in their hives as one,
With God, queen, and all that dripping honey?

Across the meadow a cardinal pecked the grass,
Picking for ticks and singing all the while,
“Dear cardinal, how big and deep can loneliness be?”
The cardinal glanced suspiciously at her smile.

He hopped two paces away, then glanced back,
Where Therese sat perched on her hind legs,
the cardinal sang a wall of song between them,
Before he flew to his love in the bowers above.

“Not much use talking to cardinals either, I suppose,”
Therese trotted towards the water’s edge,
“They all tweet the same tired little songs,
And what could cardinals know of loneliness?”

Across the meadow came the proud turkeys,
Three adults and nine nervous young in tow,
“Not much use talking loneliness to turkeys,”
So, “Good day,” she said to them with a nod.

“Good day, old girl,” clucked the father,
“Splendid!” agreed Therese, “What a sky today!”
“Splendid sky, indeed… carry on…” the turkey bowed,
And on they went, plucking and clucking along.

Leaving Therese there under her silent open sky,
She sniffed a waft of honeysuckle on the wind,
Smiled, and started towards the winding dirt road,
Where often sat the old tired alligator.

He would know about loneliness, she thought,
After all, alligators eat all their friends,
Or so say the turtles, but Therese wasn’t certain,
So much that isn’t so has been said and said again.

“Hmmmm…” grumbled the ‘gator, belly to the ground,
As much of an invitation as alligators ever mutter,
Therese stood back a safe distance and cocked her head,
“How big and deep can loneliness be?” she asked humbly.

“Why do you ask me such things?” The ‘gator growled,
“I’m sorry, my Lord,” she said, slinking back,
“Get away from me, what’s an otter, after all?”
“Far less than an alligator,” Therese humbly bowed.

“Indeed,” the ‘gator hrumphed as he settled on his belly,
All in the swamp know, alligators need forever appeased,
Lest they snap and make quarrels, as is their way,
And everyone fears the alligators, don’t you know.

Busy on her way, she trotted alongside the iron fence,
And thought ‘I suppose when one is so toothy and angry,
One doesn’t have much time to feel loneliness.’
“Sun is sharp today,” she said from the muggy shade.

Nestling between the broad roots of an old live oak,
She closed her eyes and thought on nothing but silence,
And there she soon found her forgetting place,
A quiet place with no loneliness at all.

A place with no buzzing bees, nor a drop of honey,
A place with no cardinals to snub her honest smile,
A place with no politely gobbling rafter of turkeys,
And where no alligator anger shamed her questions.

“How big and deep can loneliness be?” It lingered,
But dissolved into her silence, then clear as a bell,
“Not as deep as the silence,” whispered the sky,
“Not as deep as the silence,” smiled Therese.

She opened her eyes to find the perfect stone,
‘Just right for cracking snails,’ she thought,
But she wasn’t terribly hungry, so she set it aside,
And looked above, and heard the cardinals singing.

They sang, “How big and deep can loneliness be?
How long can the darkest storm rain?
How hollow the hole in the holy ground,
Where no love, nor rain, can ever be found?”

Funny thing about cardinals when they’re singing,
To you and I it would sound like tweets and nonsense,
But Therese more deeply understood each word they sang,
Than would even the most golden throated of birds.

“How big and deep can loneliness be,” sang Therese,
And on her way she went, back to her wide open lake,
Towards her cozy burrowed holt, to wait for the answer,
Or perhaps, to wait for a friend, who knew.

“How big and deep can loneliness be?”
‘Surely out there some other otter must know,’
Thought Therese as she floated in the water.
“Surely some friend must come,” she cried.

Yet for all her questions, she knew: ‘Loneliness,
Is deeper than the waters of this or any lake,
Ah, but most certainly not deeper than the silence,’
“And never so big as the wise sky above,” she smiled.

What Is This Mess


What Is This Mess
by Justine Mara Andersen

What is this place of thirst and death that father calls home,
That fights and quarrels over gibberish, smoke and nothing,
That is washed in despairs even as it sips, sups and stares,
Through windows and ghosts at the tiny cage of the infinite sky,
To beg for the eternal pains of youth before a waning moon,
Where every soul’s sun sets in spite of all the begging.

What is this self before whom the grandest words fail,
This self which contains the unknown and is unknown itself,
That knows liberation from all foes, woes, words and forms,
That milk of life encased in every shell whether or not,
The shell is cracked and the gold of its light is revealed,
Such light craves only to be and be nothing more than being.

What is this place I know which had once been only words,
What is this place I cannot find without smoke or shame,
Which I know beyond all knowing and cannot know in thinking,
That cosmic sea where I and all together are one in being,
Beyond the heart of tales and time, and knowledge at its wisest,
Where forever shines until the tether of illusion snaps me back.

What now that I have sunk deep into being the truth of eternity,
What is this pinkish mess, I ask as I sink back from forever,
Onto this stuff of mist which once seemed immutable as a mountain,
What are these cuttlefish colors that fade with every breath,
And why all this noise ever increasing in the storm of illusion,
How could I have ever known this pettiness as the limit of all.

What are the rubber tangles of this thing into which I return,
A preposterous self too tiny to be the iron limit of all I know,
Me, a golden god on its belly struggling, returning, slithering,
In the slime upon this mad turtle’s back that I must call home,
Through the muck of dogs and lies into a shell far to small,
Too feeble, bizarre, and sickly to contain this me of liberation.

Why do I ache so now, when I have been nothing less than bliss,
Why must I cry now that I know the heartbeat of eternity,
And why do I fear a descending madness has deadened all my senses,
How hard it is being in the knowing of having been released,
If only for a moment from all desire, anger, sorrow, fear and dying,
Why then do I clutch so at cold damp stones of wind and trouble.

What is this knowing that ravages me in the fires of destruction,
That cannot be known when it is born from womb of words and mind,
That causes such distress at no longer feeling this ashen self to be,
Even as I look out the window and breathe the air of the forest,
What is that which destroys the false self with a whiff of knowing,
What is this tiniest crack in the behemoth shell of my ignorance.

What is this mess I ask in panic of having outgrown this tiny self,
Why does the pain of truly knowing being crush me like a can,
This breathing is a suffocation to me now, this flesh a holy lie,
The effort of living on in ignorance I can bear no more,
No more than the act of being here can bear the weight of truth.
What is this mess, I cry in the distant echo of forever.

Dear Shiva, tell me where to go, and what I need to know,
Who do I need to bow before to stop these siren fevered tears,
To still and mute these thousand untamed chattering monkeys,
To conquer this tyrant child that claims me as its tiny “self,”
What air must I breathe, and what teacher must needs find me,
Dear Shiva take me into your eye of destruction forevermore.

I weep and hunger for nothing more than that eternity,
Where my infantile weeping and hunger are neither fuel nor fire,
That silence where the great green dragon of desire is slain,
Where I can lay down my sword in the boiling blood of all,
I have slain in me to lie among the corpses of all I knew,
To be the self I am that is known in the silence of simply being.

If the Sun, the Moon and Grass


If God whispers sweetly in the swaying of the grass,
If God whispers sweetly in the swaying of the grass,
Why, then, do men shout his name with shotgun anger?

If alone I ask my every heartfelt question of my all,
If alone I ask my every heartfelt question of my all,
Why in the coming of night does starlight wet my eyes?

If Shiv is known to me in moonlight silent riddles,
If Shiv is known to me in moonlight silent riddles,
Why does the whippoorwill strike me in its light?

If the gold of sunlight answers my morning prayers,
If the gold of sunlight answers my morning prayers,
Why the heaviness of my heart when the sun arises?

And if the fragrance of the wind is the breath of God,
And if the fragrance of the wind is the breath of God,
Why do I cover my head and cower as it speaks to me?

And You Asked Me Why


And You Asked Me Why
by Justine

You asked me why you,
Why I love you,
And I stammered.

I told you what I knew,
How I feel with you,
And I stumbled.

But I know, now, dear,
What to say here,
What I forgot.

Thousands of miles between,
One path is ours,
To question.

Thousands of miles between,
One path between,
Our dreams.

You asked me why you,
Why I love you,
Now I say.

I am lost, alone a child,
One in mind alone,
With you.

I am lost in the miles between,
Between the beating,
Of our hearts.

When I could not find a star,
You showed me the moon,
Together we flew.

We laughed on carnival grounds,
And shared ice cream,
And nights so long.

Two hearts in one illusion,
Beating one tune,
In two heads.

You hold a mirror to me,
To the madness,
And all as is.

And all as is, is ours,
To see as we wish,
And we wish.

And we wish for more,
We wish for less,
And for ourselves.

Our wishes are mine alone,
And yours alone,
And one in us.

You know my heart,
I know all you,
All you hide.

You hide your tears,
Yet I hear you cry,
That I do.

I know the hero that beats,
In your heart,
My beast.

You play the rhythm,
And I dance,
And you asked!

You asked me why you,
Why I love you,
I ask you.

Barefoot To Remember


In grass and sand I find
The heart of me, no more,
No less than my mad moon,
Spinning silver off its core.

Tears assemble a reckless line,
In a watch without a hand,
Numbers shift upon the face,
No center, no time and no command.

When storm-waves swell I walk,
To grasp me and sea and sand,
When downpours flood my hollows,
I follow what I cannot see on land.

Barefoot for dread of all I was,
And all that I am not,
Skin to ground before, behind,
Broken bottles full of rot.

I forge my way most gracefully,
Perfumes coward my regret.
I am barefoot to remember,
Am barefoot to forget.

The Doe, Turkeys, One Red Cardinal and the Worms


The Doe, Turkeys, One Red Cardinal and the Worms
(Based on a true story)
by Justine

Each night a carnival, our secret maya,
A shooting gallery, a funhouse mirror,
Bumper cars and haunted madness,
Ice cream cheer and dark ride terrors.

Through the prism of his words I found myself,
His kaleidoscope skies became my starlight,
In his eyes I saw our worlds reflected,
Where in my eyes were only ghosts of who I’d been.

Together we romanced unfashionable old songs
My heart beat bravely in time to all we sang,
What kind of fool was I to keep on singing,
Well beyond the borders of our dreams?

Mornings I woke to know he would return,
To usher me to sleep from our carnival grounds,
Wrapped and tucked in fairy tales I slept in peace,
And by day all we shared sustained me.

Night after night I fell in love with us,
With him, with our world and ways,
And in time I even loved myself… a little more,
But never on my own and through his eyes alone.

Away he went, taking flight, now my nights,
I fight alone, with his promises of other rites,
Come midnight my world is a wasteland,
And I perch at my bedside atremble and alone.

Me, “a mere child,” he scoffed when leaving,
Unworthy to sit in the shadow of his queen,
“Dear to me,” he said, a pat upon my head,
But flawed, unfit to sit with him upon his throne.

A version of our time that was only mine,
Maya love, so warm, so intoxicating,
Sad to know it was in my mind alone,
More’s the pity and less myself I see.

I see him in everything I ever loved,
Hear him in every song I ever sung,
His hands cradle my head when I lie to sleep,
Even the worst of him I long to endure.

I see him in the doe across the dappled lawn,
Tentatively in her nature and her grace,
She seeks the sweetest bits of grass,
Perhaps she will find bits of me there.

Quiet, like the doe, come the wild turkeys,
Gingerly, with an even dozen chicks in tow,
Are they too picking for bits of me,
Or are they simply feeding on the worms?

Red, the cardinal descends without rhyme,
And I wonder what his eyes will find,
Another me in the tiny seeds,
Or in the husked shells upon the ground.

Without him I am a cardinal that cannot fly,
A mere husk of seed or worm wriggling in the earth,
Less sweet than the grass that feeds the doe,
And less myself than I can bear to be.

Was it naught to him but a bit of play,
Performance, art, and nothing more,
Had I taken to heart what was never mine,
Or could he not see what I had found?

Did my delusions devastate all we had,
Or was it shared by him in mad disguise,
Am I the fool I was before his stories,
Filled my heart with delicate sweet meringue?

Lies I told myself so I could sleep,
Lies I nurtured to my soft warm breast,
Am I truly so childish and so blind,
Or so misled by hollow heartfelt longings?

The nights alone I lose myself and way,
By day our illusions drift out to sea,
And through my lonely eyes I sense a weary self,
That is too lost and leery to look back.

“Who is she without him?” the cardinal asks,
But the doe she turns and runs away,
And the turkeys cluck and gobble,
As they pluck me up from off the ground.

This Guy I Know


This Guy I Know
Justine Mara Andersen

This guy I know,
He puts me to bed,
Every night,
I sleep alone.

This guy I know,
Twice a week,
We dine together,
I cook for one.

With this guy,
I hear many stories,
And tell a few,
Each lonely night.

With this guy,
I share my tears,
But there is no shoulder,
And none to hold.

This guy I know,
He laughs me off,
Such silly notions,
Even I don’t know.

A friend to me,
This guy I know,
A friend to me,
And nothing more.

A friend to me,
So he says,
A friend to me,
And nothing more.

This guy I know,
He’s farther now,
And won’t return,
He’s going home.

This guy I know,
Is in every song,
And everything,
I love and know.

This guy I know,
Has flown away,
Nested home,
I sleep alone.

A friend to me,
This guy I know,
A friend to me,
And nothing more.

A friend to me,
So he says,
A friend to me,
And nothing more.

With a hollow ache,
Each eve will pass,
A friend to me,
And never more.