Musings · Poetry · Wellness

#metoo

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Cat calls from rooftops and perving from cars, wandering hands, in clubs and in bars. Pawed at on pavements, on holidays walking, harassed in the pub where I sit with friends talking. He gets aggressive when I ask him to go, but I never asked for his company you know.

Groped at on stairs that were empty at work, and he just laughed it off, when I went berserk. ‘I’m playing’ he told me, and ‘I thought you were cool,’ then winked at me every time we passed in the hall.

Friend of a friend says ‘I’ll walk you home.’ Insists it’s not safe now, to walk there alone. I couldn’t have known, though I blamed myself later, that it’s not always strangers who turn out a danger.

He held me too tightly, attempting to kiss, and I pushed him away, a ‘lucky’ near-miss. I was mad at myself for not knowing before, but who expects to get jumped on, outside their front door?

My body is mine, and my choices are too, so I’ll stand with my sisters, and yell, yes #metoo

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adventure · Creative Writing · love · Poetry · Travel

For the Women who Lost Themselves. {Poem}

She lost herself in tumbling streets,

beside canals lit with fireflies flickering like stars.

She walked among couples, hand in hand,

whispering the secrets of the chosen into ears, and necks, and lips.

 

She lost herself in alleyway bars,

with milk-crate stools, and tumblers of warm amber

that burnt away the memories of another’s touch.

Men’s dark eyes watched her move across the cold stone floor,

longing for the warmth of a pretty girl’s smile.

 

She lost herself, in lakes and rivers and oceans,

drowning in the turquoise caress of water on skin,

fingers tangled in foamy waves.

She danced with mermaids to the bright song of the moon,

stardust in her hair and freedom in her heart.

 

She lost herself, in words,

her own and others.

In worlds where villains never win,

and love conquers all.

She dreams of the places where life goes on,

long after she has left them,

and there is peace in that. 

 

Author: JoJo Rowden
Image: Unsplash
Editor: Lieselle Davidson

 

Originally published at Elephant Journal here.

grief · love · Poetry

Letting Grief In. {Poem}

grief

Rain drums on shuttered windows, a melancholy rhythm to our sorrow.

The sky weeps with us in desolate abandon, screaming to a Universe that will not hear us.

We are drowning in the hollow void of you, but we don’t fight it.

Not anymore.

I am unforgiving of the cruel world marching ever on,

As though you had not vanished from it.

Our world has ended.

The thought of you gone is too big to grasp at first.

We push it away, but it is persistent, nagging.

It won’t be denied.

It creeps slowly, mist stealing through winter frost, chilling our aching souls.

We howl when it caresses us with icy fingers, embracing us with pain.

It hurts to breathe without you.

We long to hold each other high above the suffocating truth, to save each other.

But grief is just too heavy.

I see you everywhere.

In dreams you walk with me, through dappled forests and rolling green hills.

The magic of the world is still yours to explore.

We joke and play, your laughter dancing in my head, infectious.

Your eyes twinkle with bright mischief as you relay one of your many adventures.

Death is the greatest of them all.

Waking agony replaces the gentle oblivion of sleep.

I am alone again.

I pray that it is all a mistake; that you were only hurt, not gone.

Your closed eyes are dark doors that I cannot unlock.

Death holds the key, unrelenting in the face of my wretched tears.

I talk to you but I know that you are no longer there; I cannot reach you.

Please open your eyes.

Please Let me in.

Originally published here on Elephant Journal.

Author: JoJo Rowden

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: martin/flickr

grief · love · Poetry · Spiritual

The Ghost

ghost

After I am gone from you
Does the fresh whispered scent of me
Linger gently on your clothes
In your hair
In your dreams?

Does it conjure me to life,
Transporting you to a world
Of tangled limbs and playful blue eyes.

Do you dream that I lay next to you
Head resting on your warm chest
As your hand soothes my cheek,
Listening as your heartbeat
Sighs my name in throbbing ecstasy.
Do your fingers burn along my skin
Remembering the firmness of my thighs
And how they made you cry out in the dark?

Do you see my face in bustling streets,
Passing you with a shy smile and lowered lashes?
Does every woman remind you
Of what is missing from you,
Sunlight dancing on bright glass bangles
As they move gracefully onwards
To a horizon you can never reach

Perhaps her dark eyes will help you forget my light ones
For a while.
A stranger’s smile may ease my image from your mind,
Until I rise unbidden
A ghostly reflection in a shop window
Gone when you turn to call out to me

Do you pretend to yourself
that the blazing comet of our love
Didn’t crumble to dust, neglected
Falling back to the bitter earth
At the first hurdle.
That you didn’t deny your soul’s true wanting
Suffocating its demands
That were too intense for you to bear
Suppressing your truth deep inside.

Do you replay our words over and over
Hear my laughter sparkle in your ears
Face luminous with childish wonder.
Do you seek a meaning in us
To carry through your ever churning years
To comfort your elderly hand as it clings tightly to one that isn’t mine.

Do you know that all the promises you made
And pretty things that you said
Were a summer breeze that drifted easily from your lips,
When it suited you?
They gave way to winter nights and barren truths,
Cold tears in darkness.

Words are a beautiful dream.
Were they real when you kissed them
Huskily into my lips?
Or a fairytale, even then,
A product of time and place,
Not souls colliding, as we once believed.
I would like honesty, when you are ready.

I was so sure of you, of your love,
Once upon a time.

If I tell you softly that I was in love with you,
And all that you were,
Will you know
Wherever you are,
That it is true?
Will you regret what has been and what will never be?

Will you know who your heart beats for in the silence?

Will I haunt you?

~

Photo: David Compton/flickr

First published on EJ here.

adventure · love · Poetry · Spiritual · Travel

Finding a Message in a Bottle. {Poem}

 

Susanne Nilsson/flickr

The secrets of the universe sheathed in glass, shielded from prying eyes.

Her small fingers wrap longingly around the delicate bottle, cradling it gently to her chest.

She knows that once she lets the world inside, there can be no return to the ecstasy of her unconscious imaginings.

Only the rugged cork guards the tantalizing mystery, preserving the magic inside.

The possibilities are endless and she entertains them all.

 

Azure waters creeping softly onto snow-white sand banks,

Embracing the desolate shore with foam tipped fingers.

Perhaps it contains a tattered map; a trail to rubies and luminous pearls,

Hidden long ago by breathless visitors.

A forgotten island, where stars sparkle brighter than gemstones ever could.

 

Maybe it is a letter from a stranger to his estranged lover.

Words that caress and soothe her troubled heart, that still beats for him.

Silken whispers of her radiant eyes and lustrous hair,

And how they enrapture him.

Promises of eternity, and a plea to meet, that never found her.

How long did he wait for her among the wildflowers?

 

Neither of these seem quite fitting to her.

A beloved recipe then?

A legacy from another lifetime, a window to a war-torn world of hardship.

Passed down from a silver haired grandmother with a knowing smile.

The gift that will be appreciated only after she has left this world behind;

A note scrawled in the margin that the secret ingredient

Is always a dash of love.

 

She can wait no longer.

She releases the genie from the bottle.

The soft note flutters in the ocean breeze, a sailboat on the wind of life

And the secret of the sea shows itself in all its beauty.

“Everything you can imagine is real.” 

 

She nods, serenely, eyes glistening with blissful tears.

She knows what to do.

She starts to wade into the furious ocean, and lets the waves crash over her

Trusting in the possibilities unknown,

that live in all of us.

~

Photos: Susanne Nilsson/flickr

First published on EJ here.

adventure · love · Poetry · Spiritual

I dream in colour

dreamer

Sometimes I walk in the shadows between dreams and waking,

letting the light of my imagination
burst forth from the grey nothing,
into fireworks of vivid ruby and emerald.

I am endlessly amazed by the power of the unbound mind,
where freedom and creation dance a fiery seduction,
forever one step ahead of where dull logic can reach.
Reality has no place in this world we create for ourselves.

Let us play in the realm of magic,
Let our minds run free through the inky night,
A sleek dragon covering unknown soil, dust shimmering under indigo sky,
chasing the smeared red promise of a horizon.

The future is ours to breathe into life.

Let us forget all we have been taught,
Throw sense and reason to the purging wind,
and recall to memory what we have known from birth,
the long forgotten secrets of the earth,
so easily supressed by the tedium of existence.

Imagination is a seedling, full of life’s exquisite promise,
that cannot grow bigger than the pot that embraces it.
Life should not be contained by societies boundaries,
as dreams refuse to be.

The indifferent ranks, so grim in black and white,
beckon with melancholy fingers towards their drab procession.
They march ever onwards towards their dreary tombs,
Caring not for the enchantment that lies beyond their grey lives.

I do not follow them.

I dream in colour.

Originally published here on Elephant Journal

love · Poetry · Spiritual

Storm Woman

rain

I have always worshipped the radiant sun.

Years have passed pining for her rapture, chasing her calm light. My mood eternally governed by the kiss of warmth on my skin and glitter over sapphire waters.

Yet, my restless heart seeks further of late. My pilgrimage leads me from the luminance I once coveted, into the unknown. I find myself a fearless explorer facing much darker spaces. I’m not afraid. I realise that somewhere along the way, I have grown to love the majesty of the storm and all her stunning chaos.

A sense of peace stills my busy mind moments before the first raindrop plummets to earth. I sense it before I see or feel it. The ethereal light plays on rooftops, a lantern lit by angels to herald the storms arrival. I bask in the eerie golden glow, the only soul in sight, face upturned to the rolling clouds as they sail by on gilded wings.

All is still.

The passing wind holds its tremulous breath, teasing me with a whispered caress. I watch as an old newspaper takes flight, the silent ghost that haunts deserted streets. The air hums and crackles with magic, and I have two choices: find shelter, or embrace the tempest.

I choose to do both.

I stand small against the powerful rage that builds above me. Thunder commands my full attention in glorious grumbling tones, as white-hot lightning leaps and twists, a wild dancer against the darkened sky. I am frozen, mesmerized.

The rain comes.

From beneath the open porch where I stand, I watch as rain begins to pour, humidity relieved by tears from heaven. The fresh smell of rain is punctuated by fragrant jasmine and I close my eyes, breathing deeply. My ritual begins.

Stepping out into the onslaught, I laugh with wild abandon as the first cleansing drops soak my hair, streaming into my face, my eyes, my mouth. I want to feel and taste it all.

I hold my arms out to the sky, embracing my liberation. It’s just nature and me—locked in this fiery battle of wills and neither of us are backing down any time soon.

My saturated clothes hug my body, laying my form bare for all to see. Torrents of cold water expose the curve of my breasts and hips as I dance in the downpour. I feel the full power of my natural self. I do not care how my hair looks, or that my mascara is streaming down my face. I am free. There are no rules in the eye of the storm.

The wind, a howling demon now, screams over roofs and rattles fences. It fitfully throws chairs in a rush of passion, destroying ancient trees without a thought. It feels no guilt for it’s urges and we all could learn from that. It is time for me to take cover.

I move inside, stripping off my wet clothes and jumping into bed. I lay warm under soft thick blankets, watching the room illuminate as lightening prowls the streets on sharpened claws. The rain is a lullaby, pattering on glass as rivulets stream down the window, making my eyes heavy.

Before I surrender to sleep, I give thanks to the roaring storm. She speaks to the boisterous part in me, stirring my sleeping desires, reminding me that even smooth sailing is dreary after a while. Shy and retiring will not always serve me well. She shows me that destruction can be beautiful, for devastation is freedom to create anew once again. And create I will.

I recognize that some part of me will always seek the tranquil sun, but I know now that there is so much more to me than just that. Some dark and turbulent place inside demands my attention also.

She exists in you, too.

She wants something for us—a life that is free and full of our own natural power. She wants us to roam the world with wild abandon, seeking beyond our meeker selves. She tells us not to be afraid of chaos, for it has many gifts to share with us. We can storm through our life any time we choose to, and it is that choice that is important here.

The storm will pass, and the world will be new once more, shaped by our passion. So, be a child of the sun by all means.

Embrace peace.

Chase the light.

Sing your dreams.

Originally published here at Elephant Journal