The Firebird

Along the road between past and future

If you glimpsed me run, could you tell

Whether I was still pushing forward

Or retreating under the blows of pain?

/

If you witnessed me freeze and bend double,

Burying my face in shaking hands,

Would you think I laughed at a joke’s echo

Or wept suddenly over a secret hurt?

/

With my feet in the air and arms outstretched,

If you saw how I leaped off the edge,

Would you choose to imagine me soaring,

Or, acknowledging gravity, falling to death?

/

You can’t know – our paths crossed for but a blurred moment;

Just believe I ran forward and joyfully laughed;

That when I came to the edge of the world and stepped off it,

I turned into a firebird

The Form

When I imagine that I’m not,

Remind me that I am a shadow:

Look through me like I am a ghost,

Walk past me with a sudden shudder;

/

Do not allow me to forget

That I am not a whole but pieces

Together strung, together torn

Away from the key one, gone missing;

/

When I pull on my human skin,

Do not believe the frail illusion,

And through your eyes don’t make me see

What I once used to be – a woman;

/

I must forget the one I was,

Give up the rights to love and to desire,

And find a fuel to feed the fire,

Which burns on in my heart against all odds;

/

I may become a warrior’s sword,

A pilgrim’s staff, a book of verses,

One of a crowd of circus clown,

Whose tears and laughter are but paint and noise…

/

When you imagine that I’m not,

I must remind you I’m a shadow:

Look at you as if through a veil of cold

And walk right past you nonchalantly

The Gift

I will show you your great courage,

I will teach you to see beauty,

I’ll gift you with a smile as bright

As the Sun’s, round whom dances the Universe;

/

But the wings I will give you will cost you your legs;

The truths I’ll share with you will be hammered like nails

Into the old, cracked, yet stubborn walls of your mind,

Built of prejudice and recycled thoughts;

/

I will grant you the Wind’s freedom,

Turn your voice into a wild Thunder;

I’ll reforge your heart into one as strong

As this of the Earth-Mother;

/

But the strength you will have will be tested each day;

The light in your eyes will draw darkness and pain,

And the love that will live in your chest must survive

The tests of indifference, of hatred, of time…

/

I offer you these gifts freely;

I offer you these burdens, heavy;

Will you take them from me bravely

Or pretend that you can’t hear me?

Lights

Flashes of lights of rushing cars,

Tired eyes of street lamps rooted in place,

Pale shine of the moon and glittering stars

Draw figures of humans and ghosts out of space;

/

In the night I forget if I’m one or the other;

I don’t speak, I don’t touch, I don’t dream, I don’t hurt –

Simply follow the lights, and imagine that somehow

I will come to the sun at the end of the road;

/

If I’m human, there I will be freed of my shadow,

Which either runs too fast or crawls, heavy and slow;

Only there I will learn what it’s like to be happy

When my flesh and my mind burn down to an unknown;

/

And if I am a ghost, I will see why I always

Have been callous and cold, and somebody to fear;

I will see what the world sees with the sun as my mirror –

A storm cloud in the sky ripped to shreds by the wind;

/

Screams of white lights of rushing cars,

Haunted eyes of street lamps rooted in place,

Quiet shine of the moon and shimmering stars

Draw figures of humans and ghosts out of space;

/

The scarse light of the night makes all figures look ghostly

But the sunrise will tell who is who, what is what,

So tonight I will walk along dark streets for hours

And till the very dawn believe whatever I want.