Joan of Tree Bark


I am tired of fighting;
the warrior in me is no longer cozy.

All these years, I raged
against fools, bellowed
creed in the street—

fed the fires,
locked down, suited up,

lead the girls into battle
by the skin of our feet.

They know my name.
Wait….is it…Athena
or Don Quixote?

What is it we are fighting for?
These days, my heart aches
with questions.

I am tired of looking for
walls to break down.
I am tired of fighting.

The warrior in me is
no longer cozy.

The child in my heart
sits gaunt and lonely.

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Julia Daye

Please Ail Quietly

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Checking my reality for gravity,
I am certain the devil is memory.

Loneliness inside a humanity
so inhospitable to uncertainty.

I am earth and I am woman—
you watch me get sicker

day by day;
eight generations of

slow estrangement
from a cherished cellular clay.

 

Julia Daye

THE HOLLOW REED


Dearest strangest city,
In love with you
I’ve lost myself; 

On the train, my being
retreats from a face full
of street lights, falling

backward into an empty heart
where homesickness
more cavernous

than the canyons of the West
field messages

from two feet longing
for the red mother’s clay.

There we breathe, alone.
There we cry.

There my heart fills again
with the vast
oceanic question I call
loneliness.

I consider death.
I allow the earth to heal me slowly.

©Julia Daye

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TRUST

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At the end of the day
and the end of the year

and the end of this life
and all things I know,

I allow trust to replace vision.

The night sky’s deep celestial face emerges
again from behind its sunny blue façade.

What is dream but a midnight
porthole into invisible infinity?

Tonight, the bumblebees that fly

around my vulnerability, stop
and land,

allowing the space to yawn
wide and open.

A cozy tide beckons release

of these weary lids,
dissolving again

into darkness
and the dream.

~ Julia Daye

Are You My Mother: Tribute to Teacher and Land, Both whom I Met when I thought I had Nothing

That first year, my teacher’s guidance resounding in my ears, I danced until I could no longer walk or see straight. I flailed my body through every open space in New York City in feverish exaltation. I could love again, and most importantly, love myself. I no longer needed to clamor for love in so many places and things, for I could embody all I ever wanted with just this flesh, this momentum, this heart, these hands.

I heard my own voice translate the dreamy tenants of my heart, distilling the macramé of city-sound as I awoke in the breast of a still, dark ocean, in a voice deep and roaring, a longing for mother and home.

In stillness, longing thundered through my being. Longing. A longing that had raged in my blood since I was a child; forever reaching, yearning, wailing insatiably for love and solace. Longing called me away from my familiar cityhive, ripped me to pieces for months as I tried and failed miserably to sleep in my own strange bed in Brooklyn. Eventually, I could no longer refuse its direction and breathed farewell to all I knew and loved, blinking a cocktail of confused affection, and drove off westward alone.

I drove, baffled as the ones I left behind. Only by doing could I translate the meaning of this calling. The miles disappeared beneath my tires. All familiars fell away.

“Change is good exercise,” an angel said.

The landscape transformed against the windows, south and west across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

And when I crossed the boarder into New Mexico and saw the mountains against the yawning blue sky, I suddenly felt the realization of the gorgeous symbolic significance of these twenty-six years in voracious motherlessness and homelessness that charged this hungry heart forward, searching and searching, to at last lay eyes, soul and body now upon the truest, fiercest, fullest meaning of Mother.

Here, she roared around me, holding me with every breath—with every breath, welding the terrestrial and celestial home in these two feet and red earth, home in this earthen body towering alongside the others in one embodied incarnation of Her strength, home as I heard my voice say, “Thank you Mama, Here I am.”

~ Julia Daye