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.
or Don Quixote?
What is it we are fighting for?
These days, my heart aches
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.
As I stand on the roadway with a heavy heart,
I feel this existential threshold beckon.
Yes, we can choose this life
in both directions.
The day the reverent gesture transmuted,
the ravenous species at the top
of the food chain reached
instead for devotion.
We re-defined starvation,
we re-defined God.
We will die for one another,
we began to say,
We will die
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
than the canyons of the West
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
I consider death.
I allow the earth to heal me slowly.
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
Knocking sounds down the hall
as I pack my suitcase to the radio,
eager bones ain’t no match for this delicious
I don’t feel guilty for basking in ignoring,
I’m dreaming of other things now;
to the tea kettle as it bursts and I run,
visualizing open roads
while sipping its sweetness.
— Julia Daye
Tracking a whisper across frontiers of change,
I collect travel technology;
for the atrium of unknown.
Caverns in my heart and belly where trust would be,
I used to call this feeling loneliness
but today I must relinquish my church of planning,
a homey voice in my telephone pocket,
for the land that roars ahead of me, stretching stranger
and wider than I can configure.
— Julia Daye
When not on the wandering road, I live and work in Brooklyn, New York, a shouting distance from the Manhattan metropolis and an extension of the great city’s crowded craze. This week, moving between urban and rural outer landscapes has, for me, brought about a switch in inner landscape along with it, a connected absorption of this sudden change of my surroundings.
And I like the change. A lot. The strained, spazzy, beehive-head I have even just sitting alone in my New York bedroom has slowed into a deep tide-like rhythm. I remember myself today; we are in every way an extension of this earth, birthed and evolved from its organisms, we share its elements, breathe its air. Our bodies never forget this, but our minds seem to make a habit of it. I’m beginning to feel deeply certain that my frantic buzzing mania in the city may be attributed equally to the absorption of my surroundings as it is to my body’s confused alarm in disconnection to its natural source.
Another thing to note and remember is that we are animals. The arrogant human species loves to forget this too. Regardless, I feel ever torn by my needs as a social pack animal and my needs as a creature of the earth—my simultaneous and often clashing yearnings for both community and sanctuary. I need family, love, outward social activity, as well as a space for true privacy, personal retreat, and deep inward connection. Amazing how other pack animal species naturally seem to wed these two needs, yet humans tend to pick one or the other.
The true presence of both community and sanctuary in the same space is shockingly difficult to find. Living in an intentional community in Brooklyn most certainly fulfills the community piece for me, but true sanctuary is sacrificed. When moving into community situations, more often than not, you must sacrifice the concept of “personal” anything; there is no such thing as personal time, space, quietude, or full privacy. On the other side of the coin, I remember in more extended visits away from the rush of cities and community, being in retreat and personal connection for weeks alone leaves me yearning for community and society as much as I yearn for the earth while sitting in daytime traffic.
I have to share with you the video-track that bewitched me this week, the song that drove me out of a heady darkness and onto our roof to flail in wild embodied joy alone in eight-degree weather:
In this gorgeous music video, DJ and sound-genius Pogo illustrates via visual collage music’s most elemental venture: the distillation of the sounds of our acoustic world into digestible pieces of art. Music is, at its essence, the universe distilled. In making music, we recreate the sounds we love from the world we live in. No sound we produce–whether by way of instruments or digital software–is completely unique, we mimic and draw upon sounds from our environment and experiences.
And its precisely music’s ancient process of acoustic reproduction and distillation of the world around it that induces such a profound sensation in most of us when we hear our favorite tunes. We feel the pleasurable sense of deep, instinctive recognition. It is spirit, really–that core piece of us that recognizes the outer world as itself. Within the sounds and heartbeats that combine to make our favorite music, resides a deep, resonant connection between our inner and outer worlds.