Belly of a Star

my practice of compassion


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Never Giving Up

Nightmares began before the age of four
And never ended
Typically, demons and monsters
Sometimes they come true
An only child
Capable of skipping the first grade
Lost two fathers to divorce
Entire step-family, brothers and sisters, gone
Never seen again
Best friend kidnapped, soon after
Life with a single, low-income parent
Latch-key kid, learned to cook, on that old cast iron skillet

I walked a lot, hid in the comfort of tall oak trees
Shirley Temple Black’s house, just around the corner
Near Stanford University’s tall, green grass
Without Mother, attended my own parent/teacher conference
A gifted-kid, hyper-active, with a tendency to daydream
Saving babysitter funds, to buy my own toiletries and clothes
Red striped Nikes, Grandmother’s
Size six, one size too small, but I made them work
Three pairs of pants, rotated, accessories were luxury

A high school freshman, on the east coast
Bullied and ostracized, called out in the halls
“Slut,” “Idiot,” “Bitch”
Wept to the bearded school counselor, to please listen
As something was wrong, couldn’t read
Stomach pains, can’t comprehend
Can’t spell, can’t remember, please help
In response: smirks and claims ‘she is too pretty’ to have problems

A mid-year high school freshman, on the west coast, elevated in status
Loved for the outside . . . homecoming princess, cheerleader
Countless tears in the front cab of my sweetheart’s truck
He didn’t understand, and neither did I
Hippy-, loving-, free-spirited mother
Her black best friend married to a white man
Taught me how cruel onlookers can be to “different”
Her foreign, Persian boyfriend, in times of hostages and chaos
Came with late-night tire slashing and unspeakable threats

Graduated with honors, scholarships, somehow
Only college freshman in upper-division classes
Victim of multiple predators . . .
First female on both sides of family to earn a degree
Graduated from teaching program, early
Taught in low-income school, 110-degrees outside, windows sealed shut
No air conditioning, needed fumigating
Nominated teacher of year, received highest marks, always

Master’s degree earned, while disabled and
Raising three sons, one on the autism spectrum
Stay-at-home mother, working from home
Home schooling middle son, after the bullies came
My own late-age diagnosis of Aspergers
New remote-job, promoted and promoted
Dyslexia, dyspraxia, generalized anxiety . . .
Divorce, uprooting, finding ‘home’ again
Crying in the front cab of my van, this time, alone
Heartache, heartbreak, reality of world, once more

Published book, took ten years to write
Sharing stories to build community
More stories to build, more living to come
My doggy, and time, passes on
Comforts of home and family
Getting our “Geek” on
Lord of the Rings, Dungeon and Dragons
Showing it’s okay to be

Last count, 8 chronic pain conditions
Most of this spring in bed with a virus
After traveling through LA airport
Covid-19, social unrest, more sadness
Still, 3 sons graduate, all on the same day, the 13th
A happy June, well-adjusted, content, and kind
My sons, loved ones, and me
Still thriving, still speaking, still working
Nightmares began before the age of 4
And never ended
Typically, demons and monsters
Sometimes they come true
Sometimes they don’t


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Dancing Home

My heart is full of He,
again.
He rises
ember-shade,
and dances past
the prowling night.
in dusty field,
made hay.

A flower to the fowl,
I see
Him, here,
in touching stone;
A heart so tender, laid,
As river to the throne.

I watch Him pass, the passerby,
the sky, a fading-grey.
I hold Him in the heart of hearts,
just near, where angels sway.

Their voices
chant in unison;
A whisper, “All is near.”

I wander past the tipping stones,
where caverns drip of tear.
A honey dew of
Atmosphere.
Listen, still,
the gatherings,
of cantors bathing wills.

“Harken, here,” they come to be.
Their telling thick, as true.

“Can you see beneath the sea,
where fathers anchored blue?”

I’ve come again, to traveling,
with blankets tender, sweet.
Wrapped within the evermore,
Where babes are fast asleep.

Can you see them,
as I do? The willows,
dancing home,
to where the blind man walked,
Ill-temper, tamed in tune,
of flank and staff, immune.

“Come gather, here,”
Day beckons, glee;
the one I know as true.
And step by step,
I enter thee:
The one, becomes the Two.

How fortunate, this rose of thorn,
this breaking bread of mire.
How roads,
turned frail and broken through,
have led, the dire,

Days.
I’m headed now,
to brighter place.
Where angels dance and sing.
Remember thee,
of yesterday,
when I, was slumbering.


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He Doesn’t Say I’m Beautiful . . .

He doesn’t say I’m beautiful.

He helps me up the stairs with a gentle guiding hand.
He hurries to the room, when I call out his name, whatever room I’m in.
He comes home with surprises from the local bakery.
He wheels me through the airport and museum, even as he is uncomfortable with crowds and it hurts his arms.
He doesn’t complain.
When I say I am thinking about growing my hair out grey, he encourages it, and says he likes grey hair. When I say my hair is actually more white than grey, he says he prefers white.
When I put on a bit of makeup, he says I look nice but also look fine without it.
When I look down at my growing tummy, he says, “I like it.”
When we have a spat, he gives me space and then asks to come in, and then apologizes for his part–sometimes with handwritten letters.
He rubs my back and kisses my toes. He holds me close when I cry and have trouble falling asleep — from anxiety, pain, or fear.
He listens to my frequent nightmares, the ones from dreams and the ones from the past. He asks if I am drinking enough water, and then brings me water, in my preferred mug (the clean one that doesn’t smell bad), with water he has collected from the artesian well downtown.
He leaves his office room for ‘object permanence checks,’ as he knows if I can’t see it (him), sometimes I question if it (he) exists.
He never comments on my messy, unbrushed hair or mismatched clothes. He doesn’t readily point out when I’ve made a mistake or error . . . in words or judgment.
He finds my oddities and antics and misuse of words to be charming.
He doesn’t laugh at my ways or mock me, or shake his head in disapproval.
He gives me the space and freedom to be me.
He is proud of my efforts at home and beyond, and tells me so. He stops to look at me, I mean really look at me, and offers a kind, gentle smile.
He makes a point to tell me this is the happiest he has ever been in his life.
He doesn’t objectify me or compare me to other people.
He doesn’t offer ways I can improve myself.
He rides the waves of my hormonal outbursts.
He prays for patience and to love me the best way possible.
And he does.
He tells silly, off the wall jokes and riddles.
He dances with me in the bedroom to ‘Brown Eyed Girl,’ and sings out the lyrics in a bashful voice.
He takes me to doctor appointments.
He helps shop for groceries.
He stocks the car and attic with emergency supplies.
He lends his dress shoes to my eldest son for that important interview.
He is silent and full of grace in harder times.
He is resilient and full of spunk in lighter moments.
He has introduced a genre of movies and shows that add spice to our collection. We bird watch together from balcony chairs, the ones he bought cushions for.
He refills the birdbath and worries for our feathered friends, scolding the neighbor’s cat . . . to go some other place. He says he will do something, and then he does it. He speaks the truth.
Means what he says. Says what he means. He says he’d die for me.
His hugs are tight and warm. He is a gentle giant, and my steadfast cheerleader and protector.
He doesn’t say I’m beautiful. He shows me.


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Joy’s Pain

Joy’s Pain

Here I stand, abandoned.
Abandoned by fear, by doubt, by destitute.
Here I stand, embraced.
Encapsulated by love, by love, by love.
Her shadow emerged from light’s bowing down.
And I kiss her, my merry dancing bride brought to life.
The stellar glance of knowing.
The chisel of breath, against buried skin.
The emerging one, formed two.
Lightening shadow sparks in victorious rapture.
Stillness undone into solitude.
Envy bowing down to grace.
Laughing sticks, peering out over the valley of vines.
Inchworms soiling the ground in which they bleed.
Enough, enough, enough, the wise woman calls from the bounty.
Enough, my undone love.
Burry me with the masses.
Cast me aside.
Stomp on my chained heart.
Carve me with the pieces of him.
Just make the river dance stop.
Bring this ache to the caverned regions and rectify the cross in the making of my sacrifice.
Take what is yours, and feed me to the lion heart.
Take what is here, and lance the eyes I am from the corners of my logic.
Eradicate, separate, designate.
Do what is must, to remove the burden I carry.
Some ladened cauldron frothing with joy.
For I am not made to hold such passion.
I am not made to know this endless ribboned peace.
How it crosses the line.
How it marks me with swelling.
The light abiding within a fire set free.
Moving through skin as butter to sizzling pan.
Oozing its way through bubbling deliciousness.
I can taste me in your wanting.
Taste every aspect of humanity.
Feel my way through the scattered wilderness–thought upon thought, whirling in the twilight of dawn.
I am awoken twice-more.
Until morning dove sings me to sleep.
To the woven wolf centered in the start of me.
Formed before I breathed name.
Reformed before sound.
Can you not hear him?
My distant angel returned home.
Wrapped in the solitude no more.
Set free at the doorstep in which I laid my cherub gifts. Balanced at the opening.
Brought down from the starry sky to shatter this earthly maiden.
Crafted in the makings.
His hand, my hand.
His heart, my heart.
His coming, my spear-crested awakening.

Samantha Craft, 7.19.19


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heart’s song

In the break of slumber
Thine eyes open
To black-feathered beauty
Sunray’s preamble
Trickling through ebony dark

The first call
Before first call
Silence sings
And dawn song echoes
Treasured daylight
Brought forth

Ribbons waving
From etched beak
Melodic fragrance uplifts
The chasms of nature breathes
The prelude before note
Adrift in honeysuckle
Boundless sky

Floats
A gentle gratitude
A gracious yearning
A blossom heart blossomed
A surrender sweetly surrendered
The last step brought back
Slipped between sheets

Heart song bumping in the overlap
Broken and re-broken
To bring forth deepest yoke
Nibbling its way in drippings
Forging a path of glitter-gold

All shattered weeping wrung dry
Longing’s longing
Announced in the rising
His platter of lickings, good

Lapped up
With hungry eyes
With starved gratitude
Of last crow awoken
Carry forth the new dawn

Samantha Craft, 6.30.19


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SUITed

SUITed

What is this human suit that traps me
Some far away creature
Demolished of self
Half broken
Half whole
A part missing
A part found
Here and there
And everywhere
I am scattered

Scattered like the wind spins inside me
Scattered like my heart beats my thoughts
Scattered like the ocean pounds my doorstep
A haunting calling from source unknown

Stop
I call out
Stop
I mistake for help
There is no help
Just this place
This hell
These trappings
Of my human suit

Stretchy skin that doesn’t fit
Surging blood that doesn’t sit
Changing, Shedding, Evaporating
Feeding
Eliminating, Pulsing, Edging
Creating
Dying, dying, dying

Scattered like the wind spins inside me
Scattered like my heart beats thought
Scattered like the ocean pounds my doorstep
A haunting calling from source unknown

What is this human suit

Feb. 2019, Samantha Craft


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ONE

One

Loneliness
Enchanted
She rises
Moving to his calling
Summoned: The cave
Of beginning
She rests there
In twilight of ages
Singing song
Her sunlight unmarred
A brilliant star
Set out for the multitude
Risen as morning
Dove to dawn

Victory
Summoned
He cradles
Swaying to her chasms
Soothing: The child
Of heavens
He comforts there
In folds of lace
Pronouncing name
His mane undone
A bold stallion
Cast out in the quietude
Bent as blue
Bird to morning

Dancers
Birthed
They enter
Pulsating to rhythm
Surrendered: The one
Of peace
All opens free
In belly of time
Eradicating emptiness
Their names erased
A united flame
Set out in holiness
Marked as blushed
Bride to groom

6.21.19, Samantha Craft


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I Feel You

 

I Feel You

I feel you, a surging river, effervescent bubbles tickling my soul.

I feel you ‘rounding, serpent tail, intertwining thoughts.

I feel you resting, head buried in the rhythm of my heart.

I feel you catching, with ears open, notes of knowing, to listen once more.

I feel you hunting, the traced outer regions, where earth meets spirit.

I feel you looking, into the sunshine, in the splintered dark.

I feel you etching, into someone new, a rebirthing of flames, one from two.

I feel you maneuvering, my pages, thankful recognition.

I feel you touching, in the center of my being, tap dancing in step to music.

I feel you entering, one foot in, propelled, and then cautioned to return.

I feel you fearing, a warrior, wrapped in misgivings, the cons of journey.

I feel you tiptoeing, kisses to forehead, tips to spine.

I fell you questioning, to delve in full force, no holds barred, unable to stop.

I feel you ricocheting, joyfulness unraveled, recognized friend.

I feel you emptying, giver to giver, the silver streams of who you are.

I feel you pounding, my threshold awaiting, as the clocks turn back tomorrow.

I feel you plunging, as steer to doe, nature’s slave, populating passion.

I feel you spinning,  my hand in yours, lost on merry-go-round.

I feel you plummeting, a skydiver bouncing, through heaven’s clouds.

I feel you returning, to sheltered harbor, a sailor no longer sworn to sea.

I feel you moving, inside and out, everywhere I gather, justly spread out whole.

I feel you guiding, these words as maker, lessons in the drum of holiness.

I feel you beating, an undeniable rhythm, a captive to ecstasy, a pain like no other.

I feel you living, right where I scribe, moving my fingers, as weaver to loom.

I feel you echoing, reading these words aloud, edging your way into love.

Samantha Craft, 6.9.19


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The World is Broken

The world is broken, and I am a shell, forging through the shards, legs through holes, with opening, stepping over brittle bones, a walking egg

a moving embryo, forgotten in harsh land.

The world is broken, and I am a shield, stampeded through the armies, in warrior’s wrist, with leathered-timber, clashing against talismans, a symbol

a shining glory, protected in fierce combat.

The world is broken, and I am a youth, hunched in the corner, sockets of tears, with memories, slashing tender flesh, an innocent

a weeping dove, folded in lost man.

The world is broken, and I am a woman, launched on platform, voice of need, with determination, professing victory, a leader

a gentle dweller, enveloped in light.

The world is broken, and I am a watcher, pierced by dwellers, swords of greed, with blindfolds, screaming jesters, a danger

a sworn enemy, tarred in horror.

The world is broken, and I am a lover, diving in waves, rivers of lust, with longing, merging ecstasy, kissing bride

a charmed doll, swept in morrow.

The world is broken, and I am a passenger, hitching a ride, clinger of hope, with caution, whispering warnings, a knowing

a sweet someone, caped in caution.

The world is broken, and I am a seamstress, sewing a tale, tailor of cause, with rhythm, creating patches, a covering

a downy blanket, spread in truth.

The world is broken, and I am a bard, bleeding an immortal, seer of agony, with temperance, trembling syllables, a note

a humble beckoning, scribed in grace.

Samantha Craft, 6.9.19