by Niema Lightseed

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Map 03:42
following the clues, on this modern-day quest. a new way of putting our faith to the test. following my heart, to find a part, in this epic play of life reset. It’s not quite like back in the day. No apparent dragon, in need of a good slay. its time we lay our notions aside. the lie: an economy built on slavery. the journey: to set each other, and ourselves free. I recognize it starts with me. I can’t just walk on concrete, to reach the mountain cave. I’ve learned dragons are my allies, and all my friends are witches. And ending oppression has become an inside job. Rainbows rarely end on flat ground, or start without a storm, so I climb swim fly to seek my pot of gold, which is not green; and once found, can never be sold. Following the clues, on this modern-day quest, is a new way of listening. A different kind of treasured chest awaiting. The map, is not always tattered yellow paper. Sometimes it's a specter of sacred geometry, or a diagram of our diaphragms. How to breathe through our bodies, how to heal with our hands. The little birdie still tells us where to go, how to flow, but now they're 5 foot 4, in platform boots and day glow fur. and the guardian of the threshold, is checking ID’s. and the dragons we can see, are painted on our tapestries or tattooed on our bodies. but still, but still, We are in the magic land. and we must know, when to wield our swords, when to sweep our salves, when to humble ourselves in the holy places. We must understand the measure: we are the treasure we seek, if we are ever going to find it, ask why it was hidden in the first place. This race with a new pace can only lead us away from or back to home. And our folly as we hide from or chase what could only ever be inside us. following following following… it’s the quest that defines us.
Lexicon 02:48
This body. This body. This Body. This body of knowledge. This body of wisdom. Self-bright prism made of everything we have ever loved. Mystery encoded in flesh and bone. Bound like bread into the great Baker’s oven, stewed in the alchemist’s brew, made of me, made of you, going back to the first Mother. Every cell holding the key to its own freedom, unlocked by the body’s own wisdom: The song of my grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother’s people, lost to mind in the hulls of ships and the cracks of whips; the magic of our sacred blood, lost in spun cotton and cheap tranquilizers; the knowingness of our intrinsic interconnectedness lost to missionary’s book and soldier’s blade; all re-membered, always known in the bodies we finally call home. I call this body home. I ask in the language beyond words for the truth beyond wounds. The rewoven stories and unwinding muscles all offer the same benediction: we have always been holy, wholly, holey, holy. Always been home. We need only listen to our bodies of wisdom.
Spectrum 04:05
I am not my skin. But that is what you see. This self-same covering delineates the edges of acceptable, appropriate, separating wrong from right. I am not this skin but its blackness is the first impression I give. At first glance, I am cast into the realm of dark things. A player in the polarity war. Despite education, compassion, creativity, or any other marker of human worth I will forever be below, separate, untouchable in the eyes of those who measure by the color spectrum. Think yourself immune? Believe you are beyond the reaches of racism? Beyond petty differentiations of color and skin? What do you think when you hear the word "white?" “black?” light, dark, clean, dirty, good, bad? Who always wins in this race against? If we want to end racism we must look at the filters clouding our vision and the ways we contribute to division. Stop blaming or playing victim. Turn our fingers inward, downward, reach our hands into mounds of fresh black earth. Feel its moist coolness merge with our pores. Drink in the fecund smells. Let bugs traverse our flesh as the soft loam crumbles back to the ground, and remember the richness of dark things. Let beet stains stay on our cutting boards. Let our children's knees carry the tale-tell brown of worthwhile exploration. Notice every time we wince at the idea of the dark. How we hide from our own unseen parts. Question everything concerning the nature of good and evil and how closely those ideas are tied to black and white. Then look at my dark skin. See the color, don't pretend we are anything other than we are, observe its smooth texture and tone the way it hugs muscle and bone. How it both is, and is not me. and then tell me what you see.
Teacher 05:31
When the time is right I shall teach about writing poetry. But when I bother to weave the words to impart this art, it will not be through the conventions of form. Any fool can pick up an old tome and learn the tools that make this language roll off the tongue. Rhythm and rhyme, alliteration and metaphor may be dying devices, but enough people know of their power to keep them out of the grave. No, when I strive to leave a legacy of fisherpeople (not just those who have been given fish), it will be by imploring them to see. To see everything, to look at the marrow of life as a scientist studies cells. I will charge them to feel, to feel, to feel everything, to have their hearts broken until there is only heart dust left, like the sparkling debris of exploded stars; and let the flour of their shattered hearts be kneaded by the great Baker into the bread they will use to feed their readers. I will invite my little poetlings to give away their most precious belongings, travel to a place where they do not speak the language, and listen to all the ways people convey love in words they do not understand. I will remind them that they are not, can never be, in charge of their gifts they cannot demand that words come, though they can pray. I will warn them that if they choose the path of the poet, if they dare to look at their own geniuses, they may find themselves on their knees calling for the Muse to return, or leave them alone, in season. Actually, I probably won't tell them that part, the madness of passion is a cost best discovered in one's own time. But I will tell them that the deepest pain of the poet is not the receiving of visions that take one’s breath away, nor the intensity of feelings that seem impossible for one body to bear, the challenge of being sensitive beyond comprehension or safety. No, the hardest part is that they will always fail. We always fail, because our medium is imperfect. This is a losing battle. Poets are oarspeople using wooden sieves to scoop water out of leaking vessels, determined to reach a shore we cannot yet see, as our ships sink beneath us. Attempting to capture the ineffable beauty of life with a tool that is inherently flawed. The true madness of the poet is knowing we can never convey all that we feel. We can never quite get it right in this language made for conquering and counting sheep, for giving directions and maintaining war. So, I will teach young poets in training to run wildly in any direction, as long as it takes them away from convention, pretension, and competition. To rip the armor off their hearts and the projections off their eyes. To follow beauty to its lair. I will make them put on their walking shoes (be sure they are comfortable, next to a smooth pen a fine pair of walking shoes is a poet's best friend) and drag them out into the crisp autumn air. Have them describe the particular qualities of the afternoon sunlight in early November as it softly warms their red cheeks. I will hold them still, to watch a single golden leaf make its final swirling wind-dance from branch to earth. I will tell them: “writing poetry, making any true art, is like that, that leaf floating there. You must surrender to the currents of life, let the winds have their way with you. You must know your task is impossible, and that it will take your life as much as it gives you purpose. But all you can do is work with the materials you have, and enjoy the dance as you freefall.”
Golden 04:12
A place where tears and laughter are one. Where orgasms are formed and babies born. Where music lives before it has a drum or flute through which to be played. Where all emotions abide free of differentiation and a deft player, also known as a fully alive human, can tune into any frequency in the orchestra of feeling. You bring me here. Your breath, warm on my neck in the golden morning, the dew of my yearning. How can one person feel so many things at once? The paradox of love is its confusing contradictions. The concoction of our love, a heady brew; sometimes heavy, sometimes the softest cream and honey inviting a divine drunkenness where nothing is solid, none of what I have known now certain. And everything that lies below is brought to the surface. Where I am dizzyingly drawn to the space between. Not here, not there. Spacious, yet bonded. Formed of the distillation, the burning away of dross until there is only us. Where there are no definitions, no conscription of emotions into easily identified vowels and syllables. The home of sense, where lives all of our laughter and all of our tears, and the hope and fear of years ago and to come, and yet also only this one, full, holographic moment. I breathe slowly when you hold me so that I can melt into the space between breaths as I open into the formless endless galaxies in the space between our bodies. Pressed flesh to flesh and pulse to pulse where we come together beyond histories and wishstories, One with the Mystery, crying and giggling at the same time.
Unblossomed 06:11
The path to presence. Different, every time. Time as a spiral, not a line. The true way never looks the same Because open eyes are always changing. Wisdom is born of the quiet spring, the fertile darkness that lives below our knowing, that begets our awakening, and opens to our remembering. Ancestral light, the substance of our wings though they look like muscle and bone; and, however caged, some part of us still remembers these wild hearts where meant to sing us home. Resting in the breath at the beginning of creation. the precious petals still spiraled over center. trusting in the lightless journey of incubation and the wisdom of growth’s unfolding; beyond fear. I have grown accustomed to being excellent at everything I do. A forgetting that evolution is ongoing, and we have ever-shifting knowings of what is true. Wanting the promised satisfaction of completion, without accepting the necessity of uncertainty; the fragmentation required for deeper integration. The interdependence inherent in real power. We revere the fully-bloomed flower, adore its scent and beckoning openness. But the mountaintop is only one moment of the trail. The fragrance of forgiveness may draw us towards freedom, but darkened woods and bottomless chasms elicit many a vital despairing wail. Pilgrim, there is no one road to follow, the road is made by walking over stone and bone, is made by breathing beyond everything you’ve ever known, and home is an ever-shifting experience. You may taste the sweet nectar for a moment but then the flower dies, and you’d best discover the beauty in compost. This path is understood for only an instant sunlight caught in the hand through a prism a rainbow bridge to absolute nowness. This path is found in the effusive glee of a child’s first spinning dance in a summer meadow, in the feel of my lover’s lips upon my brow, in the silence between every sound. The path is different every time, because it leads to a place that can never be known, and only in the seeking can we ever be found. Baby birds, bits of primordial viscousness sticking to their uncoordinated wings, do not judge themselves for their undeveloped ability to sing. Roses do not believe they will only be worthy of love when their petals unfurl. And lion cubs roar with abandon, regardless of their obvious harmlessness. Embrace unblossomedness. How can you expect to be at your destination when you are still on the road? Why collapse your life into someone else’s mold?
What if you stopped demanding perfection, allowing life its own form of completion? Put down the sledgehammer of should, shaming the sap out of your soul. Put down the chisel and awl, and rest in ever-curious awe at the beauty of your becoming: the unplannable inevitability of your timeless blossoming. The path to presence. Different, every time. Time as a spiral, not a line. The true way never looks the same Because open eyes are always changing. Pilgrim, there is no one road to follow, the road is made by walking over stone and bone, is made by breathing beyond everything you’ve ever known, and home is an ever-shifting experience. The path is different every time, because it leads to a place that can never be known, and only in the seeking can we ever be found.
Love Let Her 04:39
You are a poem. A composition, an exposition of the Revelry, a piece of the Mystery, revealed in each flick of hair in each turn of phrase. Just as no Sun can reach every leaf on the tree, so can no one illumine all your crevices and curves, but each question brings me closer to the truth  I see in you feel in you, it whispers out in your undertone. I extrapolate as we penetrate the Darkness with our Voices, the places where we meet become Event Horizons. “Divinity” means “sees no division,” this life a revision,  of our history, our hierarchy, our pedagogy.  I ask and you only say: "more color, please." You are a poem. Created anew each time I turn the page, take the stage, say “yes” to the Mystery and not the assumption with just enough gumption to know when to tell me  "no, not yet, we'll play more when we're ready." This heady presumption of falling in love is nothing compared to the constant discombobulation of a life lived in exploration. - this theory, this question, this veil-lifting exercise: Now that we are learning who we are, and who is with us, and what the world needs of us, what do we do with our power? Let me be your composition. Tear down each of my constructs. Let each of my limits be a word, in no particular order, threading past to future. Each of my glances a clue, each of my prayers a step closer to the mystery of you. You You You are the poem. A play of spiral and form and swirl and shadow and color and light. Asking that we grow each time we listen to you, demanding that we pay attention because we only get to hear you once.  In this magic  now. You say "We are just flowers unfolding," and I wonder how do I reach your stamen without corrupting the petals? I am no bee.  My poetry is too coarse, too obvious. I want all the life. All at once.  To dissolve in your ocean.  To be so overwhelmed by a single ecstatic breath of your atmosphere that I lose all illusion of separation, and become a million stars in your sky.


released November 5, 2019




Niema Lightseed Portland, Oregon

Niema Lightseed is a poet and priestess of the new paradigm dedicated to transforming oppression through art, embodiment education, linguistic analysis, and ritual.

Her poetry evokes the transformative power of art and reveals the beauty at the marrow of life.
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