Between Sleeping and Waking


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I have taken up
in the space
between sleeping
and waking.


Time is irrelevant here.

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What comes first
comes again later;
visions living
within visions.

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Something was awakened
in me
when I moved here,
and it is ancient
and eternal.


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There are Beings
here with me.

Dressed in white,
they watch silently
and implacably
when things happen,
and when
nothing happens.


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The Shaman brings mysteries
to be revealed
by time and focus of attention.


There is plenty of time here;
it seems years passed
between the receiving
of the first mystery
and its revelation.

Years of tedious work
that tore the skin
off my hands
and nearly blinded me
with the small details
that needed
to be attended.


Then the Gift was revealed.


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No time to rest
with the Gift.

Here he comes again with a bigger mystery.

Time to work. Unwrapping,

Bloody hands unwrapping bloody fabric to find my own face inside the wrappings.

The Beings watch
as I put my face
back on.


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Now the Shaman, dressed in white himself, finds me naked and raw and open by a river bank.

I can hardly breathe.
It’s humid in this jungle, and I think it must be a beautiful Hell.

I look to him for ~ what?

Release? Forgiveness? Blessing? I know better than that.

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Even here, in-between, I know nobody rides for free.


He holds me up
as he takes me down.

Down into
the red river mud.

He holds my head back
against him
with one hand
while he grinds the mud
into my hair,
down my face
in a pattern I can feel
but not see,
down my neck
to my heart
where he
leaves his hand.

A second Shaman
holds me as
my heart is broken
by the hand of the first.


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I lean into the second
as the first
turns me
to continue the process with the dark red mud.

The first runs his muddy hands down my back and sticks his hand into my sacrum as I merge completely with the second.

There is no separation between the three of us.

When the separation finally occurs seconds or hours after it started, the pain is unbearable.


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The Beings and the Shamans
all in white
as snakes crawl up my body
and into my mouth,
where they are welcomed.



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