Sandra Noel

All for Marilyn
Her pale blue eyes are kindbut clearly she does not know methe person she’s been calling all weekasking, “Please, please, come soon?”I bitched my way through rush hour trafficgetting lost in the middle of no and whereto do my karmic duty, my bodhicittaonly to find myself unrecognized.
In my hands are gifts for her;nori crackersorganic cashewscandied gingerchocolate chip cookiesa new beloved National Geographic
All for Marilyn, who lost her heartwhen her first child diedand then her mindasks instead of all my bountyfor organic salt-free peanut butterfrom Trader Joe's about ten miles back.Because this distance means nothing to herand everything to me I turn away a momentwrestling with anger and resentmentthe twin dark angels of my nature.
“Sugar-free, don’t forget…”Turning back, I begin to laughand so does she, innocentlylike the teacher she’s become all my guilt-driven compassion laid bareas the golden arrow finds my heartand off I go againmaking the first of many wrong turnssmiling at the driverwith his middle finger uplike Buddha pointing heavenward.

Prehistoric vocalizationsin the giant fir next to my windowstuttering, shape shifting, liftingsilently soaring across the mirror-black bayinto the light on the horizonfirst rose, now golden
As I sit on my cushionwith alter and bowlthe first of many habitsacquired with ageto replace the passionsof my youth–only you remain.I still wake up loving youknowing you are impossible.(knowing you are impossible!)
I sit and wait for peace to descendfor hope to expireor rest in a tree nearbyknowing (somehow)I will never wake to an empty heart--that I will staggerwith the weight of you each morningstuttering, shape shifting, liftingthen silently soaring into the light.
(haiku version)Outside, a heron callsInside, my heartHow can you sleep though this din?

Tree Tonglen
When I die let it be alone with treeswithin some ancient forest groveto fall among them into leafy loam
Let me become a tapestryof lichens, mosses green and goldred-spattered blooming fungibright blue bells and fiddle fernsan orchestra of species
Shattering all man-made myths of beautysmooth, glossy and unmarkedwhere nothing much can grow
And deep inside and underneathlet beetles, worms and termitesfeast on soggy pulpy meals of meexcreting no less than new earthto grow with sun and centuriesanother mighty giant home for creaturesfar too numerous to mention in a poem
And forest generator of all lifetaking in this foul polluted airin great green gulpsbreathing out the clean and goodLet me be as useful as a tree

Sandra Noel works as a freelance illustrator/designer developing interpretive text and illustrations for environmental education exhibits. Her passion is working with Alliance for Tompotika, an environmental organization involved in rainforest/community conservation work. She provides art and design for the group and has had the opportunity to teach art and ecology workshops for youth in Sulawesi, Indonesia in 2007 and 2009. Her other passion is poetry– reading and writing it. Heart of Darkness, a narrative poem was published in In the Mist, Imagining Babylon in Paradigm and Imagine, Night visitor and Albatross in Barnwood International Poetry Magazine and Blessed in ProtestPoems.