Translation A>D / D>A


 
I have a question, so I raise my hand.  Because there is no one else around, I put my hand down before I can receive an answer.  But, I did have time to ask the question.  So, from where will the answer to this question come?
 
I look left and see a field. To the right is a forest, but I can’t see very far in, because the trees are in the way. The road that stretches before my tires is gravel, but I don’t have time to slow.  Top down, warm wind blowing through my hair—yeah, whatever…  All the freedom of the open road sandwiched between two backgrounds.
 
Of course screaming does no good, but it feels invigorating to empty the lungs, refill them and press them out again.  Medulla-oblongata parallel with the roof of my mouth.  At least the annoying echo of the noise streaming into my ears and rattling around before piercing the drum lets me know that I can still feel something.  And that thought alone is at least a constellation.
 
When I finally get there, everyone is there.  Not just everyone, but everyone and there mother.  Let me tell you she is one big mother.  She has to be in order to have birthed all of them, and me besides.  Her belly is very round.  She notices me looking at it.  “Everything is circular,” she says.
 
They thanked me, which took a long time, because though they would have liked to speak all at once, I know they secretly didn’t think I could handle it—maybe rightfully so.
 
As I walk towards the podium my heart starts pounding.  My forehead perspires.  My face reddens.  The lights on the stage pour all around me, culminating on my red sweat drenched face.
 
To lighten the mood, someone yells from the crowd, “Show us your tits.”  But I decline.  It would be delightful, although there are much more important things at hand.
 
Many times there is a point in a dream when I realize, that I am, in fact, dreaming.
 
I ask the audience to close their eyes.  “But only if you feel comfortable about it,” I add.  Most of them do.  I ask them to, “imagine that it is them who are dreaming.” “Relax,” I say, wondering whether my nervousness will project out and hinder their ability to effectively relax.  Luckily, at least some of them are trusting.  “Imagine that every time I say, me, it is you that is me.”  Whenever I say I, it is you that is I.  Completely forget about fact that I am a twelve year old black girl, and that you are you, who you are.”
 
Now this one is just for practice…  Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath of enlivening air.  Keep those eyes closed now, no cheating.  Stand up.  Raise your left hand above your head.  Pause.  Now look around.  Pause.  Ok now sit.  And open your eyes.
 
Now we will begin.  Close your eyes, take a deep breath of enlivening air…let it out….stand up…..
 
I have a question, so I raise my hand.  Because there is no one else around, I put my hand down before I can receive an answer.
 

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Along For The Ride

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/olivebranches/oob-025-alongfortheride.mp3]
Never do I hope to see
The longing for jealousy
I am who I am
This is me

If I stand in a bottomless pit
I will raise my hands
And I will claim it

If I build a house
A home
Of the finest wood
The finest stone

I will bow my head
And I will smile

If I have laughed
If I can smile
I know I have lived
If only for a while

So who are you
Do you live in the same world as I do
Where are your ups and downs
Do you stand with your feet on the ground

Where do you find yourself
Where do you hide
Do you ask yourself questions
Do you go along for the ride

Are you a friend of the gods
Do they persecute you
Do you raise your hands
And fall to your knees
Praising the mirror in front of you

All people are different
This I have seen
Are you someone similar to me

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That Line

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/olivebranches/oob-024-thatline.mp3]
I try to be a saint, I’m a sinner just the same

I’m walkin down that line

I give all my bread away, and ask for it the next time

I’m walkin down that line

I met a girl, she knew me
We got together and set each other free
We wanted it, but it couldn’t be

I’m walkin down that line

Give an inch and take a mile
Would a stab in the back make you smile

Where do you draw the line

Is this an issue of black and white
Ying and it’s relation to yang
Is it clear, or is it a fine line I walk

I’m walkin down that line

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In The Days

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/olivebranches/oob-023-inthedays.mp3]
I’ve seen days that were better
Then again I’ve seen days that were worse
Sometimes life can be down
Feel down right like a curse

Raise your head in the morning to fall asleep at night
Day dream about tomorrow
And what could be
And what might

When I wake up in the morning
I want to know everything is all right
When I wake up in the morning
I want to be
And do
And not fight

All are lives we live in
We do with what we will

And if we would like to make it better
We will have to wish
Then we will have to will

 

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Is that Really Yours?


A Zen student asked his teacher.  “What is the most valuable thing of this world?”
 
The teacher replied.  “Give me your finger and I will show you.”
 
With this the student left the teacher.
 
Upon return the student stood before the teacher bowed and said “this is my finger, I have severed it from my own hand and I now give it to you, to show how important this question is to me.”
 
The teacher without looking at it took the finger and threw it over his shoulder.  “This is not your finger if it were your finger it would still be attached to your hand.”
 
Crying the student replied “What could we have learned here, I have mistakenly cut from my own hand the finger which no longer belongs to me.”
 
“We have learned” said the teacher “That your finger is not the most valuable thing of this world.”
 

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Your Road


Take a look at the road your on.
Is it narrow?
Is it well traveled?

Roads that are less traveled can be bumpy,
so wear your seat belt
and be sure to enjoy the view.

Are there mountains on your road?
Or little hills that look big?

If you are feeling strong
you can make your way even over mountains.

Roads have even been cut through trees.

If the road is winding, some people hug the turns
and some slow down and accelerate smoothly out of them.

If the road has a dead end sign,
it was probably put there by someone who knows.
So if you decide to travel down it
without an intended purpose
don’t be upset
when you get to the end
and have to back track to get to the road
that will lead you home.

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Riding Life


At times it looks like a beast
with a long tail
and forward looking eyes.

It snarls
and snorts
and throws flame.

Yet it has beautiful breasts
which I fondle
and suckle
when I am feeling hungry
or needy.

I have a hard time looking it in the eyes at times
knowing I am planted firmly on it’s back
with a plain yet comfortable saddle.

So I ride it.

At times I have jerked the reigns to the left
for no more than to see what will happen
or just to test the edges of the box.

I have to admit
that at times
I’m not always sure whether I should pull in the reigns
or let the beast trot or gallop where it will.

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Travel On Roads

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/olivebranches/oob-12-roadstraveled_2.mp3]

Some roads we only travel. Some roads we follow and we see where we are going.  We drive them and we know.  The grass at the side of the road is green, the trees making shadows are tall. In theSalinasvalley you can almost taste the richness of the soil in the air.  Smell, the ocean meet the shore and the pines, on HWY 101 along theOregoncoast.  The pressure builds in your ears as you climb, up, over and through theRocky Mountains.  You can stand on the continental divide and ether piss in the Pacific Ocean or theMississippi River.   See the brilliant green grasses of theDakotas’ in the spring time, and the browns and yellows of the late summer.  On a warm night sounds surround you in the forested swamps ofFlorida.  The gravel feels different under your bare feet almost everywhere.  Some are fortunate enough to see where they go.  Some roads are only traveled.

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Two souls


Two souls fight a hart felt battle

Both fighting for good
Both fighting for god

Evil laces itself around them

Sweat drips
Muscles strain
Back and forth

Evil is the enemy

Even with their righteous thoughts evil becomes them

Eyes are poked
Bite marks speckle ankle and back

Spectators jeer and cheer
Depending on who is easiest on the eye
Or most helpful on their pockets

A glancing blow spatters blood on her fresh white blouse
They spit and curse and ask their friends if they can believe this

The circle of the ring spreads

A chair is broken that belongs to our cousin
Our cousin had nothing to do with this
That chair is a family heirloom

I saw who broke that chair
He did it on purpose

We will make this right

God is on our side!

 

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Seek Only To Find


It was three of us who wadded out.

Shallow
Shallow
Shallow

We had to go a long way.  I was surprised looking across this great lake that this far out it could be waist deep.  But we had to find the edge.

How far
We could
Go

The water was cold at first touch.  Wadding in with goose bumps.  Once one summons the courage to fully submerge, one finds that it is not that bad.
Only three of us went, though there were ten at the shore.  Ten brave seekers with nothing to find.

I for one
My comrades for three
Needed to know
We were different
Us three

One amongst us, normally quiet, with an air of distrust, laughed as he dashed against the on coming waves.  He smiled and threw his hands to the blue sky.  I could see in his face—or was it only in his eye—that he gave thanks to the ground below his feet, the water incasing his legs and the breeze letting him know that he was being anointed with the air around him.

Waist deep
Jumping
Back floating
Spraying water with thrusts of feet

The other among us, happy to be there.  Veteran of journeys within and without.  New story to tell.  New something to do.  Diving under to feel the cold on skin.  Wetting hair not to make clean, but to feel it wet.  As he shakes his head droplets of water run to the ends of his hair, leap from the strand to form droplets, suspended only momentarily, then like they had never existed, or left their home, disappear back into the waving mass.

Belly button
Under
Not far over
A long way
From shore
No matter

There has to be an edge. We must see the boundary.  We must know where we can survive by treading alone.  On the shore others sit.  Most not aware of our quest, or at least only visually aware that we are far off.  A couple wishing they were with—only a couple.
Has to be soon

I am drawn.  I am pulled as if by a current, into the face of the head of the wind, yet it’s like a sail carrying me forward.  I am not lost.  I only seek to find.  Everything is a box, I tell myself.  I do not fear the edge, I embrace it with wonder.

Bending my knees I kneel on the bottom, tilting my head to the sky.  Sucking the air, as water threatens my mouth with each approaching ripple of wave.

Chest
Under
Shoulders
Under
Chin
Nothing below

We tread laughing for a long time.  From sounding the bottom we know that it drops off here.  We let ourselves sink, the water envelops our up-stretched finger tips, hit the soft silty bottom and push up.  Now we know where we stand, treading water looking back at the shore.

Breast stroke
Back float
Looking into the sky
Blue
Wisps of white
Contrasting the water
Wind at our backs
Propelling us
To shore

Engulfed in the space that has allowed me to slip into itself, form fitting as a mold, exact replica of me.  Opening my eyes I see through the blackness of this space and can pick out my companions, who also submerged could be stars far off in this galaxy.

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