a.e. hart's sketchpad

Month: March, 2011


The lost pieces
Are aching inside of you
Grown too swollen
And piercing beyond the scars

This I believe, is why you are ill

I have not studied the art of healing
Not to these depths
A headache, I can handle

The lost pieces
Are aching inside of you
The call you did not answer
The love that you cast off
The body you so brokenly
pulled from the wreckage
One September

I am resting my hands on your head
In dreams now, each evening
I sleep, in my sad attempts at mending
But this is your work

Imagine a spark of light
No, a living shard of glass
Cutting, and within it
The potential for a life in service

Imagine your lungs
There is scar tissue
This is a delicate breath

Only now, as you allow yourself
To shake it loose
Might I suggest letting that man
Reach in
To pull the shard from your body

The light of it
The glass now foreign
And dangerous

Given a choice
And allowed to return
I would let these learned men and women
With their comprehensive knowledge
of our thin shells
And their steady hands
near you

only after


you had taken such a breath



I stand before you with my blueprints
This in G-d’s image

I am covering the pages
the home we might one day share
It is not time
To call the contractor

I saw, from the corner of my eye
Your matching dream
the backyard goats
the solar panels

Above all, the music
our joined voices
like two foolish doves
submitting, laughing
in a storm

Here we meet in creation
here we meet before it all begins
again and again, my voice crashing into yours
the body of song
growing solid in our ancient hearts

Tell me, beriah
How many names have you had
how many dreams have you swept
Beneath these carpets

This world is forever burning
secret and quiet
There are soft ashes hidden in your hands
in the breath of life
The breath of the Singer

we are resurrected

of the nameless

Shechinah, can I know you here?
Carrying a strangers name
From some distant imagining

Carrying a strangers name
Are you of the same body?
A step into your skin; solace

Are you of the same body?
The mutterings of a lady-mystic, Dust.
The names men have offered; marble

The mutterings of a lady-mystic, Dust
Are you not my sister?
In the sinew they call language, frozen
Are you not my sister, Shechinah?
Can I know you here?

We are carrying these names.

draft (tikkun olam)

Collecting what has shattered
I rest in indescribable things
The folding of laundry
Layer and texture
The reworking of my every day

This is where I know Ayin
In the writing
The words where my hands meet plain fabric
The most ordinary things
The space before I speak
The abyss before a heartbeat

(Death can subsist
In a thought
You are folding the laundry
Fear over fear
Each towel soft
And in it’s place)

A year so far, of losses, of struggles
And of finding a new home
for my heart

All of my heart
It feels true that in love
Our eyesight grows more keen
Two hunters together
Are more likely to find
The scattered pieces

Last night I found myself telling you all of the truth. My hands unbound, we fell soft and laughing, until the fears came again, the old ghosts.  I have told these stories before, always turning them over in my hands to find the lost sparks, the ancient injuries. They are often dead, lifeless things.

Here in our sacred dimension, words lift and become alive.  I am terrified as scar tissue and sinew become malleable things, soft.  The story is now immediate, alive.  This is tikkun olam.  We are doing great work.  My stories wind into yours until we are indistinguishable.  This is the home we have hoped for.  A home not of settling, not of resting, but of bravery.  We are hunters now.

This is how the hunt begins.  I am looking for your eyes.  We spend hours staring at each other.  You have seen me cry, but we seldom look directly into this light.  We are dark-beings, familiar with the lost pieces.  We cherish them, hold them empty in our hands. Symbols, not alive, they are armor.  We are somewhat wilted, somewhat flawed. This has become our aesthetic.

I find my favorite piece.  I feel safe at first, admiring its edges while you witness me.  I am of my story now, not yours, not even my own.  You cannot help but to notice this.  You reach for my stone, my story, my mettle, and transform it. A brush of our electric blue and it is not metal, no trinket.  There is a bird in your apartment.  She is circling, and you invite her to rest on your arm.  Sometimes the hunter needs only to sit still.  She alights.

I call you a snake charmer.

You whisper “This is not a snake”
And I fold myself

(Death can subsist
In a thought

You are folding the laundry
Fear over fear

Each towel soft
And in it’s place)

You kiss the bird.  I warn that you might get sick.  That she might bite.  You laugh.

five minute sketch, #?

my hands start to shake, moments before you arrive
i listen to the same damn songs everyday
while i have spent hours staring at your face, i believe we have only made eye contact
real eye contact


after which you said
“i know you”

and i melted

there are stains all over my apartment
it is obvious that it took several tries
for me to get dressed
but to know this
you would have to open the drawers
and find everything unfolded

you will be here any moment
last night i slipped again
watched you grow afraid again
felt you step into yourself today
and almost disappear

you are cooking me dinner
and i know that we will be awkward
until the subject of fear comes up
you will pretend you are withdrawn from the day
when we both know you were swimming in your songs again

eventually you will pick up your guitar, or mine
and tell me that you feel safe

dear catastrophe,

i think that was the name of an album. if not, it should be. we can write it together.
you are out of town and i am too proud, shy, afraid, insecure, and half in love to tell you that i miss you. im telling my secretsecret blog instead. i fucking miss you.
two hyperdefensive jaded hearts melting in the midday sun. we are quite a pair. stay, please. stay close to my heart.
i am good at giving love space, and i want you to trust that, to feel that. it has never been difficult. until now. i look forward to that moment i know, trust that you are in this completely. then maybe i will hear you singing your sweet freedom songs when you are far from me. you asked me what you could do, to convince me you are not going anywhere. i am hoping it is just a matter of patience. amazing, since i am usually so cocky, that i would spend a moment concerned.
you win. i dont know what youve won, but i am so. fucking. yours.

rules and regulations

i will follow the laws
imposed upon my heart
by my heart

this is a shifting landscape

for the moment i can tell you
that there is no space
you do not occupy

i hand you the rope
because my heart
to be bound to yours

Allah and Her Love-Dogs

Lately I feel as if my heart is splitting inside of my chest. Falling in love with Islam, and yet turned sour by gender binaries. Conflicted by “Western” feminism, and the finger it points at the “other”. Torn reading Malcolm X’s autobiography, as told by Alex Haley.  It is the end notes, on his murder, that stretch my heart thin as paper.

There my paper thin heart sits and thinks of the woman I am growing to love, deeply and foolishly, beyond all imagining.  The falling begins and does not end, and I fear we will fall forever. Sometimes that fear is a hope.  I am growing wings.

She is headed to the desert for a few days, and I am here holed up with my books.  Essays written by progressive Muslims, in endless shade and contrast.  I sit with a conversation with a fellow seminarian, also a woman.  We feel ourselves drawn to Sufism, deeply and inexplicably, and yet we are shellshocked by the binary, shaken awake and left alone with Allah to dream of a different world, a different Islam.

When I speak the word Allah now, it resonates in my heart in deep pluralism.  In knowing Allah as one, I know all G_ds as one, every prayer containing a fragment.  I am able now to connect with the Jew, the Mystic, the Christian, and yet I know this feeling is seldom shared.  I am humbled.  I am tumbling stones inside of my own dervish heart.

All I want to do is bring them to her, to cool them in her hand.

I will write my love songs to Allah, to G_d, to Goddess and to earth, and whirl safe and secret here in my small home.  I will wait for my love to come cool this fire.  When she leaves me, I burn myself awake.  When she is close again, I am born of blue flame.

It is Allah, it is Sheckinah, it is Ein Sof that holds us together here.  I am willing now, willing to fall.  I am offering my heart up to her lips.

On the Turning Away

this song makes me want to dance, but i havent eaten anything all day
im shoveling in mouthfuls of bland food, but i have to write to keep from
this turmoil

i dont know how i will sleep, i am exhausted, but my body keeps exploding
in my tiny studio apartment, i am the art and the audience
and delirious with hunger

i can feel you, stepping back to evaluate, to decide if you are safe here
i am handing over my possessions, i am tying myself to our instruments
while you sleep somewhere across town

there are promises running through my blood, there is a song i want you to hear
more than anything, i want your heart close to mine, you can hold your body
at any distance

i am starting small fires in your name, i am bound for eviction
i am collecting our impossible future in ash and sacrifice
i am eating, but my body has forgotten how

text messages are dangerous, i want a world without technology
you leave me traces, i feel you moving through your day
at a distance, and i grow solid in my body

this is unfamiliar, and a blessing, and it grows out of our wanting
i wonder if you are as deeply affected, while you measure your fences
i am tumbling, breaking my body in the uncertainty


It can’t be this real, this intense. Im afraid that I will stare at you dumbly next time we meet, shellshocked from this language of falling, of flight. You are halfway in each of my thoughts, and under my skin in every movement.

Today my hips are aching from opening, from letting you in. I wanted your fist. Your heart.

I open into freedom, always, but you pull the ropes down from my shelf.  In the past, this was a game, for pleasure. Here, beneath you, it is a surrender. I do not let you know, but I am yours for the taking. I submit.

You are afraid of my characteristic wandering. I will not show you where you have me tethered. We reinvent trust. I call to you silently, when we are apart.