To Be Continued… (poem by Francis Hopewell)

It is time to exorcise my demons
For too long
They have been inside me
For too long
They have been exercising
Locked in the sweaty pit
Of my subconscious
Pumpin’ iron
Getting’ buff
Takin’ ‘roids

It is time for exorcism

I lay on the floor
In Gary’s living room
Preparing for breath work
He presses play on the CD player
The music begins
I was afraid
It’d be some Don Diliberto shit
Some new age bleepy techno crap
Like late night public radio

Instead it’s pounding drums,
People chanting,
It sounds like the beginning
Of a Sedition record
Or some other metal band
Trying to conjure sacred rights

I know this music
I breathe with it
Locomotive style
Like I’m giving birth
I fall in time
The journey begins
Gary calls the four directions
Welcomes the spirits
He shakes his rattle
Guides me
He becomes a dancing shadow
In the corner of my vision
I see him transform
Something older
Than dreams
He shakes his rattle
And becomes his song

Every moment
Has led me here
This is the only moment
This is real
We are entering
The real reality
This is the time
Before dreams
Time is a dream
I am awake

I float on the floor
Atop pillows
No drugs
No booze
Only breath

Every moment
Has led me here
This is the only moment
THIS is real
My life has been
A dream
An illusion
That occurred
While I lay sleeping
I am awake now
My anger, pain and frustration
Unleashes from my root chakra
I draw it up thru my body
As I breath
I pull the energy upward
It hits the next chakra point
The energy wants to be released
I try not to piss myself

This is real
The only reality
Every moment
Has led me to this point
This is where I was born
I’ve returned to be reborn
This is where
My narrative has led me
So far

This is the place
I was trying to get to
Every time
I lay in the bed with the spins
Every fever
Every trip
Was an attempt
To return
And be reborn

I have come here
To confront the things
I have survived
But never healed
It is time to heal

The shaman shakes his rattle
This music pulsates
I breathe with it
I feel the energy
Rise into my chest;
The heart chakra
At first I feel suffocated
Then I realize Turtle
Sits upon my chest
Like the mud-ball world
Sits upon His back
Like the sun shines
On the backs
Of the soft-shell turtles
Perched upon logs
Along The Miami River

When I go canoeing
Those turtles speak to me
Now Turtle
Sits on my chest
Working me like a bellows
I breathe and work with him

My eyes fill with tears
Coyote comes
And licks my tears
Coyote who once kicked me
Out of the spirit world
Coyote who once told me,
“You’ve been here too often without respect”
Now Coyote welcomes me
Comes to me
Licks my tears away
Sucks the breath
That Turtle pushes
Out of me

My heart fills
Then releases
Poison clogs my throat
I spit out
Great globs of fluid
Spit, mucous and bile
Coyote sucks it from my mouth
Swallows my pain and fear
For me
I think back to all those times
Lying on chipped bathroom tile
Praying to Jesus
To let me vomit
I think back to misguided
Unchartered trips
That left me staring in mirrors
Not recognizing my own face

I think back to the time
I ate acid
Then declared
That I’d disappeared
Up my own asshole
That I was the snake
Who ate its own tail
That I was infinity
Then I spit in God’s face
Because I thought it was my own
Now wonder Coyote kicked me
Out of the pool
Now he welcomes me
Nurtures me
Heals me
Oh that tricky
Trickster God

I float on the floor
No Booze
No Drugs
Only Breathe,
And the shaman’s drum.

I spit the poison out
And breath.