A Poetic Ode to the Dark Feminine
by Vanessa D. Fisher
The Dark Feminine has always been a strong presence in my artistic journey as a woman. The Hindu Goddess Kali, the Tibetan Tantrika Vajrayogini and the many manifestations of the Dakini all started showing up in my life at a very young age, and became stronger over time. These dark female archetypes have continued to play a prominent role in the unfolding of my poetic and spiritual path, as a source of inspiration and insight.
As an archetype, She is the face and embodiment of the universal forces of chaos, destruction and transformation. She exists to unveil naked truth.
She is horrific ugliness, blinding radiance~ the Goddess of light swirling within our darkest nightmares. She both embraces everything and is the ultimate sword of discernment, searing through our illusions with whatever means necessary in order to illuminate undying truth. She is the epitome of untamable beauty...
The following is a spoken word poem I wrote when I was 22 years old. The dark Goddess archetype had emerged once again to the forefront of my path, and this was the poem that came through me in Her presence. I laid myself at Her alter to be devoured whole.
I entitled the poem: The Divine put a Tightrope Around my Neck
This is my first time putting my spoken word poetry into a recording with background music. It was a fun experiment. The music used in the poetry reading is by Adham Shaikh.
I've also offered the spoken word poem written in full below.
I dedicate it to the Dark Goddess and the untamable beauty in all of us...
The Divine put a Tightrope Around my Neck
Vanessa D. Fisher
(written 2006~ recorded 2012)
Every moment afresh. No beginning or end. No attainment or final Enlightenment.
And yet I rest. In search of no time, some place, no face.
Anchored to a breath that rings clear through this empty heart, letting off the sweetest silence, in need of no sound to entertain it.
But still, this mind loves to read and these hands love to touch, but only because my heart loves to experience the moment of letting go, over and over again.
Until the touching is the letting go, and I absorb information into the black holes behind my eyes~Third Eye, Saints Cry, I fly home on the wings of blind ignorance, happy to indulge simplicity, happy to be the ground that sinners wipe their feet on.
But there was a time, before I had the good fortune to be the rug that kisses angels feet, that I lived a dream.
In this dream, I lived in a castle, with thirteen floors exactly, most of which I visited regularly.
There came a day when this castle was no longer satisfactory. It seemed that my lips only continually dripped with hypocrisy, and I was you see, in desperate need of electro-shock therapy.
To jolt the hold of rationality and open the abyss for creativity~
A catastrophe, at least it seemed at the time because I had no mind to fix time or swallow food with any solidity.
I thought perhaps they should lock me away, so that I could use all my time to pray, for the quick salvation of insanity, on our much too sane society.
At least that's what Erich Fromm told me, right before Freud came to psychoanalyze me and told me that my problem stemmed from an unchosen castration. My frustration was due to this inherent humiliation.
I wondered whether this wasn't another form of manipulation.
His recommendation: An immediate sex change to release this over-stimulation, possibly through ejaculation?
But I had my doubts that having a dick would undo the pain of this deeper penetration~ this internalized insistence on limitation.
I wanted a second opinion.
So I walked up to the seventh floor and consulted the feminist core as to why I felt like such a whore, and they said that riding the power of patriarchy was bound to make any woman sore.
They were right. I expected no sympathy, and I knew I needed to find a new door to explore.
So I traveled up to the thirteenth floor, the room I'd always made a habit to ignore. I was scared to open that door, but there was no other place left unexplored. I'd consulted the other floors a million times with no new finds of any kind. I was stuck in a perpetual state of dejavu.
So I opened the door to the thirteenth floor.
As soon as I smelled the scent of decay, I felt the ground underneath give way, until I was hovering directly over the Great Perfection, with my tiptoes balancing on the edge of its knife.
If I moved this way or that way even the slightest, my soul would be flayed into a million pieces, my body torn to shreds in the places where God shows us no mercy.
The devils attacked from every direction, their swords aimed at my head, heart and neck. I screamed: "Why are you attacking me?"
A breath caved, a presence stayed, and I remembered something Milarepa would say,
Stabbed in the front by the Great Perfection
Stabbed in the back by the Great Seal
I vomit the blood of instruction
Then I remembered a hymn that suddenly illuminated my sin. The voice of a friend who once asked me how much love I was choosing not to let in.
And for a moment these cruel attacks ceased to pierce my skin.
It soon grew clear that the Divine was torturing me~ was awakening me to see my own prison. My self-created haven of confusion and delusion. Inversion and perversion. Where I could see no one but myself, no reflection but my own, hidden behind every corned of what I once believed to be outside myself.
You see, I was now becoming One Will~ One Will divided into two, and so intimately intertwined that if I moved my hand out too far She would swiftly cut it off and bring me back again.
She put a tightrope around my neck, and when I deviated, She would pull the rope so tight that no air could come in, and I had no place left to go... but within.
My demons were Her angels~ my ugliness, Her offering of Divine Grace.
And in the moment when She finally cut off all life support, She asked me one thing:
That I love no one before Her. That I see no one but Her in every face that I meet, for She was the turning of color on autumn leaves.
I feel to my knees and told Her: Please, if I ever praise anyone before You, let me be thrown to the tormenting Hell of my mind and devoured whole. Only so that I might once again be broken enough to see, and able to whisper gently your name. Knowing you'll come back for me, time and time again...
I honor the souls who choose to see~ who fight in this world for sincerity.
I breath and offer what I can of this hand. To teach, to reach an inner wisdom, that might sustain them not to turn back.
And I'd turn my heart into a canopy bed, on which your blistered body could land, when the rest of the world becomes quicksand.
I'd say just relax and enjoy the ride, and refuse to hid when Kali awakes and spits blood in your face. Instead, retrace...
Follow the footprints of your fear back to their origin.
Make peace with your demons, lick the blood from your lips and kiss the mirror of your imperfection. It's only a minor inflection on the ever-present connection.
And when it comes time to tell your story, unlike me, try to refrain from the over-use of hyperbole.
For it is in the quiet moment of the soul that the mystery becomes key, and its stories only secondary.