What Spirit Will Do.



{Photo via}

By Jena Strong.

Push through cement,

an unstoppable weed acting out,

cracking the dreamless,

breaking the rule-bound,

and refusing pavement as progress.

Stage a protest,

evade the status quo,

rail against the arbitrary decrees

of group-think and follow-the-leader,

smash against the rocks

and destroy institutional sand castles.

Brand you as a rebel

and a troublemaker,

squeeze the pearls

and spit them out polished,

make a mess of common etiquette

and have no regard

for the established hours of business.

Loom over your days

like a hungry shadow

demanding your attention,

edge you towards risk,

push you over the cliff,

and catch you in the free fall.

Bend and twist

and source the gnarly dark

and strain against the windows

leaving shards of glass in the driveway.

Then sweep the glass,

so that you walk out barefoot

without cutting your flesh.

Walk barefoot into the world,

onto the weed-strewn sidewalk,

down the street

and into encounters with strangers

whose stories you’d never otherwise know.

(Reject Pretty because Pretty is for pussies.)

Bridge the underworld

with the circle of ragtag prayers

who stand in a circle

at dusk lighting candles,

command that you be joyful

when you do not feel joy,

create in the margins

of the boring yellow pad,

and wander off, following the light

until you are lost and found.

Break up and rebound

and be the arms of home

and the breath of life

that rebuilds your bones

when they’ve been ground to dust.

Strip away your angry

and insist on your raw,

be the writing on the wall,

a descendant of God

and God herself saying,

‘Go, Go, Go

into the sanctuary

of your fury and frustration.

Go and let the song sung there

be the heat that melts you

 first to tears then to action.

Know when it knows.

Have the coordinates of your heart

tattooed on its palms

no matter how many times you move.

Walk with its feet

and talk with its hands,

and stay silent for days, weeks, months,

sometimes years, decades, eons.

Time travel speaking

all the dead languages,

embodying the myths

and not comprehending these rules

of which you speak.

Alternate between ballsy swagger

and soft cooing, unassuming,

sometimes downright invisible,

a scull swift on the river,

a skull on the alter,

a moose crossing,

a roadside bouquet.

Mirror your mirror dance,

your ancient well,

your Sabbath bride,

and your ass on a cushion.

Take the reigns

and drop them when you flail,

gallop away with your briefcase,

and carry you bareback off-trail.

Surprise you and break you,

fling you from the confines

of what you learned was possible,

heal you where you thought

you were broken,

return home with you,



Jena StrongJena Strong is a poet, photographer, and tightly wound free spirit whose daily practice is to wake up, make the coffee, and see what happens. She is also an ice-cream snob with soft spots for skinny-dipping, sugar scrub, working up a sweat, napping, sunny Spanish-speaking places, and her fiancée — not always in that order. She has been coaching clients through personal and career transitions since 2003, and has self-published two collections of poetry and prose, Don’t Miss This and The Inside of Out. Jena writes about showing up to life as it happens at Her books are available for purchase, and she shares her photos here. She currently lives and works in Amherst, MA with Mani Canaday and three of their five daughters.


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