The Mythogenetic Grove


[poetry]: Interrogate Me

by on Dec.18, 2016, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris

if i am locked in stasis
like the pose of some ancient dancer
preserved in a jellied womb
lucent like amber glows
am i still the dance?
fingers will not tingle
bloodstream clogged with worries
and doubt–is this the moment the dancer
separates and becomes waxwork
– a representation of her art?
who divides?
{questioner and the questor}
what dissects?
{answer from the interrogator}
are you the unresolved yearning of
the ultimate eroticist for diversion
or mystic desiring one-ness with the slurry
of Universal harmonics?

You seek to re-create me, but is it rather
my destruction that you desire?
Pull me into the tabernacle of your quest(ion)ings
you can attempt to pry
apart the skins that hold me close —
I feel fingers along every fibre of those
protective coverings, trying to penetrate
the interior. Sometimes a dirt-encrusted
nail reaches within only to encounter resistances
of bloodstream, body, and mind.

Automatic pilot activates the spooling of programmed
answers while they drive in another
stainless steel nail to unearth obscure
treasure from the wreckage of experience.

The hunt is the head of the serpent
the hunted is the tail
watch me swallow myself whole
watch me swallow myself whole.
(11 August 2003)

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[poetry]: Between Stillness and the Dance

by on Dec.14, 2016, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris 2004-2016

Oyster furled liminalities,
the grip of Baubo trembling laughter
in Demeter’s wake of grief.

Soliloquy –
watching the moment
drizzle on inside hyacinth sunpetals of dew
possession beyond the auspices of rue
forged on chains of ivy

We climb upward unnoticed in
the shadow-dappled sunlight
forsaking silkbound checkpoints of
sapient sentries

We dance through subterranean
passages to meadows of starlight
dappled hues of dark
– lit from within like Sister Moon

Starlight –
energy shivering in
an apsara’s pose

Laminate this moment
hold it down like the Leviathan of
the deep.

Coyote pries open the code
and finds nothing there
to greet the sunlight

(29 July 2004)

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[poetry]: What The Woods Mean

by on Dec.14, 2016, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris 2003-2016

Daughter of tar highways and steel-winged
flights, I belong to this age where
travels have become rat race transits
clogged with humans in metal cages
within subterranean regions bookmarked in cranial
parameters the trail starts inconvenient –
meandering through almost-invisible
paths into the thick of trees.

Once, roots and twigs crammed
commutes interlaced with hosts of fanged
and invisible passengers shivering
thoughts, freezing veins;
claiming pathways and exacting tolls
eked out of terror-filled imaginings

“We must shut them out!”

More roads built with stones,
clearings paved with sacrifices,
industrial accidents and tears of widows.

“These entities of nature are everywhere
and they are the enemy of virtue! ”

We persisted and bartered for an imposed, uneasy truce.


The woods outside dwindled but
inside our heads they loomed larger
and more threatening – becoming
metaphors for journeys, travels, bargains –

forked roads suggesting choice over fate.


In my youth I shuddered away
from nightmares where branches
looked like hungry claws while
slanted eyes wait all-patient for me
to slip out of hallowed light.

Adolescence: sleeping within thin wood-plank walls
of weekend retreats, nocturnal bovine sounds became
voracious tigers skulking through rubber plantations;
totems who still stalk my dreams
and taunt me with wordless koans.

I promised that adulthood would find me
nestled within a city far from
the woods: encircled by brick and cement walls
the Big Bad Wolf could not blow down.

Brother Tiger will not be able to eat me if
I am cushioned by public utilities.

I will no longer fear things that tap
from outside windows and jeer at
me from just beyond the
penumbra of safe sleep.

This helps me understand why highways are
built and why they fear as they huddle in
governments and conclaves that
shut out the woods; magic and
individuality of errant journeymen
who would dance between the trees
and shamans who climb tireless up
(g)hosted trunks to mate the heavens.


My dreams still shiver resolve but my waking self
mourns the physical forests and childhood adventures
of mind. Weep for stories of journeys that were
more than just literary devices and metaphors. Weep
for a world sliding here and there on scales of
human duality.

In cemented underground parking lots
wolves without fur still exist; devoid of grace and
innocence they denude the furred and feathered
hunters of mythic woods – murder both the Wolf and Red Riding Hood.

I fear this unnatural forest of human hate and
enclosures of cement and steel more than
the dark enclosures between trees, more than
Brother Tiger laughing at me through doorways
in dreams. I fear more the empty eyes of humans
lacking love; desiring only annihilation
and satisfaction of the lower chakras
while the screams and pleadings of
their victims become epodes for
vacant beings.


You have denuded the jungle but your replacements
are more terrifying. You cannot remove these
woodland quests, only mutate the labyrinth.
There are still paths to keep to and safety in numbers.

“Be bold but not too bold”
when you’re wandering a tar and cement forest
through office buildings and travails up
corporate ladders, senates and pop-charts. Discard
the red hood of womanly desire and awareness
for it is still the mark of the harlot and tells them you
deserve what you get. It assures virtuous women
they’d be safe from wild animals lurking outside
if they hide inside your walls and

agree not to live.

Remember: do not desire more than
we have decided you can have- Bluebeard
still waits with his casting couch in a bloody
castle at the forest’s heart. The dismembered
arms and heads of your sisters should teach you
a lesson you’ll never forget.

Remember: the cost of knowing more
than we have decided you should – it
is the mark of waywardness and we’ll only
throw you into the pond to make sure you can’t
swim for if we were meant to be in water we’d surely be given fins.

Unconscious memory filters these
highways we speed down, exacting a toll on
our minds even as we nudge
aside collective guilt – create new lore
out of screaming headlines and electronic mass
morality tales.



Won’t you dance between the trees with me?

Let us outwit Robber Bridegrooms and wicked Kings.
– climb up fanciful trunks of enlightenment so stars
may annoint us with courage beyond these binary woods.

I know we can be bold here – within these forests
of our souls. Let us laugh at distorted
reflections on windows with ever-tapping
branches; begging us to please let the Outside in.


(18 August 2003- 9 October 2003)

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[poetry]: Face-graffiti

by on Jan.24, 2016, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris 2012. All Rights Reserved.

I smooth warpaint on
my features as a mark of
war, not of seduction.
It is a reminder that the inner face
remains for the intrinsic me.
The warpaint is read as
an invitation for conquest.
There is no happy ending
for this tale; no rant
against being objectified
will be effective.
I have elected to be
a woman and by being a woman,
I mean painting my features
not hiding my curves
and letting my hair flow
like a war-general
rather than a seductress
Naturally this means
I cannot be a feminist
because I have not
decided to be gender-neutral
because I have not decided
to obliterate everything
that is womanly about me.
I have had a lifetime
of having a boy-cut hairstyle;
dressed in little girl clothes
chosen by an abuser
aimed at suffocating
any sign of sensuality
or womanhood.
I choose beauty not so I
can be prey or victim.
I choose beauty as an
act of aggression.
I choose love,
not because I like being vulnerable
I choose love because there
is nothing more empowering
or as humbling
as true knowing
and encountering.
I choose love — and this is a
fine distinction. I choose it.
Poets have written about
love being an animal
that chases you down
dark alleyways
but the truth is that in love
as in war, there is always choice,
There are many loves,
and one does not need to be
the recipient of a love given
grudgingly, against the
better nature and inclination
of its giver.
If love is not to be war then
love must be given freely
or not given at all.
If beauty is not to be war
then we should be allowed to wear
all of our colors boldly without
anyone insisting that
we remain weak and vulnerable
for them alone
Love is not the fetishising
of unnatural and imbalanced
power dialectics.
Love is not of imposed
choices by those who do
not know the strength
and complication
of our individual hearts.
If Love is not to be war
then let us choose to
be powerful and glorious
in all of our unions.

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[poetry]: The Foolhardy Lover

by on Jan.24, 2016, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Metaphorical Miles Crosses
have littered my life
as I wait for my true love
in different shapes and forms.
They pass me by on dappled horse, on bicycles
on their own two feet, but never have I pulled.
Never have I held a lover in my arms, to wait,
until I twist with pain against a red-hot brand.
I’ve twisted from the blister of words and games;
but in recall we can admit, they carried not the sting
of faerie punishments; more the default of humankind.
Now, if I were to see a milk-white steed
riding past me on the highway; I would pull the
rider down only to pull myself up.
I would ride away with my hair
flowing behind me in
an eldritch halo
I would join the host for one foolhardy night.

Note: I’ve returned to the motif of Tam Lin again and again since my teens. This poem references both that ballad and a song I wrote at the age of sixteen. Consider it a Midsummer’s gift for all of you.

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[poetry]: Mr. Wend-His-Way

by on Jan.24, 2016, under Poetry

(c) Nin Harris 2014

Slithering into a burrow
Mr. Wend-his-Way meets
his match in my afternoon
machiavellian delectations
of devices and tropes.
Bear-like, his words amble
like shagged paw-prints upon
foliage strewn forest-path
but our parallel journeys
take us nowhere close
to the East-of-West-of Moon-Sun
Home for Literary Strays.

Instead, I cast a backward glance
and turn left where the highway
intersects with our
secret arboreal treks.
I hitch a ride with a bejewelled
stranger in a red car peddling
rich bass and high speed
while Mr. Wend-His-Way
settles down in his burrow to
dream of castles-in-the-muck we
built out of territorial tusslings.

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[poetry: The Nylon Guard

by on Jan.24, 2016, under Poetry

c) Nin Harris 2014. All Rights Reserved.

I string instruments automatically
the fear of forgetting forgotten
— fingerpads and joints take over.
The body remembers competence
even when the soul does not.
Someday, my fear of losing you
will be forgotten.

All guitar strings must be replaced
but the music does not
fret the changing
of the nylon guard.
Someday I will make a song
sweeter than the jangling
cacophony of your regard
like an ill-tuned string
frayed at the edges
waiting to snap
with juddering speed
like whiplash against
the skin of my face.
Someday, my fear of not-loving you
will be replaced.

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[poetry]: The Seduction of Lemons

by on Jan.24, 2016, under Poetry

by (c) Nin Harris. All Rights Reserved.

If life gave me lemons
I would not make fucking lemonade
That would be a waste of time.
Instead, I would peel it and lick the inside of the skin.
I would separate each segment of lemon
and bite into it, letting the acidic sour
flavour of yellow citrus bathe my tongue
and sting it while the liquid flows
back into me
to be regurgitated at midnight
when dreams do not come.
If life gave me lemons I would rub my face
along their dimpled surface
because lemons are a thing of wonder
with a scent so original
it turns me on.
If life gave me lemons
and someone were to tell me lemons are bad for me,
I would bite into another raw segment
just because the advice made those lemons
all the more irresistible.

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[poetry]: After Larkin

by on Jan.24, 2016, under Poetry, The Escritoire

by (c) Nin Harris. All Rights Reserved

So used to the knotted
fist smashing into my belly
I almost come alive
when yet another hypothesis
is revealed to be deeply flawed.
And then, like Larkin I say
“Next, Please”,
wearily as future illusions
flicker in the distance
beyond my half-closed lids
like the afterimages
of a storm that never was.

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[poetry]: Never Tame

by on Jan.24, 2016, under Poetry

by (c) Nin Harris. All Rights Reserved.

Never tame
not even as child.
Strange, shy thing
in a private conclave of
Nor older, straining
searching shadows
trees make on midnight grass
a part of the soul ever
dervish in luna-drenched
Never tame
— not when in a crowd
with eyes alert yet remote,
scanning corners for
.exit lights
Watching, hiding laughter
spiraled tauntings as they make
plans and baits and nets to catch
.the wily wicked one
{mix and match!}
sentences and crimes
with my canny lashes
— tongue furled behind small teeth.
Words will drop like sighs of fops;
embrace of mismatched morphemes.
Primeval howl transcribes into
the notes of a sylvan song
{i am compassed by the lunatic moon}
The stain of grass on dreamtime soles
and lacquered toes flexing to flee
{and have you come to watch me fall?}
Never tame
a wild one even when demure
mutter inanities with fixed smile.
Would you bait me with you?
You know it’s hopeless.
I’ll snatch the catch
and bait the match with a
gambit of my own.
(28 MARCH 2002)

This poem was in my online anthology “Chiaroscuro” for a few years before I took it down. I wrote it, inevitably, for a crushbird. The usual story with me and crushbirds. I always go out of my way to avoid them 😉
Consider this a Watermaidens Day gift. If an online “reprint” can be a gift.

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