by Taylor Mason
…for those of us who reflect on our reflections… 

I forget that writing is often my form of meditation. I begin the drudging process of mulling over the words impressed upon my brain, vying for a stroke of the ego saying “listen to me! Put me down! I’m important!”

I give in. I turn on the gas. Sometimes I hold the knob long enough, the timing is right and I strike the match to ignite a flame on the burner. A flame running on its own, shifting colors and hues, dodging the threats of salt water tears and swelling with the seductive gusts of air—breath I never realize I am holding.
I need for nothing. I leave myself burning, often unattended, anticipating the house going down in ashes I can collect on my altar and praise, calling after them with sage and frankincense to please sanctify the reconstruction process.

Other times, my hand slips off the knob, the gas does not run long enough. The matches are wet or they cum too quickly anticipating this cold light-headed ecstasy only extreme heat can provide once it is surrendered to. I burn my thumb right at the tip, a blister under the nail now yellowed amidst sooty black. The wooden stick crumples to dust and I cough away my own carbon monoxide. Sometimes it runs too long.

Mind is ever the enemy of this process. It is not an escape from the body, but a return to it. I morph into a medium through which

my soul/my ancestors/my past selves 

and the memory scarified into flesh and blood cells may congregate, coagulate… rectify themselves into solid words glinted with the essence of spirit.
Damn the way they do this to me. They conspire against and with me—simultaneously I am liberated revived and exhausted from this process of giving birth to myself again and again and again. My notebooks are registries of death certificates, mourning periods cloaked in the black shawls of the midwives, doulas and parteras come to deliver me all over again in the same sentence.

Poetry is not a luxury, and writing is not a past time. It is survival. It is revival; it is the healing process of probing deeper into the collective memory of the soul.

Taylor Dominique Mason is a writer, actress and activist based in Los Angeles, California. You can find her in the forest, the bookshop, on the dance floor & at the record store.

Photo: iStockPhoto