Two Poems by Shizue Seigel

Badger Woman, or Speaking in Tongues with the Voodoo Priestess
The truth of me is messy and evolves every day 
and yet it’s been the same truth from the day I was born
on a full moon night on Bastille Day
In a segregated border town
With Sun and the Moon in opposition, each in its fall,
and Jupiter squaring Saturn, Mars squaring Uranus.
I’m a collection of contradictions,
perpetually putting my foot in it or blowing things up. 
It’s all for the good, I tell myself.
Maybe I’m just rationalizing the wreckage. 
But I’m not going there
because every stumble is a lesson
and guilt does nothing but hold me back.
The fact that most people don’t believe in Truth
bothers me less and less as I meet 
more and more people who Live their Truth.
The Truth is you can read people’s souls from the lines on their faces
The way they carry themselves as if love and  integrity matter
even when no one notices.
And they can see your shine as well.
It’s the people whose eyes are clouded with dirt 
that look at you like an alien from another planet.
They don’t yet know that all humans have the power
to create the lives we want to live.
It terrifies them that others can smell
the despair they hide even from themselves.
The Badger Clan digs deep to heal from the roots. 
Don’t tell my Shinto soul I’m appropriating from another culture 
because we are all of the land we live on—if we honor it.
The truth is we’re messy. Our intentions rarely lead in a straight line
because backroads and byways where stories are found.
The Truth is we are everywhere we’ve ever been  
and everyone that we’ve ever met, 
Wandering homeless until we learn the world is our home, 
our kin anyone who can glimpse the Truth 
complex and liberating, just beneath the skin.

The dark and light of it
When did dark become a bad thing?
Night is simply the absence of light 
Black cannot exist without white
Each blink of eye a moment without sight
Each rotation of earth brings dusk and dawn  
Black is the sum of all colors in pigment
White is the sum of all colors in rainbows
With dark matter more than 95% of the universe
Why fear what we cannot see?
Why not befriend the unknown?
Simple is not simplistic, 
Simpletons do not always lead the dance of fools
Don’t be beguiled by the arrogance of complexity
Embroidered finery shot through with lies
Gilded with guilt and laden with envy
All that glitters is fool’s gold
Encrusted with privilege
bloated egos lusting
for ornamentation borne on the blood
of pricked fingers sewing, sewing into the night
by the light of a guttering candle
held aloft by a blackamoor.
Underfoot— a 10,000-knot carpet
of finest quality tied by the smallest child 
Steal away from the palace
Become as a child to enter the kingdom.
The fool steps joyously off the cliff.
Shizue Seigel

Shizue Seigel is a third-generation Japanese American Sansei writer, visual artist, and community activist living on unceded Yelamu land in Western San Francisco. She writes from the sacred spaces she’s wandered in and out of for a lifetime. She supports writers and artists of color through Write Now! SF Bay (www.writenowsf.com).


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