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(c) 2017-2018 Oana Tataru Hogrefe

get unreal 2/16/2018

You look around
so keenly
intent on missing nothing
seeking patterns
inferring trends

the tyranny of reality
is subtle
yet relentless

you think you owe yourself
unbiased objectivity
your feelings rushing to reflect
the imperfection around you

you forfeit the thrill
of untainted creation
of allowing yourself
unjustified happiness

your cleverness enslaves you
to that-which-is
or even worse
to your limited perception
of what is

while all the while
you could grow wings
and soar above the drab scenery
of past disappointments
you could open your heart
with vulnerable courage
and transform the landscape of your life
through radical love
and aware defiance
of what once has been.

the ones you are 7/13/2017

each moment
you can choose to feel
the pull
of your heart’s desire

It changes
a little or a lot
with the seasons,
with each blink

Don’t assume
Don’t get sticky
Release the rigid image
your past built of you
shake it off

look closely
you are reborn
each minute
always a blank slate
for new forms of joy
don’t limit

be the willow
curve, flow, embrace

to be true to you
is to un-define
to trust
that your essence endures
as the specifics morph
to welcome the cracks
where the light gets in
to become fluid

ever changing
ever different
always true
always you


self love 7/6/2017

You reach for another
The purple haze
of infatuation
colors perception
softens the blows
you begin projecting

Immersed in yourself
you ache for reflection
the others’ choices
never good enough on their own
why can’t they be more like you
act the way you would
live like the best version of you
why can’t they be you
while at the same time
surprise you
love you
crave you
as you
for you
not you

Cloudily we strive
to morph
the others
into what we ourselves
fail to be
disguising guilt
into blame

All along
missing the chance
to witness
the brilliance in them
their own light
their own fire
Passing by
the gift of encountering
of expanding
of reshaping

Do love yourself
as you are
as only you
And then
if you can
– can you –
love them
as they are
in their own right
if you will
– will you –
see their own wonder
trust them to live
their best life

Only then
you grow whole
as the reward of recognition


limits 6/23/2017

The freer I get
The more I push
against my own limits

Some I’ve danced with since childhood
Others, surprising, admitted just now
Though long-suspected

Their presence affected my choices
Day in day out
even if I blindly pretended
I knew nothing of them

I would like to think of myself
As expansive
Easy flowing
Happy going

Sometimes I almost act it

But then
I realize
I was merely
glimpsing through holes
in my self-imposed
cloak of doubt
the one I wish away
as I snuggle it closer

I stumble along
aching for guidance
looking within
reaching for grace
my tears hot
my voice trembling

Until my heart opens
my urgency vanishes
And I cannot utter any prayer
other than the one
that needs not be prayed.
The only one
my soul can fully embrace:
Thy Will Be Done.


no need 6/19/2017

teach them
the true meaning
of need

they grow
mistaking their wants
their unbalanced fears
their perceived shortcomings
for a void
to be filled
by otherness

their minds
are frightened
by the scarcity
they learned to assume

their hearts
in worry
that they
can never be

show them
their wholeness
encourage them
to explore it
and express it:
the good
the bad
all beautiful

they are complete
they may love
they may want
yet they won’t need

others can enrich their experience
the flavor of living
often comes at the edge
between us and non-us

there is a point
in reaching out
in reflecting
in opening
to their fellow

the beauty
the magic
from choosing
that loving connection
and extending themselves
beyond their solitary perfection
not because
there ever is
a lack within
but simply because
of the thrill
and the adventure
of discovery


currency 6/11/2017

so much energy
spent worrying
about money
about words
about contracts

what you give
what you get in return

who receives more
who is short-changed

our minds locked
onto fabricated values


to feel we matter
we attach
to what comes our way
assigning importance
by standards not ours
not from our heart

only late
as life flows onward
as the remaining years shrink
we begin to see

the only currency
is our time
the only real gift
is our loving presence


is real.


the power of when 6/8/2017

Live in the present
they say
the past is gone
the future uncertain
revel in this slice of time
squeeze yourself in it
it’s all you’ve got, they say

my swelling heart
my bulging mind
struggle to fit
inside this moment
they rebel
against this limit
they trail their memories behind
like a comet’s tail
they throw their dreams ahead
like dragons clearing their lair

this moment is safe
there is peace in the now
without context
our fears loose their sting

but my mind and heart
keep spilling over
before and ahead
they treasure their laughter
they embrace their tears
they claim to need
this time travel
this imperfect hindsight
this illusory foresight

I won’t wake them up
from their delusion
Since I, too,
guiltily savor
this delicious torment
of being bound
to the ongoing flow,
to owning all the frames
in this flawed film
we call life.


steady now 6/2/2017

We cleave to each other
As if hanging for dear life
We entangle and mesh
Until we can’t remember
who’s who

Our edges get duller
We hurt less
We feel less
We trade the journey
of honest discovery
for the comfort
of the familiar

We feed the illusion
of fully knowing
of guaranteed connection

We neglect
the subtle shifting,
the gradual growth,
which, if celebrated,
could keep us
freshly enraptured
yet, when ignored,
takes us slowly away
from each other

Our souls are drifting
taken for granted
as our bodies
keep slow dancing
in the trance
of the mundane
holding as true
the only


can you 5/28/2017

can you
allow the pain
wash over you
without nurturing
the suffering?


the river 5/25/2017

You are standing by the river
Half of the water flows one way
and half the other way
rafts float by
you jump on one,
drift a little,
jump on another
drift the other way
further, closer
back and forth you go
carried by your mind
your worries
your conflicting thoughts

the currents of your emotions
add to the turbulence
mimic action
simulate motion
when in fact
you are still
in the same place
only troubled
out of breath

Go back
onto the shore
stand by the river
watch the flow
allow the rafts to pass
you don’t need to join them
you are not them

You are standing by the river
savor it all
witness it
as the whole you
and nothing less


boom it goes   5/24/2017

Hidden inside a cage of bones
So soft, so vulnerable
Your heart
Expands and retreats
Keeps the beat
over and over
as it breaks,
as it heals,
never the same,
always pure
awash in hope
ever learning
never settling

despite past despair

Such an illusion, its hardened cage
as if it can truly protect it
as if mere bones
can stand between
its incredible,
and the unforgiving crush
of abandon


as if ribs alone
will shelter it
from life’s storms
to which it chooses
to expose itself

again and again

in search
for the elusive
and always worth it


The blind and the loveless 5/19/2017

Like the blind leading the blind
We seek to protect our heart.
We’ve been hurt before
When we offered our trust
So we withhold our raw curiosity
We deny our vulnerability
We ice our feelings.
We beat the cruel world to the punch
We kill love
Before it has the chance to die
We think ourselves
As we choose no desire
Over flawed connection
Over warm flesh
Doomed eternity
Over uncertain ecstasy.


must do 5/15/2017

What is this urge
this insatiable drive
For unfolding and outcomes
of our own choosing
on our own terms
on our imposed timeline

What is this illusion
that the pit in our belly
can only be relieved
by a universal alignment
with our mind’s constructs

Haven’t we been here before?
Haven’t we received the
humbling lesson of grace
haven’t we been saved
so many times before
by our unanswered prayers
and our unfulfilled wishes?

Time after time
the bigger, brighter picture
– always revealed in hindsight –
illuminates the little corners
of our dimly lit plan
reshapes it with its blinding wisdom
returns it to us through love
as we put back together
our broken heart
and the pieces fit
in a whole new way
more inclusive
more expansive
less intent on being right
more permeable to happiness.



perfectly flawed 5/11/2017

We come into this body
And we begin unraveling
Our death sentence
The only guarantee.
We live it
every second
this spiral
back into the unremembered.
Even when our joy of life
takes over
for a little while
Even when our love
makes our shoulders tingle
with a hint of immortal wings
It’s still there
the sad cellular awareness
of the limited,
the constricted,
the flawed
cloak of the physical.
we’ve entered this playground
of hardened spirit
in full, unrecalled awareness
to squeeze our light
into unforgiving hourglasses
forcing it to drip,
the end always in sight,
Why –
you ask –
Why such strain –
why contain
the uncontainable – why.

Let yourself remember
It’s here, in the imperfect jungle
of missed perceptions
It’s here
that you can truly see Yourself

the piercing light of the everlasting
slays you
cracks you
smashes all that is less than love
and allows for the ultimate surrender
through and through.
A celestial a-ha.


Breathe 5/10/2017

Slurp it in
this air around you
heavy with memories
laden with expectations
Then let yourself
filter it within.
its heaviness
as wholly felt emotions
So when you
you restore to the world around
a bit of its original purity


Bailamos 4/30/2017

You move through life
Like dancers do
Steps forward, steps back,
grabbing onto others,
perfect or mismatched
Swaying on your own
Twirling with delight,
Sobbing as you crawl,
Switching partners,
Switching back.

The rhythm, the music,
Come from within
The miracle above all understanding
Is when another
Can fall in step with you
Even for a little while.



the lake
is calm

with only
an occasional ripple
light sparkles and shimmers
my eyelids

the warm air
with just the slightest hint
of a chill
moves around me
as I float
fully present
the what-might-be
soaking in
the only true miracle:
the ultimate, universal love
of the what-is



Can you open
Little by little
Or in bursts
While holding the shape
of the inner you?


Spring cleaning 4/15/2017

Layer upon layer
of thought-sediment
Get bleached
by the kind yet unforgiving
blinding, revealing
light of love
some mind castles
wash away
others reveal
their truer form
I’ve been closed from my heart
for so long
pushing what is
into the mold of what I wished
Letting go now
the release
the exhale
the undoing
is immense
and frightening
and the only


so close 3/13/2017

To open my darkest self
To let light burn and bleach it
To see its denied beauty
To allow it to breathe
To embrace it as me
As the me I ache to share
To be seen and loved for it
To feel passion flow
To understand that inside
that hidden chamber
Is where I held the secret key
to the unbounded joy
of recognition
That is
to me
the intimacy
I seek


Chiaroscuro 3/8/2017

The mind
Shines its light like a beacon
and all that sparkles becomes its truth
Forgetting in the process
the magic covered in darkness
no less real
no less enchanted

An open heart
stretches across it all
be it brilliance or shadow
with passionate awareness
and fearless abandon

With nothing to shrink from
Fear vanishes
And love exhales
In wonder


Centered 3/6/2017

At my core
I find the still, clear expanse
of the imperturbable me
it shimmers and shines
it envelopes and allows
it stays ever pure
and within reach.
To remember it’s there
is to release
the sticky need
to entangle
with that which touches me in passing
Gazing within
this one-of-a-kind loop of awareness
confirms that all is well
and sets me free


Wild Ride 3/5/2017

with the rest of me
wrapped all around it
holding on for beloved life
riding it wildly
laughing through tears
my heart
not waiting
done with waiting
took it upon itself
to gallop towards the horizon
ripping me away from confusion
and uncertainty
slicing through my doubts
not waiting
not waiting
not waiting
no longer indulging my wallowing
my questioning, my second-guessing
my heart, my open-life surgeon
grabbing the knife
of delayed, but not too-late clarity
and cutting right through the ropes
which have been tying it down for too long

I grab onto the reins and try to keep up with myself
as the love of living sweeps me forward
way too fast
too fast for my old shackles to keep up

once the heart has chosen
there really is no choice
and that awareness
is true freedom





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