Atzmotai: My self, My bones

(Published in Journal of Bisexuality, 2018)

(Written at Dillon Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore)

I offer this prayer from the heart

On this ground that many have known as holy

I offer respect to the First Nation peoples of this place, the Coast Miwok and to all those whose bodies are this land.

I acknowledge the Elk, the redwood and oak trees, the stones, birds and sea-creatures.

I humbly call upon on the blessings of my wise and loving ancestors and the truth-speaking energy and love of my teacher Ibrahim Baba (may his secret be sanctified).

I am

Breathing with you

We are

Breathing together

Bismillah Ir Rahman Ir Rahim

Mystery that animates

The interconnected web of all being

Ima Ila’ah

Ya Allah

Love that permeates all

Thank you

I left the city this morning

Spun out and aching

For the ocean

Soul exhausted

From the excess

And waste cycle that corrodes

Joints and fatigues neurons


Fuck the caffeine addicted

Gas guzzling

Plastic wrapped

Staring at a screen

Colonized dream


I remember ancient spiraling joy


I am a wellspring

Of creative possibility

When I finally arrive at the water

I remember

This place was (is) so sacred

To Baba

The sand

Neutralizes my system

The sun

Replenishes my cells

My legs

Quiver on stolen land

My skin

Parched for salty waters

My heart

Appropriately broken again

By the unshocking news of

Another unarmed Black man killed by police today

In Sacramento

In his own backyard

I say his name aloud

Stephon Clark

Twenty-two years old

She beckons me



Mãe das Águas

Salty air fills my lungs

Water body crawling towards water body

“Don’t come any closer”

She whispers

I pause

“Take off your shoes”

I do as my ancestors say

“For the place upon which you stand is holy ground”

It was holy before I got here


It will be holy when I leave

I strip naked and dive into the waves

My tears merge with Mah’s tears

Brucha at Yah Shechinah

Emoteinu Ruach Haolam

Asher Kidshatnu B’Mitzvoteha Vtzivatnu

Al Hatvilah

Blessed Are You Shechinah Our Mother the Spirit of the World

Who has sanctified us with the ritual of immersion

I emerge


Right sized

Draped in remembrance

Shrouded in mystery

A ladybug rests on my naked belly

A seagull spreads its wings

The sea roars and the wind kisses my skin

The waves keep coming and going


The ocean is breathing

In this here moment

My whole body is breathing

I am wrapping a prayer around all of the scared, trembling parts of myself

Filled with the resilience of my benevolent ancestors

I am

Being courted out of

The trance of isolation

And disassociation

The fog of amnesia

Is clearing




Incessant searching

Capitalistic driven

Hungry ghost stricken


All reminders

That I am

A blessedly inextricable part of everything

Entangled in global ecology

Woven in a tapestry of story

And imagination

I have never been separate from

The web of all being

What a profound and terrifying


What a fierce and humbling


I will no longer apologize for

Or hide from

My complexity

Being humble does not mean being small

Body dancing


Oppressive patterning


Organic pathways of living and dying

Give away what is had in excess

Move resources

Share gifts

Create art

That sparks imagination

Ignites passion

Make love how I want to make love

Learn ancestral languages

Free this mind from

The racist




Free this body

From dogma

And corporate grind

Bones sing memories of the days that my ancestors drank from clean desert springs. Crushed olives between their toes. In my bones, my grandmothers tend fires under a blanket of stars.

Stepping out of the daze of whiteness

Remembering the songs and rhythms

Of my people

Keep drumming.

Counter oppressive devotion

Is my body

Moving so free

Making sounds that

That breaks spells of misogyny

Organic multi-religiosity

Is me being me

Affirming inherent dignity

Taking risks

For the freedom that comes

Through expanding


Of reciprocity

Generations come

And generations go

And Gxd is too fucking big

For one religion

In this here moment

My whole body is breathing

From within the gaping silence

I can hear

The angels singing

Or are they crying

Ya Salaam

Ufros Alyenu Sukat Shelomecha

Wrap us

Oh Beloved

In a tapestry of peace

Summoning now the wisdom of the well in spirit





Time benders

Shape shifters

Gender dancers

Love makers

Truth workers


Pleasure pursuers

Justice weavers

Across time and place

We are because of you

Help us make space for all the parts

Teach us how to be accountable to a Love

That smashes expectations

And moves us towards freedom

Help us remember that

We are nothing less than


Amin. Amen. May it be so.

Yael Schonzeit