Phoenix Rising

There are few things more precious than handmade cards, more endearing than hearfelt, honest words of encouragement and well-wishing, or more accurate than the thoughtful gift sent by a friend or lover who truly understands your taste & style and shows attentive interest in the things that interest you.

Dominique, sent me a print of my most favorite and famously representative red elfin female – “Ember – The Fire Sprite ” by Ruth Thompson. Matted.

and . . . SIGNED, by the artist, to ME!

She also sent a hilarious card that brought the realm of friendship down to earth (yes, we must go to that place some day, plenty of beers and people for ridicule)

But it was the deeply buried card that i almost overlooked that struck something in me. A handwritten card with red & blue-accented artful text, well-placed stamps and a quote from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman that made me think of the places i’ve been. The strange and personal suffering i’ve felt. The quiet undertow of sadness that at times, burst and burned full to misplaced anger.

Only the Phoenix arises and does not descend,
And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost

Of course, we all know the myth of the Phoenix well . . . it represents eternal life, grace, beauty, good luck, the Empress, female energy, and the southern direction. Dominique, hailing from Georgia and bringing all this goodness and light to me, you are an Empress of the highest order from the southern direction.

And you have reminded me that i am loved, respected, thought of, supported, believed in, and a friend – in all this spirit, despite having never met in the flesh.

“Life’s like an hourglass glued to the table,” says folk singer Anna Nalick and “endurance makes one divine,” says the wisdom of death-metal band Morbid Angel. And i have to deeply agree with both . . .

For as the Phoenix, though we are not immortal, we endure a cycle of self-immolation and resurrection, tiny tragedies, minor catastrophies, and sometimes – major hurt, heartache & loss and the sand keeps slipping. All of it is a burning, and from our own ashes we are able to emerge in a new flame, a new life spread out before us, bearing feathers of red and gold.


i am

I am
a monstrous and lithe energy
just barely contained
in this luminous soft-candy shell.
right handed and dual-brained
hard on the heart
and easy on the eyes.

I am
always hungry
often cold
but a lover of sleep
which soothes both.

I am
moving towards daydreams
that are intensely private
but talk too much in my writing
and laugh too loudly
and give me away.

I am
singing my own song
painting my own image
writing my own story
photographing my own vision
and the whole of the work
fills my entire body with its art
and resonates with purpose in my mind.

I am
sometimes cruel
particularly judgemental
and that is my protection.
still – i am
capable of profound love
and understanding and gentility
and that is my gift.

I am
the ace at seeing good
or at least morbid humor
in the worst possible things.

I am
not afraid of much
except losing someone slowly.

I am
terribly sarcastic
unwilling to accept “no”
impossibly stubborn
frustrated by time
and this means
I can do anything
once i learn how to carve the hours out
and forgive myself and others
for the occasional loss of ambition.

I am
constantly improving
by ups and downs
and always looking
for a new way to love
everyone i know
and especially
those i don’t,
because, through love
i am.

~ Andrea E. Janda