song[s] of my self: epigenetic lamentations

During the summer of 2017 – a time of significant change in my life – including the rupture of my marriage, an upcoming milestone birthday, and a relocation to a quiet rural place with dark skies and an abundance of fauna and flora — I literally heard myself: I had unconsciously begun a meditative practice of singing or humming verses and melodies of sorrow, wonder, gratitude — or of the mundane. They were autonomic and presumably original, lamentations.

Serendipitously, I retroactively encountered a May 2017 piece published in Yes! magazine about the revival and history of “lament singing” in Finland. To find that I was actually participating in a Finnish tradition that I had never experienced or heard of — but that was somehow still in me — in some cellular, trans-generational or ancestral place — felt like a bridge to my lineage — to all my unknown women-kin.

The lyrics and tunes occurred spontaneously over several months, and I often automatically repeated the same one over and over while working, cleaning, cooking, gardening, walking or driving. I sung or hummed them mostly while alone, but sometimes they would emerge aloud in public places — I didn’t realize that I was in song or know how long I had been doing it.

People who laugh, cry, sing and talk to themselves aloud in the street are not “crazy — we are comforting, raging, celebrating, mocking and mourning ourselves, our lives, our experiences and the world.

The lamentations seem similar to freestyle rap or improvised jazz — where if the flow is interrupted or one becomes too self-aware or self-conscious, the rhyme, run, beat, cadence or magic can be lost.

I’ve long wished that I had recorded myself singing or humming these songs when they were so reliable and prolific for me — I treasure those impromptu lyrics and melodies that buoyed me during that hard time — even though I can’t remember them.

My songs, which sung themselves out — over hours, days or weeks are now mostly gone — but occasionally one of them will revisit me — like a surprise visit from a long-lost, dear friend. Recently, I had the epiphany that maybe these lamentations intentionally – as in metaphysically – resist being recorded or remembered — that maybe they’re meant to be ephemeral and recalled epigenetically only as the authentic and urgent need to soothe, praise, thank, confess or cope arises.

“In Finland, the ancient musical tradition known as lament singing is seeing a revival. In the past, the custom was observed at funerals, weddings, and during times of war. But today, practitioners have a modern application for it: musical therapy. By providing an opportunity to process emotions through song, lament singing can confer mental health benefits to modern practitioners.” – Tristan Ahtone

“How an Ancient Singing Tradition Helps People Cope With Trauma in the Modern World”
Yes! Magazine

Song of Myself, excerpt from verse 6,
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

I perceive after all so many uttering tongues,

And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing.

I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,

And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young men? and old

And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere,

The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,

And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it

And ceas'd the moment life appear'd

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,

And to die is different from what any one supposed

and luckier.


the limineen
as imagined with
The Flammarion Engraving

Limineen : limin + een

noun: the time and space of the thresholds; attendance to or presence in, the in- betweens, the interregnum — of becoming and nonbecoming; of beingness and nothingness; of the material and ethereal; of sacredness and profanity; of love and hate; of calm and rage; of the authentic and the engineered; of inertia and energy.

limineen is both mood and State of this author, an Earthling, human, woman and entity, who finds her self present within and attendant to the thresholds of the corporeal, incorporeal and surreal.

from liminal / lim·i·nal
/ˈlimənəl/ adjective

  1. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.
  2. relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.

Continue reading “limineen”


my hair holds memory,
i know this because

i cut my own hair today

her, at ten.

as i held the ends

in my hands

i said


did you touch the Merced with me and my boy?

i said,

do you remember my father?

and my other precious loss?

i said,

do you remember the first dog?

i said,

were you here when

i still loved

and was loved?

i said,

you were there when my mother was so near death’s door

i said,

and when i found and lost,

and lost and found, my Self again?


i still have possessions from all those times

and places

but no skin,

my skin long shed, my bone resorbed

and renewed over and over

but my long hair is still me from many years ago

that is why hair is so precious,

i thought,

this is the genesis

of what i have always

mistook as phobia

but no,

i know today


physical memory is held particularly, and only, in my hair

more than Samsonian

or vanity

or femininity

my long hair


my body
my health
my energy
my sensation
my emotion
my years
my identity
my essence

thank you

for growing

for remembering

for showing

for staying

for flowing

for tangling

for blowing

for graying

for glowing

for floating

for knowing

with me

all these years


no more cuts
without ceremony

i promise
i will never agree to lose you



This feels like an arrow
Made from a tree
That rose from
An acorn
That I gathered and stored
In another life

Scribed with a message continually
piercing my heart

I wasn’t only wounded though,
I was woke
into a clarity
that I was already sighting in my dreams,
writing with words
mortal and eternal

You once said, proclaimed or whispered
Every single thing
that I ever believed
My own truths embarrassed in the shadow of your confidence
My inner voice silenced in your animated persuasion
Believing you so completely – for the better of my years
Becoming like and unlike you because of it,
but not be-coming me,
Un-be-coming me every day

I ain’t even mad
You don’t know this – still,
You don’t want
to hear,
or listen;

Our time is running out
Even this admission
Is sure to haunt me one day,
and guilts me today

But I can’t call you confidant or crone
If you refuse to learn,
to evolve,
From this one archetype

The wide and long view
seems to escape you
You live in the moment in the least way, the worst way
And I don’t worship here or there, any more
The faith in your godliness is gone,
It is unfamiliar
For me to pity you
You, deaf and tone deaf

You had all the answers
In the morning shallows, perhaps
But evaporation revealed even those
Were anchor-less, yet stationary
An algae
Mucking up the colorless perfection of sunlit water

But in the deep, or dark, or quiet pools, you were always so lost
And in the ocean, at night
You drown even in its calm
You have ridden civil swells and storms,
I’ll give you that
But have you ever communed with waves
Allowing them to be part of you
Swallowing and absorbing the mystery
Becoming the colorless perfection of dark water

You seem to stay parched
Your belly’s hollow from impious fasting and pious thirst
You do know that’s where your heart sits?

But let’s agree to come around again, friend
We’ll swap places and next time
I’ll be the mother,
and the son,
and the husband,
and the elder,
and the babe,
and the foreign one,
I’ll become The Other One
I want the chance to know


Her, me.

Licensed under Creative Commons
Created by Mike Lee. Licensed for use under Creative Commons

I learn so many new things each day, that I feel like Samantha, the AI operating system OS¹ in Spike Jonze’s film, “Her”.

It’s as if I am birthing myself out of my own ignorance each and every day.
– kimtnt ⊕

Rooftop. photo by: kimtnt