contact us

We are always so grateful to accept your comments and suggestions. Please leave a short message in the form to the right, and we will reply just as soon as we are available.

Much love, and Namaste...

Columbia River Gorge
Underwood

celebrate@exultroad.com

Exult Road is here to uplift and celebrate life, and you. 

Publishing, Writing, Consulting

The Short Way Home - a poetry blog

Allowed

Jill Cooper

Photo Credit: Deryk Houston

Photo Credit: Deryk Houston


The sky rubs its bleary eyes
and notices, she is gone. 
The trees lift their shoulders, 
and shake. 

The clouds turn this old tome over 
and flicker their orangey light
hope like a motel vacancy sign,
and laugh.

They heave into this diamond void
lurching, like the top-heavy, silvery
breast of an empty flatbed truck, 
and cry. 

Everything soft cries sometimes. 

No matter what mourners
say with eggplant purple tongues 
—no less diminished than
the blue foaming hour itself—

it is never too late to end.

Soft, we begin again —new leaves, 
possessed of song and veins
of grace running through wrinkled 
promises drying in the wind.

Allowed, all opens inward, past 
the hot horizon of stories.
We are a heart shimmering with love, 
anyway. 

~ Jill Cooper

©Exult Road, 2014

www.exultroad.com

Yes

Jill Cooper

Yes to this day.

Yes to your body.

Yes to what your body

 wants.

Yes, to the insides

of flowers.

Yes to opera. Yes to trees.

Yes, to being late.

Yes to driving

the kids back and

forth back and

forth and back.

Yes to home.

Yes to your lover.

Yes to being

alone.

Yes to your dreams.

Yes to your best stories.

Yes to feeling

everything you feel.

Yes to feeling,

anything you feel.

Yes, yes. yes.

Yes to avocado skins

in the sun on

the counter of your

 ideas. Yes

to vacations with

people you like.

Yes to the talking person

on the plane.

Yes to the crying babies.

Yes to your best work.

Yes to your effortless

work. Yes to your watch.

Yes to tea and chocolate.

Yes to waiting. Yes

to finding out the

truth. Yes, to trying and

not trying. Yes to saying

no. Yes, to beets. Yes

to soft towels and knowing

how to say yes to your life.

Yes to all life. Yes to a

conscious love on the planet.

Yes to peace, yes

to what is. Yes to

peace. Yes to yes.

Yes to Browning, and

Keats. Yes to Sandburg

and Oliver. Yes to Dylan

and strum. Yes to storm

and sun. Yes to yes. Yes

to soup, and to sleeping

and to eternal yeses.

Yes to permission and

to magnets, to bells, and

magnificence. Yes to your

smile, to your slowness,

to your waiting. Yes

to your impatience to your

glory to your determination

Yes to your effortlessness.

Yes

to the velvet underneath

your tongue. Yes to your

smile to your chin to your

eyes. Yes to your creations

Yes to your go. Yes to your

stop. Yes to the class, the

kitchen, the lab, the beach,

the greenhouse, the concrete

city, the sea. Yes to resilience,

and yes to to going toward.

Yes to dropping resistance,

yes to softening. Yes to yes.

Yes to that dance creeping

up your spine. Yes to

presents, the snow plough,

the car, the paint.

Yes to the dogwood,

the rose, the cat. Yes to

feeling good, yes to crying

sometimes, yes to today.

Yes to now. Yes to you.

 

--By Jill Cooper

©Exult Road, 2013

exultroad.com

Naming

Jill Cooper

Sometimes after thunderous dreams you love

the peace of violet music early in the shy,

bowing morning. 

 

You take that risk of hot tea, with its

peacock eyes looking to you

for answers. 

 

You walk out into a busy green forest and hear

its grid of swallowing, chewing, yawning, spawning, dripping,

growing, and being

 

beautiful. You love the green deep purpose though it is far from

the safety of a hot birch log at home consuming

orange peels, junk mail, and time. 

 

You, too mannerly, or brave for abandon, still look

away from the chaos as you chew love delicately into

every word you whisper. 

 

And you realize toward exactly what that green flame

reaches, a mirror to your own

portable ambitions. 

 

You give a passing nod to the signs of neon culture, 

inky affirmations, and blinking academic lullabies:

Lovely, lovely, lovely. 

 

But, being home, in your passive eminence, you become

again, as you were in the long dark forest, belonging.

Unwrapping your heart of its golden foil.   

 

You sway your arms now high like sea grass

in the air, eyes open. A swaggering but sacred song finds

its way up, up, up to your new mouth.

 

You dare right into this moment,

this prophetic belonging, because it is something

 - much like love. 

 

It is something that calls out for its own name playfully, slyly,

inversely proportionate to the impossibility of being called

anything at all. 

 

Jill Cooper ©2014

Saturday

Jill Cooper

Blink, we are here.

Blink, we are there. I am

but a star, of a star, becoming a star.

 

Intent is the shooting star,

who remembers itself

on the way to the next glory

 

A seagull's diction is both

of this world and of it's origin

the seagull is emanating

 

always his translucence, density both

part of the many stories we weave around

our oxford commas, our goals, our nows

 

So many nows

So many stories

So many overlapping stories

 

Tell them through the cells and electrons,

tell them well, because they will live forever,

they already lived forever

 

you are off the clock!

because there are not minutes

Rest, like you got off work and

there is no more to do

 

except to live, because

you are still here, being

emanating, dancing your mimes

 

sweeping bread crumbs

for the dying rooster

with joy in your heart,

with tears in your blood

 

remembering your origins

takes the focus of a disciplined monk

or, the delight of a kicked off shoe

 

the strength of deep pools of

eyes, so long waiting

or, the raunch of neglecting a pet

 

and then it comes and the

emanating is a petitioned thing

you are not afraid to dance about

 

You are brave enough to say

that your fighting had it's purpose

which was to end your fighting,

to find

 

ever lost, your favorite toy,

your other sock, your man or woman

your ego, your watch, your wings,

 

the wings that live in your electrons

like tips that skim lightly

on the whole affair

 

and break it out into

days, month, and ages,

first boyfriends, first jobs

 

first hate, first drilling down

deep into your paper brains

with a jackhammer at church

 

or in the lines of a book before

the thrumming of truth

came to you on the back

 

of a golden beetle

of a long love letter

of a coffee filter

of your love's  hand

 

that wasn't still enough.

because how can truth be enough

when it leaves you standing

there with your streets of

 

gold and mansions awaiting

and praises in chorale

permaculture heaven?

 

There is not then and there,

and later and tomorrow, and

yesterday, though you walk through

 

 time's foggy fun and games,

the curtains drawn for

your personal string quartet

 

the dying rooster, the skip skip

of a wheel and the rotation

in your mind, in the circling

 

satellite of minds grandest

plans and ideas and screams

from moms who are giving up

 

way too soon, and even her

giving up is a holy offering

like the contents

 

found in a little boy's pockets

plastic, living, dead, replicas,

shine, fluff and grime

 

all glory in that as when

the time it seems to take

 to break the cast of attitude

 

and wing it

wing it better than last time

or worse and dive in again

 

Be with the seagulls fighting

and say that's just what seagulls do

we can choose that till

 

that lonely, moment when you

can't choose that and your tea suddenly

tastes like benediction

 

and fulcrum and everything

crumbled into a forever lasting

now, call it joy if you can still

 

use that word through the

tingling bliss of it all

through the freedom and sadness

 

of watching your jealousies

pile up together on one corner of the

room like dust bunnies

 

attracted by the real way out of

here, so fragile and easy

to ignore, or let them go

 

all molecules and messages

from your clothes and the other sock

just vibrating with a fuzzy plexus

 

of your most important stories

Stories make the world

or do they?

 

Stories are not your definition

your outline, your launch pad,

your recipe, not even your teachers

 

Let them vanish for one day, and feel

 

the inside of your skull and tongue and

glands and cells and deep deep deep to

the blood without end to the real edges of you

 

that stars that are watching through your blood

and loving the way you choose to find

everything out

 

to begin your slow-dance with god

to begin to sparkle with fearlessness

and to keep asking all the while

What is this?

 

still loving the way he walks, your satellite

of hearts and carbons and gardens, you snoop

around the multiverse now, finally and watch

 

It all gather into fires, and flies and clocks that

fluff up gray and light into some corner

of the grand room and you squeal

 

with delight up and out from your vast

throttle,  like a seagull feels, momentarily

limitlessness, when it seizes height and dies

 

and doesn't die because it was never

born but intended itself into flock

and practice and bodiliness.

 

Let this star ring through you.

Let your tardiness aver  fresh

let your shaking tears not feel

 

so good they scare you away from

the sacred hot, dry, desert joy

where you find the door to finally

 

come on in. Invited. As you are.

always, with that bird on your shoulder,

with that lack of focus, with that

beautiful painting in your messenger bag

 

with that diary written on feathers,

with that waiting keeping you

broken down, refining your points

making you, carving you, loving you

 

come in with all that clutter and mess

and story and dance, and heart

split right open

 

What if it never ends?

No rest at the end?

What if you are of a long everlasting

dream? What will you make then?

 

What if everything is allowed.

What if you feel your soft landing

return into the morning body

(the one in which you currently tenant)

 

What if, like blood being a moment, you

feel your moments being love, you

feel your love being food, stars, ink

 

Feel your love being dance

feel your dance on the banks

where your freedom laps around

 

your precious ankles and cools your feet

shakes out what's broken

(nothings every broken)

 

 What if you feel your emanation

from origin and where you

are going and where you have always been.

 

Okay, now come on.

Bring this story around to orchards

and the ball sinking into the basket and awe

at the coral wall under water, the orgasmic gasp,

and the scream of the baby when

 

she emerges from between mama

thighs in blood and stars and into the

plane of tiny things like clocks

mountains.  just for scale

 

let's bring it around in circles to

guitar strings and olives and

penises and vaginas,

 

cute outfits, and good harvest years,

ungiving partners, sorry cable companies,

unpainted masterpieces, malls

 

let's go in there together

and untie it, unleash it, unchain it all

will use a little magic too

 

finally, till your blood

in these circles knows how to quiver

in its work and be bone-still in its playing

and exhausted to the core by its boundless bliss

 

and know that you were free

all along

 

--Jill Cooper

©Exult Road

exultroad.com

Making

Jill Cooper

The eye of my attention

is with the soft win,

the hot, heart place

that incinerates

old feathers

 

and builds volumes

from love, songs

from clover, and

nourishment from

strands of bliss

 

My attention is a

winter morning

light across the

bright grass, the

sturdy tree

 

the ice that sings

a softening song

under the gaze of

her own deep

rosy source

 

The eye is on

the prolific, the

flow, the touch,

the down, the loose

belt, the clean

 

currency of

truth and fresh

eggs, and free

time and aging

into a new youth

 

The eye of my

my attention

is the brush

that paints the

story as we wish

 

Sweetness fuels

the clear-eyed

attention onto

the banks of the

easy river

 

And the garden

of the mind

in repose and

in excitement,

in creation

 

Where the tools

are where the

joy is where

the knowing

is stored

 

And the eye

of attention

for two minutes

homes in as a bird at

rest on the pleased

 

Because the eye

of my attention

is a goddess in a

green dress and

orange feathered

shoes

 

Whose wand

wields time and

filters, thread, ink

palm, light

and flame

 

Making things

out of the petals

ands tones and glue

and earth and dust

we shine upon

 

with the eye of

her attention. All

our attention is a

an outlet, a ring

as gold as wisdom

 

It's a circuit, a

revolution, of

homecoming, of

dinosaurs being

birds

 

It's a lover in

her business suit

hurrying out

the door because

she's never late

 

It's the architect

of misery or joy

and cocktails

of them both, as

you wish

 

It's the eye on

the bad boy, or

else the diamond sky,

whichever one

you look at

most

 

It's the union

of your judgement

with your time,

it's the motion

of the breath

in your voice

 

It's the secret,

strings on the inner

harp of your fear

it's the secret

bass line of

your views

 

Attention makes

the students, and

the tricksters

and the news

Yes

 

Attention is a

field of infinite

rabbits, belly

laughs, and

accidental sparks,

 

or purposeful

flames, and

indigo dipped

feathers writing

love letters

 

Attention is focus

as a glass orb in sun

catches the bell

song of the light

into real flames.

 

Dangerous or holy,

creative only,

the eye of Our

attention makes

the world.

 

--Jill Cooper

©Exult Road

exultroad.com

Forever

Jill Cooper

Smile with your

liver.

Smile with your soft hair. 

Smile with your race

heart.

Smile from your inner

caves, 

your vastness, from the rings

around your moons. 

 

Smile as you walk around

the lip of the bay. 

Smile as you skinny dip into

the song. 

Smile while you make

noodles and watch 

them smile while they 

devour your delicious red 

sauce with their 

creaky teeth and opening

hearts.  

 

Smile when she comes 

home, whispering

and calling your name, 

around the squeaky door,

and testy cat. 

Smile softly like a Buddha. 

Smile brazenly like a sun. 

Smile inside like

blood

whistling as it works.

 

Smile from your bath.

Smile at Plutonic tropes.

Smile into the barycenter

of your life. 

Smile when you lose. 

Smile when you win. 

 

Map the future

you desire, across your 

soft face. 

Beneath the arching

pink skies, let

your smile unlock

ten thousand doors. 

 

Don't smile for the 

world! Your smile is

hinged upon you. 

Your smile is your 

anniversary gift,

to each living cell

of You. 

 

Each organ pipe

flowing with

your teeth on lip,

your teeth upturned

like stars to the 

unknown heavens,

your diaphragm

spread full and wide

with so much more

than hope. 

 

Your smile is your

heart's beacon.  

Smile not to flash

them away, not

to bring them 

near.

 

Smile, softly, now

as a lamp to

your inner good, 

to the vaults of your

salvation and

libraries of your

choices. Smile

and sway and bend

as a school of fish.  

 

Smile

with your full inky 

heart. Smile from 

the inside out. Feel that?

Smile, just

to take the shortcut

home.

 

--Jill Cooper

©Exult Road

exultroad.com

The Short Way Home

Jill Cooper

Smile with your

liver.

Smile with your soft hair. 

Smile with your race

heart.

Smile from your inner

caves, 

your vastness, from the rings

around your moons. 

 

Smile as you walk around

the lip of the bay. 

Smile as you skinny dip into

the song. 

Smile while you make

noodles and watch 

them smile while they 

devour your delicious red 

sauce with their 

creaky teeth and opening

hearts.  

 

Smile when she comes 

home, whispering

and calling your name, 

around the squeaky door,

and testy cat. 

Smile softly like a Buddha. 

Smile brazenly like a sun. 

Smile inside like

blood

whistling as it works.

 

Smile from your bath.

Smile at Plutonic tropes.

Smile into the barycenter

of your life. 

Smile when you lose. 

Smile when you win. 

 

Map the future

you desire, across your 

soft face. 

Beneath the arching

pink skies, let

your smile unlock

ten thousand doors. 

 

Don't smile for the 

world! Your smile is

hinged upon you. 

Your smile is your 

anniversary gift,

to each living cell

of You. 

 

Each organ pipe

flowing with

your teeth on lip,

your teeth upturned

like stars to the 

unknown heavens,

your diaphragm

spread full and wide

with so much more

than hope. 

 

Your smile is your

heart's beacon.  

Smile not to flash

them away, not

to bring them 

near.

 

Smile, softly, now

as a lamp to

your inner good, 

to the vaults of your

salvation and

libraries of your

choices. Smile

and sway and bend

as a school of fish.  

 

Smile

with your full inky 

heart. Smile from 

the inside out. Feel that?

Smile, just

to take the shortcut

home.

 

--Jill Cooper

©Exult Road

exultroad.com

Queen of the New Renegade

Jill Cooper

This should get up and make you clap your hands.

This should swing you in its rhythmic charms.

Should this find you lying on your bed staring,

this should take your hand and come with you

to a place at the banks of your Will, where

the drums are beating in the night under the light,

where constellations are spinning

around like dervishes, like Spanish dancers, for

you in your dreaming room under your pink chandelier.

 

This should find your soft skin and rip off its

bandages fast, like big love, like the jangling hope

in your pockets on a big O-ring, like a lily waiting,

rising, writhing to the quick pulse of the right idea

while all the small creatures climb up nearby trees,

just skips ahead of the tidal wave of your jail break,

and in your great sucking of air, as your turned-up face

lifts through the surface to infinity and infinity

is not a word for the temple it's a word for you.

 

It's a goblet for your passion and grace, it is the way

your brain melts down the braided shackles

around your wrists, around your waist, around your

wry curling smile, and yeses. Your profound yes.

Your serious yes. Serious as pie with time.

Serious as the  memory that resonates

and warms you as it spreads out across the

swale of your eight arms, and wet, soft heart.

This should find you waking up to a new day.

 

This should find you waking up healed, and

twisting the universe around your beautiful

finger as if it's a strand of gems, or your escaped curl.

This should follow you up the long hall into

 the living room where the sun is lounging,

waiting for your bright strutting smile to cut

through all the slam and outrage and waiting

and spread this new day on some toast with jam.

This should blossom big in your glass tea pot.

 

This should make you kiss-rich.

This should make you wait-free.

This should make your arms rise up in a rousing "V"!

This should make you shake and sparkle.

This should make you unafraid.

This should crown you joy-queen of the new renegade.

 

--Jill Cooper

©Exult Road

exultroad.com

Transcending Retail Suggestions

Jill Cooper

The dog food and water dishes

at the pet supply store cost $6.00, or

something like that. They had a bone

motif on them. Purple bones, I guess

so that you don't get it mixed

up and accidentally pour your

cereal into the dog dish, or to

help you think that it has special

unknown qualities that will make

you a good dog owner. It is a dish,

heavy, and decorated.

 

In an antique shop, in

the next town, there are two

real crystal dishes, heavy,

and decorated, shaped not so differently

than the dog food and water dishes

that were at the pet supply store.

These crystal ones are $1.00 each

because quality crystal knick knacks

are plentiful. A shelf full of some

old woman's china cabinet teeters

over with teacups and gold leaf plates,

Victorian salt and pepper shakers,

gilded spoons, oddities (as promised

on the sign outside), nutcrackers and

stacks of glittering glass objects

with cuts of snowflakes and flowers

and ripples and diamond places for

light to catch in corrugations

and geometries intended to bring

about... delight.

 

So the dog's water and food dishes

are these heavy clear crystal,

luminous things, sparkling with clean

water, and pretty with kibble.

A transcendent set of dishes

on the burnished gold concrete

floor close to the window where

the snow is falling outside softly

and near enough to the fire

to be in the cozy space,

next to the bookshelf

in this age of plenty.

 

This poem is about a

bargain too, but it is

about the unexpected

pleasure of

transcending

what you

were

told

to

do.

 

--Jill Cooper

©Exult Road

exultroad.com

New Eyes of Worthiness

Jill Cooper

The woman used to step out

of her morning skin

and dress in protective layers

of scratchy fear, and a hat of scathe.

She lived in a perpetual kind of shock,

even before the bad thing she knew

was sure to happen, happened.

She felt prepared, that way.

Prepared for what might, no, what

would, certainly, go wrong.

 

She wore sturdy shoes, in order to kick

annoying people. Those shoes also

had a stacked sort of heel to absorb

the various shudders

the world forced upon her. She hid

her eye-rolls, not particularly well, since

she was good with words, but tried,

with sunglasses, and a syrupy voice.

From that sweet voices shot hot streams

of venom

 

several times a day,

to prove she was not so naive as

to not have noticed how messed up

the world was. At home, she used only

her fork as the weapon, pushing it

hard across the plate, so that people

would wonder if she was displeased

with them, or some other mysterious

force (they did deserve it, for

the record.)

 

Then one day she grew bored of it. She

wanted her head to stop hurting

and to stop minding so much when things broke.

She wanted to laugh, without sarcasm,

and to just see, what if love were mostly

a verb.

 

She wanted peace, at least, inside, she thought.

(You'll want to know that she had been

a pacifist and had even written

some important articles about war and the

futility of violence. But it dawned on her that day

she was on her own, a type of battle on a body.

How could one expect whole countries to stop

fighting, she thought, if individuals

had not even made a truce

yet with themselves and those around them? )

 

Change was easier than expected. It was a decision.

 

So she left her morning skin on

that strange new day

and dressed only in a layer of something that

breathed.

Something good for a party.

Suddenly, all the features of the world's face

she recognized as those of a great

magician.

 

And she rested in her new eyes.

 

Not being religious, she asked for grace,

to see if it was free

for anyone.

 

And grace, not being religious either,

came to her, arms wide open, laughing

and loving, soothing and excited!

She cried a few things out-

mostly about the past - but she no longer

treasured it like a badge, an identity. Grace being

a genie, turned her past into a purple geode.

 

They set it in the windowsill, next to

the houseplants.

They have travelled together so happily ever after,

now, staying up late kissing,

gambling on peace, decorating the house,

drinking up the joy of the world,

and spending love

like it grows on trees.

 

-Jill Cooper

Exult Road ©2014

 

Butterflies

Jill Cooper

Butterflies gather together along river edges to sun their wings and lick the salty rocks.

                                                                 ~ Todd Murray, entomologist

 

I have never strapped myself to cords and cables and neon kites.

I have never leaned my neoprene-wrapped body

backward on a board, tilting, swaying against the pressure,

bringing resistance into wind to loft into sky

 

like a boosting bird, like a curling wisp of smoke.

But I have dug my toes into hot sand and inhaled the evening air.

And I have observed the summer river - dancing with its hundreds

of kiters - a silent, distant applause of butterflies.

 

I have etched out stories with symbols onto paper.

I have played with the resistance and elements

and swells of language. And I have shown up for dawn patrol,

with quiet words, to unzip impermanence and let

her fly.

 

I have been there to catch the sky cracking open its translucency

onto yesterday’s hot memories. I have handle-passed

a honey gold sun, an apricot sun, even a fried egg sun

onto the flickering light of the screen.

 

No I have never surfed on water, but I have schlogged

through a paragraph luff, wondering, What am I doing here? 

 

But I licked the salty rock, and I came back again the next day,

for those moments when I am riveted downwind, with a whitecap phrase -

a butterfly in the power-zone, a moment, a blue eternity,

an ephemera, worth the words.

 

Yes I have dug my toes into the hot sand and inhaled the sweet night air.

But most of all, I have found that back on shore, like the butterflies, 

all I need depends on no more than a deep breath, and another sunrise. 

 

Jill Cooper©

Exult Road

The "kiters" and the wind of The Columbia River Gorge in Washington state inspired "Butterflies," a poem featured in the Columbia Center for the Arts Plein Air 2014 gallery event and anthology. 

Shocked, Again

Jill Cooper

The moment is a ticket,

the opportunity of every

moment, given

to a great joy ride

on an endless loop of

grace.

 

Fascinating details!

Holy dramas! Freedom's

strange logic!

Hilarious serendipities,

and divinity

everywhere in the shape

of your child, a love's face,

 

A candle flame, a new

stranger, spooning cats, sweet

animals, roses dying,

favorite mountains, a

feather, some honey, great

Lego towers, great rescues,

time's tricks,

dust in the sun.

It is

a generous serving of peace-if-you-

 

Want-it.

It is

a love-zealot's organic

mix of lazy productivity

and sturdy freedom poetry.

It is

the gift

of the opportunity

to notice

-no matter what- that

 

Moments are yours

for the unwrapping.

 

Moments are for thank you,

and for making, and

for helping.

 

This gift - a bright, sparkling

invitation to be shocked

again by how much

you can love.

And then again,

there is another

chance

 

To be alive.

To be alive

in an endless

loop of grace.

 

--By Jill Cooper

©Exult Road, 2013