Thursday, December 31, 2009
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the
daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem
less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons that
pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within
you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy
in silence and tranquility:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by
the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has
been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has
moistened with His own sacred tears.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Slowly the west reaches for clothes of new colors
which it passes to a row of ancient trees.
You look, and soon these two worlds both leave you
one part climbs toward heaven, one sinks to earth,
leaving you, not really belonging to either,
not so hopelessly dark as that house that is silent,
not so unswervingly given to the eternal as that thing
that turns to a star each night and climbs—
leaving you (it is impossible to untangle the threads)
your own life, timid and standing high and growing,
so that, sometimes blocked in, sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I am wide open
a cracked egg
raw on a cold black
waiting for heat
to change what is
I try to love you better
to shape winter into summer
but the ice cuts my hands
and the blood drops
for all to see
The birds are gone –
no red breasted robins
to sing easily on an
outstretched Birch branch
wanting to dwell in
on all the
on all the things that
continue to shine
But today I hold
this darkness –
for it has been given
to me as well,
I turn from
every urge I have
to wrap it in something
Today I am ready
to stare deep into the
eyes of the dragon
to walk through
Venus’ fire, which
but the moon
I don’t remember when the first thread came loose
I didn’t notice as it hung like a secret
the words suspended but never spoken
a ripe fruit dangling from a tree branch
Unraveling usually begins this way, a silence
moves in like a thick slow rolling fog,
and suddenly you can no longer look into
your lovers eyes, even though
you are face to face
You feel yourself being pulled downward
the bathtub begins to empty
and elusively like water on a steady descent away
you find yourself somewhere unfamiliar, unknown
You realize something has ended and begin to wonder:
How it is the buds are beginning to appear
on trees, when all you can recall is dead branches
and dirt crusted snow heaps
How it is the lilacs are bursting open
forging into a new season marking this change
as if it were simple and sweet smelling
Thursday, December 3, 2009
There is a madman inside of you
who is always running for office--
why vote him in,
for he never keeps the accounts straight.
He gets all kinds of crooked deals
happening all over town
that will just give you a big headache
and glue to your kisser
Sunday, November 29, 2009
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a loin of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say: all of my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
pass through our lives
or singing boldly, or whispering softly
yet each leaving a mark,
or fiercely, or barely
spread across time
except in the afternoon light
when you slow down
and pay attention to the tiny details
a silvery spider web
the intricate weaving
of people and experiences
a map of what has occurred
here and there, then and when
the intersection of people
for a time
There is a place
where the only thing
that exists is love
shining through the unique patterns
that make up our relationships
the ebbs and flows
the coming together and the departure
casting shadow images that dance through eternity
We cannot capture any of it, the moments
can’t bottle it up
in a glass jar with a lid
like golden sunlight it sifts through
and leaves only warmth and emptiness
Yet somehow, what was good
glows in our hearts
lighting our way forward
as we stumble through
the tangled and thorny
bushes of life
with the sweet wild scent of roses
in the air
trying to understand why, and how,
and what if
trying to make sense of it all
Thursday, November 12, 2009
How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at
the beginning of all races---the myths about dragons that
at the last moment are transformed into princesses.
Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are only princesses
waiting for us to act, just this once, with beauty and courage.
Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest
essence, something helpless that wants our love.
So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises before
you larger than any you've ever seen, if an anxiety like
light and cloud shadows moves over your hands and
everything you do. you must realize that something
has happened to your; that life has not forgotten you; it
holds you in its hands and will not let you fall. Why do
you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any
miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know
what work these conditions are doing inside you.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can't see, can't hear
Cant know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren't always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in , knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
We pray that it will be done
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Before you know it
the blossoms have fallen
the field is empty
daylight more sparse
the autumn leaves
tenderly, passionately aflame
brightly yellow, orange
sultry red with longing for life
yet, in their time letting go
so beautifully, so gracefully
resting sweetly against the earth,
taken in like a long awaited lover
Before you know it
the water in the tea kettle
has turned cold
the bread on the counter
is laced with mold
the birds have flown south
for the winter, again
and the touch of your lips on my skin
your breath softly on my face
the shadows of that moment
our bodies, moving in waves
against the wall, the flickering
light from a candle, the violin,
and base, & drums all weaving
an exquisite experience
that is now a shuddering memory
captured in our hearts, caught
like a flopping fish in a net
Before you know it
there are gray hairs and wrinkles
the children are grown
grandpa has died but his smell remains
on his pillow, on his flannel shirt and baseball cap
where you bury your tear streaked face
and grief settles in like a blizzard
locking you away in your house
for a time
Before you know it
you smile again
find yourself humming,
singing out loud when alone
a prayer of gratitude spilling from
your lips as you catch the sunrise
spreading light across the morning
soaking the sky with the deepest pink
and you know there are a million
ways to hide from your heart
a thousand reasons to be sad or scared
but even more, even more reasons to be
to move forward
as the hawks are called forth
to migrate, over and over again,
to wherever there is more bounty
Sunday, September 20, 2009
we will always love each other
even if it is silently
and the soft touch of
our skin and lips,
the brightness of our lit hearts
has been quietly hushed
the sweet elixir
We made our way
out onto the water
caught like light
on a passing afternoon
the fluid movement of
our love, an answered prayer
your face, your words,
dead places in me
Our bodies may never again
know one another
but this is not the end
you cannot stop the force
has been revived
the key has been turned,
the engine ignited
the bird has found her voice
and sings for hours in a canopy
of dark maple leaves
the sunlight entices
the fern to unfold her green tendrils
will always be the one
who helped call me back
to taste the warm wine
of a life awake
I ravenously drank
and now live more vivaciously,
my heart now soaked with passion
my soul drunk with joy
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Do not stay
at the dark point
of the moon
you are there
Do not believe
that blackness & emptiness
that bloom and die
in the same hour
Do not give birth
to your story
and then carry
like a dead baby
you cannot bear
Do not resent
yourself for your
Do not hate yourself
for that 10 pounds
for the acne
for your lack
for the diarrhea & fatigue
for the dark circles
for all the tears
that swell and fall
and then evaporate
as if to symbolize
has gone away
you know better
Everyday inhale light
slowly begin to orbit
notice the sunshine
a child smiling
Feel your truth
warm & red
begin to beat and flow
Listen to the sweet
sound of yourself
are staring into the
fierce face of a full moon
you caught a glimpse
of in your rearview mirror
while you were singing
to the radio
and realize that all along
you were the sun,
you just couldn’t
Monday, September 7, 2009
Tell a wise person or else keep silent
For the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive
And what longs to be burned to death.
In the calm waters of the love nights
Where you were begotten,
Where you have begotten,
A strange feeling comes over you
When you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught in this obsession with darkness
And a desire for higher lovemaking sweeps you upward.
Distance does not make you falter.
And now, arriving in magic, flying
and finally, insane for the light
You are the butterfly.
And you are gone.
And so long as you haven't experienced this,
To die and so to grow,
You are only a troubled guest on a dark earth.
Friday, September 4, 2009
I was lying on the rooftop,
thinking of you.
I saw a special Star,
and summoned her to take you a message.
I prostrated myself to the Star
and asked her to take my prostration
to that Sun of Tabriz.
So that with his light, he can turn
my dark stones into gold.
I opened my chest and showed her my scars,
I told her to bring me news
of my bloodthirsty Lover.
As I waited,
I paced back and forth,
until the child of my heart became quiet.
The child slept, as if I were rocking his cradle.
Oh Beloved, give milk to the infant of the heart,
and don’t hold us from our turning.
You have cared for hundreds,
don’t let it stop with me now.
At the end, the town of unity is the place for the heart.
Why do you keep this bewildered heart
in the town of dissolution?
I have gone speechless, but to rid myself
of this dry mood,
oh Saaqhi, pass the narcissus of the wine.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Think in ways you’ve never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you’ve ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.
Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he’s carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you’ve never seen.
When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about
To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven,
Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time, or that it’s
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die
In the dark, a child might ask, What is the world?
just to hear his sister
promise, An unfinished wing of heaven,
just to hear his brother say,
A house inside a house,
but most of all to hear his mother answer,
One more song, then you go to sleep.
How could anyone in that bed guess
the question finds its beginning
in the answer long growing
inside the one who asked, that restless boy,
the night's darling?
Later, a man lying awake,
he might ask it again,
just to hear the silence
charge him, This night
arching over your sleepless wondering,
this night, the near ground
every reaching-out-to overreaches,
just to remind himself
out of what little earth and duration,
out of what immense good-bye,
each must make a safe place of his heart,
before so strange and wild a guest
as God approaches
Friday, August 21, 2009
I go to the door often.
Night and summer. Crickets
lift their cries.
I know you are out.
You are driving
late through the summer night.
I do not know what will happen.
I have no claim on you.
I am one star
you have as guide; others
love you, the night
so dark over the Azores.
You have been working outdoors,
gone all week. I feel you
in this lamp lit
so late. As I reach for it
I feel myself
driving through the night.
I love a firmness in you
that disdains the trivial
and regains the difficult.
You become part then
of the firmness of night,
the granite holding up walls.
There were women in Egypt who
supported with their firmness the stars
as they revolved,
of the passage from night
to day and back to night.
I love you where you go
through the night, not swerving,
clear as the indigo
bunting in her flight,
passing over two
thousand miles of ocean.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Don’t give your life away to sorrow
to watch its flames take everything into
burning light, to watch the smoke
of your dreams spell out the language
of longing and loss, to hang heavy in your clothes
and on your hair forever
When you arrive at this place
and find yourself covered in the mud
in this thickness you walk through
get down on your knees, prayer on your breath
dirt on your lips ~ and like the lotus flower
submerged in swamp, raise laughing
and red, bright as Jupiter pulling
her many moons in a tidal dance
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
It’s all right if Cezanne goes on painting the same picture.
It’s all right if juice tastes bitter in our mouths.
It’s all right if the old man drags one useless foot.
The apple on the Tree of Paradise hangs there for months.
We wait for years and years on the lip of the falls;
The blue-gray mountain keeps rising behind the black trees.
It’s all right if I feel this same pain until I die.
A pain that we have earned gives more nourishment
Than the joy we won at the lottery last night.
It’s all right if the partridge’s nest fills with snow.
Why should the hunter complain if his bag is empty
At dusk? It only means the bird will live another night.
It’s all right if we turn in all our keys tonight.
It’s all right if we give up our longing for the spiral.
It’s all right if the boat I love never reaches shore.
If we’re already so close to death, why should we complain?
Robert, you’ve climbed so many trees to reach the nests.
It’s all right if you grow your wings on the way down.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.
I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.
But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.
You can stay that way
And even bloom!
Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter.
Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved
And, my dear,
From the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.
Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel.
You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom
Whenever you say God's name, dear pilgrim,
My ears wish my head was missing
So they could finally kiss each other
And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!
O keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions' beautiful laughter
And from the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.
Now, sweet one,
Cast all your votes for Dancing!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
We are all crazy
in our own way
hiding tiny pieces of
ourselves from the world
I may run along the Lakewalk
at seven and a half minute miles
marked by my nike plus watch
& shoe sensor
at three in the afternoon
past a picnic table of local drunks
yelling “fuzzzk you bitch”
and “I don’t care about anybody, anybody”
smoking Marb 100’s, passing around a forty
in seventy degree heat
running in perfect form
past a woman sleeping on a bench
skin turning red, sweat gleaming
across her cheeks
wearing a knit winter hat
faded black sweatpants
and a navy blue t-shirt
with a ripped up right sleeve
bare feet jutting off the edge
years of disappointment
and loss sculpted into the fierce way
she clutches tightly to the bottle, her elixir
wrapped in a brown paper bag
“you told me you loved me,
you loved me….”
Maybe for a second
I feel good about myself
juxtaposed next to
with their mistakes,
their pain on display
like a storefront window
in a shop called CRAZY
that I don’t want to step foot in
only I partially envy them
with my mistakes, my pain neatly packaged
hidden from the world
what would it feel like to fall apart
right outside the Biffy
in Canal Park
amidst a swarm of tourists
to yell, and cry, and scream, and pound my fists
on the cement until they bleed
shedding light on my darkest secrets,
on my imperfections
I am never alone.
God supplies you in various disguises
scattered through my day like an overlooked miracle:
a saint's face in an oil-slick puddle, say,
or the dog who comes up to investigate
and lingers an extra moment in communion,
or someone stooping to put arms around a crying child.
This is to counteract those mornings
when to wake is to face broken glass in the mirror
and the least touch shatters
everything; when I recall how you'd roll over, say, "Hello,
Beautiful," smile, and lead me gently back
from the bad-dream labyrinth
into sunlight, hot sweet tea, and the next thing to do.
Now I muscle through fog alone,
on a different, meaner street, in an uglier time,
and there's a man who looks
like he's been shot out of a police siren
and spent too many nights trying to find his way home.
Hank always hangs around in front
of Max's Auto Detail -- A CLEAN
CAR IS A WELL-RUNNING CAR -- lopes, half bent,
as if to straighten fully would hurt, yet
when I walk by with my red hair like a flag
from a country called Abandoned Woman and forty years
of disappointment showing
on my face, he never fails to gallantly rise
to the occasion and say, "Hello, Beautiful," and sometimes,
"I seen you in your car yesterday."
As if he knew I were missing
some vital connection, something he could supply.
In just such small, exact details,
God matches our need for each other
with our prayers for each other, to show us,
if we pay attention, how the fabric of our long-lost love
can stretch to cover all the world.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Your loneliness so quickly.
Let it cut more
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My voice so
My need of God
breaking the darkness
glistening across the Lake
like beams of summer sunlight
throwing your brilliance
into our lives
You chose us
whispered to the creator
gently rushing through
the hands of the universe
with the strength
of ocean tides
you weaved into existence
with the force of cosmos
the planets orbiting
dancing in circles
with the rhythm
of the infinite
Daily you teach us of God
in your smile
when you awake in the morning
full of joy
reminding us how to be
in the present moment
& the future only illusions
of what was and what may come
is crazy & beautiful
it is of both
darkness & light
you will touch pain
& you will touch happiness
both a burning fire
in the heart of
May you always be
in tune with your
always know that
you are nothing
All the mistakes
to the earth
like autumn leaves
they swirl into
moving through the cycle
bringing new life
over and over again
Monday, July 20, 2009
We can only begin
to grasp you
squeezing tiny drops
of the Infinite’s sweet nectar,
golden as dawns first light,
shedding layers of truth
It is through You,
upon your breath
branches of trees
of the open mouths
of orange poppies and
that Life is sustained
The name Father or King
Mother or Friend
cannot capture you fully
all these names
used to describe you
allow us to be submerged
in the ocean of You
but we have only swam
in the palm of your
hand, have only heard
whispers of your wisdom
we do not know
the entirety of You
both give you to us
and tear you to pieces
once a sacred
and still river
your image is now
broken across that
we must stop
let the waves settle
and wait for You
to emerge clearly
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down,
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
when you can still taste
the traces of a broken dream
sweet in your mouth
when you still salivate
the raw honey
of what could have been
and sticky on your lips
when your face is tear streaked
shining in the light of
the morning sun
when you play the same sad song
on repeat in your parked car
when you feel like you’ve hit bottom
face planted against black asphalt
shards of glass embedded in your skin
thrown hundreds of feet from where
you thought you were going
from that place that marks the
impact of the crash
marks the moment when
when you lift your head
and notice how the entire world continues
when you see the bright blue sky
still against a kaleidoscope of green leaves
brushstrokes of pine, birch, and maple
when you listen carefully
and begin to hear
a splattering of sounds
the humble song of a bluebird
a truck grumbling up the avenue
the church bell calling for worship
the low buzz of a bee gathering nectar
when you are ready
you begin to move forward
grabbing hold of the outstretched hand
one foot in front of the other
when you look back from this distance
tracing your hands softly over what once was
you feel the rugged mark of that love
engraved on your heart
Monday, July 13, 2009
That you'd get older,
to make sense of things
that never made sense
a sort of reward
for living this long,
for making so many mistakes?
Did you think you'd stop
from what should be faced
what you should
walk away from?
Did you hope for,
if not wisdom,
at least patience, if not
a highway, at least
a trail you could follow?
Did you think the rain would fall
on your face, the wind
let you off the hook,
a fish that'd fought so long
it deserved to sleep now
at the pond's bottom?
Did you hope to be so old
you'd have worn the world out,
won from it
to live in this body
so long you'd stop
yearning for what
it couldn't give, your mind
That you'd tire
of worry, terror?
Did you think
you deserved better?
Better than what?
The stones? The dried up creek?
Did you think you'd be
for what was to come?
Friday, July 10, 2009
In the morning I wake
no longer in the same bed
in the same house as you
always before the sun rises
grappling with choices and decisions
that have wrung out our lives
as we have known them together
before the rest of the world begins their day
I face myself in this illustrious unwavering silence
in this darkness that,
dawn after dawn,
crescendos to daybreak
and all the noise of traffic and other people
who mean well but don’t really know our story
there are so many ideas of what it means to love
so much advice….don’t give up, fight for love
you should do this, don’t do that….
somehow we migrated together
to our own battlefield
of buried landmines, stockpiles of weapons
somehow the picture we saw of our love
in the beginning never came to fruition
a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle we struggled
to put together with misshapen and missing pieces
and this is the time
we have parted
each left in the wake
of waves from a ship
we never quite boarded
how does one say it?
throbbing in my throat
a thistly unfurling finality
a door closing softly for the last time
the wail of a grieving mother
a siren screaming down the heart of a city
a heart slowing to a stunning stillness
a human soul exiting a body
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Because the world comes to your door
and you don't always answer
Because you don't recognize all of your desires
Because the center moves
and you lose your balance
Because you did not hold the opposites
or know how much is too much
Because darkness comes
a season turns and the neighbor's branch
offers deep red berries upon a brown stem
Because the wind extends to your hand
Because you depend on uncertainties
and each one contains a seed
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whomever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose that you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It's too bad that you want to be someone else
You don't see your own face, your own beauty
Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.
All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues. “
Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.
We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.
I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.
Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?
Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.
In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,
praise song for walking forward in that light.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
When you have been
at war with yourself
for so many years that
you have forgotten why,
when you have been driving
for hours and only
gradually begin to realize
that you have lost the way,
when you have cut
hastily into the fabric,
when you have signed
papers in distraction,
when it has been centuries
since you watched the sun set
or the rain fall, and the clouds
drifting overhead, pass as flat as
anything on a postcard;
when, in the midst of these
everyday nightmares, you
understand that you could
you could turn
and go back
to the last thing you
with your whole heart:
that passionate kiss
the brilliant drop of love
rolling along the tongue of a green leaf,
then you wake,
you stumble from your cave,
blinking in the sun,
naming every shadow
as it slips.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Everything that could be said
of our love has been spoken
Tirelessly I tried to keep you near
you, a boat adrift briefly pulled in – me,
wrapping the rope around the dock cleat and chock
with my words, giving of myself
spiraling in overlapping figure eights
around and around this silver anchor
held steady at the shore where we met
indecision, circumstance, and fear
unwittingly fray what kept us connected
until it snapped, broke apart
I am left here
with the short busted end of the rope
flapping in the wind
I tried to grasp for what has already floated away
waking suddenly from a dream, reaching for
what is not there, calling your name into
an empty room
I watch the silhouette of you
fade into the horizon
of a different shore
far away from here
You took the turn
you needed to take
steering to a place
you told me you must
You leave me with the words
“I will love and adore you forever”
these tiny agates I gathered here,
bright and warm as a fiery sunset,
I carry in my pocket for some comfort
Monday, June 22, 2009
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing
Saturday, June 20, 2009
It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
Friday, June 19, 2009
If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one;
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure--if I can let you go.
You can tell by how he lists
to let her
kiss him, that the getting, as he gets it,
It’s good in the sweetly salty,
deeply thirsty way that a sea-fogged
rain is good after a summer-long bout
of inland drought.
And you know it
when you see it, don’t you? How it
drenches what’s dry, how the having
of it quenches.
There is a grassy inlet
where your ocean meets your land, a slip
that needs a certain kind of vessel,
when that shapely skiff skims in at last,
trimmed bright, mast lightly flagging
left and right,
then the long, lush reeds
of your longing part, and soft against
the hull of that bent wood almost im-
perceptibly brushes a luscious hush
the heart heeds helplessly—
of the very good.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
If you sit on the fence
for too long,
each side is equally sorrowful
Over there - dandelions daisies joy
Over there - cinnamon leaves quick river rage
Over here - vines of empowerment
Over here - puddles of loneliness.
Make a move - says the Goddess -
reach your fingertips high in sun salute-
Feel the glory - says the Christ - God is
a circle of doves around your own moon
Stay and witness - says Siddhartha -
under the bodhi tree- all pain, all joy
waves receding, entering.
And I - I believe them all -
That I must stay and feel
as long as the loam of earth will hold me-
That I must shift like the seasonal light
across the plains, behind the hills, ahead of
the tide - grounded in love
But, I am heavy as a star falling out of atmosphere,
This brown mud in my center
This sand in my veins.
Yet, I must choose.
I cannot stay much longer at these crossroads
The tender lilac clouds of past rise
on the one side
And on the other
sun presses down toward its
gorgeous bloody setting.
Overturning the rock
I find an ants' nest.
A city of burrows lies before me,
each tiny tunnel an exquisite excavation.
How quickly the worker ants move larvae
to the deep safety of those tunnels,
pushing the rice-like bodies ahead of them.
I am tempted to stop weeding,
let the quack grass and thistle
keep choking the bleeding heart,
let the ants have their dark solace.
Then, with a quick sweep of my hand
I tear the grass out
the tunnels cave in
and like the survivors everywhere,
they scramble to rebuild.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The dark honey of you
drips through my mind
thick and sweet
I lick it off my fingers
feel it slide
over every part of me
then your warm tongue
and salty words
a secret recipe
just between us
every heavy drop
its own particular kind
of fragrant feast
Monday, June 15, 2009
This is a love
that stains the heart
leaving its mark forever
like smeared raspberry
on a white shirt
from the fingers of
a delighted child
the bright crimson
smudge that always
reminds you of the
innocence in her eyes
the pure bliss in a sloppy
juice covered face
the red teeth gleaming
through her smile
the desirous laughter
that enchants what is
simple and good
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Get dumb drunk off of sunlight.
Sing to yourself in busses, hallways,
bathrooms et cetera.
Fill up blank pages with joy of
pen streaking madness.
Dance naked through your house.
Go for long walks alone.
Tongue kiss your dog.
Don’t let anyone take your heart
in their hands
pack it like a snowball
and throw it at a window
so you can watch it melt
against the warmth so something
Don’t expect anyone to fill the
Be careful with your heart
cuz it’s fragile like ice, glass, or life
and you only get one.
Don’t worry cuz someday it’ll all
life’s just stubborn sometimes
like thread stuck in a zipper.
Make daisy wreaths
and wear them in wind blown
let your skin peel and curl
like expensive lace.
Collect odd stones.
Get high off of laughter
and take drags off of fresh air.
Come gather here
cuz really there ain’t nothing broken
that can’t be fixed
and we all hold the tools
underneath our ribs.
Make love with your life…
Get intimate with a fire…
Go skinny-dipping and gather goosebumps.
Don’t let the colors fade,
this isn’t black and white TV.
Run across rocky backroads
and pavement barefoot..
Dig deeper into the dirt &
let it stain your fingers…
And cry, but not too much,
everything is good
but only in moderation.
Don’t be afraid to look
when you pass a mirror
because, you’re beautiful.
Go to Lake Superior for answers..
And although Dr’s prescribe
Prozac and Welbutrin
I’ve heard the best cure
for depression is a nice
tall glass of sweet sunlight.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
This is the center of our love
where roots unfurled into gritty dirt
a most unlikely and dark place
splitting the seed of possibility
breathing life into barren land
This is letting go
not goodbye, but a departure
where the tree divides from a hearty
trunk into branches
each making their way towards
the sky, reaching for the light
on their own
This is living in the center
where both grief and joy
grab hold of us
touch us gently on our cheek
look deeply into our eyes
and kiss us sweetly on our lips
and we fall wildly in love with our life
even when, at first glance,
it appears to be a devastating mess
This is the center
where we stop turning away, stop
grasping for illusions of what we think we want
and who we think we are
stop trying to transform the shape of the stone
before it is rolled away from the tomb
marking the doorway to freedom
and we sit in the darkness
here in this uncertain place
and trust that this too
Saturday, June 6, 2009
to take your face
so far away from me,
turning to go,
hands patting at your pockets
the broad back
of your brown jacket
the hunger rushing up in me,
right here in public.
I buy a hershey bar
to appease it,
and to keep
the calling you back
pushed down inside.
in a knot
of wrong faces,
in my hand,
I watch you free yourself
and fly away ...
by the sky
like a stone
by a lake.
through my body.
draws me forward
like the whisper of my love
the touch that lures me into
a tangled mess of limbs, skin to skin
and sweat, hair in disarray
looking deep into the blue of his eyes
this trembling memento
burned forever in my mind
a moment I dared to delve into
a slippery fish I caught with my
bare hands and held long enough
to be scale covered and shimmering
with water from the lake
transformation calls me
bells ringing, signaling
the beginning of something
I could almost miss
and I’m running down the
street hiking up my skirt
stumbling in heels
heart thumping, jumping
beyond choice or reason
to forge forward
to grab hold of the metal bars
on the side of the train
that is noisily clanking, chugging
into motion up an unknown hill
toward something great that is
waiting, waiting, waiting
Thursday, June 4, 2009
We are just passing through
the way this wind
inhabits the ravine,
the way this light, in its
alloted time, illuminates
We are just passing through
folding and opening
We work these hands,
making our sandwiches
look out at one another
from these faces,
watch a raven
trace the sky.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I woke up early
with compassion for the fiery sun.
who today is also reconciling the life long process
of coming in and out of hiding.
I woke up early thinking about
how last night’s rain decided to fall on us for hours
lending itself to the perfect, misty wet electric invitation.
I laughed (with absolutely no remorse
or self consciousness) all the way home.
one of the day’s most beautiful gifts-
finding the truth, being free enough to
put exactly what I was feeling into words-
‘I want you to come home with me.’
I offered. I’m still carrying around the flavors of extending myself-
like dark curry stays in the hair or on the clothes of a lover
hours after a late night celebratory dinner on the lower east side.
the only thing I wish now
is that I had leaned you up against the warmest of the two cars
and kissed your blue lips. taking your hand while
using the weight of the vehicle
to press my body into yours.
letting you know that I’m serious-
And having fun with creative invitations.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
I had the idea to start a blog to share my own poems, poems of others that resonate with me, and for others to post poems or quotes that inspire them, bring beauty, clarity, healing, a different perspective, or transformation regarding the difficult things we face in this human experience. I named this blog and the following poem Grace Intoxicated. This is inspired by an idea I gleaned from Bishop John Shelby Spong. He was the keynote speaker at a conference I attended and an audiance member asked him a question about prayer. I loved his answer, which revolved around the way in which prayer isn't something we do to manipulate God into doing what we want God to do for us but rather, it is a way of life. He stated, "be a God intoxicated human being, which means to live fully, love wastefully, and be all that we can be!" So, I stole the "intoxicated" concept from him regarding grace, which of course translates to God as well.....but I've been contemplating the way in which grace is always available to us, we just need to look at things through a new lens, to shift our perspective and understanding of our experiences, especially the difficult ones, and become intoxicated!!!!
It was in a prayer she asked
how do you mend a broken heart
with tears swelling
like a giant sun just slipping
away over the lip of the horizon
pulling all the color out of the sky
squeezing red, and blue, and orange
until only blackness remained
This isn’t much like a broken glass
where you kneel on the floor picking up
the bigger pieces, carefully placing them
in your palm and then sweeping the
tiny shards until there is no longer
any sign of your clumsiness, of your loss
No, a broken heart encompasses everything
like a wicked wind you can’t even see
but whips your hair, slams the door, blows
dirt into your eyes
and try as you might to avoid it
the memories howl and whistle against your windows,
blow tree branches to scratch at the side of the house
as you try to sleep, or fry an egg, or spread the
almond butter on the toast, or talk with a friend,
or burst with sudden laughter while eating chocolate cake
loss is ever-present
looming like your own shadow
follows you wherever you go
But there was an answer
to her prayer
you need this pain
it is fertile soil
so scatter seeds and allow
the water of this experience
to nourish all that sits and
it is bread dough
moist and heavy in the oven
waiting for the right temperature
and time to raise into its fullness
there is nothing that needs to be
mended, just embraced
all that we face is holy
so drink this thick dark
loss and become grace