Tuesday, July 27, 2010


             THE BEES OF EDEN

more and more my longing eludes me
becomes a hive where the bees of Eden
make honeycomb from the dark nectar
of old wounds    lost smiles   torn loves

faint Martian winds sculpt reddish dust
into rippling dunes   shiver my soul bare
you who gather toward me like a storm
this world or that    what does it matter

snickersnack goes the blade   birth  death
flensed generations      O eyes I drown in
touch I ignite to    giddy as escape artists
we sashay on a tightrope over the abyss


One must have chaos in one,
to give birth to a dancing star.

-- Friedrich Nietzsche --


     The essence of love is an Eternal Spirit. I've seen it shining through the face of a lover, of a friend, and I know here, now, always, it's what I most unconditionally celebrate--the free, timeless, infinite, Highest Self. When my love is centered in this Source, I have no fear. I'm at home and at peace--one with myself and with my beloved.

     But if lovers are nakedly honest with themselves and each other, they must confront the abyss. There's no certainty in this life--unless it's the certainty that whomever I hold most passionately close to my heart I must one day be parted from. Not only is this reality inescapable, it's actually intertwined with the deepest roots of what love means.

     For I also love, just as intensely, a specific individual, a unique and irreplaceable human being. The quirks, the charms, the foibles, even the faults of that particular person are treasured precisely because they're so supremely personal, immediate, intimate and unrepeatable. The totality of whom I love, therefore, is a Universal Spirit manifesting through a one-of-a-kind, transient and perishing creature--which is why the profoundest love is always bittersweet. We die.

     I need to somehow keep both these seemingly paradoxical truths in precarious yet meticulous balance simultaneously. Only by doing so can I encompass at one and the same time the tightrope, the uncontainable balancing act, and the abyss. I most truly love, I'm most truly loved as, an Immortal Spirit animating a dying animal. To ignore or eliminate either side of this equation is to amputate an indispensable half of what loving involves, what loving is.

     A mistake I made in the past however, was not that I dispensed with either half, but that I put the wrong half first. My heart became too fixated, my senses to focused, on the mortal flesh at the expense of the Eternal Spirit. Yes, I recognized and reveled in both--but my emotional attachment and physical desire outstripped my intuitive understanding and soulful communion. So I had to learn the hard way that anything or anyone I sought to hold onto while trying to love with these skewed priorities inevitably turned to bitter ashes in my heart...

     But I am learning. Pain, as they say, wonderfully concentrates the mind. One definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same mistakes which caused you so many problems to begin with. I think I'm finally ready to declare myself sane. Putting Eternal Spirit first--always, unconditionally, despite my longing for, and terror of, a beautiful yet dying animal--that's the only way I'll ever be able to transcendingly love another, giddy as an escape artist sashaying on a tightrope over the abyss.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Soul's Arrow

             NIGHT TRAIN

still riding on after so many stops
just a few other passengers

dozing    reading     lost in thought

pitch black outside    now and then
a distant light flickers past

the rhythmic clatter of wheels

no before     no after
only this journey   my soul's arrow

hurtling toward its final bull's-eye


Fare forward, travellers!
Not escaping from the past
Into different lives, or into any future;
You are not the same people
Who left that station
Or who will arrive at any terminus,
While the narrowing rails
slide together behind you.

-- T.S. Eliot --


     I journey on through mostly darkness now. The clamor and excitement of noon are long gone. Sunset's ruddy, pervasive glow, casting ever-lengthening shadows, is also past. Only dusk's faint, violet glimmer still lingers in the west. My soul's arrow flies inexorably toward its final target, whatever that may be, where it waits immured deep in the pitch-black of midnight--strange, summoning, mysterious, unknown.

     The mind obsessively circles back around to earlier junctures on this pilgrimage--perhaps a crucial turning point when something sacred was shattered and my existence altered forever; maybe a life-sustaining watershed where a smile or word or touch unexpectedly opened up a whole, new, scintillating world.

     Or else the mind compulsively gropes forward, anxiously probing into the enormous, looming void, struggling to discern in that indecipherable text the barest outlines of a readable--and therefore predictable and controllable--personal fate. Yet wherever the mind tries to seduce it to go, my soul understands only one place and one time--the incontrovertible Here, the incontestable Now.

     This reality I breathe is paradox--each instant both arrow and target, journey and destination, direction and rest. I'm an incorrigible nomad; yet at the same time, whether I realize it or not, I'm eternally Home.

     The key to achieving a balanced, actualized and creative life: to willingly, even gladly, embrace this paradox, heel-and-toing it on the tightrope of moment to moment change, growth and becoming which twangs between a chasm of challenging struggle and adventure on one hand, and a sanctuary of healing grace and serenity on the other.

     Yet ironically, it's precisely the Here and Now--this way station poised right at the crossroads where time and eternity meet--which has always proved my hugest, most impenetrable blind spot. My thoughts and feelings scramble to focus anywhere else, no matter how illusory or agonizing, rather than surrender their frantic ransacking of past and future. Only when they're humbled enough to do so however, can I gratefully hone in at last on this boundless, incalculable present--and Presence--toward which all roads inevitably converge.

     This is my trial, and also my blessing. I'll always be a rough and ready explorer--and at the same time I'll always be a solitary stay-at-home. A vital part of me longs to discover what lies beyond the next horizon; but an equally essential part wants only to remain motionless, centered, complete and self-forgetting--"cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown."

     So my soul's arrow hurtles onward, while simultaneously it strikes home--quivering to rest at last in the dead center of that final bull's eye.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Across The Divide

             NOT BEING THERE

after so much spouting    let's be silent
mums the word   after such commotion
even a stone's too fidgety   let's be still

what about hiding up an empty sleeve
wouldn't that be nice     or absconding
sneaking through a keyhole in the dark

just too many ways to fuss and fume
what's needed are more vanishing acts
take a powder sweetheart   bon voyage

you know how it is when you're absent
the shining invisibles come out to play
hippity-hop   scratch   sniff   what fun!

don't pretend you don't understand this
we're all grieving over the same wound
a lost gateway    the trapdoor into light


This world is not Conclusion--
A Species stands beyond--
Invisible, as Music,
But positive, as Sound.

-- Emily Dickinson --


     We live in a global civilization with a gaping wound at it's core. This wound is not only pervasive and inescapable, it's also intentional and indispensable. We're conditioned from birth to unquestioningly accept such a diseased state of affairs--yet at the same time to remain blind to it at all costs. Living smack in the center of this huge, consensus blind spot, we're always being wounded, or else wounding others, but without ever really understanding the deeper, wider reasons why it's happening.

     Our archetypal wound is a tragic split right along the axes of the human soul, a blasting polarization between spirit and body, mind and instinct, heart and will, male and female, self and other. Consequently, instead of providing a haven of wholeness, connection, transcendence and joy, the soul instead becomes a devastation zone of wreckage, self-dividedness, cynicism and despair. The inevitable fallout is chronic, consuming fear, pain and rage--but usually they're denied and repressed. These emotions in turn are all the toxic ingredients necessary for the ongoing inflicting and suffering of further wounds.

     Each of these primal wounds, however, no matter what its immediate cause, specific nature or individual circumstance, ultimately is traceable back to the same universal crisis: the brutally fractured and drastically polarized human psyche. Freud, Jung and others pioneered in uncovering this truth. Nevertheless, nothing testifies more glaringly to our secular Western Civilization's profound and enduring blind spot, then its triumphant scientific paradigm's determination to rationalize away the very existence of the soul itself!

     In other words, much of the time we can't even grasp fully how we're being wounded, or wounding others, because Ground Zero is the bull's-eye of a deep, culture-wide, potently inculcated blind spot--the discarded soul.

     If we honestly ask ourselves why this should be, the answer's not rocket science. It stares back at us from the mirror's witness, exposing our extremely selfish, competitive, individualistic and egocentric society. Despite loudly proclaimed ideals and values to the contrary, too many people are myopically obsessed only with looking out for Number One--either so they can scramble up to the next rung of money, fame, success and power, or else avoid plummeting down into the churning meat grinder of unemployment, poverty, crime and homelessness.

     But always--wherever selfishness short-circuits connection, competitiveness undermines cooperation, and hyper-individualism destroys community--it's the humble, open, transparent, vulnerable human soul which gets trampled on and inevitably offered up as a propitiating sacrifice to the harsh gods of a ruthless, dominating, survival-of-the-fittest mentality of power and control.

     This scapegoating is not simply unavoidable collateral damage--it's radically embedded, thoroughly institutionalized as a fundamental adjunct to the continued functioning of our ultra-competitive, uber-acquisitive postmodern dystopia.

     Our vile, ugly, unmentionable secret is just this: the terrible specter of a desecrating altar of soul sacrifice, erected at both public and private crossroads everywhere--an evil even more pernicious for being for the most part hypocritically unacknowledged and insidiously invisible.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Primal Face

                      SOME CAVES

some caves clutch deeper caves inside them
never explored         undreamt by day-mind
hidden even from the bat's needle probings
mirror stab of mountain peaks underground

when I go there    when I go there    when I
not with my human face    no   the other one
the face before words   houses   hearth fires
primal face that gnarls roots   cracks boulders

when I go there   when I    don't look for me
I won't be a thing you'd care to kiss or hold
won't respond to chuckles  snacks  little hugs
won't hear your voice or know your name

some caves clutch darker caves inside them
never explored        undreamt  by day-mind
who we love and hate doesn't matter there
even time    death    swallowed in that void


Don't forget--Rome fell
not having grasped the phrase:

-- Andrei Voznesensky --


     There's a primeval nature inside me, inside you--within all of us--whose roots plunge down to ice age caves. Farther still, they reach back to the pitch-dark jungle floor; and even deeper into the prehistoric past, sounding the original ocean's abyss. Recognizing, accepting, finally embracing this elemental inner core has been a stringent yet profound awakening.

     Most of my life I denied its existence, even as that repressed and enraged reality rampaged through my subconscious, sabotaging everything. Much of the nightmare horror erupting through the shredded fabric of 20th Century civilization can be understood in the same catastrophic light. We have the choice to say "yes" or "no" to inescapable aspects of our being--but not the luxury of ignoring them. In one guise or another, constructively or destructively, our shadow selves will always come out.

     I wasn't raised that way; probably, neither were you. Mom and Dad tried to teach me to be a "good boy"--sensitive, thoughtful, adaptive, unselfish, well-behaved, always striving to please. A major, normal part of me was happy to oblige. He was the Little Darling who got all those Love Cookies of acceptance, approval and nurturing! His creed was summed up by my Boy Scout Oath: "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent." Oh God, I prayed, if I could only live up to that!

     The problem: there was another, subversive side of me, a usually repressed, rejected, obstreperous character, who wanted to trample on all this sanctimonious blather and tear it to pieces! He was the rebellious devil who insidiously undermined and recklessly overthrew every effort at cooperation and conciliation dutifully made by the obedient angel.

     I was whipsawed between these two, contradictory, psychological polarities--unable to come to terms with either, because such drastically different personal universes could never, I believed, conceivably converge and miraculously integrate as one.

     I've conducted a desperate, lifelong struggle to confront this quandary, resolve this contradiction, and transcend this seemingly intractable fate. To do so, however, I've had to risk exploring dangerous, untamed inner regions--those caves clutching even deeper caves inside them--absorbing their invigorating wildness as an indispensable component of the totality of all I am.

     I found only one way to meet such a challenge without drowning in uncharted, storm-racked waters--discover a third, independent, balanced perspective through which to comprehend and ultimately heal the apparently unbridgeable divide between soulful connection and instinctive survival. That third perspective proved to be the overarching, adult voice of my individuated intelligence, and what you're reading now is one example of its synthesizing and liberating power.

     As I listen to the thunder this morning while sitting at my computer, it's the elemental creature inside who soaks up that rumbling fortissimo with every pore--but not at the expense of meaningful relationship. There's a presence in the rainfall which speaks to my soul.

     Even as my mind shapes abstract words, I sense an instinctual vitality thrumming through my whole body--from toe to crotch, from coiled gut to the top of my head. Yet I'm attuned as well to intimate communion with you--stranger, friend--now reading these lines.

     Whatever I am, whatever I love, whatever I hope to be, I've learned to experience this ever more richly and intensely by resonating not only with my spiritual essence, but simultaneously with the most basic of my primitive, animal instincts--"the face before words, houses, hearth fires; the primal face that gnarls roots, cracks boulders..."