Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Brushed Awake

     What do we brush against--with our bodies, with our souls? What brushes against us? Sometimes it's invisible. That's when existence touches us most deeply, changes us most.


     a hand brushed my arm once    it was as much as I could bear    that's the way sometimes when the heart's connected to every cell of the body    one touch capsizes a world!    but what about all the years no hand brushes against my skin?    what about all those moments the void instead caresses me?    then the faintest stars leave livid scratches    you can't tell but they're there    through them my heart's blood slowly leaks away

     I can't read the map of my own loneliness    I have no compass needle pointing beyond    no beaten path stretching ahead to follow    maybe it's a reality hardwired into my DNA    what I brush against I can't predict    what brushes against me might mean nothing or life and death    more likely I'll wind up with dozens of chigger bites    they inflict a certain kind of love but I'd be happy to live without it

     a Wing brushed my soul once    it was as much as I could bear    that's the way sometimes when the soul's connected to every atom of the universe    one touch capsizes a world!    but strangely enough this wasn't the only instance I've felt brushed by that Wing    more and more I feel lifted     as if an immense and invisible Ardor now envelopes me!    surpassing even the tenderest human touch     an Angel's wing-beats guide me home


     I long for the day when the human race finally wakes up. Some individuals already have, but most remain fitfully asleep, tormented by bad dreams. The common denominator of these nightmares is the delusion that we're inherently separate and divided beings. But those who are awake know otherwise.


     the sleepers tossing and turning in their scratchy cocoons dream they're awake    I know    that was me once    I won and lost many battles but sleepwalking all the while     so much still had to die!    those hypnotic self-images parading across the blaringly lit stage set of my mind     those famished eyes glaring from the pitch-black cellar of my fears    I dreamed I was a hero doomed to tragic fate     and what I dreamed came true

     real waking isn't the fitful glare that spasmodically shoots out from a lurid clash of phantoms and shadows    real waking's almost imperceptible    a radiance barely tinting the soul's horizon    it's not even noticed at first    mesmerized as we are by the glittering labyrinth of fun-house mirrors    seduced as we are by the appetite's endlessly gyrating merry-go-round    real waking comes soft    and silent    and slow

     but like an x-ray    penetrating every slightest crack and corner of being    until nothing's left except an emptiness that sings and shines    then everything living finds a home    what does it mean to be awake?    just this!    no more separation between us    no more barriers dividing heart from heart    suffering from compassion    grief from love    when sleepers awake we rise up joyously    freed at last of our old splintered shells


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Leaving Walls

     I feel like I should have something profound, or at least interesting, to say about the following two prose poems. But really, whatever's worthwhile to communicate I've already said in the pieces themselves. Please take from them what you need today.


     whenever I show up I'm also leaving    there's a gaping hole of no-longer-me left behind somewhere    birth was like that    what an exodus!    but did I have a choice?    since then I've been expelled bloody and squalling from womb after womb    leaving and arriving    two different sides of the same coin    when you find me tossed dumbstruck between grief and joy    you'll know I just lost one world and discovered another

    looking back it seems every moment's been a step in a dance of leaving    even now    though we're so close we almost breathe a single breath    some part of me's already three fourths gone    the pull of the horizon!    the tang of the unknown!    like a shark I must thrust forward or I'll die    leaving's how I experience birth and death simultaneously    I realize I'm never static but a sort of dreaming river    my vector's forever changing as I flow

     leaving's moving on but also leaving behind    one day you'll read this illuminated by the void of my absence    yet right now I'm pouring my whole being into these words    I'm taking your hand in mine with these words    I'm gazing deep into your eyes through these words    so leaving's letting go but also holding dear    I'm leaving you to enter a wormhole in the night    I'm leaving you this tracing of my soul


     Most of us are living inside a maze of dividing and constricting walls. It's time for them to come down.


     I think of an old stone wall in a field at night    it's like some long low creature scarcely breathing    the crickets don't seem alarmed though    now and then a bat flits and dives noiselessly above    these stones set apart grass from grass    dark from dark    space from space    I wish more walls were this humble    mottled with gaps and holes where starlight finds passage    I wish more walls were chastened by time    rendered harmless and beautiful

     I didn't know I was born into a labyrinth of invisible walls    they were all around me and some where already inside me but I didn't know    all I knew was a shadow blocking where the light came from    and the unappeasable wailing of a thing abandoned    a thing imprisoned and desolate    trained by this harsh curriculum I learned to construct my own walls    I became a world-class prodigy at walling out    and walling in

     but I'm finished with that now    "Tear down the walls!" is my new mantra and I don't apologize    tear down the walls cementing primal wounds to fresh horrors    tear down the walls dividing the kiss from the lips and the lover from the beloved    tear down the walls that shut minds    petrify hearts    blight souls    tear down the walls which command us to believe we're anything except    One


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Breaking Waves

     Here are the next two prose poems in the current series I've been writing.


     they say it's better to bend and bend so not to break     the green branch does this but the dry one snaps in two     yet sometimes breaking's the only way to change     how would the chick get born if the eggshell didn't break?    and what about that glaze of ice splintering on the pond each spring?    if I can't break with ghosts from the past I won't grow     if my heart was never broken I couldn't offer you safe haven there now

     on the other hand some things shouldn't break but they do and we can't always fix these     friendships for instance    I remember one that shattered into a thousand bleeding pieces     no matter how long I searched I could never find them all     other treasures we wished stayed whole are bones    vows    dreams    fine crystal    castles in the air    families    certain toys    and the human spirit

     then again a break can be a gap in time or space which let's us rest and opens up to unexpected worlds     when I take a break I stop pushing too hard and plodding grimly ahead      freeing my soul from the constricting carapace of cause and effect I come back home to the reality of here and now     a break can be a widening crack in my prison cell's wall     it can lead to a breakout     a hairsbreadth escape as liberating Light pours through!



     heaven and hell and everything between course through me in waves     yesterday I danced on the foaming crest     today I founder in the turbulent trough     I'm not a granite cliff but a sort of walking ocean through which ceaseless waves rise and fall     much is lost in those waves     much found     when a wave takes me it engulfs like my uttermost reality      when it throws me down I splinter into shards of yet another shattered world

     I think I was conceived smack in the curl of a breaking wave     there's this rawness in me     this need to thrust onward     this oneness with the surge and tumble     it's a rootlessness     a restless becoming     don't be fooled when you watch me standing quietly or sitting still     I'm cascading wildly somewhere     far out at the glittering edge     nothing but towering sky above     unplumbed depths below

     One day you'll wave as I pause briefly     silhouetted alone on the glowing horizon     and I'll wave back     but I won't return I'll keep going     I'll keep going until only my absence remains     just an empty space filled with the rising sun     I'll keep going    borne by that final wave which carries me beyond all others     beyond even these breakers of love and grief     horror and gladness     I'll keep going     until I find you again



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Turn And Smile

  I was in a dark place when I wrote "Smiles." Mostly (not surprisingly)  smiles have a happy association for me. Yet everything has its dark side too--even light (shadows), and there are times when I become more aware of that aspect, and have more need to express it. It's all part of the Great Dance.


     so many smiles I've drowned in    then they went away    like a beached fish I flopped around on the shore of their absence gasping for air    other smiles stayed but I didn't    I pulled back so far inside not even a bloodhound could find me    when you smile my buried wound might gape wide again in response    it looks like a smile but it's not it's a cry for help or pity or just the lament of an animal knowing it will die

     somewhere there's a smile which never stops -- the primordial smile of the universe    life and death are submerged in it    cruelty and kindness    the deepest trust and the worst betrayal    that's why a human smile can mean anything    that's why when I smile at you you should open and shut at the same time    we often mean well but when a predator bares its teeth you better be wary you can't be sure

     the withholding of a smile can be a weapon sharper than the keenest blade    children get sliced to pieces though they still walk and talk and pretend to be whole    if only we could recover the unsullied truth of a baby's first smile!    if only I could splice your smile and mine into a changeless and serene embrace!    I can't escape the smiles that enthrall my soul and the smiles that plunder it    every day    every day


   On a happier note, I never stay in a dark place too long. I arrive at a "turning point" -- a moment of truth when I'm able to change course and turn back toward the Light. Sometimes this metanoia can be a terribly hard rite of passage, but it's alway possible. All that's required is my soul's total and unconditional surrender.


     turn I tell myself    but saying and doing are two different things    I want to go on the same way as always    even though it always leads to a dead end or worse    turning means surrendering the known and risking the unknown    turning means letting go    dancing clueless    pivoting my fate on a wing and a prayer    there's no growth without turning    without turning I'd calcify into a breathing corpse

     how effortlessly the swift turns    skimming over a pond     and the oak's branches    they're parables of zigzag becoming!    no straight line calibrates life    what can't twist and turn petrifies    what won't open out to possibility clenches    a denying fist    turning's the way I incarnate my love    turning's a kiss I exchange with the universe!    turning and turning I align my soul with the wisdom of the stars

     turn with me now though every fear screams "march straight ahead!"   turn like a river's course    like the tide at its ebb    like this Earth as it spins through an ocean of space    turn to face me then turn away then back    I see now there's really nothing but turning    I see now a single changeless direction doesn't even exist!   when a butterfly emerges from the cocoon and spreads its wings    that's the way it sings "I'm turning!"