Tuesday, May 2, 2017



I knock   knock   and knock at the door
of the new poem that wants to be born
but as it swings wide open there's only
Emptiness--Emptiness waits to blossom
to grow transparent on this page  in me

so I ask   ask   and ask of the Emptiness
"what do You want? why are You here?"
but Emptiness replies only with Silence
it seems Silence also presses to be born
born right now   at the center of my life

I knock   knock   and knock at the door
of Silence until it too swings wide open
and there in Silence's heart is Presence
nothing I can see hear touch taste smell
just utter connection   pure relationship

so I ask   ask   and ask of this Presence
"what do You want? why are You here?"
and the Presence says  (without a word)
"I'm the deathless Source of all you are
what's infinite and eternal in your soul"


     For me, starting a new poem is always an encounter with the Unknown. Unless I'm willing to face that Emptiness, that chaos of infinite possibilities in the world, and inside me, I'll never take the all-out, naked risks necessary to break through my ego's prattling, or the inevitable constrictions and evasions of language itself. More and more, this creative emptying opens me to unmediated Presence, that Eternal Source which dwells in the heart of Silence, and from Which all meaningful speech is born.

                     BIRTH THROES

drawing a blank   it's what always happens
right here at the beginning   without a clue
facing the blank page   everything possible
what's hardest?   wrestling with emptiness
what's sweetest?   dancing with emptiness
no barriers   no rules or limits   wide open!
such freedom's breathtaking   scary as hell
but I dive in anyway   taking crazy chances

now I'm splashing around in a huge ocean
trying not to panic   praying not to drown
the next line pops up like an inflated dingy
and I climb in   hold tight   gasp for breath
roller-coastering these mountainous swells
feels like they rise up in eight-line stanzas 
if I could just keep afloat for one more line
maybe I can weather this fierce soul-storm

gradually a vast wind subsides   the waves
slacken   here I am again   sitting in a chair
staring at the page   but it's no longer blank
there's a struggle marking it   a raw voyage
as if something naked and primal got born
I'm not sure what that is or why this ruckus
but I want it to live   flourish   grow strong
I want it to exfoliate in me as fearless love!


     This poem expresses its own birth throes from the bloody womb of the Unknown. It's a harrowing journey to a new world through the ocean of chaos and uncertainty. But isn't this always the way if any new, vital life ever succeeds in being born? Incarnation's not for sissies! To give birth to form, meaning, new possibility, out of nothingness and emptiness--isn't this the essence of the creative act? We must be willing to surrender control and put everything on the line, plunging nakedly through the storm of transformation. As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "One must have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star."


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