The clay we’re given

Someone told me today,

“You have great energy.”

Someone else

turned out to be my middle school literature teacher.

Another day, perhaps, I’m terrible,

and a familiar stranger might not be

who I think at all.

Ground is uneven.

Earthquakes come, volcanoes blow.

A life is a creative act,

parceled out in retrospect,

birthed forward through chaos.

Unformed to the end

each of us shapes the clay we’re given.

The world will think

whatever it thinks,

what matters is speaking God straight back

into God’s own ear.

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Symptoms

Aching back, pounding head,

weakening eyes, softening memory,

anger, nightmare, spasm..

Symptoms.

What loves to be complained about

over tea, through the phone,

aloud aloud somebody hear this, oh please.

Imagine turning attention around,

bear chewing his tail-

Wake to me!

Symptom becomes lotus

opening

from murky waters into light.

Manifestation of inner

to outer,

an offering

a medicine

a gift.

Pain is not for pain’s own sake.

With suffering,

we alter to listen.

Awareness reaches up,

roots down,

grows.

White on blue

At dawn

a church steeple, white on blue.

Down metal pipe railing

bathing suits and towels, ocean wet,

drape pink green red.

Hour after hour,

into day following day,

these months fill with surface disturbance-

construction, scheduling, maintenance,

scramble scramble scramble while

low currents move unfelt.

Details have a way of eating time.

Sitting by the water before sunrise

dips mind slowly back into mind.

Work of the chrysalis

The transformed steals the love-light,

not for greed

but for our preference.

What’s left behind in grit and dust,

even discarded in rank alleyways,

is the work of the chrysalis.

The

cramped

confused

identity-erasing

dark

of wrestling for the next life form,

of flight,

of nectar,

of tumbling in gravity’s wave

among flowers, bees and blue.

Remember what beauty lies in ugliness

before walking away from the misunderstood.

A fire, a wave, a mountain

The basements, bathrooms, shrouded corners,

narrow, black to seem endless, alleys,

the Do-Not-Enters,

these are the intended places.

Go to them.

What courage lies docile and low

will rise up, a fire, a wave, a mountain

to have your back even as growing fear

dissolves

what you think holds you together.

The turning of the world

It’s the twist of a good story

to say it begins where it begins.

Because who is to say what happened first?

The lines we lead, roads we walk, families we form,

always

always something came before..

and during.

Land of birth, food of soil, light of sun,

books read, laughter lived, sex, music,

slumber.

Infinite details of the turning of the world,

and equally many perspectives,

makes knowing

a sweet impossibility.

Twenty-five years on

Not until the attentive itch

do they exchange glances to mean

It’s Time.

And off we pile into the car, heading deep

into night and whatever flight waiting

with breath, rolling, in the wings.

Winding round and up and up and round

through dark and sensation

into rolled down window sweetness of valley grass and oak,

Stumbling, graceful, grit of dirt road scuffing,

spinning under 2 a.m. sky and flopping across hillsides,

the stars, sharp and grabbable,

become a spiral

spiral

spiral

as alive to be tucked in a pocket,

as hover, massive and in reach, directly overhead,

as rest in mind twenty-five years on.

At the door

A kitten knocks at the door.

In truth, a word behaving like a kitten,

soft, sweet, riled

from chasing a baby squirrel along the avenue.

Baby tore across the asphalt, tail barking,

no visible sign of what gave chase.

Course, words are like that,

and now one has followed me home.

A fur-lined nook between the armrest and my hip

awaits her.

Curious what mischief we can achieve today.

But first,

a short nap.

Stumbling

Stumbling,

having missed a pebble for the story in your head,

breaks the monotone

in favor of dripping notes tangled, soft,

attentive.

Dipping into that honey, the stream beneath the firehose flow,

entices a hidden music into the aching

and sharp places, wounded from too much narrow focus.

Broadening,

that song- touched by your welcome-

changes things.