Through bright sky

The swallow dip of joy,

swift arc and cut through bright sky,

has been on lengthy migration

to lands unnamed.

Yet the time allotted here, however long,

confined in concrete, noise, requirement and excess

may finally break me of this place.

What follows out

of the daily abrasions of adjusting

while not giving everything and nothing away

may open space enough for that swallow

to return truly

home.

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Come back

In search of meaning

but having to pay the bills.

Needing to matter,

but busy cursing the neglected dogs keeping you awake.

Reaching, yet thick in mud,

being with a sideways mess of months of days

and snarled in the wonderment of

what, in hell, this is all about…

Coming back, returning to echoes of your own one body,

again, again, again, again,

the home your fantasy conjured

minus the straightforwardness and glitter

of safe comfortable forever there

except it is precisely that in folly

and learning and diligent removal of concept

and heavy cultural residue.

This is home, your body, waiting,

waiting

for you to come back

to what is real, always with you, and still

strangely

not known.

Family legacy

Never defined,

merely assumed,

the answer to the question

of family legacy.

Is it money?

Name?

Philanthropy?

Power? Fame?

Keep digging, for it resides

well beyond the surface of things.

Might it be anger, abuse,

enslavement, enslaving, addiction,

a thick poison, barely visible

yet acutely sensed?

Might it be secrets held, shames and generations of fear?

Likely, aspects of these remain

and are being carried-

whether or not it was chosen.

The question then emerges from distant,

unvisited places, whispering

as warm mother to sleeping infant,

And what would it be for you

to transform

such a legacy, slowly, steadily,

with loving devotion

so as to soften- just a little-

the burden of a misunderstood life

with a dash more kindness, and fist full

of intent.

Far from easy, and miles east of glamorous,

that work may be your simple, impossible,

and singular gift

with the breath you borrow

here, one day at a time.

A slurry of nettles and skunk

While sitting in a slurry of nettles and skunk,

a confused mess of fury and grief,

I had to remember,

remember those I know well who will do anything not

to change.

Clenching to what doesn’t grow,

but metastasizes, brings more comfort

than trying it all, somehow, differently.

Yet the questions weren’t born in them,

and time with practice have taught them not to find any stirring

since the familiar is the balm that keeps the abyss

from glistening up and pulling them under and out,

as it is for me now from a slick, hard cornered rock

I seem desperate to hold.

Time and body say, release this faithless fight and self-loathing,

those committed shackles wielded by the past,

and give in, set adrift and enter

what is unimaginably larger than the Seen.

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.

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.