Thursday, December 31, 2009

Take That Tall Bush Out

This is a true story of the evergreen that was at the corner of our porch when we bought the house in 1981. In 1993, Annie was desperate for changes. Among them, she said she needed light on our porch, and needed our porch to seem more welcoming to visitors. It was a symbolic gesture. I tried to get her to change her mind but she wouldn’t and so I cut this straggly bush down. It was the sort of evergreen you can’t prune. It would not have grown back.

She was exactly right about what it did. It hid and darkened our porch. Through the years I pruned it to keep it in check. In the end I couldn’t get over the fact that a living being was losing its life for no reason other than esthetics. I killed that bush to her order. I cried through the whole thing.

Happy New Year, my friends and readers. Jesus, especially you. I hope you are well.

Take That Tall Bush Out

That evergreen bush
at the corner of our porch,
you said, "Take it out."
It lived long right there
and I trimmed it every
year so carefully,
but you wanted light,
daylight at the door. When I
took the first hard cut

I started to cry.

March 13, 2009 3:11 PM

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where The Cougars Live

Not everything is revealed. Look in the golden eyes of the big cat. Pick up the scent of the territorial markings. Watch the moon rise in the late afternoon. Find the right spot and right time. Inhale. Howl.

Where The Cougars Live

I have something here
but nothing to show for it,
nothing but clean air
this high in mountains
where cougars live, where vision
questers might set up
to pass the crystal
night centered in God's long sight,
nothing but my heart
punching my old chest.

I have something here, value
added by stars, cold
light warbling among
the aspen giving shadows
life and me secrets.

March 13, 2009 12:33 PM

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Says The Student

The Taoists insist that the sages look exactly like tramps. They live lives of voluntary poverty, in the forests and when you come upon them the last thing you would think is to revere creatures who live so rough on the planet. It turns out that the Wise Ones are invested in the main in not looking so wise. You might think this is a feature of the Occult, to remain hidden. You might think this is a display of humility. You might think how this reminds you of Christ born in a stable among the beasts. It is actually a manifestation of balance. It is a posture of power.

This poem asks a question. I bet you know the answer. Don’t say it. Instead live with the question. Then go and make love.

Says The Student

It is said, Master,
that you are a heartfelt man
but all I see is

It is said also
that you contain the wisdom
I require.
All I know, you're daft.

Clumsy and daft one,
teach me if you dare,
give me the power to rise.
I want your voice.

I want better though.
I want stature and good grace.
I want shiny things.
Is this a problem?

March 12, 2009 12:44 PM

Monday, December 28, 2009


This is in its own way a true story. I just hate it when I’m the source of these things in my own life. Like when I lost that job one time, got so fired. You couldn’t get more fired. I still don’t really understand how that all went down but that only shows how over my head that job was. It was just like an avalanche catching up with me. I was ten years sober and ten years with the company that gave me that assignment. They thought I should be able to handle it. I was building a crew around me just like the bosses wanted. The crew survived. I did not.

Oh well.


I'm pushing myself,
hot dogging it down the slope,
my skis so well waxed.
I look behind me
and see a huge avalanche
bearing down on me,
wonder if it's me
that started this mass rolling
by my hot dog style.

March 12, 2009 12:16 PM

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Now I'm To Be A Witness

This poem is about timing. It is about making big changes, and why. It is about letting go of the past, of my identity. I generally don’t do changes of this magnitude that well. My friend Vivian, sober for a long time now, the banker bitch by day, crankster gangster at night, she says it’s really hard to save your ass and your face at the same time. Her whole self marks that saying since she has perfect hair and a nearly perfect face most times. What if you were told you had to leave behind your whole reason for living and switch it for some other way? Who would actually be able to tell you such a thing? Maybe not even God.

Now I'm To Be A Witness

You told me my job.
My hot sweated brow furrowed
at the thought of it.
Used to building things
like fences and walls, bolted
shut doors, with my hands,
now you say I am
to use my dim eyes, brighten
them right up. Oh man,
I hate thinking this,
I'm to use my eyes much more
and my hands will lose
all the old calluses
as I open my doors up,
tear down my high walls.

March 11, 2009 12:59 PM

Friday, December 25, 2009

Touch And Go

I spent my Christmas with my family of choice. We ate well, feeding each other. We did not fight. No one got drunk. Not one of us got drunk, thank You, God. There were several places to go throughout the day. I did not get one present. I did not miss that except to acknowledge that the gifts are not tangible gifts any more. Now I am sitting here amongst you who read and comment, and as well the ones who only read. It is good and right that I am here as well.

My day started last night when I went upstairs from the AA meeting and joined the candlelight service the church was holding. This is a Unitarian Universalist congregation. I spent ten years among them trying a religious cloak on for size. It did not in the end work, though I still can return under certain self imposed future conditions. I sat there among them. There were many greetings and well wishes given to me. What was especially good, I ran into a friend I didn’t expect to see, a man who also went upstairs. I joined him, sat beside him in the service.

This is probably a Buddhist poem.

Touch And Go

I shall stand so still
I become light, a feather
in the holy wind
and each passing thought
shall not burst as I
touch, then let it go.

You said thoughts are delicate
bubbles drifting through
my mind, that I should
not break them open lest they
catch me up, away.

March 11, 2009 9:23 AM

Thursday, December 24, 2009

To All My Loves, This Season

I wrote this in December, 2003 and gave it away to those who were in my heart at that time in celebration of Christmas. I wrote recalling the heights, recalling Maire and the story of the queen I once loved lifetimes ago. I posted this poem first on Nov. 17, 2008. Now I repeat this offering on Christmas Eve, 2009.
Dec. 24, 2003
In the spirit of the season, in the spirit of the world's yearning, in the deep places in between all conflicts that persist even though we all know better - here is a musing that surprised me today, as love often surprises those who yearn for the beautiful, the true. Because I have loved this woman, I can love many women. Because I love women, I can also love men. Because I love men and women, I can also love God. Because I love God, I can live today.

To All My Loves, This Season

Ever in my heart, I am grateful for what has happened between us.
It is a piece of the soul's story, a flowering of the Beloved, eternal.
When you take me in, even a little, the present tense of the Infinite
Returns and lifts me into Beauty. Truly you are the Best One -

Truly not you as you struggle here and now, no not you like that -
Truly you as you cascade through all time and space, as we all do.
Maid of the Deepest Moon, you shine, you light a symphony of love -
And me, the Man of the Northern Wall, alight for all time through this.

This is what you have given me, what survives chaos and all pain.
This is what I celebrate in my best moments far beyond our dream.
As I travel on, when I can remember, I choose to sing the moon
And stars and the perfume of you lingers near my heart, calling me.

I shall never be lost again, not as I once was. Now I dance
To songs I know to sing. My heart stays open for you and beyond
To others as I must, following the call bigger than you or me
Until we meet at the other end of this time and claim our true home.

(This is why I pray I do not depart ever in the chaos of lost love,
but if depart we must, I pray to keep the truth of love alive.)

Merry Christmas. May there be much joy in the coming year for you and yours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Small Bird

There is not really very much to say about this one. It’s inspiration was my visit to a website or a blog, I forget which one and this poem is the truth as it is. What I would add, the stories I know are true as well. If this life is all there is then this is what it is. But once I was a mage, the man of the northern wall, liege to a queen who was murdered through my fault, my failed protection. Once I was in an argument with God, so powerful that I was granted permission for this life. These two are as surely me as the man I am now unadorned. There are more stories of me, but I do not know them. These two I know.

This posting is for the 24th of December, a day that is the eve of a Christian holiday. I am not much for holidays but do my best to get along. I like better the nearness of this holiday to the winter solstice. It is said that the Dec. 25 date was the old Roman solstice marked because it is the first day that is an obvious increase in light. There have been other arguments that link the date with Mithra and Sol Invictus, but that seems now doubtful. The Saturnalia ended on Dec. 23. So the day seems to be returned to Christ as the ninth month marker beyond the Feast of the Anunciation on March 25, the traditional day of Christ’s conception. The earliest recorded celebration of the birth of Christ on Dec. 25 is 243 AD.

I personally favor scholarship that points to Jeshua’s actual birth as a spring event, Christ as Aries or Taurus. Christ as Sagittarius or especially Capricorn seems odd to me.

A Small Bird

This is what my life
is like without the stories
I must tell myself
in order to live.
This is what my life is like.
It is a small room
with open windows
and a small bird flies through it,
in one window, out
the other.

March 10, 2009 2:06 PM

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Obstinate Wizened Fool

Just like you all do, I have many sides to me. These are two of my sides. I am either voice in this poem. Heh. This poem also reminds me of something else, someone else.

By the way, I really do wear store bought glasses, now at the strongest lens I can get in this certain kind, sold at Costco, a warehouse store that sells merchandise in lots. These glasses are sold with the claim of aspheric lenses and are sold in packs of three at a time for under $20. They are the only magnifiers that I know work for me and do not give me a headache.

If I get prescription glasses, I promptly lose or break them. I don’t like the astigmatism correction either, can’t see much improvement, certainly not worth the headache that astigmatism correction gives me.

Obstinate Wizened Fool

You say get glasses,
new ones, with built in wide views,
show me what's what.
I say my store boughts
are just fine for me. I'll paste
pictures on for views.
You say what a dork,
what a backward wizened fool,
and obstinate too.
You'd hurt my feeling
(I only have one) if I
let you in my head.

March 10, 2009 2:32 PM

"What would it be like to welcome yourself home, to welcome home your whole body and mind? To make it all right to be here? No more worry about not being good enough, no more worry about not being perfect. Welcome home. What would it be like? What kind of mind would you be willing to feel vulnerable with?"
- Ed Brown

What would it be like to welcome yourself home even with an attitude like that obstinate wizened fool, or his judge? Why is it I believe I have to go somewhere else to find home?

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Wandering Jew

I did not die. I tried and did not die. It is my doom to wander the world. I watch. Sometimes I speak. When I speak I do not say who I am, where I have been, how long I have been on this journey, where I will go. When I speak I tell other secrets. They have told stories about me, that I am the victim of a curse. This is not true but the stories persist. Shalom Aleichem.

Heeding The Call

At every age
it is the same call but not
the same responding
because the hopes change
and the body will also
and time does speed up
and more stuff repeats.

It gets more urgent
and more relaxed. Both ways show
truth in my passing.
I have no time left
but I have all eternity.
What is still hottest?
That I show you how I love
and see you wake up.

March 10, 2009 11:49 AM

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Caring For Each Other, Northern Goddess

Here is one of the better visions of compassion and one world view that supports it.

Caring for Each Other

The Buddha has suggested that we are without a mother and father to take care of things for us. Mother Earth, once thought to be all-forgiving and capable of absorbing any abuse we could heap upon her, is not the infinitely benevolent resource we thought she was. As we learn of our own mothers at a certain point of maturity, Mother Earth can and does get worn down by giving and forgiving in the face of our persistent demands. And our Father who is in heaven, though perhaps immensely old and lord over a host of devas (as the Buddhists view him), is nevertheless subject to the laws of karma and is not sufficiently omnipotent to make it all work out for us in the end.

If we do not care for one another, who else will care for us? Who among us has the right to say of another, "He is of no use to us?" For better or worse, whether we like it or not, we are all in this together. Learning how to care for one another is a central part of the path and of the practice.

- Andrew Olendzki, Ph.D., "Medicine for the World," from the Summer 2008 Tricycle.

I feel deep accord with Andrew, though I would add that Father God takes his less than sufficiently powerful position by agreement with us and with the planet, with Mother Earth as well. He could clean this up but He won't, because He promised not to. That is why this is God's Permitted World, not God's World.

I take the position that the primary Trinity is the Taoist one, Heaven, Earth, Man and that we are equally pivotal through the point of soul, co-creators of our destiny in ourselves and on the planet. This is by the deeper collective agreement that upholds the thematic personal agreements that we keep or break in individual lifetimes.

But I am too smitten to leave it at that. I require by my erotic nature that Mother Earth take another aspect. I need a lover. I need not only the triune aspect of the world's co-creation and the quaternity of my crucifixion here and yours, I need as well the duality of communion and the orgasmic nature of encounter with holiness within this lifetime, with Goddess and with you.

Northern Goddess

Your heart is thunder
and you stand so lightning struck
with your smoky hair,
a goddess, true north
for the creatures of the dry
found south of your lines.

March 10, 2009 7:34 AM

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What It Is

I have changed worlds more than once. At least twice. This is not my home. :}

What It Is

I'm just overwhelmed.
This place takes my breath away.
I can't quite make out
the reality
here. The colors are too bright
to be real, too red
reds, too green, and smells
and sounds beyond bearing, so
sweet, so true. So harsh.
It's savage, and you,
you are savage, and your love's
a savage love. Lord
I don't know if I
can take this life very long.

I know it began
in mystery and it will
end just the same way.

March 9, 2009 7:40 PM

Friday, December 18, 2009

Spiritual Judo

How to stay in love with nearly anyone, that’s a good question. I had a nearly five year committed relationship. Now she calls herself Francesca. She reads this blog sometimes. Hello Frances, I love you.

This poem comes from that relationship. I know this is what she did in her way as well with me. I am not that easy to take sometimes. This is how to stay in love, at least one way. We did separate. She emigrated to Canada. We have stayed in love. I know it’s true for her too. She’s still looking after my welfare just as she always has.

Spiritual Judo

When you give me looks
like that, I know you are just
about to tell me
what's good for me, what's
right by God, if I'll listen
to you this one time.
I long ago learned
how to use your force to throw
you past me, to give
you to God, saying
You deal with her, my Brother,
she's too much for me.

March 9, 2009 7:23 PM

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Like Dylan, What He Said

As I have said before, I am an old dope dealer, 69-71. How that ended, what I call hitting bottom for the second time, is directly related to this poem. The Dylan in the title is not Bob Dylan. It’s the other Dylan, Mr. Thomas, the Welshman (correction by YogaforCynics after checking) who wrote these lines

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Like Dylan, What He Said

And right here I want
to rebel against it all,
rebel against you
who created me,
you who will take me so soon
that even now I
feel the coming dark
in the pains of joints, dimming
sight, the loss of love,
leaking confidence.
I want to stand up straight, shake
my fist in your face.
I'll stand my ground, force
the fire to consume me right
in front of you here.

March 9, 2009 3:54 PM

I followed his advice. My second bottom involved betrayal of friendship, lying, a sting operation, a set trap that somehow didn’t spring, a girlfriend who couldn’t measure up, who I had to leave, the destruction, but carefully of my entire life, leaving town, going from California to Arizona for a couple weeks, coming back to town and after that living a completely different life.

How that worked, when I realized I was in deep shit, my body took over, moved my conscious mind aside, said in effect I had neither the experience nor the intelligence to do what had to be done next. It was a weird ride. I was not in charge, not at all, just sitting back and watching all of it unfold. The things that happened next were like a play, perfectly staged. First I completely evaded the trap, several hours of nighttime driving over roads I did not know, had never been on in order to get back home, totally freaked out, knowing I had to do this perfect at both the buy end and my arrival home. Over several days I cleaned up, demonstrated the uselessness of trying to leverage me for the crime that I actually did not commit (though they had me on others that I did commit, but it wasn’t me they were after), and then carefully leaving town, leaving false trails as I did. I found out that my will to live was only partially in my control. For lack of a better way to say it, my body took over, was determined to neither go to jail nor die without a goddamn good fight. What terrified me, I was not built right for the pressure the narcs could exert. I feared they would make me snitch and then I would simply have to kill myself. I am still convinced I would have killed myself in that condition.

That didn’t happen. I was never even picked up, never charged, nor was the guy I was protecting. The last I heard of him he had made his nut, bought a boat and retired to the South Seas, all from skills and philosophy he built fighting the NVA in Viet Nam. He was a decent man, just thoroughly counter culture and pissed off about the war. He was doing his subversive bit, ripping the system off directly and helping others to do the same. That's how we saw things in those days. He was one of the main suppliers of weed for Hot Tuna. Hot Tuna was a spin off band from the Jefferson Airplane. When they split, that's when the Airplane became the Starship. His smuggling partner had been my roommate in San Jose before my roommate moved to Oregon, bought property and built his house. I loved that man, my roommate, fiercely. I loved my life in those days too. When I had to tear down my life to save myself, it nearly killed me losing so much. My body made that happen, a completely different kind of consciousness. I could not have done it. There is no question I was raging against the dying of the light.

Instead I met my future wife, moved to Oregon with her in a year, and got a career three months after that. I found a continuing education course, signed up and was hooked up with a mentor and best friend who changed my life over the next six years to boot.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bless My Return

It was not so long ago that as a culture we blessed each other or pointed out to each other that God does. The old biblical stories tell of a father who blesses his son, of a son who knows that he is in trouble without his father’s blessing. This blessing thing is a power transaction. A blessing lifts the one blessed into a raised position of privilege. Here is another example of magic so many of us have left behind.

I notice the email chains are often attempts to reclaim blessings and to pass them around. I think they would work if the people who sent them had a clue what they are really doing. They would look very different from the way they look, though, most of them. Sometimes I get one of those blessing chain emails that lifts the hackles on the back of my neck. Not very often.

I hope my poems go out as blessings sometimes. I don’t write this to get you to tell me they do. I write this to express that giving blessings is square in the Bodhisattva ideal to which I devote my life in the magical world where I can do such things.

One key is, though, the blessing is nearly always singular. You can’t bless large groups in any way which invokes power. Of course you can bless a group. You just don’t have enough power to gift that many at once. Throw the blessing out to the many. One of them catches it. He or she may never tell you, perhaps never even know. This way of blessing people is thankless, reminiscent of the aphorism about doing a good turn in secret.

Bless My Return

I climbed to the edge
of the world, to the tree
completely covered
with snow, ice, and light
found only there, at the edge,
about to fall off.
And me, I'm slipping
a little, resting, getting
my breath. I want you
to bless my return.
I'm afraid I'll lose myself
without your blessing.

March 9, 2009 3:21 PM

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Taking Winged Shape

I want to be angelic. Here is a really good reason. I am nearly 100% certain that angel relationships are so much simpler. Sometimes the negotiations of relationship make me really tired. I know why at least some of us fail at relationships. We just get too tired. It shouldn’t be this hard, what my bones and sinews say. Music gives me the same trouble. It just shouldn’t be that hard to master the whole thing. Calculus, I couldn’t even start, even though I am supposed to be really smart, but calculus scared the shit out of me. I want to be angelic because I sense they don’t even have to try. I really, really want to not have to try.

I think I have heard this, that I am not making it up. Angels are complete and perfect creatures, limited in only one direction. They only possess a smidgen of free will, not the main meal that is ours but just a dash, a splash of it, like a good spice. Enough to make rebellion possible, but so rare that only a few have tried it and only one mustered enough to fall into rebellion completely and take some of the others with him.

Man on the other hand is required by his nature to rebel.

God loves Man best. Sometimes angels find that difficult, knowing that. It is said that is why Lucifer fell. God's love for man may be merciful but is not just from the angelic point of view. Lucifer fell for justice.

But Man’s work is the thing. It is so fucking hard.

Taking Winged Shape

That I should want this
thing with more than I ever
could gather from hills,
the grassy long sweep
of wind washed blades and flowers,
white starred stalks among
the green green old hills
of the far planet behind
my flight. That I should
want so much from this
sky into which I now go,
why I learned to fly.

March 9, 2009 1:41 PM

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Was Feeling Blue

Here’s a little slice of life, how love is not license.

I Was Feeling Blue

Then that gal came by
and began to tell me how
I should feel as if
I didn't have someone
inside me telling me that
all the fricken time!

But I love you so
is all the reason she could
give to invade me.

March 8, 2009 8:03 PM

Sunday, December 13, 2009

In The Hole

Here’s a shapeshifting poem. I wrote it in third person. The thing about shifting into a gopher – that’s too far down the food chain. If you shift in, you better leave behind a trail of clarity so you can shift back out by rote. Otherwise you are stuck for the duration. Granted a gopher life is not a long one, but the dying is generally not pleasant. Once in a gopher soul you can’t marshall enough to inaugurate a shapeshift back out, so your out has to be there already formed.

Granted, I don’t know why someone would actually want to be a gopher. But here’s another issue with shapeshifting: it is easy enough to slip sideways if you don’t keep discipline. You can end up a gopher by accident. That’s what I did. Shit.

In The Hole

The gopher digging
his way past the tangled roots
of the rose above,
wondering what's next
and why he should encounter
the hint of fragrance,
the sign of sharp thorns.
It's dark in his hole, but life
glows, lights his dim thought.

March 6, 2009 8:50 PM

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Keep Losing Things

I love the play of things in a world of magic and love. I am firm in my belief that the spirit world has a power dimension. I believe that the power issue was primary in the oldest forms of the spiritual walk, that the earliest human groups needed to get the world to cooperate, the prey to come to them, the storms to hold off at critical times, and similar issues, on pain of death. This was no joke. I believe the need for spirit power produced in certain locations a “science of spirit” over generations that in a certain sense could be handed down from master to apprentice.

After literally millions of years the institutions in place were tribal, forms of shamanism. In China, Tibet, and Southeast Asia this was brought forward and institutionalized in aspects of Taoism in China and other local forms elsewhere. These traditional forms of shamanism were deeply transformed by the advent of agriculture but in essence were unbroken.

The shamanic roots of Taoism remain in place still today, why Taoist thinking is overtly alchemical in many areas. Elsewhere on the planet, especially in the near East, India, Egypt and through that influence in Europe, the advent of agriculture broke shamanism and replaced it with priesthood religions that match the political power structures of empire. The shamanic traditions had to go underground, because spirit power could not be allowed to be that democratic.

I love the play of things in a world of magic and love. I am shaman at heart. I have taken my own spirit journeys. I believe music, art, poetry can be alchemical in nature, transformative in ways difficult to fathom without intimacy, magic, love. And with coyote, I say, “you better be able to take a joke along the way.” There is pithy bar talk for that sentiment, because drunks are sky pilots too.

I have a growing relationship with a practicing Homeopath. I know he is certain that spirit power is essential to healing, that the problem with mainstream western medicine is that it has divorced from spirit power in favor of “science”, as if western science is the only kind. This of course ignores literally at least 50,000 years of wisdom. It assumes the ancients were rubes and boobs, buried under ignorance. It is clear the ancients were at least as intelligent as we are all the way along. It is also certain they were highly motivated by their uncertain life to achieve success in marshalling spiritual power. Why would it be surprising that they achieved spirit power along the way?

Here is a poem that comes from another world strangely like this one.

I Keep Losing Things

I see you coming
my way out of the forest,
that place that the moons
of this world visit,
nestling in the trees.
You hold a basket of rose
petals and I know
you are going to
give me a shower of them,
expecting that I
hold the golden key.
I'm sorry, but I lost that
key two lives ago.

March 6, 2009 11:58 AM

Friday, December 11, 2009

You Have Found Your Way

It's always a dialog. I know that too. Even in the alone moments, even if only talking to myself, it is always dialog that makes a difference. The space between, the distance, is required. That is why for me God cannot only be within, and the experience of God's presence cannot only be an inner knowing, and also why this whole thing does not make sense for me without God. It's always dialog and the distance that permits dialog.

I am making no claim for ultimate reality. I am making the claim for the reality of my own spiritual walk, the level of spirit appropriate to my destiny, to the agreement that has me on the planet. I will never really make a good Buddhist. I need someone to wrestle with. Buddhists will tell you God may or may not be there, but He is not necessary. I can only reply, that is not this lifetime for me.

Likewise I really need all of you. I need the distance and the dialog. I need the love. Love is the distance. There is a myth, I think, that claims for soul mates a union like the embrace implied in many wedding ceremonies, that the two shall be as one. No. Love is the distance and the tension and the resolution and the high of very temporary orgasmic union (whether sexual or not, it subsides).

Years ago I had experiences like that on LSD and realized I was seeing the truth for real. I still think so. I tried very hard to stay there and my life told me in no uncertain terms it was not going to happen that way because love is the distances and the tension.

Love is the power that joins polarities.

You Have Found Your Way

The world love creates
possesses all the magic
clothed in white feathers,
able to lift us,
to provide powerful wings,
to provide the space
we need to begin
our own weaving of white light.

When you tell me this
I know you have found
your way into the magic,
into my sore heart.

March 5, 2009 11:50 AM

Thursday, December 10, 2009

As She Touches Me

Vinisha pointed something out. If I may paraphrase it, “Is there no solitary path?”

I think I will sit with this for a few days. I know that what has moved me most are the relationships that have engaged me, and I believe that is the spiritual walk of most of us, in and through intimacy with family, friends, even strangers. I also know as I wrote not long ago that the great price of being self taught is a too heavy passage through the material, that the burden of the self taught is very heavy. It is too much responsibility. Yet I also know that God meets us right where we are at. That means a solitary call comes to some of us. There is no question of that. I think that is all I shall say, though I should add this: some of the most erotic love poems to God come from solitary contemplatives. That is a fact. Vinisha, remind me in a while. I am letting it sink down now into the deep of me. What I mean is, Vinisha, that I took your question to mean a practice of some kind not in the monastic setting or in vows. That is the direct answer of course. There are monastic orders designed to accommodate a solitary path.

As She Touches Me

She contains power
collected from the craggy
outcrops, from the cones
of the northern trees,
from the cries of the osprey
building atop poles
set by men for them
though men thought for their own use.

She gives of that force
let out carefully in small
measure, gentle, sweet
as she touches me
in the sore spots and they melt
lost, fallen in love.

March 5, 2009 10:47 AM

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Walk On

In my last post we got around to how we need each other to traverse the spiritual distance between worlds. But maybe not this much.

There is a line in this one that points to a piece of my pie. "you were laughing with/all of me..."

I am convinced I am not all here, cannot be contained in finitude that way. That's what the line refers to, that the pratfalls I take are probably funny to me too from the celestial point of view. However, you don't see me laughing all that often down here in finite-land.

I am here because I am not all there. :) But I am there because I am not all here.

Walk On

I tried to lean on
your strength, your lead - slippery
slope that. All I got
was a muddy face
and you laughing. Then you said
you were laughing with
all of me about
my dependent need, how I'm
holding foolish hope
when all I have to
do is walk on down the lines
of my own great soul.

March 4, 2009 4:03 PM

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Looking For Answers

Imagine looking for answers like Galileo did, aware as he must have been that there were people in the world so sure of the answers they had already that they were not looking for more. Imagine looking for answers in a place and time when if you find answers, others will refuse you and your effort. They will condemn you if you actually find enough leverage somehow and refuse to go away. They may kill you for your answers, should you actually find them. Imagine this is such a time. Trust me, this is such a time, if you seek answers in the wrong places, just like always.

Looking For Answers

You all say today
I know nothing, that's the start.
I look for other
opinions, maybe
I can know something, but that's
just my vanity.

I'm just a small stump
in the forest, timidly
putting out a shoot,
looking for answers
in the gray grassy daylight
of my tiny glade.

March 4, 2009 8:54 AM

Monday, December 7, 2009

No Separation

Who has the courage to reach love's peak? The easiest way is of course sex, but it is not the only way. And of course most sex doesn't reach love's peak. I am only talking to the women here from the distance of being a man. I will leave it to some woman to talk to the men. My mother was an award winning (in college) Dramatist, an English teacher, and in yet another career, a minister and then a teacher of ministers. She told me it takes a man to really get a woman, and vice versa, at least in writing, because there has to be distance and tension for this. She said the best men in literature were written by women, while the best women, by men.

Intimacy changes things. Love's peak cannot happen without intimacy and trust and faith because there is always a cliff and always jumping off the cliff. At the critical moment of decision no one can help. The best lovers learn to halt all encouragement just before. The leap must be freely taken, unhindered by promises and visions.

No Separation

In the deep of you
is a gate that love can reach
and reaching open.
I tell you surely
that you display the divine
the moment the gate
opens and the light
flames forth into the warm lamp
of your holy heart.

At love's peak I see
no separation between
the goddess and you.

March 3, 2009 12:45 PM

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Too Damn Hot

I don’t know if you people love the poetry that tells you a real story as much as me but a master at it, you can find here at The Buffaloe Pen. She tells gritty stories of the South. Her site will lead you to really cool sites too, not only other blogs but as well quarterlies and other master poets. She wrote a great story poem involving a mule and so I wrote one too. I would highly recommend her archives. She publishes in many places, so she doesn’t post on her blog as frequently as I would wish. She will tell you where to find her poetry though.

Too Damn Hot

I sit, flick my long
brown ears at the flies, sit here
in this row all done
and I would laugh at
that skinny-two-legs plowing
without me, braying
out a long, long laugh
but she already bit me
once right on one ear
and I don't know what
she'll do next if I laugh now
but I ain't plowing,

not one more row here,
not today, it's too damn hot
and I'm too lazy.

March 2, 2009 2:56 PM

Saturday, December 5, 2009

We Once Loved

This might be too preachy, but dammit, it’s the truth.

There was a T-shirt a while back that said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” It’s time to say it again…He who dies with the most love wins. I am pretty sure you understand my point. I am far from in the running for the most sex. I have some grand male friends with whom I share a special love. I am sure you know by now, reading my work, that I am not gay. I could have been with one man, many years ago. I loved him that much. I could have made love with him, but only if he asked it of me, because I am not gay. Neither was he.

Any of my love poems are to women, or to God, or the Goddess.

We Once Loved

I am not here long,
not long at all, nor are you.

We are called to love
in the moment as
we can, as if we had all
the time in the world,
as if it could last,
as if someone else would care
that we were once here
and that we once loved
like the ancient mountains grew,
slowly wearing down.

March 2, 2009 2:28 PM

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Shoes You Threw Up There

My house is situated in an older part of the town of Gladstone, a totally residential neighborhood, a mix of older and newer lower value houses and on my street at least duplexes. This neighborhood is only a couple blocks from Gladstone’s main streets, Dartmouth and Portland Avenue, which splits the town into east and west. I am a duplex of sorts too, taxed a little unfairly because the other domicile is really a studio apartment though it is in a stand alone building. I cannot rent it for a price fair to the taxes. Nearby there are apartments where once there were only houses, some older and some newer. Some of the older householders here lament how the neighborhood has gone downhill. Really though, I think it’s a pretty good neighborhood, and I am friends with the neighbors next door to the left and across from them. The neighbor across and to my right is caring for my old cat now and my cat gets to be much warmer there in the laundry room instead of here in my garage. I have taken to feeding Hellboy on my porch. He’s the feral cat who lives on that neighbor’s porch. It’s only fair.

It has gotten colder. With a nod to my friends in Whitehorse and Mendenhall, it gets dark at 5:30, not 3:30, and by colder I mean above freezing still. The goldfinches have regained their bright yellow breasts for some reason. They flock around my feeder still, and the Canada geese herds are still mining the grassy verges on the road. A hundred or so gather sometimes, with two or three on watch while the rest dig for food. I love the geese from a distance. They do not love us, but they do trust we will stay in our cars.

There is a school, Gladstone High School not far to the northeast. Due east three blocks is an elementary school and behind it Gladstone’s main park where every year the city fair is held. We have a parade, you know, just as we did in the Willamette neighborhood where I lived before. On the high wires of a couple nearby intersections are one tied pair of sneakers each, dangling there for years now. I watch them slowly degrade in the seasons. They have held up quite well.

There. I hardly allowed any sentence fragments in this post. That better, Mom? This is her house I live in. She bought it to be near me in her last years, since Lees Summit, near Kansas City, Missouri where my sister still lives because Mom lived there once turned out to be mean streets for her.

The Shoes You Threw Up There

I couldn't throw them
today, not if I tried, not
to save my old life.

Shoes across the wire
take shoulders that swing easy
to toss them high up
and over to stay.

My shoulders complain often
now, and so the rest
as well, twinges that
speak clearly of the sometime
journey I will take.

March 02, 2009 2:15 PM

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I've Gone To Ground

I once took on an affair that involved me in subterfuge. The only way I could do it was to deliberately and deeply follow my heart. Then I quit all debating about the awkwardness of my position and the risk. We needed to protect her kids from the eruption of her affair in the middle of her path to divorce. We succeeded. Over the course of two years this affair never got back to her family even though we were less than secret in some circles. In the end she left me for another who was new enough that she could bring into the open after her husband had a girl friend and the divorce was well established as going forward. The kids did fine. I met them at one point. She has ultimately accomplished that separation, including separating from the necessary boy friend to match her husband’s girl friend. I actually knew I could not succeed in keeping this woman my lover and am grateful for the two years we had. What she gave me was my mature poetic voice.

What all that has to do with this poem, the quality of waiting in it is very much the quality of waiting for my lover to come to my house, especially on the days I took off from work to make it happen. I’m an old outlaw, not only this way. This is one of the prices.

I've Gone To Ground

There's no advantage
to this hideout, too many
splinters, not enough
light, and they shut off
the power decades ago.
I think you'll not find
me here, haven't had
a bath for days. This ain't fun,
this rash, these splinters,
nothing to do, not any
damn thing, just waiting for you,
you said you would come.

March 2, 2009 9:16 AM

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This Ache In My Heart

I have been busier today not working than I would have been working. To the doctor’s three times today. Phone work, to the Auto Body shop because someone hit me on the road last night, a glancing head on with a towed car that swept wide because power steering wasn’t there. Very low speed accident. I always use sentence frags. Does anyone care? My mother did. She hated it when I deliberately did shoddy shit like this because she knew I know better, and I do. Filing the accident report. Getting the estimate, $3500… Their insurance saying, “no problem.”

The physiatrist said that my screwed up vertebra really should not cause pain and numbness, but my pain and numbness there anyway. I don’t care if that is so but what I do care about is finding out what is going on. I will return soon for an in depth test of the nerve pathways in my leg. Oh fine! Needles, effing Teflon coated needles. This will pinch a bit…I hate it when they say that.

This is not how it was, but on another world, how it could have been.

This Ache In My Heart

How you lie there still
after the wave has passed by,
after the heat fades,
and I wander off
to pray for the day's return,
kneeling in the grove
beside our campsite
out of your sight on purpose
because I fear love.

March 1, 2009 9:54 PM

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Sighting

I don't think I will add much to this one...

The Sighting

It was diamond
shaped and shivered, spitting light
from the three corners
as it hung weightless
small and close, far and larger,
I don't know, she said,
and I can't tell what
I know because I am sworn
and they keep watching.

March 1, 2009 9:32 PM

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