Showing posts from September, 2017

Found Poem

Life is one found poem after another these days.  I am listening and listening and listening.  And there is love.  This, between two students, the other day:

Why is it so bad To forget In The Odyssey? It's, like, a sin.
Because you are your story. That's your life. And if you forget it, You won't know who you are Anymore.
Oh.  That's deep.
So Odysseus doesn't want to forget Because he wants to get home.
"You go where love takes you, and that's it." (Joseph Campbell)

Note to Self



One-forty-five… Two o’clock… Two-thirty-seven…. In this darkness The fifty-one years of my life Are nowhere to be found. Nor are the two years of this dog’s being Or the four years of that dog’s presence. All that we have Are three hearts pressing into the night A rhythm as steady as small waves from a calm sea. This small sound is punctuated by acorns Pinging rooftops and patios and glass tables As they fall through the stillness they break And the insects who sing A story that does not include us. I am awake and alive To the nothing that carries Everything through time and space That is a gift to every life. In this ancient music My little dogs Move closer to me: They want contact As their sleepy canine mutterings Say sleep is good When you can get it (So keep the light off),

“How Was Your Day?”

"These mythic clues work." (Joseph Campbell)

I have a question: 
Why do the gods bother with us? 

[A child’s question.]

I mean, we’re nothing special? 
Why do they waste their time? 

[A child’s anguish.]

I think I know:
In two places it says he
Walked like a young god
After he listened to Athena.
Should I read it?

[A child’s voice.]

So they want to? 

I think they like him.

Autumn: Farewell

First day of autumn And the pine cones Are raining down, Sapping and staining Everything. Acorns and black walnuts Pave the road to hell. All of this is the  noise of essential death. It’s how it is. Falling Is not an easy thing, And it is not neat. And the neighbors talk. And you talk about The knife Cutting this way and that And how important the that is For the thing to really mean anything And the rest of us who take pills Or try to gas ourselves Are selling out on whatever it is The knife brings to essential death. And that’s great For the people who find you And find the knife And really love how In control of life you were For the amount of time it took you to die.

Beyond the Veil

"I saw the danger, yet I walked
Along the enchanted way And I said let grief be a falling leaf  At the dawning of the day." (Van Morrison)

Leaving the Table


Consider the Lilies

Consider the lilies, He said, How they do not toil or spin, And I did.

I considered them: I got down on my hands and knees, Belly to the ground, And pushed my hungry face Deep into the blossoms.

I breathed in the flowers, And I took in everything-- Blossoms, stems, leaves, roots-- Right down to the hard dark Of deep earth, Where life begins.

And I’ll be damned, But I cannot explain myself.

I ate those flowers One at a time-- A sacramental rite, The claiming and naming, Knowing and feeling The pulse of those flowers, My pulse, The freedom.
You know it. It is your pulse.

The Force of Whiteness

Autumn Promise

No rain
Mist on the lake
No sun
Leaves fall
They fall and they fall
And they fall
Late summer sun
Burns through the lens
Of passing opportunity
Wild grapes
And bittersweet:
The crown and nectar
Of the triumph
Of change
The mist lifts
Clouds drift
And there the sun
Bids the leaves
Dance to his tune.

They do.
We do.
I do.

I do.

That's a promise.

Woman from Bethany

You stride into the room
Of feasting men, overpowering
Every one of them
With a single gesture:

You break the neck
Of your one treasure:
A jar of precious ointment.

You pour it all over him,
Put your strong hands onto his body,
And anoint him from head to toe,
Kneading your fragrant treasure into him.

You kneel to touch his feet with your hair.
You are not humbled;
You are a part of him
Whom you claim,
And he has surrendered.

You know when you are done:
You stand,
And he gleams
With the pure power
Of your loving touch.

He feels good.
He is alive.
This is everything.
This is the gift of life.

His friends, watching, call you a whore.

Ironic, right?

Beyond Words

A few paces
Beyond that abyss
Where words
Dissolve into chaos,
Rendering themselves
Unknowable and beyond use,

There is silence
That will not be informed
By thought.

 In that space
There is the moon,
The morning star,
A dusting from the universe
Of light beyond imagining

And words?
They are the rungs on a ladder
That would take us there
If only it were possible.

We are such very small
Players on a vast stage.
 Still, Mercy has its place.

When you smile,
You shake my world,
Knocking the stars out of alignment,
Casting me into the dark paradise
Of freedom,

Where there are, as yet,
No words.

Your Constellation

If I could configure
This feeling
As a constellation
When words fail,
And there is no music,
 The moon is slipping away,
 And a category 5 hurricane
Is about to reconfigure
Our understanding
Of how life emerges
From the impulses
Of heat and water,
Passion and forgetfulness,
This constellation
Would take the shape
Of a leatherback sea turtle
Swimming through the deeply silent sea. 

In that rare animal, I see you:
Strong, steady,

Mysterious, silent,
True, and

Gliding into a new day:
A story I can't completely follow,
A story that will go on.

About Gifts

You don’t have to ask
To receive

You don’t have to give
To receive

You have to show up
To receive


What do you give?
What do you receive?

Your answer?
Tell me who you are.

Consolation Prize

What did Delilah have
That pushed Samson
To the edge of himself?
And why did he test her?
Why did he totally miss her?

The error cost him his eyes.

And what was she doing
To play with such passion?
What did she gain?

I can do the English teacher thing
And say
When a character loses his eyes,
He gains insight.
(What the hell else is there
In that darkness?
And why are we all about
The consolation prize?)

But here's the question I can't answer:
How could she be such a whore?

Rephrased:  What did he feel
When he looked at her?
To what did he surrender himself
That he might bring down the temple of the Philistines
After her betrayal?

And how was her betrayal
A gift to Samson?

It was.

Something to do with the
Consolation prize.

It was.
But neither of them could see.

Claiming Bathsheba

Wisdom comes to life in the heart.
Think of Solomon and the baby
That would be halved
If his mother could not let him go
That he might live. 

That was a brutal test,
But Solomon knew
Truth is swiftly found
In a true heart.

The second child
Of beautiful Bathsheba and David,
Shepherd son of a son of Abraham
Who rose to greatness
When he slew Goliath
And thereafter enjoyed tremendous power.

David took Bathsheba:
She was beautiful and he wanted her.

The story is that simple.

 My translation of the Bible
Calls this adultery. Lust. Evil. 
My Bible is always doing that:
Calling every just move
A transgression.

 If my Bible is correct
Then the lesson here
Is that we must
Cross the line
Claim beauty for our own
Go deep inside the mystery
For wisdom
 And offer it to the world.

We could not know
The beauty, the power, of insight
If the child David had not first slain a monster
And thereby claimed his birthright.

We cannot know where life will take us,
 But we can know th…

Like Odysseus

I dissolved into sleep last night,
Drifting on the same waves that carried
Sleeping Odysseus To Ithaca--
A journey safe, swift, and kind.

 The sea delivered me
Into the arms of Athena,
Who veiled my eyes in spindrift,
Who dissolved me into sand and silence,
 And bade me feel
The rhythm of my own heart
In it own place in its own time,
Which has come.

And I feel the pulse of the sea,
The music of my heart.
 In fact, I live it.

Like Odysseus,
Whom Athena awoke to the urgency
Of his purpose,
Who thought and fought for his love
And won her and moved on.

I know the urgency of the story.
I tell it.
I am invisible, and I love
To the very end.

A Mythic Truth

The Mythic Truth
To give yourself completely to life To require nothing in return To welcome all that comes:
This is The Force. This is the power of the goddess.