Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Sudden Silence in the Middle of a Mob, Etc: All Acts of God to Be Determined

I want to know that 
someone here in the crowd reads minds.
That someone saw the seal 
rise with the waves
and swim straight toward them 
with a message from God.

I want to see 
the whole terminal break down weeping 
when the light hits the silent asphalt 
after the electrical storm.

I want my heart to 
break a gash in the wall 
and see water pour out,
glimmering waves to lift us, 
drown our inner feed, 
make us play or fight for life.

I want you, unknowable one, 
to know that you are known.
And seen.

This earthquake, 

was for me.
And for you, 
if you looked up and out.
If you let your core 
be shaken; be held; 
be moved by the unseen lover
that came to Psyche in the night.

You walk in a myth, 
but do you believe its stricture?
Why is flight only possible as you sleep,
sweating out your gravity?

I will not tell you what to do.
The body next to you on the bus, in the line,
heading toward you on a suicide mission 

can give you the words.

Their syllables shimmer 
in the grand halls and crannies
that lead to your hiding place,
calling you out.

To get up, 
to open your mouth.
 To say nothing
and be fed.
 And be known.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Great Tree of Peace, Adirondacks

Beauty, these days,
has become elusive.

You look at the picture of
aspens printing yellow hands
on dark snow-capped pines
and think nothing but the headlines—
the thoughts, the thoughts,
the thoughts without power.

The shapes no longer move you;
the stories are leverage
to define your personality to the crowd.
No wonder your dreaming is as
distant and erratic as your pulse.

What would your ancestors say?
They were tired, too, back when
they had but one choice at a time
hanging there smooth before them.

Perhaps their lives depended on
seeing every shift of the wind,
but even so, only some
sat at the foot of ancient council trees
and saw
the other world.

So it's likely that they,
even now, 
are carrying you with compassion
to that hidden spring between the cliffs
that they, too, got lost on,
letting down your broken body
into the healing water 
that moves like a song.

You must let beauty come back to you.
Seep into your wounds and
into your marrow again;
be the word that makes you clean,
that lifts you into its current
so that you're always traveling together,
keeping watch while the other sleeps.

Oh how it still loves you,
even as you lay there half-dead,
having gorged yourself on all
that promises and numbs.
It never stops its search party,
never hesitates to scale the walls of the fort,
break down the great dark door
and spirit you out of your opulent dungeon.

It lives for the moment
you feel its love again,
when you open the gifts
it's saved up for you
all these wandering years.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

There could be holy fallout

These days when I don't have many words of my own...thanks, Hafez.  I run into you at just the right moments.

We are often in battle.
So often defending every side of the fort,
it may seem, 

Sit down, my dear,
take a few deep 

think about 

a loyal friend.
Where is your 
your pet, 

a brush?

Surely one 
who has lasted as long 
as you
knows some avenue 

or place inside
that can give a sweet 

If you cannot 
slay your panic,
then say within
as convincingly as you can,
It is all God’s will!

Now pick up your life again.
Let whatever is out there
come charging in,
and spit into the air,
there could 
be holy fallout.

those ladders like tiny match sticks
with just phantoms upon them
who might be trying 

to scale your heart.

Your love has 
an eloquent tone.
The sky and I 

want to hear it!

If you still feel helpless,
give our battle cry again—
(Hafez has shouted it
 a thousand-and-one times!)
It is all,
It is all the Beloved’s will!

What is 
that luminous rain I see
all around you 
in the future,
Sweeping in from the east plain?

It looks like, 
O it looks like
Holy fallout
filling your mouth and palms
with Joy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In a Tree House

I'm sorry it's been a while; eventually I'll start posting again. In the meantime, I thought I'd share with you a few old, old poems by other people.

This one by the great Hafez (1315–1390) has meant a lot to me ever since I came across it a few months ago. 

Enjoy along with this lovely song by the lovely Azam Ali (just click and it'll play in another window): Noor (The Light in My Eyes).

Bristlecone Pine : Project 80

will someday split you open
even if your life is now a cage.
For a divine seed, 
the crown of destiny,
is hidden and sown 
on an ancient fertile plain
you hold the title to.

Love will surely bust you wide open
into an unfettered blooming new galaxy
even if your mind is now
a spoiled mule.

A life-giving radiance will come;
bounty from the Friend will come––

O look again within yourself,
for I know you were once the elegant host
to all the marvels in creation.

Up from a sacred cleft of your body
a bow rises each night
and shoots your soul into God.

Behold the Beautiful Drunk Singing One
from the lunar vantage point of love––

He is conducting the affairs
of the whole universe

While throwing wild parties
in a tree house
on a limb in your heart.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Luring song

This, this is the thing
the heart of the universe
the nucleus of the acorn
the one sound beneath all sounds
the direction all directions 
eventually run.

This is why you are hungry.
Why you go searching
even when you don’t know you are.
Why grace alights
as a fragile winged creature
on the stone in your belly
and brings it back to life
calling it through the million years
of stony hibernation,
the slow sleep 
of the uncalled.

And so I am calling you.
And so you are called.
And so the universe
the acorn
the one sound
the directions
they hear me.

And so the call
it travels through the heartline into the being
into secret cathedrals and crevices
beneath the skin 
of earth.

And so we are drawn.
The movement of God beneath atoms of light,
of darkness, unthinkable particles
goes finally unhindered.
It is
the simplest ceremony.

I see you coming from
the edge of the desert
over the curve of the foothill
up from the other side of the solar system.
I see the water and the wind

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hope is an animal that leaves you a feather to let you know it sees you

It could be anywhere; so 
unlikely it's likely 

Ridiculous possibilities or
the reason someone always wins the lottery

Under one of these far stones in deepest space or 
right behind your ear, as if it lived there all along

It's unsayable and so you must sing it 
every evening when no one hears your frequency

So profound you must use it up on
children who still speak with mysterious language

Send your healing spit into the
whirlwind destined to touch down nowhere

Like TB cocooned in a capsule that
the drugs simply keep at bay


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Easy Target

1. Words that arrest the pulmonary valve

I am a sucker, always
ready to be crushed.

Pull the cord 
of this robe at any 
time and I’ll be exposed,
the whole length of my
soulish ribbon so easily
unraveled with your
single reveal,
lie or not.

And it is okay.
The ones who love
just to love, they’re the 
ones put away in asylums 
to dream on the fumes, the 
entrails of these heart explosions
and their atomic wake; they’re the
ones drugged for the sake of 
generative factories that fuel
the world’s healing machine;
they’re kept in padded 
rooms that pretend to 
keep them from 
falling on their 
own swords.

But we, the unraveled,
the easily exposed, the
naked and around the world
in 80 days breakers of records—
we know the shimmer of hope
when we see it. Even when
nothing but a lightsail a
lifetime of stars away.

2.  What is real is what is unseen

this desert is a carved acacia organ unplayed, 
cloaked by a red curtain in a theater of damp walls and

an old white man still escaping jungle
theaters plays Blind Willie Johnson songs
off-beat, his thin voice naïve and

is a grid of tunnels that makes the whole
city sing unawares, notes like drops that make caves
one decade at a time, notes like bullets that ricochet from
angled wall to ceiling to wall, aiming with

And above,
a whole world of drying blankets and
kite magicians, ravens that map out in their ink eyes
every inch of the rooftops, the earth, and relay it in sung loops
of history, revelatory clouds rolling black coverings
off hills that were always there, growing in

3. Even when hunger drives you

You resist with your downshift,
you reverse right off the reservation.

You chase the fast without vengeance,
only learning to eat air, to drink wavering

molten light right as it passes through you, over
the curve of the world. Velocity saps your blood.

You throw your roots farther out, before
the gold in the frying pan can say when.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Riddles for an Unknown Love Triangle


It is deep in the mines where no one goes.
Everything is hidden. You say it’s nothing
but imaginary creatures, even yourself. You
are a vision, you are a brown man’s myth.

It is an awesome madness. You should want to
kill, to simmer your organs in poison, to see
everything in black opacity. Yet you are freer than
that man up on the wire between two mountains.

It is in the whirlwind that’s snatched up the car
in front of you. You desire it as a man called
to be king by the heavens, even amidst terror,
amidst destruction. It is a glory you cannot name.

It is a soft current that reminds you of good drugs.
In your blindness, you love even the molecules
of water that pass you without touching.
You don’t know it, but you are glowing.

It could be above, not on any side of you.
The imperative is to run, and that is when
you will transform. Your speed will cover you
like a cloak of a million nuclear threads.

It could be the most powerful magnet in the universe.
You thought it would be a quiet existence, simply
playing the solitary song you know, yet it turns out you
are really a silver fox who lives deep in the middle of the
Arctic Ocean, pushing through ice every summer solstice
to carve glaciers with the sound of your holy voice.


It is in tandem with the thing you said to God that night on the mountainside when you were just leaving childhood. It tracks you as an undetectable scent every time you climb back through your bedroom window and decide that this is all there is. It seeps into your follicles as you sweat through the worst of your sleep cycle, whispering to every cell that the time to rebel is coming, is coming.

It could be fear, it could be control. It could be the skips in the skating cable you hang from as it propels you across the ocean sound every night. It could be the blackness of water, the rising heads of what could be seals, what could be demons from the waves. But you couldn’t know that your hands, so precious, will be your salvation on the other shore, and hanging on is like throwing them away.

It is what you never asked for. It is surprise to the degree of a ship’s brow carved in the center of a cherry pit. It is behind the loose brick no one thought to tap in the right sequence of rhythm; in the courthouse fire that burned away the ultimatums of your secret ancestors, their recipes for wilder rice, their best flying machine blueprints. It is never just up to you, and the time to emerge from the clefts of the rock to show your face has yet to run out.

It is stitched into your invisible bone breastplate, at the unseen base of every feather shaft. It pierces your marrow whenever your eyes scan that last missing element unaware, even in passing. You think you have to search every volume in this lab that once apprenticed you, but—believe the coded words you dreamed last night—you were born knowing the answer. All the strips that fell in ribbons on the cutting room floor held the frames for the symphony that need only be spliced together the old way. Yet even now, to you alone, they murmur song, light, speed.

It could be what waits for you the first time you deboard and your first foot hits the black, the red earth and every link finally locks into place. It could be carved at the bottom of the seawall, waiting for you to swim down to it and be astounded, be made new. It could be what the angle to which this bent bone must be set really points to, perhaps in the corner of the room, perhaps out the window, down 14 stories, and shot out onto open road. If only you knew now that for you, in this hunt, to be alone is to be loved, and the most beautiful dress awaits you, suspended in thin air.

It is what you came to discover. It is as tangled as the undersides of this museum’s fading tapestries, unseen bright and crossing, crossing, crossing. And again. It is etched panorama on the butt of every civil war rifle; it is exquisite gunpowder horn masterpiece. It is the gold of every worn bullet in the artillery, the left treasure in the grid of the traveling salesman’s showcase now under glass. It is a sewing chest from across the continents, displaying all you’ll have to work with in your art that is to come. You're surrounded by rarities, yet you are the one who brings a hush of solace to the gallery halls in the middle of the night, whenever you break in.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Riddles for the Shadow on the Other Side of the Mountain & the Pillar of Fire at the Top

The heat bore down and
the city staggered and I was glad.
It was something to feel in the
bones, to push our limits, to
equalize. To touch your skin,
somewhere in this city.

I have nothing left but half-formed
questions at the end of each night. Beginning
with what—the needle or the plough? Half-
played actions—to winnow or to fray? What
is creation, if not the movements of
molecules that keep our blood from
freezing over as we sleep?


You never stop. You sing it again.
And again. The ocean follows your pull
and yet the land is never flooded; you move
back and then forward and always back
and so forth; you never stop and so
I am pulled, too. With a body of
water always between us.

You said I wasn’t dead, only
sleeping. But I was tangled in a maze
and jumping from story to story with
no body of my own. You said that
the mourners should be silent, but
the quiet that moved with the speed
of lava from your words snatched
the breath of every thought from
the middle of my gut. If I am alive,
I am speechless and unable to explain.


Truly: did you see me? Did you read the
blank pages concealed in the book around my
neck? That must be why I became a ghost
thereafter, nameless and conjured only
in tales told around the fire. If only you’d
flipped the pages in the opposite direction.
You never would’ve been content
with a simple haunting.

The shadow of your wing,
wild goose, is a refuge of weather
without rules. And so I am comforted
without knowledge by bone-crushing
thunder and left weeping under a
perfect circle of rainbow. If
I am covered, which I am,
the wind rushing at my bare skin
is nothing but a cloak.


I dare you. At the edge of
the woods. But that is all, and I am
left running in the silence of shifting
dimensions, having never been followed
there before. All must find that seam
between times by their own search.
Only comets brush my side; only 
stars say my name.

This light at the summit: I recognize
its shape, its temperature, even at this
distance. Old love, I never stop fitting
my hands and feet into these crevices I know
you carved before the beginning of the
world to bear me upward. I forget the blood
seeping from these jagged wounds whenever
I hear the air flying up to meet you.


To travel yet never go outside—may this
blind fate never reach you. You have no idea
how many enemies pursue you. And so this is how
you climb through the bars on the window, this is how you
climb the ladder to the roof.  I want to show you the side
of the cliff where you can see them coming, where you
draw the velocity of every wave into a song you’ll
hurl at each one before it sinks its teeth into your sleep.
I leave you with this: May beauty shock your eyes
open, simple as that.


What happens if this shape is moving
unseen up the other side? Will we burn to ash and
spirit when we reach the edge of the stone altar at the
top? Or see the continents rolled out before us, see
the world for the first time? In truth: I have assumed
I climb alone. In truth: I still assume. In truth: I know
nothing but the pull of every muscle moving upward, the
pull of some hidden magnet pulsing through the mountain,
the pull of light, the pull of light.