Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Psalm to Trickster





I have lived a very long time.
Enough to see your infinite cunning.
I will not list the ways of the unlistable.

Instead there is geometry.

The schematics of every breathing machine
in all creation, diagrams undecipherable by 
all who depend on every tiny part working.

Only the science fools me, so I perform it. 
In galleries. When the small crowd is gone and 
only cement floors and white walls see me as I am.

You and your many wires, many knobs,
many tubes of salvation—the sound of living 
things passing one another, breathing in unison.

The sound of airwaves rolling over lies
to reveal the very first creation story.

The sound of mythology winning
the very last debate, the sound still 
hijacking every sense that all is lost.

The howl of pages turning in the hurricane, of
alphabet soup exploding into War & Peace 
by chance.

These sounds.

All because of the flurry 
of your invisible fingers.

You trick winter into summer into winter,
and none of us knows what hit them.

Why any oak spreads wings over 
the city floor is beyond me.

I cannot guess your next move.

You lead me into underwater caves
in search of a hidden library.

Rewrite my history, make me 
wait out the invisible roar.

Bombs hit all the wrong landmarks,
and that is how aliens read our 
gorgeous hieroglyphics from afar.

We never understand your play.

You pull back all the tracks but 
one, and that is our life story.

We never hear that classic rock masterpiece
all heaven hears on a Sunday afternoon.









Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Riddles for the Now & Not Yet

Stills from 新少林寺 (Shaolin), 2011


What

It is pain in the needle in the corner of the hall.
The ether of some vision that once stung you
with hope, the kind that brings fever.

It is the fire escape nobody knows of
so that you can hang tender plants in
glass baubles from the iron rungs.

The tree in the middle of the tenement city whose
tiny lights pierce the fog every night with a glittering
code of love notes for ships passing by, lonely, each one.



Where

Holy city of flames beneath the log in the campfire.
The great carved wall behind the unreachable waterfall in the mountains.
That music box built into the innards of an old piano in a storage locker.

Places you hide your heart; places no one looks, and if they look, no one sees.
Places I only find, eyes closed, all else forgotten, fingers on fire.
Places worth climbing to, ascending inch by inch.



When

Now. No—then.
The night before.
A day later.

Your name was
written for you
in the book of life.

We sat in silence,
we left in silence,
we aged in silence.

Not now. Yes—then.
Another year later.
Another second before.



Why

You tell me.

I tell you fragments of the
story that surely you know in full.

Mystery loves me madly, and these vows
are a wearying thing, wearing thin.
I wonder that nothing is found.

I wonder that you still appear only to wander
when I know you battle by night; that you feel
the pain of this want even as you march forward,
straight-backed. As I crawl toward this sliver of light.



Who

The only truth:
we are to become.

And love for this becoming
is only grasped by fools who wait.
And wait. And­—

You are; this substance
is held in cherished suspension, a notch
in history pulsing blue fire.

I am, and we
are pulled from the river mud with
joy, with pride. Even in the dregs of our slumber.

Put aside these thoughts of ruin;
you are here.













Tuesday, February 24, 2015

You think you are looking for me, but I am looking for you




My brother builds a fire. The stars greet its sparks as equals, 
light years apart, saying we will stay up all night watching, 
watching as you sleep somewhere, enfolded unaware in the 
blanket we wrapped around you with our minds as if in ceremony. 
We will travel before dawn comes to this desert. Tracking you.


||


Wind shuffles your tracks as a chaotic sand painting; your distant scent, 
mingled with the sweat of a thousand others who know nothing of your 
direction. The wind says you are lost and no one knows. So now—we 
track what you search for, the shifting shape of desire and its flight. 
We go by night, scenting still, a map of the unseen world in our minds.


|||


How futile is it to cling to the face of this rock once you’ve fallen? 
After all, poetic death is priceless. Or would it be death? What if you 
could fall like a leaf, or an outstretched wing, down into the world below? 
Then, it would be creation, it would be birth. You would separate the roots 
of the atmosphere into night and day so that conception and thanksgiving 
would happen again and again, seed become light, the tree of the world 
above, reminding you of itself. This is why you let go. Or rather, jump.


||||

Follow the river when you find it, don't let it stray from your path! 
Listen to our thoughts; not those that close in to unravel your way, your 
power, beauty. Don’t die of slow thirst, don’t let them tear you apart 
when they find you. Stay alive! Keep running till you catch this scent!


|||||


We built this fire waiting for you.
We marked the trail with pollen bright as middle daylight.
We wait for you behind this wall of water, drums in hand,
playing songs of secret homecoming.












Saturday, January 17, 2015

Now is the time

Hafez (1326–1390) always has something to say worth hearing in any language or century.


Now is the time to know
that all you do
is sacred.

Now,
why not consider
a lasting truce 
with yourself and God.

Now is the time 
to understand
that all your ideas of right and wrong
were just child's training wheels
to be laid aside 
When you can 
finally live
with veracity
and love.

Hafez is a divine envoy
whom the Beloved has
written
a holy message 
upon—

My dear, 
please tell me,
why 
do you still throw sticks
at your heart 
and God?
What is it within 
that sweet voice inside
that incites 
you to fear?

Now is the time 
for the world to know
that every thought 
and action 
is sacred.

This is the time 
for you
to deeply comprehend 
this sheer impossibility
that there is anything
but Grace.

Now 
is the season to know
that everything 
you do 
is 
sacred.












Wednesday, January 14, 2015

With the cold comes other gifts



All summer I longed to lie on the grass
and watch the stars. But each time I tried
the earth shook and cracked and swallowed
cities. Hordes of locust came and razed every
living thing to the ground. Fires erupted in the
root balls of my favorite trees and torched the
low-hanging sky edge of the city. And spread to
the hills, ringing the land with fleeing citizens.
The oceans spiraled down latent drains and
poor creatures of peace lay flopping on
exposed underwater mountain ranges,
even. Disaster became my old waking
word and drowning towns I could
not save, my nightmare.
And you, in the middle of it all
still slept. In your cave. Waiting to
transform but not knowing it. I called to
you from across the deserts and burning forests,
the swamps and broken-down roads full of stranded
refugees. You heard me once but thought it was a dream,
only a dream. And did not walk into that dreamtime, that
bridge to the other world where you are a citizen and a tracker
and a king and a farmer each day. I waited for you there, still
longing to lay down and look up. I sat and stared into the
west expanse as the sun dropped each end of the
shortening days. I feared the next ice age, as my
bones were already prophesying doom. I longed
to look up. And still you slept. And dreamed
without believing, thinking dreaming as
being stopped life, life without
consequence, life without
acknowledgement.
Without anything to show.
Your shaggy coat fell and then
grew supple and your heart beat slow,
storing energy for another time. And I was
alone. But then the first freeze came and the
world stopped burning. Overnight its raiders died
in confusion, plunging their swords into each other's
hearts. I ran into the field where the spoils were, and
gathered the stolen plunder of the past three hundred
years, hearing each bolt of cloth, each golden earring
calling out for its original home, longing to return to
belonging. And I looked for the blanket you once
wrapped me in, woven with your own hands over
summer with fibers of many colors. And there 
it was, spread on the grass under blazing stars,
remembering me, and I lay down in its arms,
alone, with nothing but silence and darkness
around me, loyal as my closest friends.