Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hope is the smell of water

Simpson Desert :  
               Hope is the smell of water
               A magnet on the plain
                         of desert, city, lost in the

                                       It says all is not lost
                            After the loss of everything
                     That God is love and wants your love
               after the night you betrayed each other

                                       That you belong here in this country
                                                 Even in your alien deportation
                                                       That the cold is your salvation in a blizzard

                          And the only way out of this terror
                          is to go right through its dark tangled thicket

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


NASA : Yukon Territory

I. visibility

I still see you in the shape of
your clarity, moving with such 
strange speed, almost like light
yet slow as our hearts 
beating underwater

Running in a layer beyond 
this fake backdrop painting
where you can't be seen but 
where your true body emerges,
your skin, your hair, your breath
somehow more real, more 
whole, more urgent and alive

Yet it's all unsayable
—you said you speak my language
but I don't even have the words to bridge
this chasm you know nothing of 
crossing or even falling into

Do you know it's all there, all 
free for the taking, your riches, 
your weapons of song, of story—
this great divide that waits for you to
see its vast space that invites us to play
and revel in its air, compels our very
movement, that is even joy—

Joy that is the unspoken word
that is the forbidden saying
that is the code to the passage
where the scrolls enfold secrets
that lead to the caves no one's
yet discovered

II. invisibility

There's a holiness that descends
when you step into a dark place
untouched since creation. Its quiet
ambushes your being and you know
the ground is a threshold you
can't escape unchanged—

—and the voice you longed to hear
all your life doesn't come from behind,
yet suddenly you know this language
and it knows you. All your words
annihilated and remade.

This is why we understand nothing
now. Why you look at me and feel
the ache of waste, why what I see I 
can't say or pull out of the soil of this
field I bought with everything  I owned. 
We can't bring ourselves to name it
for fear of looking down and finding we've 
been walking blind through air all along.

If this is all there is, then why do I
see how all of what you show the world
is just crackling bark, and the loss of it
doesn't mean death as you think?

Why do I see the true skin of what
could grow around the mass of you,
smooth and firm and fitting the whole of
your layered years, you instead like an aspen
with someone sitting in your shade, writing
letters on the substance of what you shed? 

And yes, why do I still believe
that faithful sun will rise tomorrow
when this cave I've slept in my
whole life has told me it's all a lie?

As a child, I saw it: 
why do they say 
that we can't see air
when air is what 
makes us seen?

You tell me.

I know you
still are there.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Now you must face the truth because it is facing you

Finally, the flood has risen to your front 
door and finally you regret the way you 
dismissed the last one with a flick of the 
wrist and a click. We’re all lost now, rising 
one level up at a time, wind shrieking all the 
terror we feel, toys now gurgling underwater 
with the pilings and levees that once kept us afloat.

No more running from the catastrophes of humankind,
thank you very much, acts of God! Lost! All is not lost!
Better yet, you could’ve moved north, up to the Arctic Circle, 

up into the sunless day, where no rain ever balloons into obese 
deluge. Miracles fall by the millions from the sky, shocking no 
one, seen only by wind some days. But you never thought this 
day would come, when batteries go cold and the music 
washes down the river into death, no longer 
commodity but something like salvation.

So yes, you did not run far enough from 

home. Your shadow stuck on you like a 
faithful, unthanked bodyguard. You 
couldn’t get away from the rumble 
of meaningless words, the cackle of 
the hags that track you, determined to cut 
out your eardrums and sew your heart shut.

Now your only hope is climbing the world’s 

tallest tree, from where you’d see your timeline 
as the city glitters in ancient amber. Pure in its 
dreamtime. From here, you might see my house at 
a tiny distance only, see me on the roof waving, when 
I could be in the basement watching you drown on TV.  
From here, you only watch the rubble swirl away. Here, 
you can sit with hawks and swallows, watch them 
run their messages from tower to tower.

Choose this day what you will lose. 

I can’t send my sea kayak down 
your way. The saving will be 
up to the providence of 
thunderbirds and whales 
working in conspiracy to 
redeem your life in a number 
of dramatic missions. Your best 
hope is to hang on to this uttermost 
branch till kingdom come, or just plunge 

Because oh no, karma is not in the water. 

Only grace and destruction.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Work in the invisible

Something from Rumi's (1207-1273) Masnavi, Book III, lines 3077-3109 and one other segment, in somewhat loose translation as always. 
For everyone who fights for hope.

Two Face : David Sanford

The prophets
have wondered to themselves,
"How long
should we keep pounding 
this cold iron?
How long
do we have to whisper 
into an empty cage?"

So don't be timid.
Load the ship and set out.
No one knows for certain
whether the vessel will sink
or reach the harbor.

Just don't 

be one of those merchants
who won't risk the ocean!
This is much more important
than losing or making money!

This is your connection to God.
You must set fire to have light.

Think of the fear and the hope
you have about your livelihood.
They make you go to work
diligently each day.

Now consider what
the prophets have done.

Abraham wore fire
for an anklet.
Moses spoke to the sea.
David molded iron.
Solomon rode the wind.

Work in the invisible world
at least as hard
as you do in the visible.

Be companions 
with the prophets
so that no one knows.

You can't imagine 
what profit will come!
When one of those generous ones
invites you into his fire,
go quickly!

Don't say,
"But will it burn me?
Will it hurt?"

Move around the center
as pilgrims wind the Kaaba.

Being still
is how one clay clod
sticks to another in sleep,
while movement wakes us up
and unlocks
new blessings.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Breathe on this sleeping fire

Dean's Blue Hole .

When you walk out the door,
all the spirits of the invisible world
gather around you like a great cloak
that flows back to the beginning of your days.

You walk away
but they do not.
They love you because
you were a knit-together marvel from the first;
they heard of your miraculous frame
growing around you in your mother
and sent gifts to feed you
as you became yourself.

You leave the book of your days behind
yet its words rise up in your absence
and tell the story you can't see anymore.
They call forth phantom thoughts
to lay themselves down on the page
and wait for you to want them again.

You abandon desire
yet desire lives
in this host that surrounds you
and fights for you
even as you slumber in your tent.
You thought you let it go at the edge of that cliff,
yet it swam the river below
and tracked you day and night
and even now,
lays merciful traps in your path.

It shadows your escape boat across the sea,
lulling storms to sleep and singing them awake
so you might see the wind and the waves
and know how alive you are
and how always close to death.

You abandon your own reflection,
yet you are you
whether you believe your past hunger or not.
Still you are seen.
Still you are known
by every last creature who's crossed your path,
every invisible ray of sun
that's touched your shifting face
day after mist-burned day;
by every dream and portent
you forgot upon waking.

Creation speaks for you
even when you think you have nothing to say.
And all heaven plunges its oars
into the water
that carries you home,
to the place from which you exiled yourself
but that never gave up
waiting for your return.

So when you finally hit the wall
you can't walk through,
go back to the footprint behind you.
Let the wet earth embrace your backwards steps,
let your body be drawn.

Go back to your
hidden country.
If you face south,
head north.
If you ran east,
let the west wind pull you back
with cords of lovingkindness.

Go back to the dark
heart of this mountain,
where you once searched
for gold and riddles and hidden springs.

Go back to the cave
where your heart still lives
and take it back.
Stand back and see
this cave as it is,
this vast cave in the heart of God.

Say the true names of things again,
knowing what is—
not idea or form or creed or mantra—
just the name that is
and breathe again.

You named these things;
these things named you.
You have always been seen.
You have always been known.