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Monday, November 02, 2015

Criss-Cross Heart

Fold a paper heart,
it leaves behind a crease.

When you flatten
that paper heart
the crease remains,
a lasting reminder
of the painful fold,
of losing love and
passion gone cold.

Now fold that paper heart
a dozen times or more,
then unfold it yet again
and see creases by the score.

That is the way of life,
of love, and painful losses,
each a crease upon the heart,
each a burden of crosses.

We cannot escape these
creases upon our hearts.
If we live, we are destined
to feel our lives torn apart.

Furrows upon a heart
are like wrinkles on a brain,
they are lessons we have learned
and knowledge we have retained.

So even though my heart is now
battered and scarred from many cuts,
I will hand it over again to new love
and tell myself that it is tough,
and can withstand being folded again.



Sunday, November 01, 2015

Shine But No Substance

It was all shine
and no substance
the love I
felt for you

Glittering on the outside
flat gray underneath
it was wind
without trees
to slow it down

In retrospect
I wonder why
we ever loved at all

Perhaps it was
a young man's love
fueled more by
desire than by
depth of feeling

Even so I have no regrets

What we had was an
experience worth having







Friday, October 30, 2015

Driven by delusion

Perhaps I am wrong,
but I no longer care to be
driven by the delusion
that I make a difference
in the world.

The same ten commandments
that informed the morality
of the ancients are still
equally valid today.
People have not changed
their natures in over
5,000 years of recorded
human history.

Wars.
Hatred.
Murder.
Lying.
Cheating.
Stealing.
Adultery.

These are permanent
human character flaws.

Poverty.
Famine.
Starvation.
Illness.
Refugees.
Innocent children
riven by the
horns of political wars.

These are the facts
of human history
going beyond memory.

I used to think
that the bottle of water I bought,
or the shoes that I wore,
or the money I gave to faceless
charitable organizations would
actually make the world a
better place.

I know better now.
Many charities are profitable only
for the administrators of the organization.
And all socially conscious businesses
are simply marketing their wares
by other means.

So I no longer allow myself
the luxury of delusion
that my small, inconsequential
thoughts, actions or purchases
make a goddamn bit of difference
in this world.

People are as they will always be.
The world is the best that human
beings can make it, given their
perennially flawed behaviors.

Now, I exist moment by moment,
mourning the senseless bloodshed,
witnessing the self-serving political lies,
noticing the religiously self-righteous
who serve up hatred on a golden platter.

If there is an afterlife,
complete with a judgmental god,
I hope to hell that I get a chance
to tattle on all shit I have observed
during my travail in this world.

My revelation is that
long after I am dead,
the world will still be plagued
by wars, murder, hatreds and grief.

But maybe I am wrong.





Thursday, June 25, 2015

The State of Your Heart

What is the state
of your heart?

Has love overtaken,
or has it forsaken
and left you afraid
of a fresh start?

Is your heart in it,
or do you prevent it
from being pierced
by Cupid's red dart?

What is the state
of your heart?

Remembering love
is not enough,
but are you ready
for emotion this sharp?

Or is your fear
now so dear
that you refuse to play
upon love's angelic harp?

Look long in the mirror
at your own graying face
before you answer or
move from this place.

Kairos passes by quickly
leaving behind remorse
and regret at missed
opportunities.

When lady love bends her
light in your direction,
should you even pause
long enough to wonder?

What is the state
of your heart?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Even If....

Even if love hurts
it is worth it

Love comes with
no guarantees
there are ups and downs
beginnings and endings
falling in love and
pulling ourselves out again

We live
we learn
we love
we burn
bridges back to
places we
no longer
care to go

We laugh
we cry
we give up
we try
and when we
are lucky
very lucky
we even manage
sometimes to
love until we die

But even if
love turns to ashes
even if our hearts
lose their gold
love is always worth it
for the ways that
it enriches our souls


Friday, June 19, 2015

Non-Binary

Until there was you
I never knew
there was another
way of being

You taught me that
my binary world
was a world of
false choices

There are more options
than zeros and ones
blacks and whites
boys and girls

You inhabit a universe
of richly appointed paradox
where male and female abide
in perfect unity within the one
and grammar rules are rendered
meaningless for explaining
the non-binary gendered

You help me remember a time
when God was non-binary
dwelling in the houses of both
the holy mother and father
and the twain were as one

In their own image created God
male and female created them
and humans lived in perfect Eden
the dyad existing as monad
in a non-binary verse
antecedent of any curse




Sunday, June 14, 2015

Velcro ®

Assisted living center,
interior early afternoon,
an old man pauses
while strapping up
his velcro ® strap shoe.

He looks at his wife
of many years
across the room,
and thinks about
their time together,
a long trail of joy, loss
success, failure, fears,
and smiles as she
buttons up her dress.

"You and I are like velcro ®"
he shouts so she can hear.

She gives him the look,
a slight shake of the head,
a shrug, and he understands
without words she is asking
what on earth he means.

"One side is roughed up fabric,"
he says while walking to her side,
the other shoe held in his hand.

"The other side is full of little
hooks, barbs and spears."

He pulls the velcro ® strap
across the top of his shoe,
making a ripping rasping sound.

"Neither side is perfect,"
he says now standing next to her.

"But it is the imperfections that
hold both sides together. It is
the imperfections that cause the
strap to hold and stick."

She looks at him and smiles.

"Our imperfections are what
made us a perfect match for all
these many years, and brought
us to this happy anniversary day."

She leans in and kisses him.

Just then a knock on the door,
their daughter come to drive
them to a celebration of their
decades long love.

The man quickly pulls on
his other shoe and tightens
the velcro ® strap,
then hand in hand they walk
through the door,
the man having
completely forgotten
both of his socks
laying on the floor.




Kissing You

Kissing you
makes me smile
and forget my worries
for a while

The sparkle in
your deep dark eyes
skips my heart
I am hypnotized

Joie de vivre
and fireworks too
all because
I am kissing you


Saturday, June 13, 2015

First Firefly

I saw the first firefly
of the season tonight
and it reminded me of
when you kids would
spend warm summer evenings
laughing loudly and running
through backyards
and lamplight streets
catching fireflies
and making lifelong friends

Holding the glow in your tiny hands
you marveled at how nature created
wondrous and mysterious little
stars that flew on invisible wings
through youthful summer nights

And I marveled at how lucky
I was to have my own little stars
sitting in my lap and laughing at
silly things said and done
and placing tiny hands inside
the hand of their father
who held on to his children
and wished on flying stars
that it would never end


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Color In My Life

Suddenly
life is filled
with beautiful
new colors

Diversity
of people
new shades
of love

Realization
that my life
has been all
too colorless

Hopeful
that my new
box of crayons
will not break

Exotic
exciting
Aphrodite wearing
caramel skin



Monday, June 08, 2015

Imperfection

Every poem I write is an imperfection
a missed chance to capture
humanity in verse

I try to force myself upon them
but the poems end up going
where it is they will

Often I am more a spectator
than an intentional author
as the poem blooms
and fades according to its kind

By the third or fourth stanza
the poem has taken a life
of its own and I am suddenly
left to follow down garden
paths that have gone to seed

I start out chasing Eden
the perfection of a garden
where all is well and good

Instead I find a pasture
where I must step around
the copious dung piles of
various grazing creatures

In this manner my poetry
portrays an imperfect life
an imperfect mind and
an imperfect perfection

Every poem I write
is an imperfection


Sunday, June 07, 2015

First Kiss, New Lips

First kiss, new lips.
Next chance for new bliss?
Who knows?
God moves in mysterious ways.

Sublime beauty,
a beautiful mind,
so very gracious,
graceful and kind.
Power beyond me
held my hand,
and made me shiver
with just a glance.

How lucky can
one man be,
to hold and angel
and feel her heart beat?

How lucky can
one man be?


Friday, June 05, 2015

Inherited Faith and Amazing Grace

I have spent a life time learning,
a whole life time yearning
to discover the secrets of God.

Immersed in the world's religions,
studying the mystery traditions,
trying to see divinity in a rock.

The further I get from the
Christian faith I inherited,
the more clearly I hear the
words of truth spoken by
the man we call Jesus.

In Buddhist teachings,
one must learn not
to grasp too tightly,
or believe too stridently.

Belief is like a boat,
said the Buddha.
It carries you across
the river of life but
you no longer need the vessel
when you reach the other side.

I have been blessed,
of that I am certain.
How else to explain
the successes I have made?

Those successes only came
after I consciously decided
the move beyond the boundaries
of my inherited faith
and instead chose to rely
on beautiful and most
utterly amazing grace.



Intrusion

You intrude on my life
when I think I am over you
disrupting my balance
wounding me anew

I carefully constrain
the events of my days
making sure there is
no hope of our meeting

But chance intrudes
as do you
when I least expect
and I am shaken asunder
as the love I keep suppressed
like a rumbling volcano
threatens to erupt

Five decades of living
and losing love has never
gotten any easier
nor less hurtful

Still I keep pushing forward
what choice do I have
moving aside the memories
and hoping that today will be
the last day I am bothered
by a coincidental intrusion



Thursday, June 04, 2015

What Does It All Mean?

What I intend
when I compose
my poetry
is far less interesting
than what you
make it mean
when you read it

So don't ask me
what it all means
don't count on me
to have the foggiest clue

Instead ask yourself
what you think it means
and then ask what
the meaning you make
says about you


Condensation

Time condenses on the
glass house that is my life
like water droplets on
a glass of iced tea
sweating on a table
on a hot summer day

The condensation carves
tiny rivulets on my face
leaving behind furrows
and wrinkles that remind
me of past loves
past lies and
all the mistakes I
have made

Still the draught of my life is sweet
honeyed by the essence of
beautiful women I have known
and the beautiful children and
grandchildren I have grown

As time condenses
ever more quickly
and my life drips away
I find pleasure in the
emptying of my glass
and the gradual vacation
of my living vessel

I savor the remaining
drops of life as the sweetest
I have ever swallowed


Thursday, May 28, 2015

God's Bubble Wand

"He who feels punctured must
once have been a bubble."
                           -- Tao Te Ching


God inhales
and blows its breathe
through the fragile
film covered
bubble wand.

From the other side
emerges a perfectly
spherical bubble,
iridescent colors
shimmering on the
surface as it
reflects God's light.

Each bubble is a soul,
floating upon an ether
of love and light,
descending slowly until
it finally bursts,
releasing its inspiration,
the breathe of God.




Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Unchaste Madonna

I sat at the feet of the ancient,
and he proposed to instruct me in all things.

"After an infinite number of eternities," he began,
"the God decided that it no longer wanted to be God."

I nodded.

"But that which is God can never be not God," he continued.

"And so the God decided that it
would simply forget that it was God.
Thus God created the material universe,
wherein the God hides
unrecognized
in myriad and ever-changing manifestations,
forgetting that it is,
itself, composed of the God."

I squinted up at the ancient.
His bald head partially blocked the
bright light of the sun shining behind him.

"Ah, I see," said I.
"Then there is exquisite irony in
the unchaste Madonna singing that
she is a material girl?"

The sun glinted off of his bald head,
as he cocked it, trying to understand my reference.
He didn't get it. Sometimes the ancient does not
keep up with pop culture.
Or perhaps it was just a bad joke.

Said the ancient,
"In all of us there is still an element,
a derivative of the divine,
that makes us to intuit
our own divinity.
Our task is simply to remember
that we are, indeed, children created
from that which is most sublime."

It was my turn to cock my head and squint.
"So, like recovered memories? Only,
I am supposed to remember that I am God?
I can only imagine how that will make
the religiously faithful feel,
those who have devoted their entire lives to worshiping
a being they believe to be outside themselves.
Not to mention, it will be a boon to that whole
recovered memory therapy scam currently
en vogue."

The ancient chuckled and held
his hands up to frame his face.
"Again with the Madonna jokes?" he asked.
"Yes, past lives and former wives
are hard to deal with for a
person who believes the God is radically transcendent,
or someone who believes the entire truth of the God can be
held in a few sacred scriptures and books."

I guess he did get my earlier reference.

"What you are saying is not news to me," I stated.
"I did not need to climb this mountain to hear you
say all of this; for this wisdom you share is well
known in world religious traditions; it is, indeed,
the origin of the word namaste."

The ancient shrugged, which pulled his bald
head down into his shoulders, giving him
the look of a saffron colored tortoise.
"Ah yes," he said. "This is all well-known
territory. This is why papa don't preach."

I smiled.
"We have a real Madonna theme going here," I said.
"How is it you know so much about pop culture,
sitting here high atop your mountain home?"

His weathered face grew solemn.
"The truth is heard in many voices,"
he said. "The god speaks to itself
in wondrous and sundry ways.
I listen whenever I hear the god
reminding itself of its true nature,
whether that voice be in a sacred text,
or through a pop culture icon who challenges
religious pomposity using
the very same religious imagery
that has veered into religious idolatry.
Too often humans begin worshiping
the thing, and not the meaning behind the thing."

I nodded, thinking back to all the times
I had tried to use prayer and religious covenants
as a way to force the god into giving me
my unlimited supply of wishes granted.
How I had worshiped scriptures, and religious rites,
idolized empty crosses and religious bosses
to show that I was worthy of having
my prayers answered. All for naught.

The ancient must have read my mind.
"We all do that to some extent," he said.
"In the face of vast silence and
self-imposed ignorance, we all
grasp at those things that remind us
that there is something more than this."
He motioned at everything around us.
"It is because all of this is a mirror,
reflecting back to us our own divinity."

I knew what he said was true.
I had known this for years,
but refused to believe it
because early religious training
drilled into me that it was dangerous,
even soul killing,
to imagine oneself to be as god.

"Remember what Bill Murray said,"
the ancient insisted.
"If I recall correctly, he said
I am a god, not the god."

My mouth dropped open.
"You are quoting from Groundhog Day?"

The ancient chuckled, and a gleeful
light shone in his eyes.
"Sometimes the mountain top gets
lonely, which is why I had satellite
TV installed a few years ago."

He pointed over his shoulder,
where I noticed a satellite dish
perched at an angle on the mountain.

"Why should that surprise you?"
the ancient queried.
"I referenced a movie that was all about
a man living the same reality over and over
until he finally gets it right,
until he finally remembers all he is
supposed to remember.
Like I said, the god simply chose
to forget that it is the god.
But that which is god can
never be not god.
The god cannot help but,
eventually,
to remember its true nature."

I pondered his words in silence.
Somehow, I always believed that
truth and wisdom could only come
from the ancient scriptures,
the ancient beliefs,
the religions that had existed for
thousands of years.

"If you seek the truth," said the ancient,
"look no further than yourself.
In your heart of hearts, you know,
you recognize, you understand
that within you live the Buddha,
the Prophet, the Messiah,
and all the holy men and women
who spoke the wisdom of the ages."

I nodded, as I felt his words
ringing a truth bell deep within.
"But what about Madonna?" I asked.
"Surely she cannot bring holy truth,
she who some accuse of defiling
the holy symbols of the son?"

He laughed, and his skinny frame
shivered with delight at
the bright sound of his own laughter.
"She is precisely that which brings the truth.
The unchaste Madonna challenges
dry-boned religion that resides only
in the shadow of the valley of death.
She understands that life, in all of
its glorious sensuality and carnal pleasure
is all part and parcel of god discovering god."

I stood, and my knees popped from
sitting cross-legged for too long.
"I never would have guessed that
a wise old monk like you would
turn out to be a Madonna fan,
and a fan of American movies," I said.

The ancient grinned slyly
as he looked up at me.
"Come back to me if
you ever want to talk
about the real meaning
of that song The Crossroads."

I walked down the steep slope
thinking of all that had transpired
over the past few moments.
When I turned back for one last glance,
the hermit monk was no longer there,
but I thought I saw a reflection of myself
shining in the snow as the
sun sank behind the mountain.


On Poets and Endings

"Poets are unhappy people, for, no matter
how high their spirits reach, they will
still be enclosed in an envelope of tears." 

                                  -- Khalil Gibran


When it is done,
it is done.

The mistake is to hang on
to deluded hope,
to dreams of love's return.

Love is like a
wildflower;
once bloomed
the stem survives
but the flower dies,
the barren stalk
a sad reminder
of love's beauty past.

Love wraps its tendrils
around your heart,
the roots digging
deep into your soul.
There they find a
rich reserve of moisture,
released as rain from
your sorrowing eyes.

When it is done,
it is done.

Let it go.

Let it end.

Make friends with
your loneliness.

Make peace with
your pain.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Demons of Doubt

I would like to speak
candidly if I may
about those destructive
demons of doubt
that have dogged me
throughout my life.

Critical inner voices
they are sometimes called.
The saboteurs.
Nattering nabobs of negativity
screaming inside a cacophonous
and chattering monkey brain.

By the look on your face
I understand I am not alone
in harboring such voices.
Many of us suffer the same plight,
unheard but listened to lectures
about what we do wrong or right.

Is it a mistake to call them demons?
Perhaps too religious for those
who do not believe in spiritual beings.
They seem more than simple memories,
though, more than collectivized recordings
of past chastisements and pain.

They seem somehow evil, consciously
intent upon tearing me down.
Intervening. Interfering. Frantically
obsessed with preventing me from
attaining the peace of mind that comes
from loving myself as a blessed child of god.

Psychologists and psychiatrists
call it depression,
a term that stigmatizes the patient
and empowers the doctor.
Their answer is simple,
all you need is to take a pill
and chill.

Psyche is the Greek word for soul.
Psychology then is the study of the soul.
Why is it they forget that?
When did they become focused almost
exclusively on pharmacology,
and faltering chemistry of the brain?

For me to perceive them as personal
plaguing and baleful demons of doubt
rings more truly to the experience.

And in so naming them,
I gain power over them.
I call them for what they are,
inner assholes that I no longer
chose to allow inside my brain space.

Thus they are banished from me
for a moment, or for days at a time.
Vanquished, they shriek in their leaving,
and go in search
of an accommodating herd of swine.




Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Forgiveness

"Forgive and forget," I have been told.

"Get over it!" say the gurus of psychobabble
and easy-peasy religionairres.

But it wasn't until I understood their motives
that I truly understood their advice.

Most of us forgive not out of altruism.
Most of us forgive out of a desire to reclaim our lives.

A desire to be no longer trapped by our self-pitying anger,
our self-decaying bitter resentments and boiling hatreds.

In short, we do not forgive
for what it gives the other person,
but for what it gives back to us.
A very selfish reason, indeed.

Those who give the forgive and forget advice,
and the get-over-it boot strap attitude
are motivated by selfish concern more than
their love of others.