Drowning - How It Is With God - Inside This Vase - Judgement - Lost At Last - For Adam
No Fear - Recipe For The World - II - Separated From The Beloved - Swimming
The God I Want - The Hunt - You Saw Her - The Reminders - How Love
The Leap - In a Perfect World - The Serpent

Drowning


I can taste the ocean in my tears
sitting in this leaking boat,
bailing furiously --
cursing the Fates for this fate.

I am afraid of drowning.

The waves are rocking me,
tossing me,
upsetting my balance.

If I could only remember: the ocean refuses no river.

If I could become the ocean,
my fears would disappear,
and I would be doing the swallowing
instead of being swallowed.

I am at the edge of my endurance --
resisting this falling,
fighting the inevitable.…

The boat sinks.
I am engulfed by water.
Fear turns to Panic --
Then all is quiet.

I am huge and silent.
Filled with life.
Profound and encompassing.

It is I who refuses no river.

There is space here.
And love.
Immense weight
and weightlessness.

I am seeing with millions of eyes,
swimming and flying and crawling.
I am waving at a thousand shores.
I am oceanic. Ecstatic.

Come … Drown in my love.

 

How it is with God

This is how it is with God.

You hesitate, and the drawbridge closes.
Defend, and the walls rise around you.
Judge, and the wall falls down on top of you.

When you relax into knowing, the walls disappear completely.

But the view is terrifying --
seeing through God’s eyes overwhelms those who are unready.

Will you shut those God eyes tight and hide behind comfortable limitations?

What you think you are is dense, gray rock.
And your beliefs are mortar holding those stones in place.

You are the stonemason, building the tower around yourself.

Every moment you’re on automatic, your hands place another block into place, further obscuring the view, keeping you apart from both invisible enemies and your closest neighbors.

You’ve built your own prison. And your beloved is outside the prison walls, calling your name.

You’ve forgotten doors and windows, but high above you the sky is still visible.

What has this work cost you? Only your freedom and your life.

To be free, give up this stonemason’s job. Put away the trowel.

Pick up a sledgehammer and break down the walls of separation.

The beloved awaits your freedom.


INSIDE THIS VASE

Inside this deep blue vase are two snakes --

One connects the sun to the earth

And one flies between the stars,
holding space and time together.

When they mate, they give birth to the whole world --

to feathers and bones;
ivory carvings and
arrows made of wood and stone;
the soft warmth of flesh;
the ending of hunger and war;
and the laughter of love.

You are inside, and so is the one who holds this pen.

And the mystery. The ever-present mystery.


When you want to leave the vase, just smile.

Your breath will carry you home.

But you will have left your image indelibly etched
on the inside.


Judgment

I'm walking around in judgment
offering my opinion to all those around me
whether they want to hear about it or not.

It is crowded in here
amongst all the points of view
attempting to express themselves.

"They're too fat!" says one.
Another chides "Yes, but they carry themselves well for all that weight."
A third interrupts: "It's not their bodies, it' their slovenly manner!"
And a fourth: "That's unkind -- I thought you were enlightened!"

The arguments go on all night, leaving me drained and exhausted.

When I wake up, it is quiet.
I look around cautiously.

Are they sleeping nearby?
If I get up slowly, perhaps they will remain asleep.

I'm afraid that the merest sound will wake up the chorus,
and they will once again begin their incessant chattering.

In this precious moment, I can see clearly.
Objects are objects. Spaces are spaces.
Events have no weight of opinion pressing down on them.

I feel alive, fresh.
The entire world seems to have come to life.
My impressions are child-like, unfiltered and clear.

"Hey! What are you doing! Adults don't do that!"

I cringe.
This critic has broken my precious concentration
and stolen the quiet moment away.

"Isn't there something you're supposed to be doing?" chimes in another.

The waters of opinion rise, engulfing me.
I go on, fighting my way through the loud voices,
Trying to remember who I am, and why.

 

LOST AT LAST

I am lost at last
caught up in sounds surrounding me.

Swirling through memories
and thoughts of other places –
palaces, deserts, cruise ships, encampments…

The taste of dry air is on my tongue –
strange foods, exotic spices…

I have never been here before.
My body is moved to African rhythms,
shimmering starlight above me,
red earth below.

Bare feet touch earth warmed by the sun,
then cooled by night winds…
I take my stand –
look into the flickering fire for some trace of stability.

The fire laughs and offers me charcoal.
The flickering says, "Draw your dreams here, in the shifting colors.
But quickly – because all will change."

And from the smoke emerges a clue
shaped like a song inviting me to dance again.

Naked, I enter the circle,
jumping from one foot to the other,
hands clenched around my old ideas,
holding tightly to what I have believed.

The song ends.
I fall to the ground, exhausted.
My eyes open, fill with stars.
My arms fall open to embrace the sky,
and I am filled with space from all directions.

I am opened – like a cereal box,
like an oven,
like a Christmas present …

A little self tumbles out.

It is placed on the mantel above the fireplace
like a well-intentioned gift from a visiting relative.

Now, I am the fire,
the stars,
and the space that holds them.

No longer the innkeeper –
I am the inn itself, and the entire mountainside.

I am no longer a woman,
but the Goddess enfleshed –
the form which form desires to become.

I am not a breath,
but life being breathed,

the space between thoughts,
the molecular dance,
the movement,
and the moving trance,

the whirling winds,

a million suns,

and the reason why

the rivers run.

 

For Adam

Life is a magic trick --
Appearing suddenly
out of a black top hat.

Newborns stare up, wide-eyed,
at the colored patterns on the
magician's tie.

Each life is stretched, slowly, into adulthood,
like knotted scarves pulled out of a pocket
too small to contain them.

Love pours out of an empty jar like water --
it is emptied, then made full, emptied
once again, then overflows.

And POOF! A sudden finale,
as the magician himself disappears
up the shirtsleeve of God.



No Fear

The sun emits no fear of ever running out of light.

The moon reflects no fear of darkness in the cool of night.

Trees are not afraid of losing some or all their leaves,

Trusting in the flow of nature’s generosity.

Ants do not obsess about the things they have to do.

Eagles don’t concern themselves with running out of food.

The ocean gives itself to sky, no fear of running dry –

Why is it then that I'm afraid? How different am I?

 

Recipe for the World

The World is made of our assumptions.
Create it yourself…

Begin with raw belief,
mix carefully with old ideas of how and should and must.
Add a sprinkling of supposed to, a jigger of always has, a flight
of ought and a thimble full of never has been before.

Bake slowly at just right for forever and a day.

Remove from oven. Present it on a silver tray for their approval,
cut into tiny consecutive moments of now, and pass it out to waiting generations.

They’ll taste it tastefully, checking to see if and when and how much was allowed, if rules were followed, traditions kept,
and the limits set for rising made it rise just the right amount.

Rightness itself is set atop the cake,
an icing full of righteous indignation
that Pride itself could be proud of.

But can we have our cake and freedom too?

 

II

Must every morsel be just so?

Where lies creative license,
wild and crazy half measures
imbalanced spontaneity
and frivolous additions?

Let’s open the hidden vault where love-crazed recipes are kept –
the ones that crazy wisdom loves –
where cakes fall into lovely tumbles,
themes are badly out of tune,
composures fracture
and adjustments are made to this here and now.

The cook has our permission to just go nuts –

Improvise new configurations never been thought
drip wild ideas to splash among the tasters –
whose ravenous eyes crave new sensations
not satisfied with always was and never has been before.

Burst former boundaries into flame,
set ancient patterns aside, asunder,
burst forth new colors never seen,
let frenzied freedom have its way,
and this dish begins to taste even better.

The kitchen’s a mess.

But boy, have we had fun!

 

Separated from the Beloved

An ego storm blew in last night –
driving rain pulled me apart from you.

High winds scattered my attention across the landscape
so I'm not able to concentrate on the task ahead.

My tracks have been obliterated by the sands.
I can't find my way home by walking backwards.

The storm has soaked my memories –
once clear pictures are smeared, running down pages.

If I could only remember your face,
I could smell my way back –
crawling on my belly,
tracking my footsteps by your scent.

Swimming

I am swimming in the ocean of gratitude,
salt tears falling into salt sea,
minerals in water into minerals in water.

I have lost the boundary between my skin
and the warm liquid.

This sting I feel is the shock of recognition --
How long have I been asleep?
And what is it that keeps awakening me?

The clouds above have merged with sky --
No delineation, no distinctions.

The horizon has faded in a rainbow of haze
and I am comfortable not knowing
where I am
nor how distant the shore.

I lay back, the sea supporting me,
filling my ears with the sound of the world.

I feel quiet, peaceful.
My tears fill the ocean,
and the ocean fills my heart
to overflowing.

I am alone no more.
My self is everywhere I look.

No forgetting. Not two.
One body, one perception.
It seeing itself.

Air, water, sky, self.
Tears and ocean.

No difference.

 

The God I Want

I want a convenient God.
One that’s open 24 hours a day, and doesn’t close for holidays.

I want a God that can satisfy every hunger and
give me comfort in an attractive take-home package.

I want a convenient God that offers off-street parking;
a God that counts out my change accurately
in a charming foreign accent.

I want a God that will shape itself to my opinions,
encourage me gently in the direction that I’m already going,
and offer an understanding ear and a “There, there, Dear”
when I’m feeling troubled.

I want a God that will leave me alone,
yet is always available when I feel needy;
but never makes me feel needy or alone.

I want a God with shelves stacked high
with everything I might need,
but never tries to convince me to buy anything in particular.
One that gives me plenty of time to browse,
even read the newspaper
without getting crabby or impatient.

I want a God that will serve as a reference point, an obvious place
to turn right or left, and gives me directions when I’m lost.
A place where I’ll feel normal, yet special;
different, but not too different.

I want a God just around the corner.
One that never closes – full of comfort.
One that makes me feel welcomed 24 hours a day.


The Hunt

The wolf is pacing,
tracing the scent,
scanning the terrain for signs of this life --
the trail of blood that will feed this hunger.

Wide eyes, seeking every sign on the path of prey.
Soft pads on paws silently pressing the earth,
a quiet approach --

Heavy breathing, panting,
this hard work, tracking.

And now, the creature comes into view.

Lightning calculations begin. Distance. Approach. Route. Speed.
How stealthily can I approach?
Does the prey perceive me?
What is her most likely response? Her escape route?

The calculations satisfied,
I spring forward, calculating while moving,
watching, running, shifting positions -- left, right, forward.

The prey, alert, perceives my approach,
springs forward, dodging --
watching me with one eye, her escape with the other.

My power is strong, my muscles at their peak.
I will win this one.
My distance closes.
No way this one will escape.

My final spring,
teeth sinking into flesh,
she is knocked off her feet,
looks up at me with a mixture of fear, relief,
and the ecstasy of being taken.

I feast. Her eyes roll back.
We are both satisfied by this blood lust passion,
as we become one body, one life, one self.


You Saw Her

You saw her, and it was something –
something about her shape –
the curve of her waist as it became her hip,
or her mouth when she laughed – a smiling melody.

Perhaps it was the shape suggested by shadows
on her midnight silk blouse
rippling beneath the surface as she turned away.

A fire begins with one match –
or a spark –
or the heat of two objects rubbing together.

This image arose as you imagined the two of you connected,
the sound of silk as it floats through the air to the ground,
the first sight of shapes in flesh,
wildfire eyes, hungry and burning.

Then you noticed the way she was standing, close and comfortable
with the woman who touched her like a champion show-dog,
stroking the long fur of her hennaed hair.

The fall of possibility reminded you of the falling silk
hitting the ground with inevitable slowness
and landing, crumpled, on top of itself.

 

Reminders

The early evening moon,
a ghostly ball in the bright blue sky,
reminded me to be grateful today.

Yesterday it was the sparkle of the sun
on the surface of the water.

Two nights ago, it was a glimpse of a mouse as it scurried beneath the kitchen cabinet.

Yesternight, it was the memory of my daughter at age four
when she first made up that word.

I am full of gratitude at these moments, as if a bell had chimed, reminding me to breathe, quieting my mind for that long pregnant moment.

I reach up with my mind and Spirit, call to the Creator, open my awareness to all things and beings, and cry out

“HO! Thank you for this moment of remembering where I come from and where I am going! Thank you for everything alive and everything that comes from you, Source of All!”

The moment passes; I get back to my busyness, and patiently wait for the next reminder.



How Love

This is how love opens –
A rose in the sun, releasing its fragrance.

This is how love grows –
A child at play, learning how the world works.

This is how love expands –
Space and time, the speed of light.

This is how love looks –
Your being here, now, before me, as myself.

This is how love feels –
Immense weightlessness, floating in warm water.

This is how love desires –
The desert wanting rain, the cloud wanting release.

This is how love tastes –
Parsnip soup, foia gras, champagne, your tongue.

This is how love sounds –
A diva singing “la Wally,” Scarlatti’s concerto, your accent.

This is how love smells –
Your hair, your skin, bread baking in a warm kitchen,
the rose opening in the sun.



The Leap

I leapt (precipitously)
off the edge of the cliff –

trusting my flight
to angelic forces

guided by none other than Desire –
blind in her advice to me:

“Leap! I will always be here!”

The sound of rushing wind
awakens me to notice that Desire spoke true:

She remains at the top of the cliff,
observing my fall....

In a Perfect World

There is light inside all matter
and dark space inside all light.

If you step up to the precipice,
you must be prepared to jump.

When joy fills you, shout!

Face this moment with full frontal certainty.
A partial explanation will not satisfy the judge.
She measures you by your truth,
not your story about it.

If you are clinging to life,
it is the same as clinging to death.

Celebrate your uncertainty!
And seek clues among those who have come to celebrate with you.

When the King dies, many struggle for power.
If the King had never been born, would the struggle cease?

In a perfect world,
the avocado would have a pit the size of an almond.

And cherries would have none at all.


The Serpent

To the serpent,
it was the woman who started all the trouble.

Cajoling him into the tree,
suggestive seduction,
encouraging mischief.

I pull the cloak of mystery
around me like a shroud

and hear a slithering
in the long grass
behind my steps.