Sunday, December 18, 2011


I am the knuckle curled beneath your hang-down chin, lifting against your ‘no’. I am the voice asking you to look up, look at me, look in my eyes. I have your secrets and I am keeping them, cradling them like helpless babies. You hold back, turn away. Refuse.

If you could look at me to see what floats like a ghost in the space between your eyes and mine, and what waits just beyond that ghost? Truths may take a different shape, may not bite, and bring another chance. Who else wants you to listen and what are the offered words? An answer for now may be just this much:

Have faith. Faith enough to know that you do have a soul, A soul that can cross the distance between here and wherever it seeks to go. You could let that curled little girl within you stand up, have its run into the mist that waits among the trees just beyond us. You have all you need to arrive.

When tears form at the corners of your eyes, they form then in mine. And they form all around us. They catch light and allow it to bend, shine, and catch color. Let ours be deep green. Let it be red or autumn orange. Let it be invisible. Let it be everywhere.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Souls and the stuff of souls transit outside of time, link fingers across times, and draw sap from the embodied passions that we feel when they hover in chilled nighttime pockets, untethered to place.

We, from our earthbound circumstances, reprise our narratives, life after concurrent life, century after simultaneous century, grief after accumulated grief.

Say that when god exhales stars are born. Assert that divine instructions reveal themselves in stages and come foreshadowed in omens. Shout to me that no instructions ever existed or that god cradles us like babies. A being so monumental, could it be as though we never were?

When she departed, a hole opened. She left her body and went through. I wanted to follow and she said "not yet."  Do not speak of next, past, or departed.

She went there. I know she slips into me when a song arises in my heart or I find myself standing in the rain, alone, outside the front door to a home that is not mine, singing a song I'd never heard before.

In such implausible ways transmission occurs.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Moving Pieces

Young man floats on a raft, face expectant, brown eyes open, scanning the rock walls surrounding the deep watering hole. He drifts, silent, chest rising a falling in steady breathing. Water laps over the sides of the raft in the rhythmic movement of current. Some yards in the distance, the water falls from this higher pool to another one way below. His raft floats in that direction.

From the images sent back from deep space, viewers could see an astronaut space-walking, tethered to a cord, drifting farther from the craft that had its hatch open like a hand that had just waved him off. Because of the angle from which the images came, the next part could not be verified: That the astronaut appears to have reached across his spacesuit to where he had clasped his tethering line and released that clasp. What could be seen was a man drifting away from the capsule and then falling from view.

A smaller gentleman, wisps of white hair and dressed in tweed, sat at the back of the empty church. He came there each morning, one of several who still sat among the pews, to watch the sunlight pour through stained glass and descend along the north wall as the sun rose from the southeast. Many people once came to this church to begin their days in this silent ritual. He sat alone today, looking up. Waiting for someone else to come.

Young girl with tiny hands wrote stories and drew sketches of roads that wound among hills. She kept these stories in sketch book after sketch book, making up tales about where her roads went and what happened to travelers along the way. She wrote throughout year after year and kept every book. In late November, a man came to clear away her apartment for a new renter. He found her books in neat rows on four shelves, most full from beginning to end, but two that she had not touched, opened to blank pages that looked out into the room, as if expecting.

From surviving settlers accounts, thugs and entrepreneurs were known to have made their brazen push, foul, eager, hopeful, crazed. Toward the west. We know that more than a thousand smaller brown people lived in the now ruined village that still exists as a low hill on the edge of flat plains. Could you close your eyes and let yourself hear language that could explain these pieces of clay, decode the pictographs on rocks some miles away? Could you see an old woman, the last, humming in a wordless tune as she throws her bundle over her shoulder and begins a long walk to a village farther on?

That’s when the silence came and the movement stopped.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I ask as I sit in this chair by the broken window what's happening to me. Am I disappearing? Two who pass on the street below talk of what he said and she said. I do not know them. Their voices drift and bounce among the brick angles.

I close my eyes and feel thinner still. Not in body but in substance. Calm. Merging. Blending with a slight breeze that in turn bleeds into an expanding inner vision of vast plains I know to be far away. I am becoming empty. Is that it?

Even here on this sooted perch three flights up, I close my eyes and see dark blue distance, feel the gentle sweep of prairie winds that kiss grasses and exhale God’s breath from northwest toward southeast how many thousands of miles from here. I lose perimeter sound by sound, word by word.

How huge I am when I am not!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wander Song

I sweep my arm in an arc through the dark space in front of me. This blind gesture gives shape to my impulse to reach, to stretch, to open. Urgencies more energetic than words want to find a means of expression and a place to stand outside of what I can say or do.

To insert myself into this time where people shrink themselves, make small their imaginations, strive to merge, blend, disappear. By our own design and with no rocket we could reach distant sparks, slip from dimension to domain, discover islands without needing to sail to them, make peace with phantoms that now turn their backs on us in spite. We are ever the curious ones, still the explorers. If we cannot fly out, we scatter in bits. We are not creatures who thrive from limits.

Buried in kivas of crumbled pueblos are clay and stone fragments that witnessed chants, wander songs to spirits they asked for assistance. They must have known of these points of entrapment that precede explosion and redouble the next expansion. Speck of consciousness – unique cluster of photons that hurtle in a lightless journey – guided by the songs that sent them outward toward the next earth, the next moon, the next iteration of what we can’t now know.

What stories do you whisper to your children so that they hear what the heart needs, remember how we held their hands, recognize their own kind among the many that would dissuade or discourage them? How can their link to who we were refuse to be lost? How can we not bind them to things that no longer help? These children will need to travel light. What must they know from us without chance of forgetting?

I have set aside a pair of walking boots in the nighttime quietness of my house. I have placed just one of my oldest books next to these shoes. Even if scraps of this book’s pages survive, they will imply a vanished legacy. The code will suggest and awaken the way the old songs must have. I recall things that no one has ever told me. How can that be? It must be time now. I am ready. We are ready even if we don’t know why or what that means. We are ready.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dream of Vanquished Colonels, One Living and One Gone

I am standing before my regiment. They are red-sashed, chins jutting, straight-standing, still. Waiting for one signal to move, prove precision, underscore discipline.

Then a voice that speaks through this dream reveals a truth into my left ear – a secret that unfolds as the troops and I stand together on this flattened field – that they are a rabble without me and I am nothing in their absence. There exists this interface and beyond that, no other point against which I might know that I am real!

And even more is missing. My gut tightens when I remember that you are long gone. Not there to stand next to me, to see me before these three battalions. I can't show you, cannot exist in your witnessing, find substance through your half-grinned nod.

So then this is a nightmare! A threatening dream that repeats. The rip of it cuts as if for the first time– that no soil holds the print of your feet, no shadow falls from your raised arms, none of your spoken words echo outside of my memory. You exist as a hole within of me, – empty space – a nothingness as immense as ever you were fact - when you stood over my kneeling form, proud, conquering. I no more than a boy’s soul in my tough thin jacket of flesh.

I can’t reject this dream, these recessed facts. Emptiness can’t be chased from where its existence cannot be shown through taste or touch.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I am many arms of light, eyes illumined, extended and holding nothing, chasing darkness, expanding, permeable and impermanent, bright and traveling beyond the drag of gravity even though gravity penetrates everything and everywhere.

More silent than the pause before whispers and weighing no more than a fist full of photons. In this form I rise from the cold dark recess of the belly and ascend through the spine of my bent body, untied from second guesses and released from obligations.

I am present – no more and no less – in a state where my mind opens. I am telling no one what to think and I am pressed to form no thought of my own other than to witness this awakening beyond what I can describe.

What better answer could I offer than this to questions about what happens next, how should I be, and what was I supposed to do with my short time here?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Standing in the Doorway

I am seated in a chair, facing toward the sunlight that enters this room through an open door. Outside, I can see tree fern branches lifting and subsiding and the mix of green light growing golden from a lowering sun.

I feel you, though you, in body, are miles away, sedated, supervised, monitored, hanging on. I know that part of you is departing just now.

Moments later, still seated, I can feel that you have slipped inside me, floating messages to me from deep within - that in the doorway, we are holding hands, beholding the sunlight together.

You will step onward and I will remain.

Then I am standing up, forward in time, hearing eulogies and the voices of those who will speak them. Their words do not meet you where you are or recognize you where you once stood. They guess at your substance and rise like the clamor that erupts in a bar after a toast to a long departed loved one.

Strings of myths and stories help the storytellers say to themselves that this is who he was and this is who I am and I exist as he existed. I am real am I not? But you are not and we are not and this waiting underscores all that we cannot name.

We, both of us, were never here but will never leave. How it hurts to have nothing to add but silence.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Then, we were among the many friends and faces, wet-eyed, laughing and chatting with a see-you-soon ease. By death and slight of hand we became fewer until it was just I and my voices – of no standing and having a calendar only as something to carry in case.

But you came back to me this afternoon as you said you would. I could hear you speaking to me as I walked by the little park a few blocks from where we had lived. You with me and through you my mind opened onto a room where we all were together again, laughing and chomping delicate and exotic morsels, jesting with one another, drinking, forgetting everything we had promised to hold dear, passing through those moments as if we had centuries to spare.

I have no time to spare and I do not want to sleep through sounds like my boots thudding on uneven sidewalk or the sight of a single fall-reddened leaf hanging at the end of its bare branch, or Latin drums drifting from an upstairs window I-know-not-which-one, or a sweet kiss I can taste that helps me remember -

You and I will be together again soon.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Before zero existed, did this space exist or did we, by our giving nothing a name bring it into existence?

What about bits of memory that shoot through my mind only to vanish en route? What happens to the parts of the story I can't quite recall?

And wishes made in childhood, almost grasped, then forgotten? Can they come to me in a surprise one day, fresh-slapped and screaming?

Who suggested this thing called forgetting and called collisions of circumstance a coincidence? Are these just tricks of the mind shields from what we doubt we can hold?

Emptiness sketches the shape of what existed before this silence. In its outline, our former symmetry gives light to this darkness.

The Retreat (a confession)

I am sitting up in the night’s smallest hour, a near right angle on this camping cot. Ears stretched open. Did I hear someone coming? Please?

Quiet! Too quiet. Quieter outside of me than in please someone make some noise!

I know (and will admit) that I am home in the noisiest places. My internal zero centers when everything bounces and people scream. Fighting neighbors, drunks making love. In the center of this turbine I float like a little sage totter on sandals, offer pocket wisdom, have medicines up my sleeves!

For free! Have it all for free!

But here! Here! In this bunk house. This monastery. Away from it all. A gate clacks against its post now and then. A dog howls on the other side of an empty valley. I am awake waiting for the return of two brothers who passed some moments before exchanging muffled whispers.

Oh what were they talking about? Is there something wrong?

I am a shout trapped in skin. An explosion looking for a place to express myself. Please stand back. I am doing the best I can to self-actualize in a beneficial way.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


What preempted these toxic thoughts and words? A tincture that flowed inside us, seeped into bones, traveled unnoticed in dark, wet silence? Were we stained by it? Infused? Poisoned?

Is there more to say? Haven't we talked enough?

Just this:

That habits, feelings, ideas, and actions have a beginning. From the dampness, this stuff pulled its tint, sugar, shape. We can't deny that we made this juice together, made it sensual, palpable, gave it a presence that remained because we wouldn't release it.

As I present myself to you on this Sunday morning, I offer myself as changed, declare that I am able to see who and how you are, I can't name what shifted or when. An unclenching occurred and sweetness rose - to my mouth in this request that you and I reconsider our thoughts - that we try a different form of union.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When at First . . .

You take hold of me and just then I hear a whisper that comes from beneath language, where thoughts can feel warm and almost touch skin. Then, the your unspokens beget pure tone, scent, salt. I yield.

You cradle my head in both of your hands, work your fingers into the knots behind my jaw, tug a bit to extend the neck, then rest my head on small satin pillow.

Through the open window, a slight push of cool air, a bell from a church rising above the sounds in the street, your breathing and mine. Invisible is the stuff that connects us, among cells and atoms, not of them.

Just past the edge of this unmitigated moment of zero, everything awaits.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Not with blind faith but with lips opened, anticipating the space that precedes contact - the moment just before hello - In that way I present myself to you without expectation or even capacity to define how it might feel to see or unfold in you.

What can I expect other than what is as I see past a surface to a you within a you, concentric, concentrated in emerald descent along a path that falls toward re-union, where you and I meet in a concurrent fullness and vacuum?

Secret, sacred place unmarked, between these words that began at full voice and collapse into inchoate muttering, wide-eyed silence face to face with an emptiness I have never touched but have always known.

Monday, February 21, 2011

While Walking in a Parade

I look up to see a woman looking down and, because the parade day has now darkened into slates and smokey chocolate browns of city nights, I can see nothing more of her than her silhouette, framed in the fourth storey window - a big square of burnt yellow light.

Then, when a street-to-sky rocket shoots up, explodes, it bathes the brick face of this building in its blues and white. Post-powder silence ensues.

I wave and she nods, turning away from the window. Who is she? Who am I, looking up? I am carried for an instant from my body, through hers, and then back to the street where I find myself holding a piece of a language that seems not to belong to me.

A whistle blows and I walk forward, amidst my contingent dressed in reds and blues, a hundred yards more toward the reviewing stand. Bright lights shine in my face and chase away pursuing shadows.

The parade continues, as before.


A drop of an essential oil descends within you when you, in our first exchange, open. For an instant - rich, honey-tinted - this amber congeals from between the words we share, bearing a sweet nose of our thoughts' wine . . .

You tell me that when you yield to it, this honey-drop of mind and perception sinks way in, that though you are made of water, this penetrating liquid is heavier. Then, with a glance at a time piece, you close again, depart, and the distance of circumstance separates us.

Today, you speak of the water again - quietness of a pool, sweetness and darkness both infused into your bones, flowing in your blue veins - advancing beneath your pale skin.

I observe you place your left hand in your right. You close your eyes. We sit and share a liquid moment- ebbing and rising with the wordless tug of implications.

These exchanges point to what more is possible and how we limit what we imagine.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Before They Found Her

Tight and wet over her full blue lips – a maple leaf wrapped like an amber palm holding protests back – and her eyes opened to the big empty – a blue bowl of winter sky - cloudless witness – damp, green, departed to sights beyond her resting place in this park’s snow blanketed meadow. Alabaster cheeks and one or two locks of red hair.

Chilled and solitary she lay in wait for her eventual discovery. Her last message, prepared for the first to find her, but ready to deliver before she left us altogether.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Red in White

Now this! A small girl with black hair and brown laughing eyes entered the room- the room, white- except for one red vase that sat like a big plum on the mantle. Then, she broke the vase – on purpose – high kicking it with her foot wrapped as it was in a striped sock.

So, she stood still the way deer do when the crack of a small twig (or the approach of a wolf) penetrates their sanctity.

With one hand, then the other, she lifted the tumbled vase back onto its base. She returned three vibrant shards to their places near the rim. Then she left, chased by the bounce of her own giggle as it followed her through the off-white doorway.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Upper Trail

Of the lower part of the trail, I knew every shrub and stone- where bees had tucked their hive years before, where young people chased each other and made love in the river bed below, where once, a friend, drunk, came close to falling. I had pulled him upright and carried him much of the way down.

Swelter, rain, wet, cold, awake, dreaming. Where I had walked and how I had walked – I thought of this all as the all. Then came the rounding and an unexpected ascent that exposed miles of still higher trail exposed in sun, thinner air, and bends unknown. A soot gray lizard shot in front of my shoes. Had this pass been here forever? How was it that I had not found it until now?

I retraced the line of memory for just that day, the events that brought me to this point. A light breakfast, coffee, stepping one leg at a time into my jeans and pulling on familiar boots. A church bell marked time as I began my climb as it had for more than a century.

But there, at the foot of the next passage, my thoughts popped and I heard the pound of my heart as it pushed blood through my inner ears. So this is where it starts, I heard myself say. And with all that had gone before, I had come only as far as this starting point- with the sun more than half way across the sky.

Not one second more for looking back.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Window on the South Side

Three of us worked together that day to cut a new window into this old house. Two watched as the third hoisted saw and laid teeth against the wall, making splintered chalk of lathe and plaster. The geometry of a rectangular opening began to form.

You buzzed through the last increment while the two of us held our hands against the lathe. Then, as the shape came loose, we lowered it and examined the dark insides now exposed – studs, tar from paper applied during construction,nails, exterior siding, and the smell of dank air long trapped between outside and in.

When the last splinters of two studs came away, we were left with the house’s original siding. You jammed the saw through a small starter hole and began punching and chewing through board after board. A rectangle of sunshine formed from left to right, down and across.

Then, as if the house inhaled in surprise, this rectangle of wood fell inward. We caught it, set it down and stood in the dusty room. Quiet morning poured in with sweet grass smells. Two oaks stood just outside where they had been for a hundred years. In the distance, the valley unfolded, smoky, still shaded in early sun, waking up.

Light spoke, air moved inside, then out. We ran our fingers along the rough edges where the new window would go, and looked on at the hillside and a sunrise that had been warming up this piece of land from the beginning.