Clocks, Watches and Doors

This morning I counted eight clocks,
Three watches in the house.
Every one says it’s time to pray.

Fourteen doors, including closets.
I want to remove them all from hinges,
Let sunlight shine and moonlight flood
Into every dark corner of the heart.

How are you today?
How are you really feeling?
Have you listened to the voice
That whispers from inside your house?
Heard the ticking clocks upon walls or
Watched the long hand move
Upon your pulsing wrist?

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Crickets Drunk On Love

It may be late, but I can’t sleep.
Crickets singing loudly,
Down below in the garden, drunk on love,
Hungry to find each other in the dark.
Their whole neighborhood is up,
Gossiping, I suppose; scratching legs.

I’m out on the deck, listening for God;
Looking up at the stars on clear night,
Totally conscious… wondering
Why things sound so much different
Late at night, under spell of moonlight,
Looking down on the garden, drunk on love.

Contemplations From The Porch At Sunset

I wish I lived closer to Earth,
Sun, Moon, Stars:
All visible and invisible passions
That constitute what we call life.
Instead, I stand upon this porch,
Contemplate contrails
Of evening sky, connecting
Jets to reflected pink,
The only message to eye
Light lives beyond,
Into nature’s order, assuring
Sun will come again,
Imperceptibly transformed,
Having never slept, somewhat
Lessened by the light spent.

This massive ball of fiery red
Transforms, burns itself
Each day into something new;
Inexorable decay at work,
Some great unraveling
Secretly underway, unknown
To us who know no better.
The surprise is this brilliant
Slowly failing sun which we find
A reassuring image of lasting time
Moves forward toward a future
Of certain violent death.
In intervening days
The permanence we bring to this sun:
Merely our hopeful state of mind.

Some say people are the sum
Of their illusions, that truth abides
Even in dying stars, whose meandering designs
Eventually teach wholeness, if
A human lifetime is sufficient to grasp
The lengthy measure known by stars alone.
In ordinary terms, we’re easily overwhelmed,
Overlooked, misunderstood by self
Inflated sense of insignificance.
Domestic notions of what it takes
For life to yield to death and death to life,
To leave, come home, leave, return again,
Take years so far beyond human scale
We lose the original trust
The world is something good.

We were born in ordinary time,
In ordinary rooms and beds.
In such ordinary times, rooms, beds
We shall die, for to mortal eye
It is not life but death, emptiness unknown
That encloses, flows in all directions.
This endless deadly ring runs the horizon—
Another way of saying
This sweep of life too small
To measure how long
Evening stars shine on.
The models we use to grasp Earth,
All other parts of the universe
Built upon our young experience
Has not God’s, but our image stamped upon it.

Now we learn
What sages said long ago:
Out of endless death and empty measure,
Arises life again transformed.

Like music moving slowly
Deep within endless mist,
Life succeeds, moves gently forward
Even where human life disappears—
Saying from grander vision
Where one world is erased
Another comes, newborn
To coalesce fragments
Into another world and time;
Endless ends, new beginnings—
New forms of resurrected love:
A new heaven; a new Earth.

Necessary Dreams

Great thing about dreams is
Altar for the alter-ego quiets down,
Language takes secondary role,
Tensions unwind as barriers dissolve,
Held, shaped within the dark,
Clearer in the night
Nothing exists between us.
Longings flow as images,
Composing, composting energy
Poetically within essential heart.

Last night I traveled by train to India,
East across oceans, watching gulls
Follow in the wake, creaking,
Screeching, flying fitfully in foursomes
Without blundering, without knowing
Vapors of luscious rain swept
Banked clouds against the rising sun.
Birds swooped to eat whatever garbage
I let go, tossed floating upon
Global seas, stirring, rudder of
Genetic code as compass yearning
For a conscious will, cradling body.
The boat my life….
Plowing through rising waves,
Releasing love and secrets mixed.
Lessons learned in dreams of night.

A dove named Genesis soared high
Until it found rays of sun inscribed
Upon pages of clouds, volumes and
Columns published as frontispiece,
Cirreous sounds hissing, thundering,
Streaks of lightening forming words
Suddenly corporeal, revealing enlightened
Nakedness, simple, with no fig leaf….
Longing, purity exposed, floating in
Swells of soulful, trembling light,
Rush of healing touch, aware the body
Requires no restful sleep
But dreams necessary to
Teach deeper forms of tenderness,
Wonderful, wondrous and more.

Ability to love comes from dreams,
Darker blue within the sleepy night,
Dark enough to see through veil.

I know this now: the miracle of sight
Unclouded as joy on cloudless morn—
Birds flying through whatever storms
Pass within the night, high above,
Far enough away to believe in flight,
Swooping to feast upon the waste,
Detritus tossed, lost, found again
In mist of spectacular dreaming seas.

A World of Hunger

After spending far too much of a short lifetime
Running from knowledge of what I want,
Weeping in my sleeping from the loss,
I turned, finally rolled back veil of constant self
Delusion, entered springs of water, shed the ruins of
Empty fortress where I had forgotten hunger.

Walking into deep pools of darkness, I dove,
Surfaced, floated on living water, parted waves
Opening, closing, unspooled memories
Trapped in afterward of eddies, whirlpools
Coursing close to river, which let nothing cross,
Where all sank under weight of wanting,
Never receiving crust of bread, nor drinking
Sweet elixir that heals hunger of the heart.

Only in the dark did I discover blindness,
Heard voices crying for no good reason,
Swam my way a second time toward birth,
Then a third and fourth until reaching ocean
Surfed waves of longing, sanctified, holy
Promises made so long ago I could not hear
Voice of him, who offered open hand,
Sacrificed his need to eat for world of hunger.

Only in good time did silence clarify
Muddy waters of the mind, sifting, shifting
Atmosphere becoming clear, one breath sufficient,
Realizing quickness in spinning motion of the
Universal mess, the flesh, the very body,
Earth itself at risk, bleeding out of hunger
What’s been missed, deep, deep within the mist.

To Prove I Could Kill

Almost fifty years since I held a .22,
Eye finding target in the sight,
Cold barrel peaceful in tight fist,
Finger gently squeezing trigger.

One lone bullet whose report
Made the rabbit jump at least three feet
Straight up, rising slow as blood
Blossomed on white snow, ever
Widening circles, gleaming in my mind.

I shot it to prove I could kill…
Had nerve enough to sight and shoot:
White fur, pink eyes, enchantment
Waiting in the backyard,
Against backdrop of dark pines,
December dusk falling, full of shame,
Burying in the moonscape the evidence,
The victim of  murderous intent
Crushed heartless under cold decision.

Forgive me my trespasses: the fish,
The frogs, three crows and
One white rabbit in white snow,
Back in the days when things were simple.
I was maybe ten, had never seen the sea;
Had not lost virginity nor paid attention
To a broken heart, blood spilled,
Innocence adrift with careless youth.
Death was far away, and I knew
Precisely what a boy was supposed to do.

The Slender Red Canoe

He slowly came into view,
Paddling red canoe,
Softly singing the blues,
Following shadows of the afternoon
Across the lake, stroking water,
Bringing sadness into song.

Sat there on the porch and listened,
His raspy voice ascending in the
Stillness of the brightest air.
It was absolutely august as it deepened,
Light shifting as clouds became a
Silent audience, holding sorrow
Faintly visible as shafts of sun
Broke through, played upon the lake,
Echoed from mirrored surface to
Shore of wilting flowers in the heat.

Strained to hear the words, unclear,
Distorted by the weeping willow,
Though pretty sure I heard “love”
Sung within the chorus of his heart…
So sad it touched the sadness
Held within my aching heart—
Hearing the blues in heat of afternoon,
Sung solitary from that slender red canoe,
Long before the sunlight
Turned to twilight, turned to dark.