Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Wind

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There's a certain wind that blows
every once in a while
with a level of heat that makes me wilt
with a soothing hint of cool underneath
like the base note in a cologne
the coolness carrying a subtle hint of 
possibility and promise 
a playful lightness dancing at its edge.

I bet the Native Americans
have a name for that wind.
But I feel no need to name it
or capture it
in any way 
except this.

I just enjoy it 
as it caresses my skin
like the touch of a lover
tender and sweet
with whispered promises of 
surrender 
pulling me to the future
calling me forward
to the hope of what's 
right around the corner
just out of reach
and not yet in sight.

July 26, 2009


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Risk

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On a very long walk
I come to this swampy little marsh
this marshy little swamp
peaceful and dreamy
in the dappled sunlight 
and I fold myself
onto the wooden bench 
and feel thankful for the thoughtful person
who placed it there 
just for this purpose
and I rest.

The wind rushes through 
the tall green fronds of the cattails
whispering secrets on its way
to somewhere else.
The ferns and trees 
and low lying bushes hold still
when the wind goes away
just being themselves 
in the air and the sunlight
not hurrying or worrying 
or looking for answers
or how or where 
they should go next
and not trying to grow
any faster than they can.
They're just being 
what they are,
you know,
just growing where they're planted. 

And I try, I really try
to just be, 
just for that moment
to just be 
but everything in me 
wants to make something happen
make a difference in the world
to matter in some way
and I watch the clouds far off
and I want to be where they are
away over there and not here
and for just that moment
as I rest and weep on the 
sun-dappled bench 
the only way I can think of 
to just be is

to wade into this swamp
to risk the scratch of the branches
against my thighs 
and the mud oozing into my sneakers 
and tickling my pink-tipped toes
and the feel of the green slime 
cool against my chest and under my arms 
and the microscopic bits of butterfly wings
that will land on my eyelids 
and the sparkly fairy dust 
sprinkled on my cheeks
because I do believe in fairies
and the feel, maybe, of a frogs little toes
against my earlobes
and the feel of that slimy slick bottom
when I push my hands deep beneath 
the surface of the water 
to grab handfuls of mud
and slather it into my hair like shampoo 
and take big deep cleansing breaths
of the cool greeny-blue air
and then I imagine 
what it would feel like
to float on the surface 
of that dark water
all covered in earth
and I know how it would feel
to just be. 

But I don't risk it.
I don't risk any of it.
I stay safely on the bench
in the sun-dappled shade
and only imagine how 
it would feel to just float
to just be
and its not because I'll ruin 
my sneakers
or look like a crazy person
on the walk back home
and not because that 
slimy mud would be impossible 
to get out of my hair
but because,
well, because...

because of the bugs.


July 19, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Free Fall

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So it's like this: 

Say you strap yourself 
into a parachute
all buckles and canvas
and ripcords and thrill
and you climb onto a plane
and you travel, oh, 
say ten thousand feet or so
into the stratosphere
into the bluest sky 
you ever saw 
and say you're thrilled and terrified
at what you're about to do
but you do it anyway 
because sometimes 
a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity only comes
once (or maybe twice)
in a life time. 

So say the time comes
to leap out of that plane
and experience the unique
and nonstop fall fall fall
to the blue orb of the earth
floating and spinning 
on nothing but air 
as you fall and fall
and it's one of the wildest
most exhilarating rides
you've ever been on and 
everything in the world 
is lit up and brighter and 
more colorful than ever
and your insides quiver
and ache with the pure joy
and adrenaline rush of that 
free fall that feels like love

and say you scream out
loud raucous laughter and
then the ground comes closer
and you don't want the ride to end
you want it to go on and on
but end it does,  
it very suddenly 
and very painfully does end with
a broken foot, say, the snap so loud
in the cool blue air as you hit the ground
going way too fast and the pain 
is excruciating
and so sudden and you 
can't catch your breath for a while
you can't really draw a deep breath
for a bit but eventually you can again
and so I have to ask you, 

Which part of that experience
would you remember?
Which part would you 
keep closest to your heart? 
Which part -- the pain of the landing
or the wild joy of the ride?


July 12, 2009 



Saturday, July 11, 2009

On Courage and Cowardice

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Cowardice is hiding behind a Mask

you present to the world

one of Competence and Perfection

and no Flaws or Vulnerabilities or

Weaknesses showing anywhere.

 

Courage is slowly and gently taking off that Mask

a little at a time to reveal your True Self

and then hanging it on the Wall

and being able to point to it

and laugh at yourself for ever needing 

to wear it at all.

 

Cowardice is pretending All is Well

when it Most Definitely is not

and putting on a Show every day

so the real Pangs and Hurts of life stay in the shadows.

 

Courage is saying, Oh my God, I am dying

I am aching, I am in so much pain right now

and letting yourself fall to your knees saying,

Please help me, I can’t pretend anymore.

 

Cowardice is telling and living such Big Falsehoods

things you tell yourself and others

things that make you Look Good and Not Messy At All

that you back yourself into such a Big Lie that

when it’s time to Tell the Truth all you can bear to say is

“I can’t do this, it’s too real.”

 

Courage is being able to Tell on yourself,

to say, “I’m scared, I’m hurt, I’m lonely,

I don’t know how to do this and

I’m afraid you won’t Love me if you know how Weak I am right now,”

even if it makes you More Afraid when you say it Out Loud.

 

Courage is being able to stand still

to speak the truth

to yourself and to another

to reveal who you truly are

warts and fears and insecurities and all

to know that you are deeply and

infinitely loved and lovable

exactly as you are in this moment

and in every moment that follows.


July 7, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Homecoming

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Ahhh, there you guys are. 

Where have you been?
I missed you! 

Welcome home, my Friends
old Power old pal
old Joy old buddy. 

Yes, of course there's room for you
both of you
now that sadness and discouragement
have (mostly)
left the building.

So, what shall we do today?
Scale a few walls?
Leap a few tall buildings?
Save a few planets?

What?  
Wash the dishes, go for a walk,
visit with a friend?  Notice the trees 
and the birds and the clouds?

That's all? 

Oh! And breathe very very very
deeply into every cell of my body
and only feel the tiniest pinprick
of pain deep in my belly
where the breath gets caught in the 
Briars of Disappointment?

Oh, yes, I can do that and 
with infinite gratitude
at your return.  

Welcome home, my friends.
Welcome back.
This place would not be the same
without you. 

July 9, 2009 



Ashes to Ashes

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Walking into the
Sacred Fire
really really hurts.

Trust me.  I know. 

Over and over 
I've been burned to ashes
in that Fire
everything in my life
reformed and remade
over and over and over
sometimes all at once
in one fell swoop 
in the course of an hour
a day, a week
everything dialing back to 
zero --
my bank account
my gas tank
my power level
my heart
emptying out the place 
where the lover was
emptying out the place 
where the job was
sometimes, even, 
the place where 
friends were
and I can usually hear the Fire
beginning to burn 
the sound coming from far away
getting closer and closer
to me 
and there is absolutely 
nothing I can do 
there is no firebreak I can create
to turn it in a different direction
to send it away
I just have to be still and let it come.

And when it arrives and
I hear the Voice I've always heard 
say what it always says:
"Be still and know that I am God"
I obey and I hold still inside that Fire
and watch the flames cover everything
and they burn away the dross 
and they burn away the masks
and they burn away the fears
and they burn away the regrets
and they burn and burn and burn
until there is nothing left
except deep deep Peace
and I am nothing but warm ash
and I can then 
rest in the Heart of Jesus
be held in the Arms of God
be rocked in the Cradle of the Beloved
covered in the Cloak of the Great Mystery
for just a little while.

But eventually
when the time is right
like the Phoenix 
that lives on my arm
I begin to rise from the ashes
being reformed and remade
renewed over and over
reborn and reborn
becoming more and more
over and over and over
my very real 
my very truest 
Self. 

July 9, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Perfect Timing

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I feel like 
a butterfly
right now

still snuggled up
inside its
cocoon

still slick and damp
from the process
of becoming

and everything in me
wants to hurry this up
remove the layer 

between me
and what ever 
is next

to get through this
sense of vulnerability
and woundedness

from too many body blows
coming too close together
in just one short week

and I want to feel 
my strength and power 
once again

to remember how it feels
to breathe deeply
and without any pain 

but I keep 
reminding myself
of what happens

when you tear back
the cocoon of a butterfly
before it is fully formed

before it has a chance
to stretch its wings
and warm them

in the sun
and wiggle its antennae
and push out its tongue:

exposed to the air before its time 
it emerges 
deformed and broken

twisted and misshapen
unable to fly or walk
and it soon dies 

without ever having 
fully lived
as it truly should.

July 7, 2009


Monday, July 6, 2009

On Being Real

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You know how real 
I want to be?

I want to be as real as
The Velveteen Rabbit

whose very flesh

whose very essence 
was rubbed so raw
by Love
and by Time
that he lost all his
fur.

I want to be so real
that when I get to my own edges
those places where my
comfort zone ends
and the big neon sign says,
“Here There Be Dragons”
that I can walk right across
that goddamn edge and
stick my shiny warrior's sword
directly into the heat
of the dragon’s fire
and keep it there 
until the blade 
gets so hot
and burns so bright
that it keeps me warm
the whole night through.

I want to be so real that
when I get to my own edges
those places where 
my comfort zone ends
and the "Here There Be Dragons"
signs are posted
that I willingly
cut my fingers on the thorns
growing on the vines there
and use the blood it draws
to write poetry so good
it makes you cry
makes you guffaw and weep
for God’s sake
and read it out loud
to the birds and the trees
all the way home.

 July 6, 2009