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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

a shape left in trees and other poems

how can i be sure i'm on the right path?
i can't.

my path is not something that waits to be revealed.
not something i find once the map is mine.

my path is a shape left in trees,
a branch bouncing back
a bird now in flight.

at some point, i will die.
that's the single truth i know.

lately, though, i'm not so sure.

yes, of course, i will die.
but until it is my time,
the only fact i can confidently prove
is that i am alive.


when i was younger,
i drank deep dents into bottles of booze.
i believed alcohol could unlatch the true me
and send him into the world, into action.

i just had this hunch, this bet, that there was someone
pure, angelic, and good at my core.
yet could only get out through the portal of booze.

i drank so much
and for so many years
that something seemed to die inside.
or maybe outside.
either way,
i no longer felt something sacred in my spirit,
no longer believed it could be conjured
through the alchemy
of vodka and ice and lime.

and without an inner me to drink for,
i lost the desire to drink at all.

but now, maybe five years later, the light's returned.
i feel my highest self still there after all.
i feel a pure essence asking again to emerge.

how will i try to set you free this time?
through nothing more intoxicating than wholehearted love.
this is the gift i will give.
over and over and over.
until the person who receives it is me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

sometime soon and other poems

i want nothing more than to live wholeheartedly.
yet it seems i do nothing but help my anxieties and fears
build walls whenever they ask.

sometime soon, though, i must make
the change i know is inevitable.
i must give my life over to love.
i must throw myself into this world
and practice compassion and connection
wherever i can.

still something holds me back.
i haven't harnessed the courage to rise above ego.
i still look for security in image and status and persona.
i still fear defeat and rejection.

and so i limit almost everything i do.
scared i might make mistakes,
scared i might lose.

yes, i can continue like this.
playing the odds,
and picking my spots.
here, living my most authentic self.
there, letting insecurity block out the light.

or i can remember that life's only real when lived through love.

if i believe i am different from you,
i will only notice the difference.

if i trust i am whole,
i'm invited to see
how we connect and unite
into this one.

on days i feel i'm not good enough,
that i deserve to be ignored,
i slip away from unconditional love.

but i need only to awaken to this world,
to all that brings stillness and space,
to the soft sway of trees in wind.

i only need to explore the unknown
and let my heart repeat, "where am i right now?"
until i see the answer is here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

birth and being and other poems

what does it mean to make something of one's self?
the answer depends on who's asking.

if i let someone else pose the question,
it appears i've failed to find my fortune.
that i don't even try.

but when i have the courage to ask,
i see the question itself is wrong.

i don't devote my life to this or that,
as part of some plan to make myself into someone new.

i am just trying to shed all i am not,
so i can experience all of who i am.
i am simply living from the one space i am whole.
my heart.

i've sacrificed so much time to comparing,
to judging, to wondering about self-worth.
someone seems to have it all,
and i wish i did, too.

in these moments,
i see myself split off from others, disconnected.

i want so badly to feel i have what they have.
that i am not alone.

but i do have what they have.
i am birth and being and soul.

only when i chose to obsess over the garments of division,
status and image, power and possessions,
do i miss what we all have, what unites everyone one of us:
the infinite gift of love.

how we share this power
gives life so much meaning.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

poem: (50)

i fear there are some unforgivable faults in me
that, if i am not careful, people will notice
and use to dismiss my self-worth.
but in trying to conceal my failures,
i must take them everywhere i go.

too often, my mind gets caught up in what others have that i do not.
how much more important their lives must be.
how much power and influence and talent they must wield.
the friends and cars and trips abroad.

only when i spend an afternoon in the park playing frisbee
or an evening with yoga.
only when i wash my dish right after it's used.
only when i enter a thought i try never to finish, to keep open,
free of judgment and labels.
only when i remember deep, deep down we all are the same
and therefore all need the same.
only when i see beauty that doesn't require words.
only when i give myself unconditional love.
only when i give you unconditional love.
only when i see the inner light in me.
only when i see the inner light in you.

as i practice the growth of soul,
i see nothing is sacred but soul.
my fear i am not good enough,
have not done enough,
will never be enough,
all of this begins to fade
when i remember
true prosperity
exists within.

let me always be poor,
the most impoverished person alive,
if i try to measure true wealth through
who has more than me.
let envy and jealousy bring me to grief.

because the moment i remember
the same spirit spins
in me as spins in you,
i instantly return
to the unity and wholeness and connection
called life, called peace, called love.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

made of things and other poems

last night, on the sidewalk,
i jogged by someone sprawled under a storefront awning.
i only glimpsed him for a second,
but he looked like the pure expression of suffering, of hell.

never before had i seen someone seem so crazed, so intensely broken.
everything filthy and mangled about him looked permanent.

at a different time in my life,
perhaps this wouldn't have wrecked me so.
but it did.
that is a human being,
i just kept repeating to myself.
a human being.
a family of which you are a member.

how are you willing
to let one of your own

if i don't bow and salute the life-force in you,
no matter who you are,
i am not sincerely recognizing and honoring it me.

what i am,
what i truly am,
is the rare recipient of energy that could
have gone anywhere but here.

when i see it in you,
i see my closest kin.

if i am brave enough to give myself unconditional love,
it doesn't mean i have defeated my fears.
but it does show who is stronger.

slowly i am coming to understand
the difference between
the inexpressible and the unexpressed.

the former leaves me speechless. amazed.
while the latter tricks me into believing i know the answer,
but without the words to prove it.

as i find little moments throughout my day
to let my mind sit still,
i see what a farce i've made of things.
i don't know the answer.
and i don't have the words.

yet what kinder friend is there
than one that teaches
to keep the question alive.

Friday, March 4, 2011

poems: the deuce

when i remember to ask myself
what it is i truly want,
the answer is always the same.

when i forget to ask myself this question,
the answer is always different.

i don't need to write like i talk,
but my writing must feel natural to speak

before lifting his folded coat and other poems

on some afternoons,
i picture a professor out there.
in a small town.
eating carefully and quietly
the lunch his wife packed.
a sandwich. an apple. yogurt.
he will then plug the electric kettle
into the hard-to-reach socket and wait for the water to boil.
his office is small but tidy,
and the faculty, no matter how many times they visit,
still marvel how he's found a place for so many books.

i see him moving down the page, with a stub pencil,
lightly leaving marks in the margins.
a trail for himself.
he wears a tie,
though class doesn't meet again
till next week.

a soft sun slants through the window.
he makes a final note and smiles over something
before closing the book,
before lifting his folded coat and heading out to walk
among the rust-colored leaves of autumn.

how truly sacred is art.
a photograph, a performance, a theory, a lyric,
a piece of beauty placed perfectly in the world.
countless are the moments when i've fallen
so intoxicatingly in love with a work that my only choice seemed
to devote my entire life toward producing something just like it.

but perhaps, at root, i just wanted be the person
responsible for bringing more magic into the world,
perhaps i was just trying to recruit society's love
through the medium of an object, a thing.

if ever i am to create my highest work,
i must finally abandon the artist in me who beckons the world,
look, look at what i made.

i am beginning to trust that i am more
than language, more than thought.

when i let go of words,
when i let go of names,
i begin to notice someone here
other than just the thinker.

today i noticed the potential for a disagreement.
a friend offered an opinion
that differed drastically from my own.
a part of me wanted to jump in and argue,
to correct,
to tell him he was wrong.
but i didn't.
i felt secure in my own feelings,
and thus felt no need to mount a defense.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

first week of march: three poems

each morning, if not each second, offers a renewed chance
to explore the courage i need to live my true self.

yet, here i am, still afraid
that the love in my soul might not be enough.
and so i drop my cheerfulness
the second something gets in its way.

when, if not now, will i finally learn
anger and judgment are the great impostors.
they pretend to possess power, to fight in my name,
but they serve only themselves.

it's tempting to judge others as
selfish and self-centered, disrespectful and greedy.

thing is,
i can't hear my whisper
when i am shouting inside.

life is so precious
that to waste even a drop
should be my last choice.

yet, how often do i offer myself over to frustration,
how often to do i find myself complaining,
squirming with impatience,
judging this or that?

true, my mood may darken for only the briefest of moments,
for only the briefest of thoughts,
but missing even an instant
feels like i have just squandered a fortune.

how tempting to believe that my mind and i are the same.
that my thoughts are who i really am.

yet the particular way in which i think
is not my essence, my center.

my true core is the space in which the universe moves.
and as many times as i have doubted,
i belong on this planet.
so let me accept myself as worthy of unconditional love.
not because i necessarily understand exactly why it should be so.
but because i know i can receive whatever i give.