Give Up

kiteThe hour of giving up has arrived:

Give up chasing

Give up proving
and approval

Give up on the stories
of others
and those of your own
that aren’t really your own

Give up on your mind
figuring everything out

Give up on unworthiness
Give up on shame

Give up on saving the world
Give up on saving him/her/it

Give up on all the worlds
to which you don’t belong

And once you have given up
on every last unworthy distraction

Pick up the keys
and enter your true home


Take Up Your Wand

Chopin_nocturne_op9_2a“If one [the conductor] uses a baton, the baton itself must be a living thing, charged with a kind of electricity, which makes it an instrument of meaning in its tiniest movement.” — Leonard Bernstein

It matters not the noise
of the crowd.

How might that mindless cacophony
even approach your perfect pitch?

Let the noise be a Nothingness to you.

Chop off your ears,
if you must, Maestro
and hear the charm of the music
born of bones within

Take up your wand
in hands majestic molded
and conduct your own sacred symphony

Stir the oboes
from their solemn slumber
put to sleep by the loud trumpeters,
roguish assassins of the soul

Pick up your baton, Blessed Conductor

let your left hand be
the rhythm of the dusk and dawn
and your right hand
be the freedom of a supernova

Be the author of your own notes
and between them —
pour your solar-panoramic audacious breath

[The image is from the musical score of Chopin’s Nocturne E Flat Major Op. 9 No. 2. I adore this classical guitar rendition)


Saint Wolf

new moon

The hour of the rabid dog is over.

Blind with torn
mangy coat
under neon crucifix shining shadows,
asking “why how where?”

for a quarter it’ll answer
in the cold pale american daylight,
waning, waning

what will it answer?
something unwildly off the mark

No matter: A wolf is being born
waxing under a dark moon
in a forest thick with aroma
and proper order of things
fur feathers ferns fox fire ferocity

how to hunt, but not murder
a ceremony of blood
a sermon in the wild
how to be alone and to be with others
a hillside communion
how to see in the dark
eyes clear
makes the trail

look around: the evidence of the big impact is everywhere
but the iceberg itself has melted
hidden away in our heart-hold of secret wish
balmy and delirious
too outrageous to say out loud

believe the sky
that speaks to you long lost field

believe the whisper
that speaks to you bright red petals on mud

believe the hand which holds the lover’s
but not the grip that pulls you under

believe the skin
for a drum you’ll beat some day

believe the skin
and the guts within

don’t believe those voices that take you away
from the Belonging
they are bloated fleas on the poor dog,
lost and wasting away
won’t survive another moon

it need not be nailed up
(let that image be buried with the bones)
nor kenneled or coddled or drugged

let it starve in the night

or fang it
and make a meal of it
but be done with the mutt, sick abomination!

it was merely an idea anyway
cursed canine, feeble mind
anemic soul slurping
artificial scraps
unrooted wayward thrust in the cold mist

But today marks the New —
the moon they couldn’t drown

All Hail Saint Wolf!

hallowed by wild honesty
and honest wildness
put on your Sunday best
and howl at Midnight on Solstice

Open your shrewd eye
slick with new moon dew
and a cunning

Something Sturdier Than Shiny Hope

painting-with-light-1044985_960_720I’m not going to speak of shiny hope
it has troubled us for too long
tripping us down the stairs
leaving the bruises that stick around
we want to jump over truth straight to hope
that we bought in the marketplace of shadows
that’s why it has no legs
and will collapse as soon as it gets out of bed
we can’t get there without touching the ground

let’s stop jumping
start crawling
stop running
start digging
stop chasing
start creating

and then, if grief and all its cousins
should arrive
embrace them like long lost loved ones
When the lights turn off
will we stumble
or will we have learned to believe
in our own breathe
and the dirt under our feet?
will we have practiced how to say hello?
we need something sturdier than shiny hope
exchange it
for the eyes of your own dawn
looking earth in the face
saying, “I remember you”
mix the kernel of your true heart
a spark in the vastness
with the clay of where you live
deep with dreams

No Lies On The Mountain


WP_20130604_020On the mountain
there’s no sales pitch
ego, image, or lies

the rain is wet
the sun is hot
snow is cold
rock is hard

things are what they are

You can’t change it
nor does it want to change you
It’s implacable
yet not stubborn
It doesn’t tell you what to do
or what to be

which means who you are
arises unadorned
like shards of obsidian
out of the earth

The mountain is one giant rock,
one impenetrable I AM
whose body consists of
a billion and one different I AMs
of every possible hue, shape, and texture,

And is that not the way of all things?

The mountain supports your every step
meeting you where you are
it pounds you with every step
meeting you where you are

Rocks refresh you
with their smooth, cool morning faces
and burn you
with their sharp, afternoon tongues

Rocks appear as hearts
and daggers pointed at your heart

Stones lift your sorrows
with their strong shoulders
and can crush your limbs and spirit
with their unrelenting severe gravity

Rocks feed your body and soul,
but as much as you try
you cannot drink a rock,
any more than you can drink
the sweet western wind at dusk

The mountain is not your ally
nor is it your enemy
it just is

how refreshing

(Photo is looking south at Guitar Lake from the approach to the summit of Mt. Whitney)