9D56CFB2-72D3-4B8E-B1E5-18D5E1885956Question: To where are my veins flowing?

Question: Can I also lay on the cool grass, breathing? Not to stay alive, but to live.

Question: Who killed the heart of the world?

That’s a dead song, short and bitter.

Still the birds of my bones
blood heart feet gut groin flutter,
utterly without restraint,
light and large, like heron.

The birds know no shame.

Who can withstand them?

Not when darkness holds his mask
over the the face of the multitudes.

I name the stars after my birds flowing,
great ancestors-to-be.

I say, let them soar down the shafts of my veins,
unruly and improper, like dawn.

The limbs and lines of cottonwood leaves
are no less, no more
than my veins, my flutter
my precious birds–
who say yes and know where.


I Have Been One Acquainted With the Flow

BAB8AC56-EE98-4E18-8034-4D7B7F1EB9F7.jpegFor Robert Frost (& his Acquainted With the Night)

I have been one acquainted with the flow.
With many rivers and their cousin creeks.
I have walked past the furthest city glow

After looking down long and lonely streets.
I walked right past the gateman doing rounds
Unwilling to explain my wayward feet.

I stood still when I heard the lovely sound
Leap through the hills and pierce my patient heart
To call me back to where the things unbound.

So towards the hills again I made my start
Listening for whatever the wind blows
Of the secret tunes of a river’s art

Proclaiming the place where I was to go.
I have been one acquainted with the flow.

The Nearby Faraway Day 365

E56199F5-46A8-4799-90E4-91C3ABAE6F4ENearby Faraway Day 365: Today marks one year of my experiment of living outside. When I went to the woods, I didn’t quite know what I was in for, nor that I was going for the long haul. It was as much out of expediency as experiment.

But then something happened—I started hearing things. I don’t mean in some woo-woo way, but rather hearing as in remembering, reconnecting, and realigning with the voice of the soul, of spirit, of the voices of the land. In the context of close living with nature through the seasons, I could hear my true voice, I could remember yes, this is our human birthright, I felt grounded and alive! I felt more creative, healthier, stronger. I felt a bigger self come online.

Then I made a commitment-I said I would apprentice myself to the land through the fall and winter. I would apprentice myself to the craft of poetry. And I would apprentice myself to sharing practices of reconnection with others who found their way to the threshold, as I called it. That is, the threshold between the city and wilderness, between their busy lives and the longing in their souls. This eventually became Wild Nature Heart which I started with my friend Katie.

And I did it! Through the autumn colors and dying back, through the cold and dark but green and rainy winter, until spring burst like a supernova of a thousand scents and colors. And I knew I couldn’t turn back. I had learned so much and found liberation in ways I could scarcely imagine a year ago.

The forest taught me, the muse taught me, my authentic self taught me-the alignment that occurs organically when one slows down and listens, and is not overwhelmed by the myriad voices, distractions, addictions of the dominant culture.

In the past year, I have stayed indoors for a total of only about 4-5 weeks, either house-sitting or visiting friends. Those times helped me in other ways, though I always felt the urge to return to my tent or open air, getting my fill of distraction and bad habits, and missing the fresh air, sunsets and sunrises, wild encounters, creativity, and sacred time that is now daily life.

So now on to year two of the experiment. And while it is uncertain what will unfold, it’s certain to be an adventure of learning and growth.

Of Wind and Water

IMG_2122It’s surprising how little gets
done without them—
just try dancing without the dark blood
of the earth
coming up through your bones
as red sea water

or the rivers of wind
warmed by the sun
snaking through you

The wind carries its own center
with it across the miles
adding a ring with each breath

it is always en route
sparking conversations
with skin and scale
leaf and litter

When you think you’ve arrived
ask the wind and the water

When you know you haven’t arrived
and the labyrinth seems too big
ask the wind and the water

they are the peacekeeper
and the destroyer
the life-giver and the blood of the big body
the crack in the bell
the crack in the ego

The weight and the lack of it
draw them through the endless cycle

to ask where it begins
misses the point

not the hydrogen
nor oxygen
but the bond that brings
the thousand forms

the kind of bond you want
when you want to have a dialogue
about the shape of things
when you want to bring soul to the world

when you want introduce the sea to the mountain
to offer parts of yourself
you haven’t seen in years
to the parts you haven’t even met

the parts of yourself
you thought were a virus
so you fought them off
like a valiant, but confused soldier

thinking that it’s best to be safe
you forgot that nothing is outside
the circle

thinking for a moment you were
not the same center as the wind
you forgot the thundering imperative
of your audacious bodies

all of them
and the free bond that breathes you
in and out
in and out
carries its own center
at the edge of things

Ship of Remembering


shipHave you ever forgotten?

The keys. The number. The lists.

Where the well was?
The body of your dream or the dream of your dream?

That image in your bones
or direction of your ship?

If you remember that you have forgotten,
you’re nearly there.

But if you have forgotten you have forgotten
you are in the Deep

and the river of forgetfulness
has become a flood
and dashed your ship into pieces
joining the others

You grab a hold of any piece of debris
tossed atop the waves.

To get a breathe.
To get a glimpse.

But have you become convinced you were here
to float like debris?

You are not here to float like debris.

You are here to remember who you are
so you can be medicine for us.

A stunning fragment of the Dream
dreaming us whole.

It is not selfish to let go of the debris
in order to build your ship of remembering.

Keep following the glimpse, the breath
whatever allows you to grab a scrap of your own—
not theirs—
to piece together your extravagant vessel.

The swallow does not mimic the eagle
the eagle does not flicker like the lizard
and the lizard and the lichen have distinct paths.

They do not drink of the river of forgetfulness
and in their stillness is the total movement of their life.

And in your stillness is your total movement.

The stillness is where the remembering begins
because your ears can open there
and hear the things.

It may sound like the whistle of the swallows
or the hummingbird’s wings thrumming the air.
It may be the breeze through the needles.
Or the thunderous beat of a heart you had forgotten.
It may be the shattering imperative of your thunderbolt soul.

However it is
stay with it longer

listen so deep and rich
you become the big ear
remembering all.

Then, with what you hear
sail your beautiful preposterous ship
into the big dream.

Journey Day Prayer

IMG_0936I open all my ears
and hear the forgotten things.

Seeing the spectrum of the rainbow,
I know the landscape from deep red to magenta.
And teach them how to see
I feel the texture of the spectrum of loves.

The contours and rhythms unfold clearly.
No less the sound than light.
No less the love, than both, I trust the whole.
I see the gossamer threads connecting.

The raptor in me opens his eyes.
The worm in me digs and feeds the roots.
The tree in me whispers slow green and golden syllables.
The nest in the limb, the egg in the nest, the bird in the egg, the pulse in the bird.
The heart at the heart brings them together.

I see the shining shadows, beautiful sacred wounds.
I see the hooks with compassion, both my own and others.
Like a man walking from dawn to noon, I eat the long shadow into myself.
The wind is not silent
and I am the river for what is wanting to be created through me.

I settle into the notes that are humming
or pitch my perfect harmony, expanding new measures
with the momentum of their own unfolding.

I know who I am.
When asked for the single word, I said:
I remember.

I return with medicine for the people and the earth.