Wink Me Into That Obsidian Night

01e2defc-45fd-46de-86d8-b12553a1f189Frogs announce it’s bath-time,
but Time and Space are just bad habits
when I take off my robe
to dip into the cosmic hot springs

To ease my wrinkled mind
and wash off all that debris
that’s collected around my eyes and ears
since this morning
when I was a just a baby
so innocent and bright-eyed
and full of dreams

And I settle in for a bedtime story-
Which is it this time,
the one about the trickster thief
who saved the world
or the one about the drunken saint
who broke a thousand hearts?

The dirt and the moon argue
over who loves me more
and the owls and moon take turns
tucking me in
with their lullabies—
winking me into that obsidian night
where threads of dreamcloth weave themselves
around my naked mind

Until once again I awake a newborn
Tossing fresh songs into the sky


Bright and Awful Symphony of Things

From an ancient spruce these poemlets float
like a black flock
writing sleet-soaked secrets
in the silvery winter sky

Faster than sound, they chirp
A slickening thunder woven
with a frightening light
so close even your cloven bones
run up a lucky tree seeking shelter
called love,
fearful of getting struck

But it’s no use—
The tree conspires with the throat of the birds
whose wild words
are wrapped in a destiny
in which there is no safety zone

So you might as well loose your copper raptor
into the moonlit night unknown
and soar beside them
stretching your thirsty ears on their lambent wings

And lend your glistening feathers
to the bright and awful symphony of things

The Undressed Yes

C70A0DB7-5469-42A0-BBB4-115EFBE81808Today I post my 500th poem on Rumi and The Shadow! I can hardly believe it. 

I dedicate this poem to my Inner Beloved and Rainbow Eagle.

For the No, I’ll stay restrained
Remaining all the same old strange
But for the Yes that feels fleshed
I’ll be the New that’s oddly blessed

For the Yeses that are weak
I’ll be the claw, I’ll be the beak
Pecking at the no’s and nots
Tearing all those noisy knots

For the Yes that is still stuck
I’ll take my talons, rip it up

But for the unbridled Yes
I’ll chirp like the firstly bird
Singing up the morning light
Until the thing itself takes flight

For the undressed Yes indeed
I’ll beat every wing in me
With all my rainbow feathers flocking
Giving all my hearts to hawks

And for the best and brightest Yes
I’ll be the falcon fearless flying
I’ll be the eagle eye so keen
And soar the Greatest Show yet seen


in her open atalier.

Welcome, she says,
This is the city of floating fog
quarried from the nearest
and the far.

One cannot see across to the other side,
but the world here is quite enough,
enough for the wild ride.

She’s carving and cooking me,
with hands skilled
and hanging like a hemlock’s art.

Fashioning grooves to drain my fumbled head
creating a humble watershed instead
assembling poor bold me
rich with rain.


Do not resist the season of stone, inside an era of air.

There is no alone.
We’ve been shown—even a mountain’s a cloud and rock must be an artifact of all of us.

Be patience with your breaking down.

III. A QUERY: Am I decomposing or re-composing now?

And can I close my hands
around it all somehow?

No, there’s no holding it—
I weave through the things, the spaces.

And it’s all spaces.
Don’t worry about grasping, we’re misting together in our core.

You’ll open your fists forlorn and find it all there, and more.

she’s working on me—
breaking me down with fungi sighs
her out-breath of a million skies.

Last night she dropped a river right to my bottom, a temporary nest.

Ok, I’ll hover here for a moment—
an eon perhaps—for even clouds repose
and have to eat I suppose.


At times we eat by taking in
and others by entering
and now we want inside of you.

For you we are a meal.
Open up—say ahhhh!!! Ahhhh….We’re assembling an artisan in our open air lair.

Our calories will form
some small part of that slick poem in you.

And we mustn’t forget the vowels,
like clouds connecting the consonants of your crooked mountain peaks.

like dawn I’m new again
like you.

We’re assembling an artifact
We want you and you and you.

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.

The Pronunciation of Love

monet sunriseI am excited to post my 200th poem on Rumi and the Shadow! It’s hard to believe I’ve reached this milestone-especially considering the vast majority of these have been within the last year. Of course, it’s about quality not quantity-and I hope that a handful of these have found some measure of insight, beauty, or power, or at the very least approached telling the truth and faithfulness to what I hear and see. The new year will see new projects-among them is publishing my first collection of poems in book form, tentatively titled Re-Membering or Mud, Moon, and Other Memories. Thank you everybody for reading!

What worthier way to commemorate the occasion than with a poem about love? I dedicate this poem to my Muse(s), Lover Earth, and my ever lovely friends (in particular, I’d like to thank Diane, Katie, Ariana, Karen, Aaron, Ashley, Miranda, Jocelyn, and Oort), all endless fountains of inspiration and beauty.

“Start by saying ‘L’, by touching the tip of the tongue to the back of top teeth. Add a short ‘u’ sound by relaxing your lips and tongue. End with a ‘v’, by gently biting your bottom lip. Be sure your voice is on, or this will sound like a ‘f’ sound. Love. Let’s try it.” (From How to Pronounce Laugh & Love)

Love–I’d been pronouncing it wrong
all these years
like ‘loaf’, or ‘loathe’.
with a hard long and hard ‘O’,
as in ‘own’.

then, adopting a faux French accent
like some spelunker of romance
seeking only affect
and a labyrinthine dance,

I would say lové
as in Monet–
mere impression, a sunrise
ignoring the sunset it implies

Finally, practicing proper pronunciation
I learned to utter a short ‘o’ sound
soft and relaxed:
‘love’ like ‘dove’

voice it with me:
‘love’ like ‘dove’

“If you begin to relax your tongue,
you can improve the clarity of your pronunciation.” (From the Pronunciation Coach)