BY INVITATION ONLY

Everybody is here by invitation only.

In these parts she’s the host.

The Great River, whose ears
are never closed,
hears autumn knock gently
with mottled wings of crimson-gold
on her front porch.

But I find myself on the back porch
and fall doesn’t even notice me.

Here at the party,
there are no mutters or stutters
though when I’ve filled myself
with all the wrong things
that’s all I can manage.

I’m no good at small talk,
but I can’t abide my own snapping shut,
my own slinking away—
so I’ll sit and listen, I say….I plead…
to somebody who has ears
and eyes, but no face.

Or rather, infinite faces.

Now I’m in it for good, I promise.

I’ve made the promises
it’ll kill me not to keep,
but it nearly kills me to keep them

the way season nearly sinks the sun
and green
in its fabulous dream.

I fall asleep.

But this time, THIS time, I’ll open everything,
I whisper to myself,
braving the light
streaming through the door.

I’ll open everything. (Did I say that out loud?)

Yes, even the bolts rusting
on the hinges of my hidden doors
will come out.

Because she hears everything
she just grins her welcome grin
and carries on,
the life of the party.

And I step in to join.

I’m in it for good, I promise.

——————————————

Included in the new collection ‘One Bright and Real Caress’ out in 2021. #onebrightandrealcaress

WHAT IF GRIEF?

What if grief’s a mystery
to whom you bow in awe
no less a god than rainbow
no less a goddess than dawn?

What if grief’s a new beginning
not the end nor exit out
but a deepening of inner soil
from which new seeds will sprout?

What if grief’s a trickster
with wisdom upside-down
rioting in your kingdom
like a rowdy court clown?

What if grief’s a fire
burning structures to the ground
leaving nothing left but ash
in which a different love is found?

What if grief’s a daring dance
to music just barely heard
a slow and seductive symphony
moving energy that’s stirred?

What if grief’s an honored guest
at your ceremony of life,
seated at the banquet table
the first and last to arrive?

What if grief’s an Elder
who takes you by the side
to tell you things that no one will
the truth that wants to guide?

FULL MOON FANTASIES (aka PRACTICAL SEPTEMBER GOALS)

🧙🏽‍♂️Stretch my starfish imagination beyond its rusty cages.
🕺🏽Dance my sacred grief and woo my radiant rage.
✨Wake up the narcoleptic cosmic stories living in my bones.
⚔️ Forge novel strange tools in service to the Grand Metabolism.
🎻 Fiddle a tune with the Vast and Beautiful Uncertainty.
✍️ Write a lust letter to my Wild Purpose.
🦠 Curate preposterous conversations with the mysterious Others beyond my bootleg self.
🦎 Imprint my belly at the mouth of 7 rivers.
🎶 Chant bloody resurrection spells with a murder of crows.
👣 Walk 100 miles with a decomposing sea-lion as my constant companion.
🌊 Apprentice myself to the wondrous waves.
🛌 Play the part of death doula to my zombie robots within.
💓 Ligament myself to the Meandering Heartbeat Wisdom of the Nearby Faraway.

SAVAGE PULSE

1C332268-CABC-4E41-9301-5A4FD4490BF8
A savage pulse
asking of you
more than you think
you can handle

lives here.

Did you expect to love the world and not die daily

from the sundry shocks
both sharp and subtle?

Did you expect to find
on the edge of every granite cliff
a pillow for a weary head?

A sweetness in every mouthful bit off from the big loaf?

Surely the wintered sun
and rough and gripping tide
disabused you
of such sentimentality

Yet surely the same sun
and the lunatic arriving
of a faultless sea
taught you, Beautiful Gambler,
how a lover shows up
with an unconditional caress

But if you’ve yet to find
the capital C in celebration
in the seed of each moment

strap the searchlight
around your ribs

and shuffle like a crescent moon
over all your little resistances

your feet becoming wiser
with each toe-stub
in your heart

until they become sandpipers dancing at dawn
around the fingers of the sea
knowing exactly where to go

CATKINS CAN, CAN YOU

9A6ED0EC-8AF7-4C6B-B439-E68202A7FC10Catkins can and dare to draw
the early bees with nectar sweet

Scents have sense to sail out
Like dew-drop dreams set to sea

Trigger trigger hie-thee-hither!
Dig thee deeper and never dither!

Planting seeds everywhen—
now and now and even then

Even now, the reds of bones
all destinies bountiful bold
but like shadows, grow then fold

as hail forms robust and round,
then falls and fades in the ground

All beings in me and around
stage their plays and mystery sounds

without a script, without a doubt
All within and springing out

Yet All the urging to emerge
as much to come apart as converge

And I ask myself,
and I ask you too,
if catkins can
can you?

AND BACK IN AGAIN

4904FBAB-58B5-4D58-9002-33888EEBBA51Why oh why is the seed of truth
so difficult to sow

when truth be told
I want to sleep, I want to not live
in some big love dream

but close my ears and fall
like hail in this storm

down on the weak, the past,
the false notes, the hollow bones of me

Yet even now I sing off key

Because I’ve heard (and not merely heard)

I’ve walked (and not merely walked)

I’ve lived in that country
where there is no guarantee
but the great river’s flow—
in those wild green moments
I live like a king

Still, why should I trust you,
big dream heart?

whispering calm assurances
when you just might be
my ancient superstition

you must know my need to rage
and rampage
across the landscape

I want my undammed energies
to crash upon the four kingdoms
of myself

to cast into stone
all unworthies
then break them to pieces
for not being…what?

Everything is what it is

and my guttural utterances
are silver-lipped thunder
striking terrible certainties
upon the world

But you, my mystery,
amidst all that,
you merely open
your dumb, soft hands

more silent than midnight

and I, that I that keeps slipping

keeps slipping into them,
and out of them

and back in again…