The Theology of Laughter at the End of the Day

7ED966B3-14DB-4197-91FB-29EDCB2EC255Pay attention to the kernel
of your ache

the one coiled up inside
all the others
like a rattlesnake
hidden in the tall grass

Don’t mistake that for something
you have to kill
and dump in the ditch somewhere

Even if you left it there
it will find a way back to you

until you see it for the catapult it is
swinging you to the other side
of the water
the pit
the desert and the dark night

When you get there it’ll still be there

But it’ll have a different look in its eyes
gleaming and knowing
eager like dawn
calm like midnight

and so will you

Like your head on the pillow
of a Magellanic Cloud
a wound unwound
a jaw unclenched

dancing with
the tail of the rattlesnake
in one hand
the hand of the center
in the other

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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.

Ruthless As Any Angel

persimmon dawnRuthless as any angel
you asked for a commitment

in your radical way,
it was all or nothing

so with a deep roar
of primordial pain
I said Yes.

Yes, I said it.

and yeses came bubbling off my skin
like water boiling
flying off like mist

and yeses arrived like dancing worms in dirt
breaking down the scented world

I understood the terms of the deal
marked with that echoing Yes:

all that is not aligned must fall away
you shall abandon all the false homes
I may wake you at all hours, like a lover;
with but a touch, you’ll respond
my whisper will be your watchword
and you shall empty yourself for me
all the terrifying and beautiful beasts
will be your friends
we shall make a flowing river of glaciers
and dust off the moon
the overwhelming fountain of things
will pour into and out of us
and things as pure as a spider bite
a horsekick a persimmon dawn a broken bone a new kiss
will sing themselves into the stardust world

Yes.

Signed with black feather in rainbow ink,
-me

Staredown at Cold Creek

IMG_6447I left you ten thousand years ago
yet here you are
staring back at me in broad daylight
broad as a mountain meadow, a Magellan cloud

asking things of me
which I’m not prepared to answer

have you been stalking me?

a wry, smile gives me a hint
some things never change
but your face betrays a longing
but that’s not your way
or is it?

I’m on to you
it wouldn’t kill you
to tell let them know
what you truly desire

But what do I know?
I can barely track a 🦌
let alone the secret footprints
written across the face of Maya

For now, I dip my feet in the cold creek
feeling the ancient afternoon on my cheek
flashing my own smile
from this big rock,
for whom the trees move so quickly

Diaphanous Thread

IMG_5848sometimes it’s only when
you take a walk with death
that you discover
that sacred diaphanous thread
connecting
your caked mud feet
and the golden sun

the only map you need

And looking back to survey
the territory
with its obsidian shards
and dusty
evidence of a battle
now clearly seen
with the eyes of an eagle
and the heart of a mountain
you realize the thread
is you
and has always been there