Sky

"There is a loneliness more precious than life. There is a freedom more precious than the world. Infinitely more precious than life and the world is that moment when one is alone with God." ~Rumi

Sky beyond the mountains,
sky beyond the clouds, 

sky beyond the blue is not
a creature of the earth, 
yet she kisses
each blossoming weed
most intimately, caressing
the face of every stranger
with her breath, filling
her hollow heart of silence
with the song of a wren.
That is how the sky is here
and not here, untainted
yet touching all dust,
remaining voluptuous,
lounging in emptiness...
It is how you too exist,
my dear, in and out of
this fragile world.
You give your breast,
yet contain an abyss
perpetually un-given,
a depth not even grasped
by the sun's Creator
because it is That in you
of uncreated night.
Bequeath to yourself
and to no other this jewel
of eternal loneliness.
It is the secret
of inexhaustible love.


_________

Listen to a reading of this poem HERE.

Wanting to Write

I want to write the poem that slices
your heart open and spills its
wriggling cyclone of uproarious

embryos onto the grass.
I want to write the poem that convinces
you not to commit suicide.

I want to write the poem that turns
your floor into the sky
and pounds your chest harder

than necessary with its CPR
breathing mouth to mouth the poem
that makes you cry the poem

that makes you whisper "I don't know"
I want to write the poem that is
already scrawled in hunter and

animal runes on your skull walls
graffiti lining your womb milk mantra
you drink before you are born the

poem who is a hobo living secretly
in your body's cavernous drainpipe
carrying the used things back to the sea.

Loop


"On this path, no effort is wasted." (Bhagavad Gita, 2:40)


Never go back the way you came.
Even when you lose your way, 
turn loss into a loop. 

Wrong direction becomes the trail 
when you notice where you are.
Reverence is just paying

more attention to the ordinary.
A silvery useless beard of moss
on the gnarled plum branch yanked 

off by a robin to make her nest:
What did you see 
while you were lost?

Spell

Lovers can't spell. It doesn't matter.
God's name wanders through every sound,
Alpha to Omega, Ah to Hum,

the Ha in ha'Shem, the La in 'Alla,
all vowels and consonants contained
in the music of our mistakes and

mutations, the sound of frogs rehearsing
for night, plum buds gurgling rain
into their seed bellies, sigh of lovers

turning over in the dark, entwined
in succulence and furious ignition
even before they awake...

and this sound, listen! The blood
tumbling down from the volcanic
mountain of silence through forests

of memory into the sparkling trout pool
of your amygdala. Good luck spelling
that secret name! A moan, however

it emerges, must be true. What breath
is not a revelation? The frogs pause,
then start over. They'll get it right.

The peonies burst open, crying for more.
What morning isn't the first day of the world?
When you're longing for the nameless,

whatever sound you make is the Creator's.
Remember what you said when you
discovered a just born fawn in the fallow

meadow gazing from alfalfa with the eyes
of your lost little brother? That amazement
creation's Word. Does spelling count?

Make up your language, speak your greening.
Flee from books and tear off your shoes!
Run pathlessly through luscious stinging dew.

Sing silly from your bowels
to the soft spot on top of your brain,
let your foolishness become the sky.

What sound is your breath making now?
See! Even in these blossoming weeds each tiny
petal scribbled with a syllable of prayer!

Song of the Very Old Man



I was embryo. Ripples in the amniotic sea
jarred my barnacle loose from womb wall,
first fall. Tide wanderer, I called

like a lost dolphin, to no one in particular,
but you. A fang of sperm tasted my
membrane like a grape. Was that

the beginning of darkness-sharing, double
occupancy? Or was it the formless foreboding
of a body, where the shadow-mist shape-shifted

its furious sphere from God's sleep? I fall
again into that slumber, reeled into the old
roundness, a string of aeons coiled

in a nutrino, then dissolved into your tear.
Look at me, a wizened thistle blown
among the rocks, toothless, bald but beard

so long it drifts beyond mycelia, roots down
my nakedness into valleys I carved
with glaciers of patience, snow-melt streams

roiling through North Cascadia, as sullen
as serpents uncoiling to the Salish Sea.
I bathe blessed fools who pour their ashes

into me, or vial my hot spring sulfurous balm
to carry home and drink, belch back for healing
and fertility. Absorbed in your lymph nodes,

moldering your ventilation ducts, I dissolve
into each leukocyte, engulf your HIV.
I blast your nostrils with bastrika at yoga class.

I wash up the fetus you wait to indwell
on the shores of the salty ocean of death.
I have already rehearsed your heartbeat,

tethering its rhythm to a quasar. When I hold
my breath your soul is suspended in eternity.
When I sigh, you are born. The berry garden

of your ovaries is sprawled at the end of a path
that started in the cavern of my abdomen.
I am the ancestral whale who swims in your milk.

These faltering landscapes, are they truly
outside us? Walk with me, our step a healing
for the earth. Breathe with me and fill

the bellows of each species. Beat with my
old chest, your heart a kneeling for them
that have no time to pray. Fall inward

like a moth exhausted by its lover, the flame.
Make centuries whirl faster in their circles
of stillness. Let my song awaken you from

death again. Didn't we visit and kiss before
we had mouths? The playmate who chased you
to exhaustion, the wizened padre whose knee

dawdled you first to sex, the kingdom
your grandmother bequeathed in a tuft of hair,
all perishing together in my body now and

I in yours; how else should the music
of galaxies move a proton of your breathless
blood? How else should the wise become fools?