Dream

Last night I dreamed
of my mother's room.
Don't resist the colors,
the pearl and lapis
of vast space
just before dawn.
Some waves of awareness
can be sad.
Let them.
At the heart of joy
a silent tear,
and in each tear
the crystal sky.
Childhood long
forgotten, bathed
in sacred memory.
0n her dresser, sunlight
the gold of longing,
Schubert's Rosemund
on her radio.
A porcelain clock
from Vienna, silver
hand-mirror with initials
like transparent lilies,
here an M, there a K.
The China figurine
of a lady in sun hat
and blue gown
that somehow flows still
in a summer breeze
forever.
____
Painting, Joaquín Sorolla, 1909

Victim

If you desire a bitter
and fruitless life
just keep choosing the role
of the victim.
Just keep blaming others
for your circumstance.
But if you want your
heart to melt into
the impeccable splendor
of the golden sun
and to illuminate the earth
with courage,
take off the cloak
of your old story.
Step naked
through the portal
of the present moment
into a kingdom
where darkness sparkles
and silence sings,
because there is
no judgment
and fear is swallowed up
in Love.

This Is My Body

That Master was a Fool who said, 'I am not this body.'
I Am this body and what is beyond it.
I Am this body and the cosmos, its glow.

I am this body and the womb who bears me.
I am this body and the seed who ignites me.

My soul is foam, my sorrow rain, my sexual longing the sun.
My breath is the vast blue stillness that watches me dance.
I am the golden beams that shower my bones with muscle.
I am the night infusing my atoms of marrow and fat.


My brain I am, my tears I am, my belly, my buttocks I am.
My foot I am, taking responsibility for the footprint
among the ferns and cedars of unborn childhood.

I am the food and the excrement, the salty God-ocean
in a sperm, the galaxy of numberless worlds in the pupil of my eye,

I am the herd of caribou wandering through
the desolate winter of a teardrop.

I am the swan of Hamsa settling on the membrane of a memory
in the lobe of my cerebrum that traps moonbeams in dew.

I am the eye of the tiger watching a vein pulse in my throat,
the wind over the rose-lit desert of my left ventricle
in the evening between two heartbeats,

the broken covenant of work and fruit
in the withered garden of my palm,
the dust bowl of the hypothalamus,

the cry of wolves before dawn in the frozen valley of my ribs,
one of them already stolen by the god of absences
to make a woman out of me.


I am the heron standing all morning in the wetland
where rainbows of petroleum dazzle the mind of the frog.
I am wheeling flocks of returning geese who cannot find their pond.

I am the golden eagle over Mount Ranier
caught in the mysterious updraft of heat vents
about to spew upon Seattle the dismal retribution of my mud.


I am the gnarled three-legged toad of my own hand,
my shoulder a stranded sea-lion wounded by propellers,
my heart a Winter cocoon that opens too soon for wings.

My liver is a beached gray whale where the tide
is too warm and too high.

My allergic coughs are confounded dolphins
who can't get back to the sea.
My groin is a bonfire
surrounded by carnivorous eyes.

Tribes drink war-mad juices from my thyroid groves,
dancing naked for visions in my adrenal cortex.

I am this body's negative as well as its fair flesh:
I am the hollow in all my bones, the tunnel for blood,
the cavern death explores as food, moving back to its planet.

I am widening lips smeared with delicious silt from the garden,
my long intestine packed with seed-laden soil,
fragrant as a murdered god to fertilize both rose and thistle.


I am the beckoning of the tide in the neuron of desire,
the eye a vacuum for seeing, the nostril quivering
for the scent of meat,taste bud and follicle,
hollow as trees for ancient sap.


I am the forked tongue of the hungry dendrite,
unfathomable black hole of the old reptilian brain
flickering with galaxies of cortisone that stream toward the pituitary.

I am the patient glistening dragon of the whole body,
both male and female, neither yours nor mine
to possess or define, whose tail is heavenly Andromeda,
whose belly is Arcturus.


I am the core of the warm Earth, whose beautiful name is Hell.
I am the crown of stars on the Goddess of darkness.
My wings are purple nebulae in measureless curves of her distance.


Deva lokas are but photons in a single inhalation of my prana.
Thousands of Indras I exhale, my breath the milk ocean of Vishnu,
Mount Meru an electron, spun from a capillary of these lungs.


What Master of fools ever said I am not this body?
Only sinners believe that matter cannot become God.

I celebrate the chaos of skin, and what is beyond
the fractal horizon of skin.
I celebrate my body as Adam unfallen,
and God in your body as Eve.

I celebrate wine and its thirst, food and its hunger.
I celebrate the morsel and the crumb. I digest suns.

I celebrate what is ordinary, and it sparkles. I consume all.
I celebrate the whole electric scandal of the formless in this form.
I celebrate common bread.

Ishq

Because your sighs
have fermented my blood
I need no wine.
My name on your lips is the longest Sura.
I begin the Night Journey in your eyes
toward the wild desert fragrance
I longed for all day.
The only revelation is my face
reflected in your gaze.
Lest you profane the Prophet,
keep your window open,
do not close it even 
with the clearest glass.
No image, no reflection!
Ignore the picture in your mind:
like a Lover's map,
it was sketched by trembling.
Look to the hollow seeds,
to the emptiness before conception.
We are a mirror leaning on a mirror,
reflecting a wilderness of purity,
you, the last veil of my desire,
and I, the veil within that;
I, the last veil of your desire,
and you, translucent, blue,
the color of yearning itself.
We are each others' search
for the fiercest clarity
where not one, but nothing
becomes Two...
Spin quickly now, before
the other vanishes,
so that we may catch God
at the center of whirling.
On the wick of your eye, you lit me,
I danced forth as seeing.
From the golden oil in my bones
I kindled you.
A soul for my soul,
you gushed through my hollow places.
Anoint me now!
Drip down this broken necklace
of seven dangling pearls.
From throat to thigh, unite the sea
and setting sun.
Of purple curtains
in the King's chamber we may speak,
but never of what happens
on the other side.
When dawn comes, we'll whisper
which of us was stillness,
which the dancer.

*******

عش

لأنّ آهاتك قد خمّرت دمي،
لا أحتاج إلى نبيذ...
اسمي على شفتيك هو السورة الأكبر.
وفي عينيك أبدأ رحلة الليل
نحو صحراء بريّة الرحيق.
لا وحي إلا صورة وجهي
منعكسة في شخوص عينيك.
دعيهما نافذة مفتوحة،
ولا تحوّلي فراغك إلى زجاج
حتى لا تدنّسي النبوة
وتعودي بعينيك من البصيرة إلى البصر.
عندما لا أرنو إليك،
تصير عيني وثناً.
حتى فكرة ‘المحبوب’ تصبح وثناً
إذا ما لم تُقرن بقبلته.
لذا تجاهلي الصور التي تكوّنت في رأسك:
فهي، كخرائط العشاق، قد رُسمت بارتعاش.
وانظري بدلاً منها إلى البذور الراسخة،
إلى الفراغ فيها قبل اللقاح
حيث يصبح الصفر اثنين
في فضاء اللامعرفة المشرق (الساطع).
نبحث معاً عمّا بين مرآتين،
عن ذلك النقاء البريّ،
فتصيرين بحثي وأصير بحثك.
أنت، حجاب لذّتي الأخير
وأنا، حجاب الحجاب،
شفّاف، أزرق، بلون السماوات التوّاقة.
اغزلي الآن سريعاً قبل أن يزول الآخر
فقد نلتقي واللهَ في مركز الدوران.
أشعلتني على فتيل عينيك:
فرقصت هناك في النظر.
ومن الزيت الذهبيّ في عظامي، أضأتُكِ،
روحاً لروحي، تتدفق في أماكني الجوفاء،
وفي جروحي.
امسحي رأسي بالزيت الآن! قطّريه على هذا العقد المنثور
من سبع لآلئ معلّقة.
من أعلى الرأس إلى أسفل الحوض، وحّدي البحر بالشمس إذ تغيب.
يمكننا الحديث عن ستائر ليلكيّة في غرفة الملك،
لكننا لا نتحدّث أبداً عمّا يحدث في الضفّة الأخرى!
وعندما ينبلج الفجر، سوف نهمس:
مَن منّا كان السكون، ومن كان الراقص.
____________


A version of this poem appears in 'Wounded Bud.'
Translated into Arabic by Dana Chamseddine.

Illustration, 'Hour of Grace,' by Edmund Dulac.


KIss

Lavender moth wing
Dissolving things into verbs,
.Kiss the world with light.

Here


Here you are!
At the beginning
and the end
of every path.
Let the mind rest
in the heart.
Let your breath
move the stars.


Photo by Laurent Berthier

Power

What is your
super-power?
Total acceptance
of this moment.
That is the only
freedom, the portal
to progress.

Transcendental flower of suchness
by Kristy Thompson

Full

Gazing at the mirror
of your own
quiet heart
and seeing Me,
while two swans
on the still lake,
two syllables
of one breath,
rest in the glittering
darkness
of the summer moon
in the love we
cannot fathom,
I am you, Radha,
You are my longing.

Returning

I keep returning to diamond silence
through the dissolving Name,
the ever-virgin mantra who disrobes
her veils of music to bathe
in the throb of the void.

Unplucked harp strings somehow
singing in an empty room.
Curves of the vina, the shape
of her vanishing body.
She is woven into everything.
I am the weaver.
Whoever understands this
is a newborn child.


I watched the Master dancing
in the mist at the edge of a meadow
one sultry evening in July,
his white gown disappearing
in mad ambiguous rays
of the full moon.
Drums, gazes, heat lightning inside us.
We wept.
He was teaching us
not to cling.
Whoever understands this
is a newborn child.

Without the breath of the Master,
this body is a lump of dust.
Without the Guru's glance
these asanas and pranayams,
these Vedic chants and tantras,
are bags of ashes lifted by tired bones.
No mind has ever liberated itself
through its own work.
Whoever understands this
enters the sacred garden
of bewilderment.

From the moment of conception
I’ve been thirsting for that milk.
I was already in the Mother,
but I had to depart
in order to find her nipple

Whoever breathed me into form,
I now return to those lips
on the wings of So'ham.
If you understand this
you are a born lover.

The sparkle of knowledge is snuffed out
as soon as I fall asleep.
But the silence between the stars
is everlasting.
I am That.
Here’s the secret, friend.
Don't grasp for light.
Let light pour out of your darkness.

Guru Purnima

If you have tasted
even for an instant
the light that gushes
from your own breast
filling earth and sky
with golden fragrance,
then you know
beyond all doubt,
beyond all thought,
that you are infinite
and eternally free.
Who is the Guru?
The one who touched
your chest so softly,
opening this nectar spring,
making your hollow
places blossom
with the breath of love.
Bow down to the light
that is deeper inside
than your soul.
Bow down to the light
in every human heart.
Bow down to the one
who shines from each
speck of dust.
Jai Guru Dev.
At this full moon in July, I pray that all lovers will find
the Beloved, and have a blessed Guru Purnima celebration.
Painting: 'White Lotus' by Georgia O'Keefe

Pour

Be a cup
of the Master's grace.
Pour out
and be filled.
Lifting the weary,
bringing joy
to the brokenhearted
is seva.
Because his presence
is everywhere
you need not seek him
in the temple or the ashram.
Just rejoice
that there is a single sparrow
singing in your back yard,
a long-haired calico
sprawling in a pool
of afternoon sunbeams.
Listen to the sound of water
and give thanks.

Listen to the twirling
spill of ancient song
in the black bell of silence.
This too is the breath
of the Master.
Do it now, be a cup.
Pour yourself out
and be filled.
This is a Dharma card by Rashani Réa, also a page from the artbook we
co-authored, 'Shimmering Birthless: A Confluence of Verse and Image' LINK.

Fuck Up




Make a delicious mistake.
Fuck up once in awhile.
After all, I invented peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
by throwing and shattering bright jars when I was six.
Yes I did.
I invented the Frisbee when I flung a plateful of broccoli
my mom was forcing me to eat out the window.
Yes I did.
I invented S'mores
when an intolerably fascist camp counselor
told me I could only have a single dessert:
so I smushed three into one.
What did You invent by stumbling and dropping things,
by your glorious lack of impulse control?
Go ahead, tell me everything.
Or tell an exquisite lie, so outrageous it might be true.
"I invented the way light shatters in the prism of a raindrop
twenty billion times to create the first rainbow."
I believe you, Friend.
Now listen to me: Whoever God is,
She embraces the whole hot mess.
She lavishes extraneous graces on us,
and a host of Second Chances,
by permitting impeccable blunders like
the uncertain location of an electron,
the mutation in a molecule of cytosine
that created your original gorilla,
the chain of non-causation that led
to this look on your face,
the way blackness engenders stars
in the chaos of a hole at the center of the galaxy,
the all-pervading fragrance of your first love.
So if you were never sentenced
to the time-out chair in kindergarten
or sent to the principle's office in grade school,
if you never cut class to explore
the wilderness in your soul
or skipped church to attend the carnival
in your body,
if you never got tear-gassed in the street
when you were in college,
never got fired from a job,
never spent a single night in jail,
or drank the sky like whiskey
from a morning glory’s cup,
dear one, you might not actually
be alive.

Seva

Your presence
awakens
my presence.
This is seva deeper
than doing.
A flower's stillness,
a cloud's silence,
the gentle pulse
of breath wings
are powerful healers.
Learn from them
how to transform
the earth.




Photo by Laurent Berthier

Thrush

The wick inside us
cannot light itself.
Someone bends kindly
to offer the ancient flame.
Neither does earth kindle
her own warm.
The sun was here before us.
Even our space is curved by
a mother's invisible blackness.
Now, just before dawn
a thrush is waiting to feel
your pull, the jasmine breath
of your listening.
Only then does she sing
and it is morning.
The gravity of silence
turns in circles wider
than oneness.
Therefor let your seed
be nourished by the loam
of its own moldering blossom,
your effects and their causes
hopelessly mingled
in the living mud.
Ponder this, friend:
there is no awakening
without otherness.
Love has created us to love.


Painting by Floy Zitten

Waves

Waves of astonishment
surge from the ocean
of the heart's silence
turning each perception
to an act of surrender.
Every breath you
breathe out is
an offering.
Every inhalation
is a gift of kindness
from someone who
loves you very deeply,
more than the sun
loves the moon.
This is how the world
is created and
un-created each moment
for the sake of delight.
How long will you resist
the ancient yearning?




Photo, Laurent Berthier

Bursting In Air

On Independence Day
I wave the flag of the present moment.
Something in my chest melts the borders
of all nations.
I am a citizen of the earth today,
a child of one human family.
I am searching for a new anthem,
not about bombs bursting in air,
but about peonies bursting
in my garden.
Please hold a space of silence
in your heart this evening,
not only for the deer who
shiver in the green belt,
the sparrows who tremble
in the blackberry bushes,
for dogs and cats who do not understand
this man-made thunder,
but for the warriors who are
suddenly in Fallujah or Khe Sanh again,
who shut their windows
and hug themselves in the hot July night
smelling sulfur in the air.

Fireworks

You don't even have to light
the dazzling fireworks that explode
from the silence inside you.
Some other flame touched that
dry wick in your chest,
and you became a citizen
of no nation.
Where do you live?
Beyond all borders,
in the wilderness
of the Master's love.

Look

The path to God
is the science of perception
beyond words.
Even the holiest verses
of the Vedas and Qu'ran
won't take you there.
But if you gaze quietly
into a bursting flower
something will also open
deep in you.
Wander into the soft
coral
sunset
at the fractal edges
of a rose.
Get lost in the valleys,
perish in the curved
horizon of a white magnolia.
Just for an evening,
just for an hour,
just for the time it takes
to breathe one breath,
see creatures without
their names.
Be empty and look
into the heart of silence.


Photo by Kristy Thompson

Wired

I wasn't wired for non-duality.
I was wired for longing.
Something soft and musky
draws the moth to the milkweed.
Root sap rises
into stamen and pistil
so that they can ooze it.
We ooze what we seek.
The night is scented and cool.
But it's the dew on the jasmine
that makes the air so sweet.
Through the full moon's face
we gaze at the sun until dawn.
Whatever is dark or bright 
is your Beloved's veil.
Without this gossamer difference
love would ferment no tears
and taste like nothing.
You need a little salt.
Therefor, be restless.
Honor your yearning.

The One cannot repose
without becoming Two
and seeking its own kiss
in amazing otherness.

Distinction

Surrender the distinction
between Bhakti and Advaita.
Why distill the sky from its sunbeams?

In the desert of awareness
there's a blue-green mirage,
a garden in the void to make it juicy.


Oneness melts into longing
for the Lord of Mirrors.

If your goal is emptiness,
you'll miss the fullness of his glance,
but if you seek Sundara's lips
you'll breathe mist on the window
of your own light.

Therefor go down to the teardrop
dangling from the tip of your causeless root,
and awaken the vine that clusters
your rib cage with sweet grapes of fire.

The highest meditation is to serve
the hungry and poor.
The highest service is deep
meditation.

I can't comprehend this.
When you figure it out,
don't bother to tell me.

I am too busy singing the name
of my beloved,
and the earth will starve
without my song.

Who?

You started meditation
to find more clarity,
more energy.
And you stumbled into
the vast ocean
of the present moment.
You discovered wonder.
No past, no future,
no time left for
anything but gratitude.
That's when waves of
devotion broke over you,
not devotion to a saint
but to your footsteps
through this meadow,
faithfully following
exquisite pathlessness.
Who is your teacher now?
A cluster
of Queen Anne's Lace
on a nodding stem.
The vanishing hummingbird,
hardly even here,
who awoke your silence.
The next breath,
gracing your chest,
her wings the sound of moonlight.
Bow, wherever you are.

Forbidden

Eat the Forbidden.
Seek the Sacred Harlot.
Wisdom is too hot for the philosopher.
He spits Hochmah from his lips.
Selah.
Darkness is the husk of a spicier fruit
that has no name.

Cleanse yourself of gods and goddesses.
Jagged crystals charge the air.
You breathe them and they grit your blood,
ringing like stolen bowls to keep you awake
with subliminal ancestral cries of childbirth.
Transparency is a mosaic of hideous and beautiful faces.
You will never become whole

by separating the pure from the impure.
There is no substitute for sugar.
There is no sweetness in pain.
There are no vegans on Mount Meru.

What you call "believing" the demons behold
as last night's lukewarm stew.

Feed your mind to the crows.
I went down into a cave at night with only the lantern
of my breath and emerged on the highest snowy peak
barefoot, blinded by erogenous sunbeams.
Just so, boil your flesh in its own nakedness.
Perform those miracles that scatter your thoughts
like bones across the ocean of silence.
Calling in sick to gaze at a morning glory.
Borrowing a dime from the eye of an overdosing addict.
Fermenting your tears.
Devouring night.
Putting back every carrot and kale you ever ate.
Restoring the original garden with the compost and manure
of all your steaming opinions about what was ever wrong.
Listening.

Painting: Miguel Cabrera, Virgin of the Apocalypse