A Thousand Ways

We made love a thousand ways
before we had bodies.
We went star-tasting in the dark.
We wore mouse robes and
had babies in alfalfa burrows.
Then we thawed into torrents
and flowered the valley.
Mingling our roots, we
nippled up pungent fungi,
learned to be Present
as our own medicine.
Now, separated by fingertips
and mouths, by words we
cannot speak because they
break open and bleed silence,
we must bravely drop the veils,
invent new ways to awaken
this our one flesh, purely listening,
dancing, smelling the rain,
tasting again the night.

Bruise the Void

Lover and Beloved
bruise the void
with their dancing feet.
Such transcendent sensuality
in this garden of
blossoming annihilations
at the center of emptiness!
Who creates the world
out of wine-dark chaos?
Fermented photons
bubbling from night
become a swirl of galaxies
without a Word.

No one escapes
this miracle of embodiment,
not even God.

Don't Tell

Don't tell.
Hold the offering
on your tongue.
Leave the sweetest
secret unspoken.
Try not to say, "I love you,"
too often.
That will store up its glow
in your eyes.
Let it glimmer from
shattered things that fall
like mirror shards around you.
Keep your Word
and it will warm the meadows,
arousing flowers.
Learn a silent gracious bending
from willows and ferns,
to let love's hiding lift your hand
in gestures of the ordinary,
the way you stir honey into tea,
the way you wash your
grandmother's cup,
hold an heirloom pear
from a tree your
father planted,
gristle your fist around
his original hoe,
keep vast intimate distances
in the otherness of your gaze,
walk barefoot
through midnight clover,
your body tingling with stars.


Her

Her voice contains the snow
falling through darkness
like frozen tears and
stars that have not
yet been born.
Her name is Silence.
The tears melt and
worlds appear
greening, whirling, whole.
But why say "her"?
Because there is a Womb
that heals and creates
all things again
without a Word.



في صوتها ثلج  
يتساقط في الظلام
كدموع متجمدة
ونجوم لم تولد بعد.
اسمها الصمت.
تذوب الدموع
وتظهر العوالم،
مخضوضرةً، دائرةً في دوّامة، كاملة.
لكن لماذا نقول "هي"؟
لأن الخليقة لها رحَم
يشفي ويخلق
الأشياء من جديد
من دون الكلمة.

Drowned


You have already drowned
in the ocean of Presence.
Why keep pretending
to be thirsty?
Yes, the honey's bouquet
has hints of death,
a thousand bees who
perished in the flower,
too drunk to fly.
The light of seeing
fueled by the cinders
of moth wings.
The crumbled useless cocoon.
No one survives.
Have some courage.

Just for a moment become
the sweetness you've been seeking

and stay softly where you are.

Ordinary Time


A squabble of wrens
at the birdbath.
The patient tree frog waiting
for me to water
his gardenia.
A mysterious golden wave
that widens across the sea
in my chest for no reason.
If you want to take
the greatest adventure,
plunge into one moment
of the ordinary, at 4
in the afternoon, precisely
where nothing special
seems to be happening...
You will get lost like me
in the song of invisible stars
and never be found again.



Ordinary Time refers to two periods in the Christian liturgical year: from the Feast of Epiphany until the beginning of Lent, and from the Feast of Pentacost until until Advent.

Thank You

Thank you for this wholly ordinary morning
and its quantum day-star world-round light.

Thank you for the blues of empty sky,
the gift of earthworms in their ether of loam,

and for dying that dissolves our bodies
into food the tiniest hungriest creatures eat.

Thank you for this ladybug whose
wings are woven of my father's dust.

And, yes, my mother's tears must be
by now the snow on a distant mountain.

Thank you for the eye between my ribs
that created the earth out of its seeing

just to see, and for the gift of gratitude,
and above all for saying, ‘You’re welcome.’

What Will

Thoughts won't enlighten you.
Beliefs won't save you.
The past won't nourish you.
The future won't happen.
Love is only possible
in this breath,
this moment,
this body.

For This

10,000 possible
disasters, all
tomorrow...
Yet one butterfly
alights upon
a stalk of wheat,
and for this
I am alive.

Voyager

Voyager, there are pathways all over your body.
The desert journey is through the hollow
of your own bones.
The way to the mountaintop was beaten in your heart.
Ride the breath-dragon to the valley
of your missing rib.
You'll find jewels in the cavern of your shadow.
Navigate the nectar-stream that flows
down your throat to the ancient forest
of evergreen healing.
Under your belly there's a misty bayou
where the Moon hides all day.
Follow her silver fins.
Let the wake of dissolving pull you toward that
liquid wilderness.
And if you prefer high places, hike the switchbacks
of inhaling, rest, exhaling, rest,
until you stand on the icy peak between
your eyebrows, bathed in beams of the inward Sun.
There are tens of thousands of worlds to explore.
The portals are in your palms, the soles of your feet,
the diamond mouths of your sex.
Serpents of the rainbow coil in thrones to carry you,
then spiral your atom into galaxy.
At the soft spot in your crown there is a gate
in the shape of an invisible rose.
Tiered in petals, hosts of terrible
sweet heavenly messengers wait
to serve and sing your awakening.
Don't you know that your flesh
is the entangled chaos of all paths?
Yet to open these innumerable doors
you must pass through the vestibule of silence.
Only then perchance will the soul of your body
come fiercely to Life.



Engraving by William Blake

Gatekeeper

It’s too late to slaughter the lamb.
Better to drink the blood of marigolds,
The wine of death in a sunbeam.

You’ve been working too hard at this business,
and still you’re not even an angel.
“What more can I do to get enlightened?”

Why not do less?
Breathe beauty, share the nectar.
That is the shortest path.

Be the fire in a prism of rain.
Your journey is finished
at this end of the rainbow.

From now on, the work is wonder.
Lure a lover to the other side.
Be a gatekeeper.

Portal

Photo by my dear friend, © Aile Shebar, 2017 solar eclipse.

Trinity

In the beginning
the Father gazed

into the mirror of the Spirit

and saw Christ.

That mirror was the womb
of eternal silence,

for even God is mothered
by a mystery.

Then Christ gazed in the mirror
and saw You.

You too were born
of that joy!


الثالوث

في البدء،
حدّق الآب

في مرآة الروح
ورأى المسيح.

تلك المرآة هي رحم
الصمت السرمدي،

ذلك أن الله أيضاً ولد من
غموض.

ثم حدّق المسيح في المرآة
ورآكِ.
أنتِ أيضاً ولدتِ

This is a poem from my book, 'Wounded Bud',
translated into Arabic by Dana Chamseddine.

On the Nature of Autumn

I'm ready, Lord.
I'm ripe,
too heavy for this branch,
too full of sweetness.
When I fall
through the grace of
your slightest breath
(the empty sky)
may the worms
be hungry.
May all creatures
turn
hollow and gold
with readiness.

One Sip

One sip of So'ham nectar
and I lose all desire
for a place at the king's table.
I become the glad dust mop.
One taste of this breath
and I need no other wine.
So intoxicated am I
by a single inhalation
that you think I am a corpse!
You drag me to Gehenna
and burn my bones to ashes.
Yet the sigh of Shiva's name
is a mighty wind that wafts me
into your eyes and nostrils.
You choke on my beauty
which fills all space, the empty
inconceivable womb
of your longing for your Self.
You are afraid, and your fear
turns the wheel of the past
and future. Don't worry, friend.
I will cover your ancient statues
with the thin grey film of death.
Then I will become the cloud
that refreshes you with tears.
Blue in color, a storm over the garden,
I will frighten the peacocks
and make the Gopis cry.
You will awaken from dreams
and know that you are naked.


Engraving by William Blake,
the unfallen Eve

Lift

Sometimes we feel
overwhelmed by the news,
especially when 
the masters of fear
repeat the world's most
horrific events all day.
But all the while
billions of silent people
perform acts of beauty,
anonymous sacraments
of the commonplace.
With the grace of
your breath, your glance,
your merest presence,
why not help
a dragonfly's wing
lift up the earth?
Why not harness
the infinite power
of gratitude?

Wired

I wasn't wired for Oneness.
I was created to year for you.
Something soft and musky
draws a moth to milkweed.
Root sap rises oozy
into stamen and pistil.
We ooze too,
listening for the bee,

Night is scented and cool;
it's dew on the jasmine
that makes the air so sweet.
Through the half moon's veil
we gaze at the sun until dawn.
The Uncreated woos us
through thing'd creatures.

Without this gossamer difference
love would exude no tears
and taste like nothing.
You need a little salt.
Be restless in love.
Honor your yearning.

Zero cannot repose
without becoming Two,
seeking its own kiss
in amazed otherness.

Seva

Your presence awakens
my presence.
This is the seva
deeper than doing,
leading the stranger home.
The Self is waiting
in a flower's stillness,
a cloud's silence,
the folding and unfolding
of moth wings,
the gentle pulse
of breathing...
Ancient healers,
powerful guides.
Learn from them to green
the earth again
and help me see.



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 warmth.
The sun was here before us.
Even our space is curved
by a mother's invisible blackness.
Just before dawn
a thrush is waiting to feel
this pull, the jasmine breath
of your listening.
Only noq can she sing
and it is morning.
The gravity of silence
turns in circles wider
than One.
Therefor let the seed
be nourished by the loam
of its own moldering blossoms,
effects and their causes
hopelessly mingled
in the living mud.
Ponder this, friend:
there is no awakening
without otherness.
Aloneness creates us to love.

Painting by Floy Zitten

Waking

This morning I awoke at dawn
to thrush-pierced silence.
For one boundless now,
just before yesterday
plunged its blunt
imaginary edges back
into my gracious empty heart,

I knew quite sweetly
that we've all drowned…
For eons we've been floating
in the sea of beauty we wake to
each new day.

So in that clear blue hollow
between one breath and
another, the sky
filled my weightless body

and I prayed that some still
mirror-like morning soon,
we might awaken to remember
and not forget, or to forget
and not remember.

Haiku Containing Ten Thousand Lost Scrolls of Gnostic Theology


Original sin?
Doubting the radiance of
your divinity.

Secret of the Peony


In a violent burst
of golden softness
from her dark and
silent seed, a peony
taught me to abandon
both flesh and spirit,
strewing my bones
across the wild
river of grace,
overwhelming this
one precious world
with a fragrance
of bewilderment.
The secret?
To happen, not to do.

When You Awoke

When you awoke this morning,
how far was your trip to this world?
Did you voyage to Andromeda
to locate your eye, its light?
Was the journey a thousand lives
or a single sigh?
How far is it from your brow
to your abdomen?
Did you wake up all the way?
When one epoch wheels
into another, friend, the shift is you.
The millenium is a robin's voice.
All distances arise from rims and spirals
in your retina, the cellular curve
of your own star-nighted flesh.
Align nine planets of longing
with the sun in your chest
and find the heart of the void.
Go deep, not far.
Love sinks and comes to rest.
Find the courage to be groundless.
All whirling begins here.
With a single breath you turn
burnt cinders to pearl.

Blush (Solar Eclipse, 8/21/17)

The sun blushes,
the moon a hijab,
teaching modesty
to the trembling earth.
And here is my wish for you
who are newborn this morning.
Before you imagine
yesterday or tomorrow,
breathe "I Am."
If you are truly alive you will
never be one moment old.
Here is my prayer for you
who are newborn each morning:
Be a flame without a wick.
Root in the sap of the sky.
Hear the sound of your heart
as the gong of vast space.
No one struck that bell of night,
yet it echoes with stars.
This is what happens
when you allow the flowering
of emptiness.

Just

I was weary with hearing
the sound of no.
I thirsted for the sound
of yes.
Then I fell
into the pool of silence
and drowned.
Deep called to deep.
The music of love arose.
Rooted in dark sap
my heart blossomed,
each breath
a golden petal
of the light 
I had been seeking.
Sometimes it is enough
just to hurt awhile.

Solar Eclipse

You don't need to travel
anywhere to witness
the alignment of earth
moon, and sun.
The synergy is within you -
brain, solar plexus, belly,
and their out-shimmering
fractal spheres of
golden-tinted blackness.
The instant you fall
into symmetry
with your own heart,
stars feel the jolt,
ignited by that
blazing silence.
Grind your diamond goal
to dust under your next
footstep.
Wherever you walk
is the path,
even when you're lost.
The cosmos blossoms
into galaxies of gratitude
because you are merely
awake, because you are
already here!

Transformed

Some say that the world is transformed
       through political action.
Some say that the world is transformed
       through anarchy.
Some say that the world is transformed
       through waves of silence
in a heart that has drowned
       in the ocean of God.
I say, there is no need
       to transform anything
because the world was annihilated
       and recreated
just now -
       a sparkle of light
on the wing of a dragonfly.

Photo by Laurent Berthier

Cliff

Don't stop leaping
into beauty.
Fall off the cliff
of what you already know.
Nobody will catch you
in His arms
the way air
catches wings.
He is the lover
who is everywhere,
soft as cotton down.
If you don't understand this,
jump.

Solar Storm

It is difficult for God
to let there be light
without your eyes.
Glory is YOUR work.
Now get busy burning
yourself to ashes.
Didn't you know?
Each photon of this flesh
is the whole sun,
and on a dendrite's tip
in your cortex
a proton's dark core
condenses the death
of a thousand galaxies
into diamond wonder.
It is not enough
to illuminate your mind
with knowledge.
Your body must dance,
a wickless flame,
jump off cliffs
into the void,
drown with frogs
in an emerald
forest pool,
tangled in the fetid delight
of mud-sprung
water lilies.
You need to starve
for forty nights,
then get drunk
on a buttercup.
Life is too furious
for the merely enlightened.
A wild one needs
nakedness and victory,
a storm to ride
back into her
heart-beaten stillness.

Holiday


In our sacred land there is one
true holy day each year,
holier than Christmas or Passover,
holier than Diwali or Eid,
holier than the Fourth of July
or the Birthday of Trump!
It's the day when every rule is broken,
the past is forgotten in forgiveness,
The difference between feast and meditation
gets washed away by laughter and tears.
It is the day when we gaze namelessly
into the eyes of perfect strangers
and fall in love with thieves on their crosses.
Every prison cell is opened this day.
On this day we smear our faces
with chocolate and drink wine.
On this day we close our ancient books,
dance with valor among the ruins,
distributing gold in the streets.

Clothing is optional.
Everything is optional.
There is only one rule, "Love,
and do whatever you like,"
but it's never enforced.
And "no"
is not spoken
from dawn to dawn.

But this too sounds like a rule,
so just
for fun, some folks stay awake
and sing "No!" all night.

All other days get drenched
in the milk of this day.
Gods walks on earth this day
because God is Man without fear,
and Goddess is Woman gone wild.
Now I'm sure you are asking,
"When will this day come?"
So I'll answer you, friend:
This day is today.
Are you ready?
Are you sure?


Painting: 'Tribal Dance' by K.C. Aryan

Never

Hear what the bee tells the rose
and the moon discloses
to the pond,
what snow conveys
to the mountaintop
and the fangs of the cougar
tenderly reveal inside
the antelope's throat,
what the school girl's lips impart
to her first awkward lover -
"We were never two."

Rest


This morning, rest
from the work of the mind.
You are not your thoughts.
You are the astonishment
that was here before the Word.
You are the space of unborn stars.
This perfect silence is the Last
Judgment, and it is always now.
When you take a Sabbath rest
from judging the world,
you finally see the peony
blossoming in your garden.


Photo by Aile Shebar

Color

I am not white.
I have never seen a "white" man.
"White" is an abstraction,
the color of nothingness.
I am oak and honey,
applewood and dandelion.
Make a barrel of my bones
to flavor your wine,
but don't call me white.

And you are not black.
I have never seen a "black" woman.
"Black" is an abstraction,
the color of emptiness.
You are banyan and mahogany,
mango and olive.
You are cocoa bean,
kinnikinnick and kola nut.
Both of us are dipped in honey.
We are tangled in the same
dark places, born upward
toward one star by
love's voluptuous hope.
In sweetness, in loam,
in manure of the dragon,
we share common roots.

Sunset

Lord of Creation,
Really!
Thank you for this bounty,
Mid-August on the Salish Sea,
the final song of the sparrow,
sacred salmon, white wine,
these last few golden
butter-slathered kernels
of corn on the cob,
and nameless shades of mauve
in the Western sky.
I have a thousand tiny reasons
to be happy.
Among these countless blessings
I dare to ask one more:
let the American people
give up their weighty
ancient story of the past
and step lightly
into the present moment.
Photo: sunset over my little town on Puget Sound.

Order Is Chaos

Whether order is
the fullness of chaos
or chaos is the fullness
of order,
the outcome is the same.
Whatever you do
is totally determined
yet radically free.
The practice?
Relax,
because there is nothing
to choose.
Love is repose
at the center
of the catastrophe.
Notice how
all things have a hollow
inside:
bones, seeds, galaxies,
the eye, the woman...
Embrace
the entanglement and
be unbound.

This moment is inevitable,
exquisitely ordained
by a God who 
has no idea
what will happen
next.

Frolic


Frolic of opposites,

luminous petals of
pearl and shadow,
Earth's dark labia,
this is your home.
Just tumble toward death,
rounded by your dance.
Don't wait for an invitation.
Don't look back toward night
or gaze down into
the sea of hope.
This is your breath,
your only breath,
given for one purpose:
Feast on love and
say 'Thou.'


Photo: A peony on my table

Winter Evening

I welcome the midwinter sun.
I do not protest when light fades,
but kindle a wick in my heart
against the chill.
Something that arises beyond
the stars flows into my chest,
stirring a flame more intimate
than 'I' and 'Am.'
It is the gift of
your breath, Beloved.

Wrong

Every time a human says,
"I was wrong,"
a bell rings in the stars
and a thousand angels
fall on their knees...
Every time a human says,
"I don't know,"
there is silence in heaven
and God bows down
in awe.