Tuesday, January 17, 2012


All endings speak forward.


The Mound in Buckeye Canyon

The coffee is cold, but the thermos’ place in the pack, warm—just my intent

for this wintered mound, as the company is quite good.

Some 5,000 years deep in ancestry. Conversation is easy, but neither distracted

nor light. Better begun with prayer, song perhaps,

and that unstudied pause and collection that allows words to rise from the body

at rest with place and with time,

with all presences thus given their due.

From deep listening, such as this, right future can unfold

and be affirmed, right here.


A Gatha

Each morning I step

from the pole’s top to

a foot’s touch and think

I am not falling.

Foolishness like this

abounds where I live,

a most excellent place

to meet the Buddha.

My practice, sloppy,

sporadic, aimless,

I try to follow

only what’s given.

Resorting to trust

where I’ve really none,

I seek guidance that’s

not ever followed,

take refuge with those

who think like me, walk

an endless night, marked

with dim, distant lights.

Receiving unearned

favors and comforts,

offered to someone

not me, I take them.

There is no justice

in this, only gift—

humility too,

gratitude and joy.


So what’s left to do

but what needs doing,

as best I can, for

all who may need it.



Too short, a night run through with too long a stream of thoughts,

though certain epiphanies nonetheless, though none of which seeming

to carry much weight with the pen, nor influence

with the blank face of the page.

Disconnect is not real, but the sense and the feel, even so slight,

is not to be denied, however so slight the blinded flight,

the empty bottomed flush of fear, of isolation,

of meaning forgotten.

Yet, and again, doing’s being and meaning somehow carries

in this—the push of the pen to scratching, marks the dust of separation

with remembrance of the fullness of silence,

where dissolution of disconnection illumines

the immeasurable and the unmistakable.


There is the grey morning’s cold to contend with,

the constant start and thrum of the furnace and the sun’s long refusal

to touch distant windows to begin the day,

even as I wait without spoken complaint.

In the greater stillness winter brings, patience is its own test.

Butterflies in the making, just below the stiffened grass,

deep-seated roots at work in their own service, and the earth

preparing its surface for the rains to run first,

before the deeper work to come--reminded

in the quieted draw and release of breath, my body settles.

Still is not dormant.


Many things come to us in the night to affirm,

to allow doubt’s release ease to untroubled rest,

like rain, with its softest steps, that we hear first

as if we do not, then do, knowing it’s rain

only when we know our hearing,

as if rain comes a lightest possible presence

to wake us to our own, to that most safe harbor,

that surest awakening self as other.


A story

Stars are there to assure us night is good.

Moon too. They hold light till morning so that we might rest.

The night, the stars and the moon,

all for us, for all creatures

needing sleep.


Two small terracotta birds perch on the railing on the deck outside the window

directly opposite of where I sit,

shift their wings and lift their feet, and do so again and then again,

and each time I start and pause, then see the cup

lifted to the lips, each time a signal, a sign passed through glass invisible

but for this mirrored intersection of recognition

that brings into question lingering presumptions of difference.


Felt tipped pens glide like silk without the whisper,

but leave blemishes backside the page, excesses of ease

scattered here and there—for me, this does not do.

Ballpoint, a pencil, better for the effort.

Even the slightest pull speaks to work heard, words working

tangles of confusion toward the light.

Living leaving tracks,

signs, crevices signaling where its been,

where it’s thinking of going.

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