February 28, 2020
Smooth sand is cleared by the water
Old utensils are patched and their holes are filled
Worn clothes are bleached by the sun
Skin is cut by movement, and scars are healed with time
Dead leaves and branches are cleared by the wind
Grace is acquired by practice
Strings are tuned with dexterity
Time goes marching on
Leaving no memory
February 28, 2020
What color am I today?
I am red like the setting sun
I am lavender like the scent of so many orchards
I am orange, like citrus
I am green, like leaves
I am blue, like lost footsteps
I am yellow, like so many setting suns
February 28, 2020
My ragtime rituals have placed
one beautiful step below my feet
One below, one above,
One to walk on, above, below,
In the sky.
One step in the sky
In the spheres
Among the spheres
I am like unto the other bodies
Facing east, facing west
Containing the light of several suns
I am vast in my similitude
Like a point that cannot contain its essence
I dance among the heavenly bodies
February 25, 2020
A tear is like the sea
I have salt in me
I have the Ocean in me
in my blood
In all of my salty secretions I am like unto the Sea
I carry the Sea in me
The story of my origins as life
formed in the oceans
The entire story of evolution
from fish to man and the journey hereafter
As all rivers move towards the Sea
My destination is in me too
I am the compass hairs by which I steer
And still on and on I sail
February 25, 2020
I wish I could bottle up the ocean for you
That I could package the way the light shines through the green-blue lip of a wave from below
The spray of the offshore in the breeze
The rainbows that go cascading down
In the hiss
The pelicans that fly so gracefully
The hissing of the foaming eddies
A bottle of the ocean would hold in microcosm the swirling mysteries of all in one small tear
There is salt in me too
And I at once, a little bottle
Of God, of all, of one in all
January 23, 2020
And I was defenseless,
When I was lost and alone,
And I was defenseless,
And showed me that life can begin anew
November 24, 2019
OBSERVATIONS OF RAIN
Rain falls softly on all
Nourishing the grass, the trees, and the prairie alike
A soft, sweet, ocean wind
That graces the fathers of the mountains
And the mothers of the sea
I have not found the source of rain
But as yet I think it is neverending
Its grace is neverending
It will never end
November 7, 2019
THE CATHEDRAL OF SOUND
The cathedral of sound;
Valleys of sound
Quiet mountain peaks of sound
Rivers of song
Village streets of sound
Vibrating massifs of sound
Quiet drops in pools of sound, reverberating
Tremendous, braying, laughing, pacific,
Lapping in long melodious twirls
The sound goes on and on
I will not die no untimely death
I will be met with epiphany and rapture
In the hearts of the brave
My playing is true
And from seashores wet
In hearts like dew,
I sing, I sing, I sing
October 12, 2019
I came into the world like a fish in a net,
Thrust from the sea,
My scales still wet,
Gasping for breath,
Pleased by the faces of many hungry fishermen,
Take my body
I will make a dinner for you and your family
Dipped, battered, baked, and fried
Throw out my scales,
Forget the bony bits,
And know, yes, this is the taste of the salty sea
October 11, 2019
THE JEWEL THIEF
I haven’t come here to pick daisies
I have come to steal the jewels
Long ago, a king took down the stars,
Emerald, sapphire, jade, blood stone,
And setting them in place
in his royal hall under the sun.
I will continue my vagabond life,
Until his jewels are mine
I will again place them
in the heavens and say,
This is your inheritance
October 11, 2019
I make time to busy myself
with this and that
in the land of the strange
Some rich hobo
in a rich land of iniquity
Dreaming of stars, seashores,
my lost brother’s fishing boat
Some high island
In a land of misfits and children
July 24, 2019
I thought to myself,
“You have no more songs,”
But as I touched pen to paper
I found I had millions of songs
Millions and millions of them
All waiting to come out,
I looked down at my stomach and saw emptiness
I looked forward and my friend was gone
All I could see,
All I could taste,
How can emptiness keep on singing?
Is not a hollow gourd a great vessel?
March 28, 2019
I will dive down and let this wave pass over me
The memories of broken bones dashed on rocks are still too fresh in my mind
Of shattered dreams, and recompense,
No, I will dive down and hold on to the sandbar
A hill under starry skies
A curve of the earth beneath night skies
Knowing and unknown are all the same here
I will let winds whip across the land
Their fingers thrash at me
But tear me not
And with memory I will pass from this world beyond all knowing
I have time to wait
All the time
And there are other waves coming
Friend, it is wave after wave
March 20, 2019
There is wanton grace and power available at your fingertips
If you give in to fear
You will be left without a rope
Trust in hope
Trust in yourself
And you will have found a way through
February 25, 2019
I draped my darling in golden light
I took the song of tiny, golden hummingbird
And placed it on her crown
In the afternoon light, reflections bounced off of the walls and the ceiling
My house was bathed in golden light
Dancing leaves and reflections
I quite forgot whether I was alone
Bathed in harmony
Shining in my own brilliance
Skipping stones into the distance
February 5, 2019
Winds batter the house
The phone lines are down
I’m left with just my pocket watch
Keeping time in its crazy harmony
Wondering when I will hear from you again
Lonely, in my bed, wondering
What shape the pillows will make in a dark cloudless sky
Formless and aimless
Amidst big sheets of willows
Billowing in the wind
Moaning and swaying violently
But held fast in the roots
The dust is dry
The halves are torn
And I am yet with anticipation
Of a new dawn
It is very windy here
Winds batter the trees
Shake the leaves
Tear at the branches
The branches rattle the tin roof
The curtains billow in and out
And I wait desperately
As the cool air freshens a room
Deadened by mid day heat
Now sit in quiet stillness
High upon the walls
In slumbering repose near the roof beams
The dark night is peaceful
As the wind washes over all
The dust flies
The leaves billow
And I sit wondering
Of half moons
And long breaths
In the cool night air
February 5, 2019
You are my only rudder in this world
Where every man can say
All is relative
You break through
To a world beyond relativities
To something solid and true
I am thankful for this gift
You wait at my side
And I sit humbly by the wayside
But steering nonetheless
Towards the dawn
February 2, 2019
I fell asleep in the dunes
Where grass grows and rustles in the wind,
Time has extended me a hand
And I am lost in wanderings
Of unquenched thirst
On vast horizons
Near and far,
Dripping drops incessantly
On tired heads and grass stalks
Too busy worrying about sunshine
To have much of a care anyways,
Grass will go on waving
Don’t you know,
Seas will play their tunes,
You just have to be there
When the time comes
To sing a note
January 30, 2019
What is next around the corner?
Is it new light and new hues
Or sadness and despair?
You have held your head
Sighing and moaning
For so long
That you forget that
The cool breeze of evening has lifted your eyes,
And wonder as the gull calls
What tomorrow will bring,
With shoulder to the wind
And feet planted,
“I will make the best of this day”
November 21, 2018
It was a quiet night and all the stars were out
And the moon came to sit by a pool
“Why so lonely?” asked the pool to the moon
“Have you not got any friends?”
“I am the only,” said the moon, “and this pool is my only reflection”
With that a great big tear fell down from the moon’s face,
It lingered on his cheek, that big, fat tear drop,
It hung as if suspended,
And as it fell from his cheek, all of time stood still.
The cosmos, journeying near and far, began its spin,
Stars, galaxies, planets, eons,
All came into being in an instant
Swirling and expanding,
All leapt into being
And the moon wasn’t alone anymore
It was a quiet night and all the stars were out
August 19, 2018
Where do hiccups hide?
As soon as you try to find them
they are gone
Lost, beyond even memory
You too can be this way sometimes
One moment, a flurry of work
The next, quietly sleeping
In deep repose on the lap of afternoon,
After all of this
I still sit wondering
What are hiccups?
August 19, 2018
I want to trace your hand
To see how
I want to crouch down
in your footsteps
That track you made
Bring it back and forth from the past
Those ageless memories
Undone in the sand
Washing on the shore
I long to know
To be part of that ocean,
That shoreline there,
But until then, I’m lost
Studying this footprint
Deeply trailing my stick through the sand
I lift and press, and step back,
May 8, 2018
I see now that it is attainable
The great in the past
Had nothing more
Than what you and I have
I will set to work
I will do, I will make,
I will think for myself
what thou art
Through tears and disease
I shall see my dreams through
May 4, 2018
Summer’s archetype skies, a wave of heat and sunshine spread across the canopy of trees
With warm leaves, shaking in a warm, ineffable breeze
Under canopies grass is swaying
It’s whisper diminishing,
Only with time
Summer has spread across my entire country
What shall I do with this dream?
While it lasts.
How shall I play it’s hand?
I want to pass beneath the trees
I want to discover the far flung reaches of its canopy
Beyond the hills of this town
Where the concrete is hot
Sept 13, 2017
My disability is kept in the lines of church halls
The arches, the pillared roof
Here I confer with others of my ilk
Others with my disability
Others who are equally not free
In chains, around our sleeves
Just like me
There is no solace in their words
And no insight
We do not know what exists outside of these halls
September 13, 2017
If everything and everyone is a mirror,
Then what are we reflecting?
September 3, 2017
I want to create an orange
You know, a tangerine
It’s not juicy for anybody’s sake
It doesn’t flash, it doesn’t shine
It’s what’s inside that counts
Inside the rind
It peels, it pours
Aren’t oranges divine?
I’ll have you know from my head to my toe
My body is covered in lime
August 21, 2017
My eyes slip from the lines on the page
The conundrum of work
And drag downwards
Off the page
To a land
Haunted by dragons
Piles of gold
A rich hoard
With nothing left but dust
An impoverished man in the desert
Is what I have become
I should have been working
But now there is waving grass for company
Brushing in the wind
Grasshoppers flying in all directions
And a silent watchress
Bathes all in her sweet perfume
I am alone here
In the vast prairie
Master of my domain
But servant of none
I feel the strength of my limbs
The vigor of my body
The paint the sun paints on my skin
The light that burns in my eyes
Is treasure enough
Is it not?
What is worth more than a line of poetry?
Nothing in all of God’s wide universe
Could ever quench my longing
For deeper truths
A new twist in the plot
Tell me what is next
And I will go there
From my lone prairie
But yes, renewed
Until then I will haunt this shore
Like a watcher in the night
A protector of all
And return to the abode of my being
The quiet rooms of the home
Cool and lit in the slanting light of evening
Where beds are made
And sleep awaits
And dreams in the night
Before the sun shines
August 20, 2017
Early in the morning
Church choirs fill the airwaves
And the dust settles,
The sun has not yet bent around the curve of the earth
The air is cool,
Between the stars
There is space.
Space to wonder
To think, to do
When winter comes on that cool morning
I will rest
In bliss and infinitude
Wondering at the stars
That arc and change through my being
Delight at that majesty
Faint sea breezes
Carried on a dawn wind
The red cloud
With a hint of salt
How I long to dive into that wave
Twisting and turning
To find my own
Like to like
I am a mist of dawn and dew
In the advent of dewdrops
August 13, 2017
I’ve found you in sunrise after sunrise,
And roads lead me ever onwards and onwards
June 21, 2017
It’s 100 degrees out, and traffic slows to a crawl. Goats are bleating in the distance. A lonely shepherd watches his flock above a sun-drenched sea.
“Yes my goats wander here and there,” he says to nobody and everybody at once. “Sometimes they eat grass and sometimes they eat hay.”
The heat bakes away all semblance of solitude, and the wind whips away all things to hold on to.
“Autumn is not far away.”
In this solitude, the shepherd watches his flock. Sometimes watchful, yes, but sometimes merging into an infinitude of silences. Puddles skip on rocks. Drops dance on infiniti. The lion lays low, and the watchful eye is sleeping.
Sleeping over the bay. Sleeping over the horizon. Sleeping over dawn and dew, and fluffy stuff.
Where in this silence can be found a word?
“Where can I find a raindrop?” asked the shepherd, languidly skipping stones across the bay.
Speaking from sparkles is easy enough, but dawn, that is a difficult task. Who can hold up the night? Who can hoist the sky above their shoulders and shout, “I see you dawn.”
“I see you hiding in the infinitude of the horizon. I see you dance in the crest of waves. I see you burst into tears that sparkle like raindrops. I see you bend low, a red slab, in pools. Let us not forget that it was you that called this meeting, dawn.”
Just then, a cloud eclipsed the sun, and the flock all drew near, the herd, resounding, shuffling their feet.
The shepherd lifted his weary head, and said, “Come down sun, and tell me what you have to say, or leave me alone forever more with my sheep.”
“I do not like this play.”
April 11, 2017
I often feel that I have a small thread
That I hold in my hand
That connects me to my future, and past
The thread of my story
The thread with which I write my story
I tell myself, hold on to that thread
Hold on tightly to the thread of your story
And keep the dream alive
April 1, 2017
As a man, I stand
I’m a partner to lean into while dancing
I’m a rock
I’m a bearded man who can get my belly moving,
and kick around on the dance floor
I can be myself when other things around me are threatening to unseat me
And in that place
Where I stand
A moonlit pool
A deep watery eye
Which can hold you, make you feel safe
Tell you a story you might like
A true story
One that goes all the way home
And ends nicely
March 2, 2017
THE FLOWER-STREWN PRAIRIE
As heat plumes rise over land moistened by rain drops,
Their billowing majesty rising in the air.
Eagles scream, and songbirds hush,
Hidden in the meadows that have sheltered them all winter.
The arc of moisture-laden heat, hangs over the land–
The wide, lake-pocked prairie.
Mists haunts these waters,
Hanging over their rippled surface.
As the lone wanderer in this land, I splash in its pools,
Gazing at the reflection of clouds.
Rising over the land–
Rising over the grassy prairie, strewn with white onion flowers–
Begin pulling at the ocean– the warm froth of the ocean– saying,
Feel the heat of my breath
Against your warm skin.”
And the ocean returns,
With volleys of storms, gales, thunderheads,
Marching across the prairie,
Marching as if to sing.
This same phantom heat that so haunts the lone prairie,
Burns the vapor of these marching clouds,
And freezes them gracefully in their forms
Over the flower-strewn prairie.
And the languid heat
Bathes them all
In its warm silence.
February 11, 2017
And I flounder in the misty moonlight
Not knowing which wave to catch
Or whether to remain on the shore
I hear the howl of The Ocean
And I hear the call of dinner time
There is a simple weakness in my belly, dear one
I have strayed too far under starlight
With winds whipping my face
In the cool breeze off of waters
And the vast space swallows and caresses me
I am whole on the vast plain
I do not know which direction to turn
Which wind to catch
February 11, 2017
You taught me a secret gift,
“Love me as I am.”
February 8, 2017
SUNSETS IN SURFSIDE
I like to live without fences or walls
The pink glow of the sky
The hue, the blue
It’s all so real when you are outside,
Without things crowded around you.
There is space to feel
Space to move
Space to grow
January 30, 2017
As I cast my boat from the shore
I asked the soft white light,
How shall I steer?
“With your hands,” came the reply.
How shall I see?
“With your eyes.”
“This boat touches all shores of the Earth.”
Where, then, is my homeland?
“In your heart.”
I thanked the soft white light
And basked in its warm embrace
“I’d best be getting started,” I said
January 27, 2017
I planted a seed, in the depths of winter,
From out of my mouth,
And now you are tall, orange tree,
Your branches stretching towards the sky,
Now your fruits are falling to the ground,
Now they lie discarded on the grass,
With nobody to eat them.
November 26, 2016
I hung out with Lawton today
A ton of Pies
A bus ful of law
Blissful law bus colliding with you
I Forged it into a Key for a vine
Which we climbed to the sky
And we looked out on a cloudy scene
Above the mountains
And giggled a bit
April 13, 2016
My friends are like dandelion seeds,
Blown into the wind
One lands here, one lands there
One is in lakes in the north country, a land of many still lakes
One is like a fire on the mountainside
Where rain gardens make big puddles, in the rain
One shakes dates, makes salsa
With work gloves on, and his butt protruding
Well, I dream.
From beneath fern fronds
On the subway
January 17, 2016
COLORS GO ON SOARING
He sat there, looking out over the ridge. He was getting ready. He knew he would have to go sooner or later, and so it might as well be sooner. That was best. He looked out from his perch on the ridge, over the foggy and mist-shrouded valley. The trees were damp with it, and a cool breeze flowed in from the sea somewhere far away.
He looked down at the frog in his pocket, who asked him in perfectly plain and clear English, “will there be wind and rain when we make it there?”
“Probably,” he said. “Heck, what do I know.”
He thought about it for a moment. He had been wanting to go for a long time, but somehow had always managed to put it in the back of his mind, and he regretted that. He thought of something more to add to the frog,
“The wind and the rain have always been my home. I know it. And if there wasn’t any wind and rain, I wouldn’t have any home!” he exclaimed. “I’ve always felt like it was kind of sweet, ya know, the wind and the rain. The way they beat you, and caress you. It’s real.”
The frog looked thoughtful but didn’t reply.
He rose up from his seat on a pile of rocks among the scrubby trees, and walked back down towards the valley. He had a dry stacked stone home there, circular and polygonal in shape, and with light leaking out from inside. It sat in a high place, that, although it was at the bottom dip in a small bowl-shaped canyon, it sat high on a ridge in a steep side canyon. It was a reasonably weather-beaten place; you felt the weather there.
He entered the house. Various things were hanging from the ceiling: drying herbs, big bundles of dry flowers, a boat oar, and a beautiful shiny and weatherbeaten guitar. I lovely golden-wooded thing that kept a perfect tune. He pulled down the guitar and plucked a few notes from its strings. He thought about that land far away, the land of songs, and began to sing:
You are like the ocean, and I am your banyan tree
You are the sun, and I am reflected in your moonbeam
You exist in all minds, and you exist in me
I ride your blissful waves of infiniti, ever on shall I seek Thee
You are like the north pole
And I am a compass needle lying at your feet
Then he thought of that lovely Bengali tune his teacher had taught him. How did it go? He plucked a few notes to try and find the tune, and began to sing:
Tomare monone, nide jagorone, din more chule jai theme nahi royiioooyyy
O Lord, meditating on You, in sleep and wakeful state, my days pass without any pause.
In the resonance of vitality, in golden dream, colours go on soaring, without speaking a thing.
How many times did I come, I have forgotten. How many houses I built, I have no account.
The cremation places and birth rooms have dissolved into one.
The end of the movement path, I am unable to search and an endless song of movement I sing in the mind.
Thus I forget the difference between close and far. You are there and I am there.
Both become singular.
He pulled a large net down from the roof, and he slung it onto his back like a backpack, and began throwing all kinds of things into it: seashells, beautiful things, broken things, scary things, yes, and a million tear drops, yes they were all there.
“Sir, is everything going?” asked the frog, a little taken aback.
“Yes! Everything!” said the boy with vitality, piling on even more of his treasured things.
“They’re all coming with us… The frog, and the snake.”
He tossed them onto his back.
The fox scurried up him.
“The tooth fairy.”
She appeared, waving her wand, and then disappeared.
“A million grains of sand.”
These poured out of the ceiling and onto the bag.
“And tiny, tiny, snow flakes,” he said, scrunching up his face and holding his thumb and forefinger together close to his eye.
“Yes! They’re all coming!”
“I almost forgot the crickets! The crickets! They’re chirping!”
And indeed they were. The sound resonated like there were thousands of them, millions of them on a summer night.
He tossed in the sound of the crickets.
“What about the children?” exclaimed the frog.
“Or course!! They’re coming too!”
And the boy picked up all the little children that were standing around. Little girls, little boys, with curly hair, and straight hair, and giggling faces, and added them precariously onto his toppling large bag. These were real life children, mind you, and they giggled to be riding on top of such a bag. But they were light as a feather. The whole bag was lighter than if it were filled with air.
“We’re off!” he shouted, and ran out the door, walking stick in hand.
He emerged into a bright morning. The fog had lifted into a light and distant white haze, filling the sky like pollen. And the sun was shining, and the fog scattered the million rays of the sun.
The boy, with his big bulging pack on his back, made his way up the mountain, humming a tune: something about a road.
Now, when he had made it to the top of the Bald Ridge, the highest point on that shoulder of land, he stopped to rest only to realize that the fox– who had been riding on his back– at some point on the way had gotten down, snuck ahead, and beat him to the top, all without anybody noticing it. The fox was very smart. He sat there on the ridge on big loose boulder, awaiting their arrival, looking a bit like a thin old Japanese man with a mustache. You see, the fox was a master of shapes.
“You look like a gardener,” said the fox, with a slightly sardonic and mocking air. “I didn’t know turtles could be gardeners.”
“Well,” answered the boy, “I think I’m more of a guarder. I’m protecting these things. When new shoots and leaves are tender, they need a little extra protection, that’s why they wait until spring.”
“I’m sure that’s true in some multiverse,” said the fox, sarcastically. Then with renewed mirth and a chuckle, “Let’s be getting on.”
Everybody had a big drink of clear mountain spring water from a big glass jug in the boys net-like backpack, and then again they clambered onto the bag, and the boys light feet continued up the mountain.
They walked for most of the morning until they reached the top of the peak. It was surprisingly flat on the top, like a dome, with a bare rocky peak in the middle. It was still hazy and bright when they reached the top of the peak, and again, the fox sat there, waiting for them.
This time, he had begun to look a bit like a snake, but a good natured one, even a little bit silly. He sat there with his tail coiled and standing straight, rocking a little back in forth in joy and ecstasy at their height.
“Did you ever find out what was in that box?” the snake asked, lovingly.
The boy looked down to the black box. He was holding it in his hands. It had some golden inlay was shiny its surface. He held it back.
“No. And I probably never will.”
The boy brought down his backpack carefully on the earth at that spot. He set them down, and slowly unpacked all of his things. It felt angelic to be standing there, and he reflected, introspective, on what it had meant to him, coming there. He was like an angel, and all of his little friends and toys were looking back at him, shining and smiling, with fresh faces and anticipation.
“At last I no longer have to be a reflection. I can shine in my own light,” he said.
The boy felt like a snowflake, caught in bright sunshine. As he came forth and melted in the glory of that sunshine, he thought with a smile of all the love that he had ever felt, and knew it would never go anywhere. It would always be right there with him, because it’s who he was.
November 18, 2015
I stared into his eyes
And we discussed the love of our hearts
The love our families had allowed us to feel
We discussed the pain:
The longing for an existence
Quite outside our own
I stared into his eyes
I listened, as we discussed blackbirds
Those painful, unsurprising moments, that drown us in despair and fear
And a longing for the unbounded
Like those blackbirds
Those blackbirds that said to me, “I will not leave your bosom”
“A dark spot in your heart
I will remain here, with thee”
That’s the mystery, you see
Of those blackbirds
Yet I can hear their sweet song ringing in your voice
I can hear their soft wings beating in your cries
I can see them sparkle in the soft light surrounding your cheeks, nose, and eyes
It’s a long road, you see
And there were so many blackbirds along the way
There are these victories, you see
Where I hear blackbirds, singing
I say, “hooray for blackbirds”
November 2, 2015
I looked up from a momentary day dream to see my grandmother, looking at me. She winked, and grinned mischievously.
It was Halloween, and Nana had dressed up like a witch and was playing the part, albeit with brief lapses out of character. Her memory wasn’t what it used to be. Nana wasn’t what she used to be. Sure, call it age– forgetting things, saying things twice, misplacing a person’s name. But that wasn’t it. Nana had also stopped being a grandma. She was somehow, in her forgetfulness, becoming a beautiful young lady again. Herself again, after many years of playing the part. With such a mischievous gregarious sense of humor though.
“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” she might say.
Or, “Be good!”, with the hint that we really didn’t have to be.
Nana was back, you know?
As we sat by the front door, waiting on the trick or treaters, I played the guitar, my face thickly smeared with black paint. I was a real Indian, my dream of the moment.
Nana remarked with a straight face, “I don’t know how, maybe it’s something I’ve been eating, but that whatever it is, its turned my hair purple.”
“It could have been the purple onions, or the turnips,” I conceded.
Things had been going down hill around the house. First the bed bugs, then the divorce. Everything was chaos, everything had been undone. It had taken a toll on Nana, so I was happy to see her in such a good mood.
She had been so down. I would catch her in her room, sorting through endless piles of mail… I’m not sure if she had even known what she was looking at or for. It was like she was in a daze, and there was mail all over her room. On the bed, in the couch, piled on the dresser; with the annoying airs of a television anchor blaring on in the background. This had been her routine, something to do, what with everything else going on. I suppose it gave her some comfort: going through the mail. Organizing it. Making sense of it. Replying to people (she didn’t even know). Feeling like she was making a difference. Sometimes, that’s all you’ve got. Know what I mean?
Anyways, we were really enjoying Halloween. Her and I liked to have fun together. It didn’t have to make sense. We got it. Sitting on the stairs by the front door, I picked up a tune on the guitar. It had always reminded me of her and my mother. A dancy tune I had heard sung by mariachi’s, in movies, and on the radio when I was younger.
I sang, “Para bailar la bamba, para bailar la bamba se necessita una poco de gracia…”
A little grace…
My grandma laughed and sang along with me, clapping her hands together back and forth. We sang it several times. It gave me a special kind of feeling, sitting there with her. I felt like this moment was a good moment, you know? I feel this way a lot when I play music, like the world has peeled away, and I’m sitting in a white space, with god by my side and all around me. Like I’m playing in this light of love, that I can pursue and create and craft it. We finished the song and I started another.
“Oh they say, that my darling, you are going, we will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile. For they say that you’re taking the sunshine, that has brightened our pathways awhile…”
After that, I tried to remember a song that my mother had always requested from the band when we visited Garcia’s across the border in Matamoros.
I knew the changes, but I couldn’t recall the words. “Guantanamera”.
Nana smiled. She was enjoying this. “It’s such a nice tune, that one, it doesn’t really matter what you sing.” She asked, “do you know ‘Allí en el Rancho Grande’?”
Her saying that conjured in my mind images of her youth in Eagle Pass, and a dance she could have been at with my Pawpaw. And how there was always another band, another party over the next ranch. There, in the open yellow grassy spaces; where the sandy grassy hills and farms of Texas and the sandy grassy hills and farms of Mexico are indistinguishable. Where German immigrants and farmers, with their full polka band, married Jewish refugee farmers from the pogroms of Eastern Europe between the world wars, spoke Spanish, loved. Love in the tired Spanish moonlight of the prairie.
“I don’t know that one Nana,” I said, with a smile, “I’ll have to learn it”.
“What about ‘Besame Mucho’?” she asked.
I didn’t know that one either. I played ‘I’m Gonna Move to Alabama’. Man we were really enjoying ourselves. Stomping and hollering.
I had really been thinking about it the past several weeks. How tired I was, how tired we were, of our lives out in the suburban army hills between Baltimore and Washington. This wasn’t our home. Sure it was great, but it couldn’t break the endless monotony of our routines. Our work, school, social lives were nill. I had to get out of here. Back out into the world. To my world. The plan was taking shape.
The trick-or-treaters were slowing down, and Nana was out of the tea I had brought her, so we packed up and walked back into he living room… watched Jurassic World, and the night expired.
That week, I collected bits of laundry, tracked down things. Finished up some unfinished business at work. Packed a bag. I packed for Nana too.
My uncle’s convertible always sat unused by the side of the house, shining red under a dusty black tarp.
On Friday, at dawn I woke my Nana up.
“Nana,” I said. “Do you want to go to Texas with me?”
“Well sure, but can we pack my flowers? Or who is going to water them?”
“Either way…” I said. “I think Tom will water them.”
“Let me get my bags.”
“I already packed up for you Nana!” I said with a smile.
“Well that was nice of you,” she said.
We managed to slip off quietly in the early pre-dawn.
“Is Tom okay with you driving the convertible?” she asked me.
“He said I could use it to take you to Texas.”
I was thankful that it hadn’t occurred to her that no one knew we were leaving. We would be long gone before they knew. And the hills of Mexico awaited.
We would drive through Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Caroline, Alabama, and Houston, not in that order. I figured it would take two or three days.
The highway cooled as we set out. And as the day rose and the sun was shining, Nana’s scarf flowed in the wind, a big smile on her face. The open road was before us. Grinning, I leaned out the window and howled like a coyote. Nana screamed a loud “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” We were doing it! We had made it. We were free.
It was a whirlwind trip. We danced two-step in North Carolina, ate seafood in Charleston, made a pitstop in South Dakota to see the Black Hills, and even drained a lake or two in Nebraska. By the time we made it home I thought we would die from laughter.
I pulled into the quiet, pine needle and leaf smell in the street of my grandmother’s front lawn. I walked up under the pine trees, across the pebbly sidewalk, almost in a dream, while Nana went through a few things in the car. I entered an alcove at the front of the house, where there was a small brick courtyard in the old house. There was a dry stone fountain and a pedestal there. It was black and full of leaves. Beside it amidst the ivy of the courtyard stood a small spindly orange tree. It’s branches were hung with glowing little oranges. After the roar of the wind in the highway, it felt strangely quiet and peaceful, standing there. The sound of a water fountain played from somewhere else not far off, and I stared at the orange glow of the oranges. Nana had walked up beside me, “Should we eat them?” she asked.
September 29, 2015
This is where I hide my shadow
Among the raindrops and the acorns
In the cool early-autumn night
Blistering waves of epiphanies engulf my being and surround me
I wave from sun mist in the dew drop of a flower
And am caught in hummingbird nectar
As rays of sunshine penetrate my pores
And shower my being in ecstasy
Down the rabbit hole
And up up, nobody knows
The silence that awaits thee
The profound peace and ecstasy
That is never enough
It can’t quench my longing
To be in the world but not of the world
I want to make love on a rainbow, and touch down on a cloud
And work in a community of earth-workers and worshippers
Tottle down the dirt trail, doggy at my heels, kids in tow
Blowing bubbles in raindrops
And singing a chorus of yee-haws and guffaws
At night I will cook the most delicious meal
And we will invent stories out of the night
Long tales of mystical wanderings, in lands beyond time, space and reason
Flowing effortlessly down like unicorn tails to your feet
As mystic maidens, with wild eyes, scamper away into eternity
My vision is not a clear wind
It’s an explosion of lights and colors,
And the dew
I will not rest, no no,
Not until at least 4 PM maybe,
On second thought, yes, it’s time
May 3, 2015
Shake the piano keys out of your hair: dischordant, heavenly harmonies.
Porpoises, dolphins, whales, are all dying to be backstage, close to You.
Look at me one more time with such Love and affection, and my heart will burst into song.
What a surprise! On your birthday, it’s my birthday too! Into my true nature: joy, harmony, and endless bliss.
April 14, 2015
A secret flower,
filled with tears,
dusted with pollen through the years,
the mystic bliss inside us all,
Whither, will you?
Blow out my candle flame?
I want to drift on a higher plane.
“The sensitivity you need,
no intellect can buy”
It’s heart’s intuition that’s love’s supply.
November 8, 2014
When you touched me
One petal fell.
One fragrant petal
Left resting still on the surface of the water
Water without end.
Betrayed the secret laughter of millions
And I laughed too!
You have made all of my crooked lines straight,
I am now in tune.
Won’t you play me?
November 7, 2014
YOUTH AND THE GOLD OF DAYS
Oh bird of dawn,
Sing to me your song
Sing to me your song of the dawn
As though it were the morning of the Earth
Of flower buds
Of dew therein
O rhapsodies of the eternal song-giver
What lights the dawn
Whence creation springs from flowers
Whence water trickles with resonance
Whence flowers bloom in harmony
Where is thy sky, bird?
Who sets thy song in my heart?
Who has taught you to go on singing in this way?
You know that love that makes the world go round
“Wait! What is it!?”
Birds were chirping.
“Is that it?”
The two waited silently on the side of the bank. What was it they were waiting for? The bank gently cradled them, like children in a womb. The song was sweet. The air was soft. Nothing but the truth spoke to them at that moment.
Then they were off. Although the gold of the air shimmered about them like a mist. Golden horseshoes clip-clopped beside them and GOD cradled them at his breast.
“It won’t be long,” one said. “The circus is coming.”
“Smell the mountain air?”
They had never smelled it.
It wasn’t just one day. It was all days. It was a day to end all days. It was the moment.
They didn’t have anywhere to go. Although one’s bedroom was cool and warm, there was no privacy in the home. Not the kind they needed anyways. But when their folks left town, the game was on. The candle was lit. Friends gathered round to stare at its flickering light in the room. So brilliant and pure that it threatened the very foundations of society. They looked around into one another’s pure and innocent faces, betraying mouthfuls of teeth. Their vision was not just a fantasy. Not just a pipe dream. A hope. A knowing. This kind of knowing that only a young man of 17 has. That what is right in the world, is there to be. It exists. It is known beyond a shadow of a doubt.
“This is the story I wish to share with you all tonight,” he began.
“A secret of my heart, that has been branded on it since time immemorial. A light of humanity. A spark. A flame of desire brothers and sisters, that I know you all share, even when you can’t find the words to think it.”
“That the ideals of love, kindness, of a close knit community of the earth, should be the foundations of our livelihood. That song and dance, that freedom, where the pinnacle of human expression is made known, that an eternal state of blessedness in body, spirit, and mind, were attainable for witless wanderers like ourselves.”
“And we will take this flame fourth to the very corners of the Earth. Until its blanket has spread the light of stars over the skies of our heart like a clear ringing bell resounding in the distance, ‘freedom for mankind’. ‘Freedom for you, my brothers and my sisters. Freedom.’”
At just that moment the door opened, and three more feckless clowns of the heart fell inward in a heap. The room broke out with laughter. They could do it.
But we all know what bayous are like. They winder and the wander, meander still with golden-brown surface. Get lost in the flat country. Paralleled by the plane of God. Laid low like a mountain. Flooded by the foundries of light. Indescribably vast. They swallow one whole in the doldrums of summer, wading and wandering in mist. Chasing a distant flicker of a firefly. Was it a dream?
For on the banks of this Brazos slept a dreamy wilderness, with air thick and heavy. Vines crawled one over the other in a tangle and scrawl. Bare naked breasts wandered from side to side. A question left limp on the lips of the dawn. It scrawled on the heart a lilth of a tune. Sang by the fairy godmother herself. How quickly the summer passes by. Oh Cosmia. A phantom of quintessence, thou art, bird.
They checked the sound waves, as they resounded up and down, above and below center: scanning frequencies- ringing though the air, pouring through in crystals onscreen. The circus was coming to town. This was all they had been waiting for.
They had been practicing in their own quiet way, its rumblings. Visiting the dawn, with its amber and crimson hues, when its golden light shone forth pale and quiet, over their dimly illuminated land, brightening slowly, in a way that was hard to keep track of. As its brilliance shone brighter and brighter: “How much brighter can it get?!” In their beds, their eyes staring from the window, jaw clenched. The sun beat a rhythm which screamed: THE DAWN OF HUMANITY HAS AWOKEN IN YOUR EYES. What saints, philosophers, mystics, had experienced (even what they in their past lives had experienced), was alive in them, it was happening. And they were on a quest to tell everyone. This secret was out of step with the quiet suburban world around them, with its entrenched simplification into easily quantifiable terms. This secret was too vast of an overflowing love to be contained by such. And they loved the joke that lie in the telling, the fear it awoke in the eyes of those unfortunate souls who called theses brick buildings home. As he waited in the tire shop– with its doctor’s waiting room style cleanliness, magazines, and the smell of new rubber, our protagonist quietly thought over what all this must mean. He was awash in medieval and incorporeal symbolism of a natural and bucolic splendor. And the circus was coming to town.
Ah yes, smell the mountain air? Tents along the water, and beautiful women. What would the circus mean? Would everybody’s faces be painted? Would people be bedecked in pattern, pomp, and splendor? What would be its natural form? How big of a secret was this? They hoped it was a huge secret. Actually, as we’ve mentioned before, they wanted everyone to know it. But really, would all of it be there?
The man with the orange robes had come. He was wearing an orange turban. His eyes, fresh, and new. His entire face, seemed almost incorporeal, with the subtle and youthful spirituality and vigor that seemed to flow from him like a deep belly laugh, merging again into a focused calm, like springs in the mind. Sprigs of cauliflower were lightly licked into his lips as he sat on the floor with those gathered for the sermon.
“People of the Earth. I bring you glad tidings.”
“The Lord, our Guru, has returned!!”
This caused a reaction that the young man had been hoping for. Longing to understand. The Truth. The delicate balance of life and death, emerging from mystery. “Queerer lodgings have had you, than the One. But now this is your home. This is your palette on the floor. This is the shining mystery of the Divine inside you.”
Go eat some blueberries or something.
October 1, 2014
Night has come scintillating down onto the world
Like a rain on the streets
Quenched by these raindrops, cricket buzz,
A shadowy harmony,
A quiet tune of infinite blessedness
You strode down my street barefoot
You danced upon my shoulders and slapped me in the face,
“WAKE UP! Child”
I sat back in my chair
A simple philosopher with bearded chin
Wondering what this night has in store for me
Will there be bread in my basket in the morning?
Only this night can tell
And it doesn’t give away any secrets
Because my chair is empty.
May 4, 2014
I want to apologize for the turmeric stain I left on the counter
I was trying to make that tasty dish we shared
And now its memory is etched in this streak of color
That the time will turn to white
We came, we see, we dance we love
We grow stronger
We seek the truth
And the journey grows
Into inseparability of existence
Why did that meteor blaze across the sky?
For whom does its glory show, so brightly
I hear beckoning to me, endless horizons
The steering wheel once more in my hands
The world on my back
The time on my shoulders
The love in the air
Singing sweetly, melodies of unquenchable longing
Adance in possibilities
Open, to the endless future, that is in store for us
In the meantime, let us dance around the campfire
Let us blaze that story into the night
That none shall conquer, none shall harass, none shall come to know,
That one truth within that is everything.
My Baba is saying, “Awaken, dreamer.” “Awaken”
With a charming smile
Realize the cosmic unity of being that is your true inheritance
Let go of your attachments
Live in my flow that is all
Dance my dance with me
Light the beacon of your heart brightly
And share my light with all the sailors that you meet
January 16, 2013
Oh my mysterious love!
You speak to me of all truths,
And yet your designs remain ever a mystery to me.
I, as your instrument,
Am left singing of your comings and goings
Wondering where the next song will lead.
You are impervious to my demands
Deaf to my shouting,
Yet you listen like matchsticks to the beating of my heart.
One day I will capture you in all your glory
And spread you round about to the wayside
All exclaiming exuberantly “free at last”
But until that day, I solicit your presence in my heart
The continued joy of your divine presence
Over all obstacles,
Perceived or imagined
Asking only that you continue your dance in my heart
Continue your play in my mind,
To discover the truth of your song.
A longing, that is, as yet, neverending