Thursday, April 30, 2020

April’s Apogee

With each act of creation
we draw ourselves closer
to that one great moment
when Creation first ItSelf-ed.

Word by word, line by line,
we, too, become ourSelves,
as each poem pulls us into
the Apotheosis of April.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Doomed

Of impending extinction a sign
is a species’ clear failure to rhyme.

The rare Purple Turtle
from the start was infertile.

And the Great Turquoise Tortoise
succumbed to rigor mortis.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Möbius Guitar

Held in my arms, a guitar.
Under my fingers, the strings.
From the strings, a chord rings out.
Within the chord, a single note.
The note riding on a wave of sound.
Each wave hilled and valleyed, rocky with overtones.
Over the next hill, a small town.
Winding through the town, a street.
On the street, a music store.
Inside the store, a guitar.
A hand, reaching for it.

Monday, April 27, 2020

At the Basilica of the Annunciation

Mother Mary lifts my eyes
and I am a child again.
My small hands slip into hers
as easy as breathing
and touch the loving callouses
where countless pilgrim hands
have rested, then carried away
infinitesimal flecks of paint,
infinite portions of blessings,
revealing, underneath the white,
the gray, and underneath the gray,
a love that has no underneath.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Five Unities

I
Shining through you,
the light in your eyes
shines through me.

II
One note struck,
and, suddenly, guitars everywhere hum
in sympathetic delight.

III
Thirty-seven trillion cells,
—thirty-seven thousand thousand thousand thousand!—
in your body.

IV
One drop becomes
a river, becomes a flood,
becomes the sea.

V
Sun and moon,
earth and wind and breath,
mind and heart.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Orchard Nocturne

Easing down, we feel the earth, its heartbeat close
within us, whispering why it willed us from our beds,
and beckoning branches dance above our doubting heads,
raising our gazes until we notice, as time slows,
celestial lights adorning the roofs of hidden chapels,
and we reach up, astronomers picking stars like apples.

Friday, April 24, 2020

You Can Like It, or Not

You can like a ukulele,
you can like it lots.
You can lick a licorice lolly—
lap up all you got!

Unique is the unicorn—
quite unique, you know.
You know universal quiet
quits euphoniously slow.

Yuletide as a eulogy
is useless now to you,
who utilizes usury,
usurping Yule, and Christmas too!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

How to Grow a Poem

I planted a period.

Torn up paper in the recycling bin
made a nice mulch of used words.

It was only a day or two
before a tiny eroteme
poked its querulous head up.

The light of a desk lamp,
a few dribbles of tea,
and it exclaimed itself upright,
punctuating the air.

I spread out a trellis of handwriting paper,
one-inch rule, dotted midline,
plenty of space for ascenders and descenders,
and watched as tiny serifs sprouted,
hooking and grasping.

Loops pulled into letters, drawing
themselves into words, blossoming
into phrases fed by roots that delve now
all the way into the bookcase,
drinking from the nectar that arises
when words are immersed in each other.

Come harvest time, the sharp point
of my pen will snip the ripe pods,
slice and spread and slather them
into a feast of lines and stanzas,
an abundance of language that all began
with only the simple dot of an ending,
just like this one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

If I Could Express

If I could express myself on a vision board, then the magazines we’re cutting up would be less Better Homes and Gardens and more Better Souls Enheartened.

If I could express myself in watercolor, then Winsor & Newton would have paints with names like B-flat major and Diminished Fifth.

If I could express myself in music, then each note would crystallize into a gem of pure experience for you to hold and treasure.

If I could express myself in sculpture, then solid stone would leap and dance in great, jagged, mazurkas, chiseling their rhythms into the earth.

If I could express myself in dance, then every movement I make would rhyme with the world.

If I could express myself in poetry, then… I’d probably have written something else!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Monastery of the Honeybees

In robes of golden brown and black,
We rise at very early hours,
To praise the day the Lord has made,
And pay our visits to the flowers.

You’ll find us working cheerfully,
Both in the fields and at home,
And from each tiny devotee,
You’ll hear our constant mantra: Aum.

When the bells of vespers call
We return with all our neighbors,
And in our apis apsidal
We lay the fruits of all our labors.

And there within our sacred nave
All our toils are transformed,
And with the sweetness we have made,
Our souls’ devotion is adorned.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Submission

“Joyful submission, indeed, is the way to pay off
one’s karmic debts without incurring any new ones.”
—Swami Kriyananda,
The Promise of Immortality

Do we have any choice but
to submit to the will of God?
What else can possibly happen?
But within our submission itself is a choice:
a choice between giving up—and offering up.

I respectfully submit my résumé,
which will thoroughly enumerate
my more than adequate qualifications
for anything You might throw at me,
as well as my clear promotional potential.

I submit to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury
Exhibits A through Infinity, demonstrating,
beyond a shadow of a doubt, the fact
that it is our very trials that have given us
the strength to become who we are today.

I submit myself, joyfully, to every opportunity.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

I'm Okay, You're Okay

I want to reassure
the neighbors
I pass, “It’s okay—
nothing can get in,
or out.”
Gloved and masked,
sunglassed, and
bike helmeted,
I peer out through
my swaddling
like the invisible man,
and I realize
the only thing
left to do
is learn to smile
through my ears.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Villainous Nell and Her Villanelle

Oh, there ne’er was a villain like Villainous Nell,
iniquitous poet, and quick to offend,
and all that she loved was her villanelle.

Her poetry grates like a banshee’s yell,
and no one could like it, nor even pretend,
for there ne’er was a poet like Villainous Nell.

The rhymes and the rhythms seemed tortured in hell,
but beautiful sonnets could never contend,
for all that she loved was her villanelle.

The townsfolk all plotted how best to expel
this fiendish reciter, or how to defend
their poor, suffering ears from that Villainous Nell.

When at last they arrested this cruel damoiselle,
she clutched to her breast the foul ode she had penned,
for all that she loved was her villanelle.

So now she just waits, all locked up in her cell,
scrawling more poems, awaiting her end,
for there ne’er was a villain like Villainous Nell,
and all that she loved was her villanelle.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Things to Do If You Are a Cup of Tea

Say good morning.
Be warm and comforting.
Share cookies.
Cool down when you need to.
Exalt yourself in ceremonies.
Tell a fortune.
Energize, and relax.
Bring out the best in whatever you are given.
Say good afternoon.
Mix in a little something sweet.
Be at home in a fine china cup or a clay pot.
Say good night.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Downhill

As April inclines towards May
my poems, too, begin to slip
and I wonder which meaning
of “it’s all downhill from here”
I should expect.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Eyes of Light

If thine eye be single,
thy whole body shall be full of light.
—Matthew 6:22


Looking into the camera lens
I draw my own focus
to a matching single eye
and feel the light rising,
filling, flowing over and out,
to all eyes of light,
where all I’s are one.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Scattered

My mind is a poem that doesn’t exist.
My mind is two banjo-mandolins, tuned a semitone apart.
My mind is three monkeys climbing one tree.
My mind is four trees clambering up one beleaguered monkey.
My mind is five zoom meetings shoving each other around my calendar.
My mind is six feet of social distance away from any useful ideas.
My mind is seven ropes, looking for something to tie them together.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Perception

I have taken leave of my senses,
left the old to receive the new.

Through the mountain I know
the truth of things,
their steady, unshakable,
immovable essence.

Through the river I know
the flow of life,
how one drop connects to another,
and all flow to the sea.

Through the fire I know
the mutability of matter,
flicker to flame, inferno to ember,
substance to smoke.

Through the wind I know
the breath of the world,
an expanding awareness throughout
the infinite sky.

Through the moon I know
my place in creation,
what I orbit, what I reflect,
what I draw to myself, and push away.

Through my sixth sense, the Sun, I know
the Light that shines in all beings.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Heaven in a Handbasket

This ride is a ricochet of chaos—

the more we cling,
the more we’re battered,
scattered, scared and scarred—

the more we fight,
the more we’re fought,
and caught, caged and barred—

until we see the Man
behind the curtain grinning,
an empty tomb, the heavens starred—

oh, then we See! and all our cares repay us.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Walkin’ in Quarantine

[here’s a video of me singing it,
to the tune of I’m Walkin’ by Fats Domino]


Well, I’m walkin’, yes indeed,
but I’m talkin’ ’bout quarantine,
and I’m hopin’
that you’ll stay over there.

I’m lonely as I can be
I’ve been waiting for your company
but I’m hopin’
that you’ll stay over there.

No handshakes and no high fives,
Just gimme a wave if you wanna say hi,
Forgive me if I seem too shy,
I love you, yes, but I don’t wanna die

so keep walkin’, yes indeed,
and keep talkin’, about quarantine
and I promise
that I’ll stay over here.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Rock of Unction

I never knew how soft a stone could be,
what depths could be contained within so flat
a slab of marble. Bathed in centuries
of tears, it holds them all, remembering that
first evening of sudden, hurried grief,
when Hope itself dissolved into a flurry
of oils and sheets and sobs, and the belief
that what was real could ever be buried.
But tears come also from joy, from the dawning
awareness of a light that shines through sorrow,
through stone, a strength that holds us in our longing,
and from that core, we lift ourselves to follow.
Thus we, this stone anointing with our tears,
find joy returned from all our griefs and fears.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Galilee

An inland sea,
its soft breath coming to rest
on the enfolding banks of my soul,
the water so still now,
as I step out
upon it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

I Got the Blues

I got the blues.

I got the blues of Krishna, Shiva, and Rama.

I got the blues of sapphire, turquoise, aquamarine, and topaz.

I got the blues of a pair of eyes falling in love.

I got the blues of a forget-me-not’s memory.

I got the blues of a bluebird’s trill practicing the piccolo part to the world’s symphony of joy.

I got the blues of a doppler-shifted star rushing through space to make a new friend.

I got the blues of a child’s laughter at a ba-lue balloon sailing into a sky filled with infinity.

I got the blues of an ocean singing to the sky.

I got the blues, and I’ll keep ’em.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Curse of the Noodle

[for Bruno, and for all musicians who can’t keep their hands still]

Musicians all know of it, scary but true:
The Curse of the Noodle, ba doobie doo doo.

Just sitting quiet, guitar on your knee,
The Noodle is waiting, ba doobie doo bee.

You scoff if you think this might happen to you,
But the Noodle is coming, ba doobie doo doo.

And just when you shouldn’t play, I’ll guarantee
The Noodle draws closer, ba doobie doo bee.

Your fingers now stray—one note, and then two.
The Noodle will get you, ba doobie doo doo.

Rehearsal derailed, and you’re on a spree,
The Noodle has struck! Ba doobie doo bee.

Ba doobie doo baba doo baba dee doo,
The Noodle has claimed one more victim: it’s you.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Palm Monday

Hoofprints,
tattered palm fronds
scattered about an empty street.

Am I late?
Did I miss anything?
Why are all these rocks humming?

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday in the Time of Covid-19

“I tell you, if these hold their peace,
the very stones would immediately cry out.”
—Luke 19:40

Which Pharisees have rebuked us,
and whether we deserved it,
we may never know,
but we are holding our peace.
Some hold it gingerly, some lovingly,
as though we have never held it before,
or as though we always have.
Our peace teaches us how
it wants to be held.
And in that peace we find
the world whispering to us,
sweet seismological nothings
from the very bones of our planet,
no longer drowned out
by droning self-importance.
The birds rejoice in the spotlight
of our shared sun,
sea turtles bless the beaches
with their eggs and their trust,
and our Mother Earth,
as we don our masks,
slowly pulls her own aside,
beaming through the clearing air.
The song continues
though the singers change,
as together we await a savior,
await the day that our voices
will reunite in the new harmony
that our peace taught us
when we stopped to listen.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Work-from-Home Triolet

I live my life on Zoom now—
forgive my little rants.
I ought to clean my room now,
since I live on Zoom now,
and you should just assume now
I’m not wearing any pants.
I live my life on Zoom now—
so forgive these little rants.

Friday, April 3, 2020

The Midnight Yoga Alarm

From the depths of slumber,
as I ascend, bypassing entirely
the spiral stairway of wakefulness,
I rocket instantly to high alert
with the midnight screaming
of the smoke alarm. Three blasts,
lights on, standing on a chair,
poised to disable, and it stops,
of its own accord,
mission apparently accomplished.

What doesn’t stop is my mind,
poking and prodding every time
my body tries to sleep again,
until at last they drag each other
out of bed, to iron out
their differences on the yoga mat,
on the meditation cushion,
in the poetry notebook,
and back to bed, three hours later,
nearly in time
to get up again.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Upon These Rocks

A stone holds what it knows,
and only Truth Itself outlasts it.
And though the centuries crawl by,
yet still it whispers if you ask it,
and tells of One it knew whose foot
did tread, or skip, or slip along it,
and shares with you that Presence still,
if you but lay your heart upon it.

Upon these rocks now will I build
my church with bones of sacred stone,
anchored in depths of earth and soul,
and there, unshakably, a throne
is raised to hold the lasting praise
my heart learned from the rocks of old,
and locked within this simple clay,
experience of inner gold.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April Spills

March was parched, but April spills,
and floods its banks until it fills
up poetry’s valley to the hills.

And may you, out of winter’s chills,
be spun in circles and quadrilles.

The poem leads us where it wills.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Ghazal: In Solitude

What do you think you will find in solitude?
We are never so close as we are in solitude.

10:30, the hordes descend upon recess,
And I bid farewell to what could have been solitude.

Lost in the rustling hustle of a crowd,
Bustling anonymity meets its twin: solitude.

Semi-quarantine keeps the virus at bay.
This is what it takes for us to begin solitude.

The blessing of human contact shoved aside
To buy the toilet paper we’ll hoard in solitude.

Guru teaches us the price of our greatness:
To reach our potential, first we must win solitude.

The breath of inspiration flows from silence.
Creation springs up primordially in solitude.

In deepest stillness, find the universe’s
Constant companionship that underpins solitude.

Expanding, multitudinous Unity,
And at last I meet Tandava, here in solitude.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Arati

softly
manifesting
she glows into the world
and the light within each of us
dances