Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Greatest Grandeur
Some say it’s in the reptilian dance
of the purple-tongued sand goanna,
for there the magnificent translation
of tenacity into bone and grace occurs.
And some declare it to be an expansive
desert—solid rust-orange rock
like dusk captured on earth in stone—
simply for the perfect contrast it provides
to the blue-grey ridge of rain
in the distant hills.
Some claim the harmonics of shifting
electron rings to be most rare and some
the complex motion of seven sandpipers
bisecting the arcs and pitches
of come and retreat over the mounting
Others, for grandeur, choose the terror
of lightning peals on prairies or the tall
collapsing cathedrals of stormy seas,
because there they feel dwarfed
and appropriately helpless; others select
the serenity of that ceiling/cellar
of stars they see at night on placid lakes,
because there they feel assured
and universally magnanimous.
But it is the dark emptiness contained
in every next moment that seems to me
the most singularly glorious gift,
that void which one is free to fill
with processions of men bearing burning
cedar knots or with parades of blue horses,
belled and ribboned and stepping sideways,
with tumbling white-faced mimes or companies
of black-robed choristers; to fill simply
with hammered silver teapots or kiln-dried
crockery, tangerine and almond custards,
polonaises, polkas, whittling sticks, wailing
walls; that space large enough to hold all
invented blasphemies and pieties, 10,000
definitions of god and more, never fully
filled, never.

~ Pattiann Rogers ~
(Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


It is very early in the morning as I write this, and the scent and sounds of May are drifting in the open window. There is a green perfume with notes of birdsong and baby sunlight. It's easy to think in terms of eternity and infinity, takes no stretch of imagination to recline in a verdant, flowered field with some big rock-candy mountain in the perfect distance.

The touch and sensation is supported by trust and openness and delight in the course of things.

Life on a populous planet--packed like sardines in the negatives of human thought and unconscious action--makes trust a challenge, to say the least. When "common sense" holds that survival depends on the strength of your walls, resistance and battle skills, relating on every level is tainted with a win/lose mentality. We sit with our various woundings in a state of constant bargaining, because we so desire real love, full rein of our senses, and authentic meaning that complete cynicism is almost impossible. Something in us continues to reach out occasionally, albeit through some barricade or slotted window in an ancient emotional fortress.

Wandering through a ruined castle or abbey where the birds have come to roost and the ceilings have taken their natural places in the wild grass, one comes to understand that these ancient stones are ultimately meant to surrender to an army of wallflowers and moss. Resistance, as they say, is futile. Collapse is always in the cards for anything we build. Love wins.

Long ago, I decided not to be agoraphobic in my own body, or even a mere tourist in life. Caution is all well and good when it comes to caring for my physical being...but safety is an illusion. The instinct that keeps me away from the rim of an active volcano or out of the path of a train is something deep and primal that I don't have to think about. But psychic clenching and withdrawal feels terrible, like a bad bargain, like an agreement to indulge in a pretty poison because of the illusory security and substitute love it grants. I am interested in the real thing, which happens to be the real "me", as well.

Healthy being is naturally a state of dynamic repose, relaxed attentiveness, and all other forms of paradox. I understand that the defensive capacity is what it is, and that there is nothing innately or morally "wrong" with a human who exists in a state of imagined isolation. I am that human. But below and beyond that, I am not human. I am not anything at all. I am an inclusive, unnameable "process" with an ability to create, a nature that I cannot attribute to the local, biological organism unless I do away with the idea of locality.

Releasing the idea of locality also collapses space and time; suddenly I am whatever is, right now. This is a far too open and vulnerable state of affairs for a strong ego or a smarting psyche, which immediately turns away to rebuild. But you know, it's an exhausting pastime, rebuilding in the name of defense!

On a day like today, or in the middle of a carbon-fueled storm or a social collapse, there is only one thing to do. Let go. There is nothing to replace the splintered and suspicious ideas that were supposed to protect and fulfill us, because we are already endless and full. There is nothing but an infinite receptivity going on here, an infinite capacity of each facet for the other. There is no actual struggle, even in the midst of violence. The love that we are equalizes and undoes everything it grows in the very motion of itself.

Fall in.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


If you look in the details, the hassles, the compost heap, and in the bottom of doing things you never wanted to do, you will see God (or whatever She is).

There is never a more direct and authentic connection than the swaying, sparking cable that wrecks the local view...the stuff you thought was gone and buried, the mess that belongs to third-world countries of this planet and of your soul.

Confronting that which you most fear, staying open anyway, there appears a terrible, beautiful divinity in the cracked mirror, in the failure, the sickness and apparently random pain. That which you utterly reject contains the answer.

We often believe that an ideal healing would find us in some kind of beautiful and well-tended setting--a spa, a monastery on a mountaintop, a tropical beach (sans bugs)--always with our basic needs provided by visible or invisible caring, compassionate or even hedonistic attendants. Somehow, during that time, we hope a new version of ourselves will emerge--a stronger, more defined and whole person, self-esteem and health restored, new confidence granted. Oh, and wisdom would be good, too!

Perhaps then, we could come back to our daily world transformed and immune to all this messy pain. Maybe the horrible sense of isolation and disappointment would be gone forever. It would be so nice, never having to worry again about a lack of security or beauty or power...about loss or death or enemies to our welfare! But if we actually manage to arrange a change in setting aligned with our imagination, what we take is none other than what we return with, which is this, now. Any truly restorative or profound experience will be lost on an ego busy with staying in a state of thrilling separation. Oh, the novel and dramatic search for love and wholeness! It sparkles and shines and beckons...for a good reason. It's the jewel at the softest throat, the flower in the belly, the warm strength of the unwavering arms in which we long to be held.

It is complete, utter acceptance of our fallible, failing and dying selves.

If only.

There are times when a storied loss is so great that it hurts to breathe. The body becomes leaden and the mind numb, and the only movement that makes sense is a frantic searching and turning to anything that resembles relief or escape. Now is the time to stop. Now is when the turning to face what pursues you is most productive...stay with it, because you are about to see the forbidden face and speak the forbidden name. No, you will not die, or turn to stone...just stay, and look. The setting is probably wrong, the time definitely inconvenient, and the view not very good. Someone is telling you that you are selfish or irresponsible or confusing. Just breathe.

No one wants to do this, because it means being absolutely and positively alone, all the props fallen by the wayside. In an age where we are beginning to see the fact and necessity of connection with each other, it will be nothing but a surface gloss unless we have the courage to stop where we are and behold what this is.

Look around and understand yourself. Look at this aloneness, this perspective which you are, which you create each moment. What you see is entirely brought into being by you. The world is literally what you are doing right now. You are the science and the mysticism, the naming and unnaming, the weakness and the power, sickness and health. If you see an incoming asteroid or nuclear missile with your name on it, and you wisely decide to go get your best baseball glove in an attempt to catch it, what you are as you look to the sky is this suddenly stunning view of backyard, upraised arms (one hand properly outfitted for the incoming catch), a growing shadow and expanding shape and sheer, freeing you know?

That is also what we are before and during. Accepting this aloneness, the fact that no one will ever fully understand being from exactly your point of view, is the beginning of the beginning. From the infinitesimally tiny point of primacy that you sense within, the aloneness continues to expand, until it includes all experience at all times as the complete and perfect view. Longing and fulfillment, gain and loss, blindness and sight is what we are. Is what God is. Somewhere along the way, alonenesss becomes too inclusive to leave itself out, and She is actual. Golden. Freedom. Knowing herself.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I have lots of burning desires scattered throughout my space, thrown off like tiny suns from a central, spinning core of white-hot being.

Each point of light generates its own universe and all events thereof; but it is to the Matrix Mysteria I return again and again, trailing my universes behind me. I go there for the simple reason that, within It, I experience the only true love I know--a wholeness, peace and joy so profound that it moves everything.

I go there because I must, because Maria is nothing but a speck of appearing and disappearing light on a liquid surface, thrown out in a dream and withdrawn to the heart of the Only in a series of rhythmic cycles (of which this physical heartbeat is a mere shadow).

I don't know why, with my verbal language.

But I know in some pre-and-post verbal way, the way of the eternal womb and the single-minded cell of creation, the way of the seasons of this life, all life, underneath the myth of the histories of both.

There is some kind of fire which individuates and unites. I carry it, and it seems to be my destiny to attempt to speak of it with mouth sealed shut and hands tied behind my back. I say this because there is simply no way I can satisfactorily communicate its implications. My human self feels the point of it all, the profound Being which cannot be created by any society or technology or mind--but can only be embodied.

This embodiment is, of course, completely natural, in the sense that it can be nothing else, and need not be "manipulated" into existence. In short, this itch I feel to pick up the nearest troubled person and deposit him or her in that vast and burning love is unnecessary--because the "trouble" is that same love in action. The wounding, the seeking to heal, the patient and the healer--all facets of a dynamic awareness. There is nothing I need to do. Except honor these universes of desire, which is how it all moves.

So as crazy-painful-blissful as this may be, I am a servant to this love. Shifting into it is not necessarily my decision. I can call it a conscious act, but all of history and all futures must align just so to enable this woman to feel every green and springy step under the trees, to find both an ache and beauty in a fallen nest and its broken, speckled egg, and to contemplate the full extent of the body and the gateways of Being.

Underneath the caring and not-caring, the seeking to pointless ends, lies a final wail which even now is being answered--she has never abandoned you, not once. She sings lullabies and songs of waking. If I open my mouth, the sounds of the river come out, or the shriek of an osprey.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I am



High Spring

This morning I walked with my camera...

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Go outside if you can
to a place not mapped, where ice might be gone and pink petals swirl in the street.
Take off all the dissonance and hang your identity where you are least likely to
remember (next to the scratchy guilt and plastic anger)
and just walk.

Look at the signs pointing to here and there and both.

Look at the dreams of this and that.

Allow the rain and sun to face you in the proper direction for perfect nonsense,
because no, there is no point. It is senseless, all this beauty
and your capacity
and the love you feel
(even for your denial).

Let the lust for bliss brush across the back of your neck
and cause you no end of troublesome delight.