From many places, speaking truth
and making magic happen. Celebrating language.

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The fallen angels Regarding Van Gogh's Advice... Winning
Looking at a Tree New York City (1996) 6 haiku
3 Chinese formula poems
The gnostic Will Christ Return?
The agnostic
The magic footprint Chalk and Board Not easy to forget
Needing to believe The Future's DNA (2 poems) Plea to a friend, to act wisely
The Nurse Dream-Based Verse (2 poems) Meditation Poetry (2 poems)
No Dead Poets If You Were Mine (and other lies) Encounter
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The fallen angels

Words can freeze revealed truths
and transform meanings.
Following dogma
many grope towards the light
and fall or stumble,
warriors losing battle flags
sacrificed to profane causes.

Until they need to reach
far within and beyond
(sometimes called "suffering
and the last straw")
followers fail guidelines
they haven't sourced,
not unlike mothers bearing
children with malignant marks.

Regarding Van Gogh's Advice
Not to Be Afraid and Not to Try
to Make a Painting Pretty

It takes courage not to try
to make a painting pretty.
Few souls can resist,
the desire to please requiring
that ugliness be hidden.

Tell it like it is,
beautiful and ugly,
the best you are able -
serve no other master!
Was that commandment made for man
who has so much to worship, and forget?

A Van Gogh baby is big,
drooling, eternal -
a fat promise
held by a vigilant mother,
her apron wrapped tightly
over simian bones like a second skin,
strings hanging like tails.

It is in related gestures too -
their straight backs,
a jutting hip,
a small leg dangling
and hands ready to reach -
that love and attitude
raise immortal heads.

(prose poem)

In first grade, I learned long fingers indicate aesthetic bent and
vision. Felt discouraged, until I saw pictures of chimpanzees
with very long fingers, long arms too, especially adapted for
grasping and swinging.

One of my professors remarked that in his experience people with wide
triangular eyes have benevolent souls and those with round eyes evil ones;
his own eyes were remarkably wide and triangular and when he saw me
looking, noting their glint too, he frowned. Every time he heard his round-eyed
dog bark he put it in a closet, on a vegetarian diet; it only lived five years.

And so it goes: white, brown, short, tall, plump, thin, old, young;
we make one better than the other because someone has to lose, we think,
so why not play more games like who can be truly kinder?

Looking at a Tree

Loving grace shapes the trunk

and every branch.

Leaves ruffle like feathers;

parts half in sun seem smiles

of an unselfconscious God.

The tree is at one with Him, effortlessly,

majesty that simply is.

I remember now - all trees,

all living things, are graceful and flowing

unless too injured to be true to form.

An object shines through a gap

in denser foliage,

framed like an elusive treasure.

I name what this light-soaked thing

could be: salvation encased? A chest

for the holy grail?

It has been a long while

since I looked at a tree.

New York City (1996)

In touch
with the heartbeat
of the world
we have a sense
of action snowballing,
of impending upheaval.

In my neighborhood
a darkness beyond the ordinary
has been settling in
for a long while.
It penetrates the daylight,
walls of buildings,
pores of faces.

We know it is never too late,
but is there a future here?
That is the incredible question
in this City of high energy
where people of every kind
live together in a harmony
unheard of elsewhere.

We play out our dramas
deep in the womb
of a sleeping volcano,
await the purifying fire.

3 Chinese formula poems

Wafting in fragrance
a peach blossom falls.
Blown into the bushes
a love letter is lost.
No one sees.


Hidden in weeds
cat watches crow
pulling up a worm.
Overhead a plane purrs
trailing smoke.


Under dark sky
pink buildings glow,
a man looks up,
takes deep breaths,
forgets to hurry.

6 haiku

big white fish hiding
under red October leaves
closes, opens lips


brief as a firefly
a goldfish glides under weeds
in dusky water


carp swims up my scroll,
turns into silver crescent
predicting long life


walking over stones
a fat catfish and minnows
sliding over toes


elegant bamboo,
the lucky kind, curls 3 times;
yellow base means death


my boots sometimes sink
climbing over a snow bank,
ice cream cone steady

The gnostic

To follow the Christ spirit
manifest in that one
who was a son of God and knew it
even in the bloody eye of his storm

allowing truth
open to what the winds will bring
open to dying, to being born
is too difficult for me

I opened many doors once
and turned my life authentic
but love won’t bear another undergoing
I think, looking back -
still, today appeared a hurricane
and I am walking through it upright

Don’t call me christian though,
a follower of dogma;
I’m a co-creator in alignment.

Will Christ Return?

It's unbearable, the thought that he might not show up
after all the killing done to herald his return.
Why wouldn't he want to be with us?

If he can prove beyond reasonable doubt
he's who he says he is, dispel our fears
he could be a terrorist - or a paranoid schizophrenic now -
he won't be crucified this time round though
he might have to prove as well that he won't be a threat
to our special interests.

The agnostic

The agnostic is caught in his mind
by his god and by his devil

to be and not to be:
maybe devil and god exist; maybe neither

maybe mist was always rain
and rain a shining river

there are no answers, he believes,
but the questions are eternal


Feet flatten,
holes grow,
a push and pull
wearing down concrete,
leather and bone.
Like wind and roses,
stone and sun,
like us,
each shoe's life
depends on crafting,
what it is made of
and what it rubs.

The magic footprint

Whoever puts his foot in a side of the cliff
where a giant footprint is stamped
will be granted the wish there he makes for himself.

In our town, this is a living myth.
Over the past 30 years, four have tried;
one fell into the sea and broke her hip,
the others say their wishes have come true.

I decide with certainty - no doubt
what will have come to pass for me;
un fait accompli already,
it manifests in its time like magic
if I let it be.

Not easy to forget

Blue lights danced down aisles,
around corners in his sleepy eyes
playing find and lose
with the timing of a master,
the power of a magnet.
He was a drummer who kissed runes
of wisdom and wit, understood in depth
and found the rhythms in my marrow.

When I melted, though, he quickly sank our float
saying as he left,"I’ve enjoyed this intermission."

Needing to believe

The vendor offered an uncut diamond;
the price was irresistable
but what he firmly, tenderly held
looked dull;
shaping will turn on its shine
he promised.
She needed to believe him
and hold her hopes high
and not disappoint either;
she bought cut glass,
warned from within,
unwilling to change course.

The Future's DNA

The future unfolds
the intent of living things
to die and be born again.

The caterpillar inches towards death
spinning its cocoon
willing to grow wings.

The future unfolds intent
allowed to manifest.

Before its egg is made and laid
a seabird forms its wings.

Chalk and Board
(or Cheek and Tongue)

Vice makes virtue possible to know,
like white chalk on black or green,
thus there is no role I would not play --
sage, madman, robber, king --
changing skin and gait
on a Shakespearean stage;
the more identities I can have
the more knowledgeable I can be,
act deliberately,
not re-act mechanically
or be fooled by Loki spirits
hovering near.

This reminds me of a dream
in which a traveler lost his way

but that was before I found my devil
looking out just for me
while I hop leg to leg
finding-missing parts,
loss to gain back to back;
the devil with a stash of scalps
who tells me I've been chosen
and others haven't.

Plea to a friend, to act wisely

When have you or I
stopped pursuing folly
before many falls?

There is a Zen saying
that some horses only need
to feel a whip lightly,
others in the marrow of their bones.

The Nurse

(for Joanne Wright)

The world beats a path to a door
to find an angel of mercy.
She is a gentle, elegant woman; strong, yet
the daily wear and tear is almost too much.
But she endures.

Nobody is just one person though
and while she ministers to the sick
she sometimes sees a hero on a white horse
on the bed she is tending, who sees her as his heroine.
If only she can make him well...
then a weak pleading brings her back to her true calling.

Dream-Based Verse

Dream Of Bondage

I opened an ornate wooden door
and fell into deep, stagnant water,
broken toys all around,
dirt and paper

I struggled, and pulled in
more garbage,
something inside me
connected to it

A giant suction tube
pulled my body from below,
trying to take its bottom half
as I fought to stay afloat

Exhausted, unable to breathe,
I let go -- and an old window appeared
with plain shutters I could open
and squeeze through

On a beach

(vignette from a dream)

Shadowy trees wrap around one another, undulate in twilight. Ferns and succulent leaves emerge and fade. A pre-rhinoceros creature with low hanging skin munches lacey grass and indifferently looks my way. Leaving my body on a large rock I view my pose from above. Hills breathe, contract and expand. The beast quizzes himself then walks toward my body on the rock, stops, drops his head and vanishes. Long, biomorphic shapes take his place. A young boy forms from them whose body grows transparent toward his toes.

My focus shifts to light flowing into my space from an unseen source -- and I am in a new, spell-bound land. An ocean shimmers blue, green, gold; the sky is pale rose. The rock I sit on now is bleached skeleton white. I climb down and draw a circle, section it into north, south, east and west. The north represents strength, and here fades in a fragile shell growing large and solid.

There is a test of strength to pass before the Master of Games will let me move on.

I close my eyes, feel a hand on my shoulder and open them. A young man is standing at my side, the same that formed earlier but now he's older.

'Snuck-up-on doesn't bode well,' I say out loud, but like the power I feel from him. Determination lines edge his mouth. His eyes are like blue ice in summer.

'I've come as required by the Quest,' he says. 'My name is Adam - I'm from the West. You are my partner in strength?'

'Strength is power well-used. Take your hand from my shoulder.'

'If you're going to resist, I cannot be your knight.'

'I'm used to the absence of chivalry.' Perversely, I recall the line from Satre's No Exit: 'Hell is other people.' At least he hasn't called me 'chick.'

'What test do we have with the shell?' he asks, dropping his hand.

'The Master of Games left instructions inside the tip, and we're to get them out without cracking it," I reply. 'The instructions tell us what to do next. They will disappear if the shell cracks.'

The shell is about three feet high and four feet from mouth to tip. 'It's too delicate for anything ordinary to have lived in it,' I comment, drawn drowsily into its iridescence. Salmon, ivory, purple, green and blue lights burst forth from its mouth and with them the distant voices of ancient tribes. Its crust, ridged with points, spirals like a ram's horn.

'Only the beauty of a thing can trap a man. That's why it's important to see it whole,' he says, not looking at me.

The voices become louder, speaking in rhythms and ancient tongues. The shell glitters in the sun. I feel his heightened energy and interest.

'It's up to you to be faithful to our mission,' he says.

Barely awake, I feel the beating in my heart before he vanishes.

Questions Emerging From A Dream About Eating A Pet

Does all food, including medicine,
heal separation?

when we eat we make what is
not us, our own?

is eating, like touching, a way to know
the illusionary nature of form?

are rules made to be broken
in ways that work

like - bite off more than chewable
if very hungry (and learn what you learn)?

Meditation Poetry


Lord of Heaven
give me your blessing.
Color me with your light.

No other can purify
like You, the Ocean.
You make me light.

You are mother, father,
sister, brother,
child, friend, companion.

Satguru, Lord of Heaven
show me what I am,
what I am becoming.

You are the Star guiding
me home, the Lover
who inspires me to transform.

I belong to Light.
I am Om, Om Shanti.

(Satguru means "the true teacher"; Om Shanti means "I am a peaceful soul.")

Child of God, do you know who you are?

Do you know who you are?
Is your self-esteem high?

Deep is the ocean
of unlimited love,
the Mother.
The child who knows her
is not an orphan.

Child of God,
do you know who you are?

No Dead Poets

They are not dead,
those monsters of light
who tickle my marrow.
Sometimes, turning a page,
I glimpse one
stroke the moon and
shiver with delight.

If You Were Mine (and other lies)

You left me in the early hours
not waiting for the pale yellow
of a flower
or leafy trees to shine,
fleeing to softer lights
before the sun
could touch my arms.

Traitor, you are,
yet I love your heavy-lidded eyes;
I would shield you, were you mine.
You would not need to be

a faithful lover as you think.

Together we would sink

 into the moon's wild beams

 and swim through purple-flowered seas

 to before the start of time.

If you were mine.


Light gleams from your window.
Children soft as petals,
translucent as stardust
play on your steps,
call me.
But how can I accept
a promise you made
to love me, then forgot?