A Single Thought

"A Single Thought"

New album of poetry performance with guitar and cello accompaniment.

Full Lyrics with Time Stamps

"Samsara" (0:00)

We stood around the fire

that night,

strangers to ourselves,

souls far from home,

stranded on this far-flung and forlorn

fold of the vast wasteland of form,

in some kind of interdimensional waystation,

someone’s back yard.

 

We were all the main characters in separate stories,

long and wild ones, but

somehow we all ended up in that scene together,

wondering if destiny had a purpose,

all awestruck and quiet

around the fire that night.

 

I strummed soft smoky bittersweet notes,

Steady, simple, continuous,

a blanket of consolation

that wrapped us each in our separateness

and kind of snuggled us all together.

 

Notions flared up occasionally,

wispy and wistful,

or sparking and popping out of the fire ring.

“How did I get here?”

“I wonder what ever happened to so and so…”

“What could I have done differently?”

“How am I gonna get out of this place?”

“My soul isn’t from here,

but it can’t remember where home is.”

“I wish the child-me could know how loved he was,

But he never really knew and now he’s dead,

and buried somewhere

inside me.

But maybe he can hear me tell him now;

I see his ghost playing and running around in my dreams some nights.”

“Dreams make perfect sense,

Why is being awake such mindfuck?”

 

Now and then

we looked into each other’s eyes for a moment,

maybe a little more,

with sad smiles and

soul’s light glowing through

those sweet heartache eyes

of warm moist clay,

cheek bones and brow worn down

to an earthy grace

of surrender and determination.

 

Yeah, now and then

we look into each other’s eyes for a moment,

but mostly we all stare into the fire,

half hypnotized.

Is it because,

behind the flickering

flames of this life,

a constant light and warmth reminds

us of some kind

of eternal home,

a place to rest in belonging?

 

Or do we stare into the fire

so we can put our backs to home,

the cold dark space surrounding us,

stretching beyond the beyond,

whispering to us,

reminding us that sooner or later

we must return,

whenever our spirits decide they’re finally done with this samsara.

 

Did we stay too many times in this world,

clinging to some kind of self?

Are we the abandoned orphans

or are we the runaways?

nobody can remember.

But I know that whether we live infinite lifetimes

or die a final death,

not one of us will make it out of here.

"Almost Full" (4:12)

The table was so long

I couldn’t see where it ended.

An incredible banquet

of countless dishes

crowded together and out into the distance.

I picked up a plate and excitedly moved along

sampling this and that.

Many dishes were marvelous and delicious,

many shockingly foul and bitter,

but I found while the flavors faded,

all were worth trying.

I grew anxious.

Some dishes emptied,

but I wanted more.

And it occurred to me

that my stomach couldn’t possibly fit

a taste of everything.

It hurt to see all the tempting treats

I would have to leave

untouched.

Half way down the table,

with its beginning and end both in sight,

I noticed so many things I wanted to taste

weren’t even

on the table.

Rage and disappointment!

How could this be my banquet?

This is all there is?

I felt a hand on my shoulder.

It was the chef.

I was just about to complain,

but she spoke first,

in a voice of wry and friendly humor:

“It’s funny!

You are here

and you have been given

an exquisite banquet,

and yet you’re upset,

because all you can think about

is what you couldn’t have.

Ha!”

She handed me a glass of water,

almost full,

winked,

and walked away.

"Words Are Curious Fingers" (6:20)

Words are curious fingers

Feeling into my tight spaces.

Words are sonar pulses;

echoes describe my inner places.

Words hang around my too-many key rings;

I know one of these has to be it!

Words are the clothing of my thoughts,

Revealing and concealing with their fit.

Words are walls I follow with my hand

In this house without lights.

Words are the shape of this labyrinth

That I must wander all night.

"Just a Dream" (7:10)

You set out from your old barren house of wood

into that great spacious twilight so full

of mystery

about to be born,

bundled up

advancing through windy fields of tall dry grass

under the heavy storm cloud sky,

driven by purpose,

hardly conscious.

The dream from lifetimes past

had returned for you,

like an unseen brother

haunting from every horizon,

pulling you back to that place.

You will know it when you arrive

but only the dream knows the way there.

only the dream remembers

where the tablets stand,

marking where you keep the artifacts buried,

the clues you’ve collected through lifetimes,

fragments,

each showing just a precious piece of who you truly are.

Maybe once upon a dream you will complete the puzzle

and finally know your origins

and the destiny that centuries have been preparing you for.

As the first drops of rain fall,

you come to that old place.

You find the tablets

but they are blank.

The words you chiseled

with countless pairs of hands and eyes

through ages and lives

have worn away.

Indecipherable.

Rain fell heavy and you sobbed and roared

at traces of long lost lifetimes now fully erased.

You dug madly through the muddy red earth

with your fingers

until they hit the box of artifacts.

You hauled it up, set it on the ground, and lifted its lid as lightning

snapped the sky high above you.

Inside were the figurines, the music box, the pictures, everything.

But all had been drained of magic and meaning,

the aura of clue and enigma washed away.

Now they are just empty things.

You smashed the stones and walked away.

Back in that old wood house

You found some comfort.

Dry,

coals still warm.

You shouted a mad laugh and

dashed your jar of ink against the wall,

reading the dripping calligraphy

to learn the purpose and first clues

of the great new adventure before you,

because the only way to find your destiny

Is leaving it all to chance

when you are just a dream.

"Birds" (10:03)

I have seen a bird

cowering, shivering, shy.

I have seen another bird,

extending

its wings,

pushing powerfully on

air

until it rises,

finally soaring on natures invisible currents.

"After the Party" (10:40)

After the party

the clown stands alone at home

sobs uncomforted

"Abacus Cadabra" (11:00)

Crows gathered on the telephone wires,

some clustering, some apart,

Sometimes scooting this way and that.

Just for fun

Creation does its crazy maths

on this abacus of feathers, bone, and flesh,

rubber, copper, and electricity.

Math never adds up to anything more than itself.

Numbers move themselves so seriously,

oblivious, yet to to discover

that all their accounting and squawking and shitting

will never calculate a solution to the problem they’ve made

of life’s value.

"Tonight" (11:50)

Drop near-sighted fuss.

Let’s just enjoy being here.

Tonight we will die

"It Was a Good One" (12:11)

Sometimes in dreams

I have tea with a sweet Russian lady.

We sit in our cottage

at our little table

between the open door and window.

The ever fresh days,

white, blue, and yellow,

rush in and around us

with the children.

She was once my wife,

and this cottage and these children were ours.

We meet here

so we can remember, reminisce,

relive that lifetime, feeling

all it’s moments at once,

folded into this place

forever

in time between all times,

resonating even through the fog

of a new life.

I wake up crying.

There’s never enough time.

I lay wondering who she is now.

Could we recognize each other awake?

In my next life,

when I dream,

I hope I’ll visit this one I live now.

I hope I can sit with Mom and Dad and John,

and hold Lady and Penny while they bark and lick my face

like I just got home.

I hope I’ll read again with the children I taught in my classroom.

In my next life,

when I dream,

I hope I’ll visit this one I live now.

It was a good one.

"Old Red Shed" (13:55)

Old red shed

Old rusty Masterlock

Old shingles still sparkle

and moss finds its way over and under.

Those old double doors,

each marked with the X of boards

from corner to corner.

Old sloppy paint job.

It could use a new one.

And a good washing too.

Spider webs hang tight

but bend enough in the breeze

so the sun can light up threads

in new ways.

"Strange Bird" (14:52)

Frantic

I grabbed at a thought and missed.

Terror

as two flew from my arm’s hold.

I was clutching a wild flock to my chest.

Obsessed eyes scanning back and forth,

Trying to notice which would try to escape next.

Wings fluttered in my winced face and

Beaks pecked at my eyes and

Another slipped out and flew off and “I NEED YOU!”

One had an urgent message still tied to its leg,

Another was pretty,

And another I wanted to wear on my shoulder,

to repeat and validate everything I said,

And another,

the most crucial of all,

was for dinner.

My precious thoughts!

My precious…

I couldn’t hold them all.

One by one I let them go,

sacrifices made in anxious surrender

and faith.

Watching them fly off,

I was caught by the wide view of heaven.

Laughing,

I remembered

it had been right in front of me all along,

I hadn’t been holding my thoughts.

They had been holding me.

Free

and facing the spacious fullness of life

I raised my empty arms in wonder and gratitude.

A strange bird landed

in my palm.

I didn't grasp.

I held it graciously, like the ground holds our feet.

The strange bird looked me right in the eye

and said, “The important ones will come back

exactly when you need them,

but they will need a place to land.”

"Original Face" (16:45)

The smooth, fresh snow of youth,

glowing with light still whole,

conceals the rough rock faces

sculpted countless lifetimes.

What spring-born creature could know

the land’s shape before the winter?

The melting reveals,

but not before it alters.

Cracked rock tumbles

and loose earth washes away.

Blue, pink, and yellow surprises

speckle receding white,

as the land awakens slowly,

slipping the blanket off

its bed of green grass,

blood brown soil,

scattered, quiet stone.

The frozen white light shatters

into the many colors.

The mask melts at last,

and the terrain

of a well-worn face

appears.

I wanted to meet you

while we still wore some snow.

I wish I could have seen

you through your seasons.

And I wanted you to see

how I became.

I wanted someone

to know.

But it’s just as well.

We will be glad to find each other already unfrozen,

wearing our warm ridges lovingly.

We will share stories of spring and summer,

imagine the blossoming and burning.

Sometimes story is better than sight.

Like neighboring mountains,

have we already seen each other

shaped through the countless cycles?

Who can remember?

But I will know you when I see you.

You will have, as I do,

a snow capped peak,

a special and secret place

standing out above you,

fantastic,

unreachable.

I want to gaze up at your original face,

hidden forever by first snow,

so the light can tease me

with your wink.

"Canvas" (19:11)

It always starts with a bright pure canvass

But every painter knows the next thing that comes

Is the darkest layer.

From then on,

Every value that comes is

a little lighter.

The bright pure shine doesn’t come back until the very end

In just a few spots of highlight,

Where the unbroken spectrum can reflect into your eyes once again,

Now surrounded by all its sides revealed,

Nested in all it had hidden at the beginning.

"I Am a Ghost" (20:10)

I am a ghost.

Sometimes I drift through the city

among the living.

I observe them

going through their motions.

They can't see me.

They hardly see each other.

Bodies without spirit.

Me?

I’m a spirit

without a body.

It is lonely to haunt,

to see and not be seen.

But, ah! the thrill of encountering another ghost!

The relief and longing fulfilled

as our eyes meet,

crossing the distance in less than a blink!

We move towards each other

through the crowded graveyard.

At last to be seen!

And by such a spirit.

One who saw the dream behind the illusion,

One who wasn’t strong enough to submit

but had all the courage to rebel,

One who smashed their tight shell,

One who cut off their Earthly anchor

for freedom to pass through walls

and see the other sides,

adventuring through worlds and times!

How sweet it is to have found each other!

But

we ghosts can no longer become anchored,

even when we want to.

Knowingly, we drift our separate ways.

But we are eternal
and we know

we will meet again

and again.

"Young Love Forever" (21:40)

The old fisherman walks the shore

a bit before the sunset,

steady, patient, and quiet,

working to make peace with life.

His wife has passed away and his children are grown

and somewhere else

they have lives of their own.

Alone he must make his peace.

He is almost soft and empty enough,

at last,

for the fullness of life

to fit and breathe

comfortably inside of him.

But the old fisherman shakes his head

and smiles, a little sad,

as his longing haunts his surrender.

He gently steps along the line

where waves and sand

have playfully wrestled

in young love forever.

"Firefly" (22:50)

I used to have a saying,

“It’s always darkest

just before

It gets even darker.”

It came to me

while blindly,

awkwardly stumbling

through freezing, starless night.

Night without end.

Without premonition

I abruptly find myself

standing in a brilliant clearing

and as I shudder and sob and laugh

and all the confusion

the turmoil

the fear

fall off,

I look behind

and the way I came in utter darkness

is now a gold-lit path.

I now understand how

it all had purpose,

All of it,

pulling me with perfect grace and certainty.

If I had chosen what I was doing

and where I was going

I would have never come

to the right place.

There was a path

even when I didn’t think there was a ground

beneath my next

s

s

s

t

e

.

.

.

p.

My guide was a firefly.

A humble, diligent, wise point of light,

from nothingness appearing

just long enough to indicate the way

to stumble

just a little further

before fading back into the immersing shadow

Now, as I struggle along through darkness

I remember that everything is revealed in hindsight

and hindsight has at last given me this foresight:

though I don’t know where I’m going

or how I’ll get there,

I will arrive at precisely the right place

and then I will understand why it had to be so.

The nights are so long

and the days but moments,

but now I can trust the darkness

and the firefly.

I can breathe deeply,

and laugh,

while blindly,

awkwardly stumbling

through freezing, starless night.

"Little Beauties" (25:00)

Find little beauties.

Take a closer look.

As your focus narrows

the object expands

beyond measure.

What was once a discrete object,

limits defined,

is now a world without end,

just as Earth is a neat, little sphere from far away

but on the ground it is an intricate plane

stretching off into infinity

all around you.

Wander across the vast, vast

leaf.

It could take weeks to explore

all the way

from tip to stem.

To travel all if its roads

could take a lifetime.

Hike the peaks and valleys

of the texture

of a paper.

Everything is strange and wonderful

except for the old ideas you kick around.

The deadness you see in the world

is only the deadness of your withered ideas

reflected back at you,

which you mistake for the truth.

Clean your eyes

and let them receive

the vitality and intelligence

of the endless and alien

construction of the cosmos

on display

in all the little beauties.

"Wake Up" (26:56)

If we were truly awake

to what matters in life,

we would

play and laugh, enjoying just each other

with uninhibited delight

because we love each other so much;

we would

savor the unfolding instants,

soberly staring into each other’s eyes,

cursing and praising time,

because we love each other so much;

we would

meditate together on the truth that we will have to die,

grieving and sobbing and wailing and pressing our bodies together,

hating to let go

because we love each other so much;

we would

break every politeness and taboo against expressing love,

break our fear of loving too much,

break our fear of receiving too much love,

BREAK our hearts open

purposely and urgently and desperately,

knowing everything depends on succeeding in this,

because we love each other so much.

If we were truly awake

to what matters in life,

we would.

"Church" (28:15)

Earth,

most Holy Church of churches.

People pissing in the pews

Windows either broken out or boarded up

Cigarette butts stomped into the floor

And that pile of shit and garbage

that people started in the corner

is starting to spill all over the place.

Gah!!!

Don’t they know this is a FUCKING CHURCH?!

No, they don’t.

Our ancestors all knew

but now most have been trained

not to notice

And soon enough we will all die

of starvation, dehydration, violence, poison, or sickness,

corpses strewn and piled

quiet and still

in every room.

The church will go on standing

but what good is a church

if no one worships there anymore.

"Little Box" (29:20)

You thought you locked your feelings

in a little box.

But now you realize

you’ve played a little trick

on yourself.

You’ve locked

yourself

in little a box,

and you’re afraid to come out

where the wild feelings roam.

"Digger" (29:48)

I’m always digging

I don’t know why I can’t stop.

Maybe I always want to know what’s underneath.

Or maybe I’m never satisfied with what I see.

There’s got to be more.

Sometimes I see a glint down there

Or imagine what’s below those

unremarkable surfaces

and then I just can’t help it.

I dig. I'm a digger.

You can always uncover a new space.

Sometimes it’s bright under there.

Maybe part of me knows that the only way out is through.

Maybe there’s another sky down there.

So I dig.

Often I want to go wandering out wide

and sometimes I do.

But mostly I dig.

Intently.

I’m getting somewhere.

Maybe a wiser part of me knows

the greater adventure is to go in, inner, in-est.

“Sorry,

I'd really love to see you tonight

but, um, actually

I have this really important digging thing I have to work on...”

Maybe I can’t help digging through the past,

piled up and decomposed.

I extract nutrients,

organic matter reduced to elements

that can become new life,

old materials to combine in new ways.

I find artifacts

that can help me see my way backward

and forward

at the same time.

Maybe some part of me remembers that,

while I’ve tried so hard to build myself a

certain way,

the real me

was already built

Perfectly

but got buried long ago,

and its excavation is now an emergency.

Or maybe I’m really just looking for a simple home,

A place to plant myself.

Maybe my secret is that I’m a seed

So often I ache to rise

to new heights.

Instead I just keep digging down deeper.

But maybe a wiser part of me knows

like a tree does

That you can only reach higher if you stretch deeper.

Maybe I’m digging a well.

Maybe I’ll strike the aquifer beneath all forms,

feeding each variation into being.

And one day,

after a lifetime of digging,

if nothing else

I’ll have a grave

and I'll crumble into it,

graceful,

grateful.

There’s dignity and purpose in digging it yourself,

starkly aware

that is what you are doing.

"A Blessing for You" (32:50)

May you be happy.

May you feel light.

May you allow a smile to gently spread through your face.

May your eyes be open and clean.

May you release your apprehension

and be filled with supple strength.

May you stand tall and rooted,

pulled taught from above and below.

May you remember that your appearance

comes from the inside out.

May you remember that you’re someone

who people are pleased to meet.

May you never forget that you are lovable.

May you often relive memories of the love you have known.

May you remember that the purest happiness is there inside you,

always shining just behind the clouds.

May you fly beyond them

on the gust of a single thought.