We stood around the fire
strangers to ourselves,
souls far from home,
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
I strummed soft smoky bittersweet notes,
steady, simple, continuous,
a blanket of consolation
that wrapped us each in our separateness
and kinda 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
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 a 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,
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
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.
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 occured to me
that my stomach couldn’t possibly fit
a taste of everything.
It hurt to see all the
I would have to leave
Half way down the table,
with the beginning and end both in sight,
I noticed so many things I wanted to taste
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:
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.
She handed me a glass of water,
and walked away.
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
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
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,
I want to gaze up at your original face,
hidden forever by first snow,
so the light can tease me
with your wink.
I grabbed at a thought and missed.
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,
the most crucial of all,
was for dinner.
My precious thoughts!
I couldn’t hold them all.
One by one I let them go,
sacrifices made in anxious surrender
Watching them fly off,
I was caught by the wide view of heaven.
it had been right in front of me all along,
I hadn’t been holding my thoughts.
They had been holding me.
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.”
Do I have it?
Is this how my lungs usually feel?
I don’t even know.
0.2% of people aged 30-39
I hear her coughing in the kitchen,
like someone smacking and scraping
an empty cardboard box.
“Like an iron weight on your chest,
like breathing through a pinched nose.”
Dizzy cold falling fuck oh my god this is it I have it
I remember that it could be
It would be alright to die like that.
OK, I feel alright
I/we can’t see what’s happening.
With stones and bamboo poles.
they killed thousands,
She said they knew he was innocent,
but the people stoned him until he was broken
into pieces that mixed with the gravel path,
desperate to prove their own innocence.
One third of Europe
I should quit anyway.
13,000 Americans die
every day from
“I don’t take responsibility at all.”
Man, sometimes I get so fucking scared.
It’s hard to get comfortable with the fact
life is just
ash to ash.