I Have Seen a Bird

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I have seen a bird

crumpled, shy, cowering.

 

But I have seen another bird

lifting,

wings extending powerfully,

pushing on air until it rises,

then finally soaring on nature’s invisible currents.

A Blessing for You

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 heaven is inside you,
always shining just behind the clouds.
May you fly beyond them
on the gust of a single thought.

Young Love

WaveSand2

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 taunts his surrender.

 

He gently steps along the line

where waves and sand

have playfully wrestled

in young love forever.

Wake Up!

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.

 

The Safe

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.

I Am a Ghost

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.

 

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 look forward to meeting again

and again.

No Rest

We can’t be present for the bliss

of blessed self-forgetfulness.

 

We can’t savor even a peep,

awake in precious nightly sleep.

 

And release from Earthly grieving

arrives just as mind is leaving.

 

Who Are These Artists?

Who are these artists

that work so hard to

make their ideas into objects

or print or performance or sound?

What do they want?

Why don't they do something else

with the possibilities of their brief existence?

 

How many will look back on a lifetime

of wasted efforts, wasted time,

opportunities lost,

potential selves, life paths, and loves sacrificed

as they find themselves

old, poor, and alone

surrounded by their “art,”

monuments of their failure to actually live?

 

How many will be saved

by sacrificing their idea of being an artist?

How many,

instead of trying to make a whole life from art,

will make art by trying to live a whole life?

She Was Glorious

She came into the coffee shop around 8:30pm.

I think she was about 70 years old.

She had put in effort to look nice,

with a beret, cocked off to the side.

 

She was looking for dinner but

this was not really a place to do that but

she didn’t know.

She struggled to understand her choices

and asked questions about what sauces might be available.

 

I understood her disorientation and embarrassment

and grasping for anything to help her figure out

which way was up and which down

and where the ground was and

how to appear competent.

 

I remember moving to the big city,

a rural, working class kid feeling small and panicked,

intimidated and uninitiated, ashamed

in the bourgy, cosmopolitan coffee shops

trying to figure out how to order “coffee.”

 

The barista was cold and impatient and

entirely lacking compassion,

unable to sense the woman’s feelings and needs,

unable to put her at ease and simply

feed her.

She didn’t understand.

 

I understood this woman.

I know the kind of stale

museum-of-her-whole-lifetime

apartment that she lives in,

which nobody visits.

I know the suffocating stillness and changelessness.

I know the fucking miracle of courage and defiance she mustered

to determine to go out into the world,

to put herself together

and look nice and

put on her beret at a snappy and stylish angle

and walk out

into a public space in a city and a world

that she once knew so well,

which she had spent a lifetime nourishing,

which used to have smiling, familiar faces and conversations, and

warmth and it was home

but now it has moved on and she is lost,

just trying to figure out how things work

as she walks into a cafe

seeking plain food that she understands

and this barista

is incapable of helping her feel the ground under her feet,

a simple, human connection in her face,

and just get her some food that she would like to eat.

 

Ma’am, I don’t know your life.

Your life is not my life.

But I know something of your sadness and

I LOVE you and

I am here in your world with you!

 

We know the feeling

of quiet, understanding acceptance

of hopes snuffed.

We know the feeling

of quiet, understanding acceptance

of all the calloused hearts.

And we know that the barista is lonely and anxious too.

And we have compassion for us all.

And the tender, sweetsad love

that took anger’s place years ago

when it burned itself out.

 

Why,

knowing we all struggle with loneliness

and self-love,

do we not embrace each other?

Why

do we distract ourselves from tragedy

instead of helping,

or even add more misery,

to an already too-mean world?

Why

are basic love and connection,

the most human of all things,

so scarce and guarded?