Tepid Tea

October 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Sipping tea at the table,

Safe here, warm too.

 

Stormy damp out there,

Something in those black shadows.

 

My homeful existence.

God is great, good too.

 

Take a peek, he says,

Gulp the tea, slide the door.

 

Feel the fertile maelstrom,

Wind and wet leaves.

 

Looking back into the hollow lit up box,

Table, mug, silence, light.

 

Always walled in, or walled out.

Inside, outside.

Alone, herded.

No matter.

 

If I am here,

He is there.

 

Slide the door,

Back again.

Safe from sound.

 

Have some tea, he says.

It’s merely ruined,

Never changed.

 

 

Frozen Soldiers

October 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

 A row of albums at attention across the shelf.

Automatic paintings of life lived.

 

Pin that butterfly, a moment in Maroon Bells,

Captured and detained, prisoners of grasping love.

 

Seamless sojourns,

Set pieces, aching in their perfect ruin.

 

Smile, come on.

No, the sun is in their face.

Oh, that’s a good one.

 

When mom left, a scavenger hunt.

Faithless scribblings from the distant son,

Knicky knacky detritus,

Even the crumpled tableau of that long dead boy.

All to the dumpster.

 

Frozen soldiers guarding punctuated images.

Waiting for the ruthless strangers

To render their release.

 

The Crime No One Can Abet

October 27, 2014 § 12 Comments

Empty page.

Enemy territory.

 

Ferocious solitude.

 

Really, why?

Go be busy.

Live in that zone of frantic illusions.

 

Still you sit.

And still you wait.

 

Just open the vein, he said.

Easy enough.

Until intention strangles her creation.

 

Mesmerizing mocking cursor.

Blink, blink.

Tick, tock.

The pulse of your palsy.

 

Sitting on the fault line between stillness and surrender.

 

Hustling the game only one can play.

 

Performing the crime that no one can abet.

The Hunter’s Gaze

October 25, 2014 § 2 Comments

Soaring above me.

Hurtling down airy corridors.

He sees, as in a sped up movie.

 

I stand in the field beneath,

fixed, rooted.

Gravity’s glue.

 

Then to perch, imperial.

A hunter’s gaze,

lacerating the flesh.

 

Who to be,

What to become,

The next move,

Terrible mysteries.

 

As he launches for the climb,

Prelude to the kill,

I take his eyes.

 

The world now beneath me,

So many small, distant things.

 

There below, I see him,

Narrow and alone.

Jealous eyes upward.

Prey to his affliction,

father to son.

Feel It

September 6, 2014 § 15 Comments

Days roll by.

I recall them as busy, sometimes even hectic. Fulfilling responsibilities. Work. Errands. You know, just what we call “life.”

And then I make those moments. Standing in the woods in the early morning, in wonder at the misty rays of light piercing through. Tasting a cup of tea. Noticing again the graceful way she moves.

Those moments.

All else just being busy. Dodging and weaving. Perhaps afraid to live. Easier to keep plugging, I imagine.

But the choice is a matter of life and death.

Moment by moment.

Feel it.

 

Feeling the Lesson

June 21, 2014 § 9 Comments

Foolishness and vanity took me there.

Stuck on a steep rock face.   Looking down at a sheer drop of lethal dimensions. Looking up at thirty feet of brittle sandstone that came off in my hands in clumps at any serious pressure.

No way up, no way down.

I lost it. Molten anger. Screaming at myself- what the fuck where you thinking? Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Perched there, I settled and took a breath. I looked out at the stunning vistas before me, the mountains in the distance. Breathing, waiting.

Looking over my right shoulder, I saw something familiar. Nothing special, just a bush. But a green, living thing amidst the rock and rubble. Perched, like me, but different.

And I just knew. Twisting my body to the right, I held that bush to my chest and as I did, the rubbly ground beneath my feet slid away.   And that rooted living thing held me.

Looking up, I saw the other bushes scattered amidst the rubble field. Using them as anchors for my feet and my hands, I scrambled my way up through that rubble field back to the rock outcropping above and walked the trail home.

The Tao teaches us that “the soft overcomes the hard.”   Hard rock, soft plant. That day, on that rock face, I felt the lesson in my body.

Saved by Nature’s grace and a regained posture of openness.

Feeling a gratitude beyond words.

 

 

Be Patience

June 17, 2014 § 6 Comments

I am just leaving the airport, headed to Tassajara, the great Zen Buddhist monastery in the mountains east of Big Sur. Thinking of the precious time ahead in that sacred place.

The rental car’s GPS demands that I turn left, which I do, and I find myself in a parking lot. I explode in rage, screaming at the machine and at myself. You are so stupid, why did you listen to this ridiculous machine?

I finally gather myself, take a breath, exit the parking lot, and drive on.

Patience and impatience.

Patience seems to demand so much energy and will. It feels like such a very hard thing.

Impatience in contrast seems to come easy. The trigger is pulled and out it spills, without conscious effort or will.

But this is not right.

First, the impatience that slides into anger takes enormous energy. The shaking body, the racing heart, lungs propelling the screams. This form of impatience takes great effort and leaves us wasted.

And patience, that thing we think of as so difficult to sustain, actually demands no effort at all. That is, to be patient, truly, is to give no effort or will to the circumstances. To just let it be.

Each moment of challenge and difficulty, when we are consciously striving to be patient, we are actually still locked in our impatience.

Only when we let all that go, stop trying to push away the rage, stop grasping for patience, only then might we come to that exquisite place where acceptance reigns.

Effortless patience.  The quiet and still source of infinite power.

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