Tao Te Ching #1

The word that can be spoken is not the eternal word.
The picture that can be drawn is not the true picture.

The indescribable created all.
The describable is the mother of every thing.

Therefore, only beyond the thinking mind, can
we see the beautiful mystery.
With the thinking mind, we see the appearance.

Both see the same world,
but see it differently.
To see both as one, is to see the deepest.
It is to see the deepness within deepness,
the gateway to the beautiful mystery.

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Good Friday prayer

On this good, good
Friday my heart goes out to my companions at Calvary,
by which I mean
those who are witnesses to the death of life and end of love,
those who are broken open like crumbs upon the water,
those who are sick and crying out,
those to whom no music is playing anymore,
anyone lost, anyone lonely,
all thieves and trespassers,
the generous loves dead at the hands of men
and the men and women with imperfect hands,
the poor whose dreams are low to the ground enough
to be reached by the jackboots,
the forsaken under a stormy sky.

My heart goes out to my companions at Calvary.
I wish I could tell you,
“three short days, and then voila,”
but the truth is, who knows.
I’m here with you, that’s all.
The night is coming and may bring no rest.
Tomorrow may be the day hope finally
gives up the ghost,
and we can stop fussing around with it.
Sunday, if you like,
I’ll come with you to the tomb.

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The Ocean Forgets

The world remembers; the ocean forgets.
All the tablets of sale and gentlemen’s bets,
The criminal records and parking fines –
Earth’s tear knows not what’s yours, nor cares what’s mine.
It just roars on. Keep shouting, dear friend!
Mad lover of my lifetime’s heart, whose end
Is the beginning of all creation.
Who counsels wild abandon and patience.
Roll on, great river of the moon, roll on!
Past the bulwarked hopes and sailors’ songs
Which a race lifts, each upon the other,
High upon the sands, and all for mother.
Roar on: tell me all is lost, and all supplied,
And I will post no bills, and wait the tide.

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Flight Mode

The only things real are grief and joy.
As seagulls try out wheelies in the sky
between blacktops, my children earn their wings
on toys that were a history lesson
when I was young. I leave my cell on mute,
the better to see you with. And you’re here,
your Big Wheel racing past my orison,
my hand outstretched, delirious to be
catcher or caught, to tumble into all
the blessing at this winking moment’s heart.
You are not gone. The streets are still calling,
a day or two before the dawn of time.
I breathe you in amidst the reeling mews,
and carry nothing, but your life in mine.

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Your Monday Blessing: The Calculus of Prayer

In the morning, when I talk to God, I say,

I would love to find a clean pair of boxers
waiting for me on the laundry rack,
but then don’t worry about me, God;
you must have much bigger matters to worry about – in fact,
tell you what,
why don’t you cure an African child of tuberculosis instead.

Prayer probably doesn’t work that way, number one,
and also, you’re not to play with God.
But I think She understands.
She’s known me longer than the Mississippi.

Every day I love God abundantly, and in return
she remunerates me in poetry. These days,
the poems flow easy, just
crazy easy.
Hey God, how about a poem, I say, and then they come –
these silly, worthless, light, fluffy, lovely poems.
If anyone were to ask where my inspiration comes from,
I’d probably have to laugh.
Where does your breath come from?

None of this chitter chatter amounts
to much. My life is birdsong
on someone else’s pleasant walk.
And happily so.
I will say this though:

If one day you meet me and I smell a bit pongy,
I hope that you might
join me in praise
for the uneven calculus of prayer.

And if on another day, I find those undies,
let’s curse the fresh air, and cry,
what gives, God, what gives?

 

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Love in Common

 

Remember,
for all of us human beings
who are not yet past
loving (and I would wager
that is almost all
of us who drag breath
into our lungs),
the earth is wide enough that there is a place
where we love in common.

For any two, any unlikely two,
that place exists:
the football pitch,
the concert hall,
the protest march,
the baby’s bedside,
the last unspelunked cavern
beneath Guizhou.

Sharing potential with a stranger
is not adequate, I know, to the task
of turning the firing lines
into gardening collectives.
Until we are all together on the mountain,
the parts of me that are not theirs
may still be broken.

But for we explorers searching
for the lost temples of communion,
there is no hopelessness,
only the adventure
between breaths.

 

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Your Monday(ish) blessing: No Wisdom Whatsoever

I slept well last night, and this morning I managed
to not check the news on my phone.
I went and drank coffee,
sat there. For a moment or two.
Found a book of stories on the shelf that spoke to me.
Sat there. Not long.
Realized i was thirsty. Drank water.
Cooked some oats, stirred them on the pot.
When my child came down the stairs,
I felt the hello as I spoke it.
If you – and I truly do not know – envy me my morning,
I hope you might take it.
I would like you to know
I own absolutely no wisdom whatsoever.
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