seeing another seeker with empty hands

brown sand

8~24~2019

 

Memory: Bright-eyed boy telling me about Shark’s teeth —
I was above and beyond the mire of irrationality
then — as Seger says      Deadlines & Commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out.

Reality: There are dozens of us     hundreds
walking the shoreline of Myrtle
each day —

You will know us by our eyes
cast down, scanning the sand
looking for Grace reflected
in an ebony shine.

We are a greedy and gracious lot
depending on our need in that hour.
Sometimes hoarding
because we need every syllable God whispers.
Sometimes generous
seeing another seeker with empty hands –
we smile and pass a treasure off –
Here, these are for you.
Handing the letters of God to others
because we are all seeking
words to ease the suffering
of all the questions
that convince us
there is any other answer
but ourselves

believing
there is an answer
floating somewhere
in the sand
to who we are –
why we love –
how we are here.

 

 

~Photo by Miri on Pexels.com

 

Chance

adorable black and white blur boy

In Egypt there are camels feeding.
In Tahiti there are frogs jumping.
They may not meet
In this lifetime
On this journey.

In Kansas there is a wheat field dancing.
In England there is a muddy river flowing.
They may not meet
In this lifetime
On this journey.

In Space there is a boy working and laughing.
In Time there is a girl writing and smiling.
They may not meet
In this lifetime
On this journey.

 

~Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

we love by degrees

woman with red hair and blue eyes

~August 2019

 

We love by degrees
of shadow and light.

The old man
tells a fishing story
his eyes filling up
with sea mist.

The young man
touts the size of his dick,
the number of conquests
his eyes glittering triumph.

The old woman
remembers her wedding
his eyes warm with love
the children she grew
and gave wings.

The young girl
rushes to get ready
for a first date lost
in fantasy and breathless
heartbeat
eyes gleaming with
anticipation.

We love by degrees
of shadow and light.

Like the pupil in our eyes
expansion    contraction
measured entry
as the world spins
onward in time
our hearts of stone
holding fires

that we water out
or add wood to
depending on the day.

 

~Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

 

from the shadow blooms

Rose darkbrush

Her fear enters the door ahead of her.
The fragile-silk side-step fear of trespass
that tells you she knows too many dark
hours — that she is a flower from the shadow
blooms beneath branches blocking

sunlight. Moves and changes come
with strong winds, tussled leaves
and limbs spinning the orbiting petals
upward  — into this fragile day of sun
that she both worships and fears.

The sun is a powerful god she loves, but
the trepidation and fear of transgression,
suspicion, uncertainty — the suspect knowing
of humble plant to mystic star, child to Lion,
needful flower to the light which sustains it.

These fears sit down as a group on the ground
around her roots, crawl up to perch on nearby
leaves and wait and watch and then — Wisdom
cradling Mercy in her breast, breathes healing
and the fears recede for now into the shadows.

 

~Photo Credit: Shadow Bloom, (c)2020 Marissa Mullins

 

 

stretched thin with yearning

Grass Artful

That desert sea of sand
holds the roots in mystery
as the reaching toward heaven
begins —

hot rolling hours change the day
moving into hours of darkness and chill
wind blows in, howling, from the ocean cold.
Here —

Life digs in deeper, then
reaches higher, higher, higher — outstretched
and stretched thin with yearning
it grows

toward a bright light other unknown
calling its core seed to sprout, reach
strive for the impossible unattainable
until

the shadow essence grows shorter, smaller
and as true darkness sets in — disappears
into the space of night — the labor of life
resting

knowing that tomorrow light will come,
call out again for new strength of purpose,
demand heaven-high climbing life focus
to rise.

~Photo Credit: (c)2020 Marissa Mullins 

stand

King Solomon asked God for Wisdom.
The boy David said how dare you speak thus
about My God,
picked up a rock and went to war.

The Queen of Sheba sent useless gold
to a King and then refused to forfeit her throne.
Bathsheba, with her innocent beauty,
a King and Kingdom overwhelmed.

Deborah got tired of waiting for a man
to do the work God needed done –
took up the Sword on her own.
Ruth was meek and holy and followed
Naomi where they were bound.

Stand up — King — Soldier!
Don’t fear this fierce Grace of God!
All you lose is the false “me” — do you See?

The Mother comes in many forms,
humbled and in tears as
Mary at the foot of the Cross,
in silk, shame, and scent as
Jezebel at the gate, or as
the whispered breath of Holy Spirit
a gentle breeze across the lake.

The Divine, sublime, all consuming
Fire of Self Discovery. The Feminine
Power, though disparaged and maligned,
burns deep in the Trinity.

So, step up
Cowboy — brace those pretty boots in the sand.
Sometimes you gotta trust God enough to Stand!

So, we agreed

bright bubble color flatlay

I sit by the small pineapple fountain
because
I always say, I like this space —
but the larger fountain, more often
calls to me, and I sit there — writing.

When God and I were discussing
where to go and how to Live Today,
I mentioned this pandemic —

“I do not know how much longer
You will grant me breath?”
(He remained silent on this topic.)

So, we agreed —
Today is the perfect day
to sit by the pineapple fountain.
Together —

Sharing sunbeams, a mild breeze,
the tender melody of dripping water
and this Great Love we share
for the beauty and complexity
named Living.

 

~April 6, 2020 at Market Common Fountains

~Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Pexels.com

You take my hand

silhouette of newly wedded couple

You take my hand and we go out
into the world.
You are my dearest playmate, companion.

Sometimes,
the Mind says to me
“Are you crazy?”

“Who are you to speak of God this way?”

But, I am learning
to listen only to Your laughter,
to relax into the giggles we share,
to take Your hand in mine,
to trust You —

And then,
I smile at my Mind, all his babbling,
like a jealous, drunk friend!
Because
the Heart sees differently —

And I know that this romping about,
playing with mischief, roaring in laughter and joy,
through these life-days of shimmer and shine
with You
is the only reason I came.

 

~Photo by Thái Huỳnh on Pexels.com

Sparrow

brown small beak bird

He came to land
so gingerly and brave
on the chair-back
beside me (reading Rumi) —
at a table near the fountain.

Then,
hopping down and around
the edge of the table,
a hand-length
beside me
as if
he knew there was
an uneaten cookie
inside my book-bag  —
and asking
so sweetly and gently —

What could I do?
But
reach into the bag,
pull the cookie out, and
crumble it across the table
as a sacred offering
for this invitation
to love.

 

~March 2020, Market Common, Myrtle Beach, SC

~Photo Credit: Flickr on Pexels.com

you were always becoming poems

time lapse photography of flame

~For Joey, April 2019

 

Oh, that sparkle of mischief
and laughter and child
that jumped out of your eyes
and decked me,
knocking the breath from me
as I sat across the room!

Boy that I loved
with deep heat longing,
held close to my breast, a child-man
I could not help heal save reach trust.

“Beautiful”
and you were the most beautiful boy
on earth to me —

your eyes your lips your face your hair
your heart
your hands your chest your belly your legs
your manhood
your fight your laughter your demons your smile
your soul

“Beautiful Destruction”
running through my heart – life – soul.

“I ruined you,”
you used to say.

“No, Beautiful,”
you were the match I used for flame.

To love beyond all aspects of self
brings the burning of purification.

You were always becoming poems
in the Seeing Eyes of a Poet.

“I ruined you.”

“No, Beautiful.”
You were my chosen suicide.

 

 

~Photo by Igor Haritanovich on Pexels.com

 

Desolation

woman s lips

~July 2019

 

There were a thousand lies on each side.
No one —
Won the war
Turned out to be right
Gained the spoils.
There was no trophy given.

The soul whispers for Desolation
and he comes when called.

It starts as one Want above all
in a fresh grass field
populated by children, flowers, butterflies and

wishes
become want
and want
becomes all
and all
becomes darkness and fire
becomes burning and ice
becomes a ravaged field.

Only space, emptiness, openness remains
after Desolation does his job.

When the lies have spoken their spark
When the fires have burned their burning
When the rain has gone away, the river receded
When the sun drops from the sky
When fear drives the chariot of victory
And his kingdom reigns supreme in your mind
When mercy closes her eyes and her voice grows faint
When the storm is unceasing and the flames of
Self-devouring grow higher than flight

There —
you are reborn.

 

~Photo by Jessica Gaudioso on Pexels.com

Drops

DSC_0565

~September 2019

 

Your voice drops
into my tired tattered soul
like the soft drizzle of Autumn rain
drops across the withering leaves
in a dry dying orchard after harvest.

Your voice drops
into my shaky shattered spirit
like the wash of deep hard rain
drops across fire-cracked earth
filling the deep-graven lines of desert.

Your voice drops
into my fragile frail heart
like the splashing plops of Spring rain
drops across fresh-born flower petals
newly breathing in the bright light of a garden.

 

~Photography Marissa Mullins (c)2019

A Stranger Who Is a Friend: Seeking the Beloved

Glass3

“What you seek is seeking you.”  ~Rumi

 

A stranger who is a friend I’m just now meeting brings me a gift. He reaches in his pocket – reaches his hand out to me – places a piece of the living world in my hand. It is warm from being in his pocket, from the heat of his energy. It fits my hand perfectly as I stare at it and then into it and through it.

An opaque beauty of swirling movement and lines flows into my vision. The warmth of endowed energy moves into me along with the images: first, an eye looks back at me: then, an outline of a bird: then, a volcanic landmass: then, a riverbed that explodes into the Universe twirling. And, finally, in it’s deepest secret revealing, what does this gifted treasure show me? Love.

This love so bright my heart beats deeper and my lips form smiles. Laughter breaks free and moves out my mouth. This love is the same voice of love in my ear all week saying that my favorite Shiva Lingham stone is to be gifted to this person when we meet. I explain this to the stranger who is a friend as he sits down on my couch.  I do not explain that I have spent a week chanting and praising and holding this stone in my hand so it would hold deep the energy of love for him when gifted.  I take the stone from it’s sacred space on my table  and I reach out my hand to his and give him this gift. Love.

The Universe as space and sky unfolds it’s magic and pours it’s love on the ground below. Metaphorically, this love is the ground where strangers become friends in the unlikeliest of ways. It is the ground that grows our greatest human possibilities and capabilities, the ground that fosters the seeds of compassion and giving in such a way that others and the world are made better by this garden. Human vulnerability and honesty are the water feeding thirsty plants so they may unfold, bloom, and burst wide into bright-colored, rich-scented flowers.

This garden crop at harvest is one of peace, generosity, encouragement, and friendship in sublimely spiritual ways. We grow and flower under the tutelage of love. She is our teacher and the deepest vast river and earth of our being.

We are magically superhuman (pure Spirit, even!) when we love ourselves and others with this Divine Love of non-judgement and non-condtioning. But this love requires two deep human offerings for maturation: we must sacrifice falsehood and safety. The irony — that in sharing our true vulnerability with others and maintaining a deep core commitment to honesty with ourselves and with others we move past the confines of self and into the joy of love that is the Divine.

The dichotomies and duality of good and bad, perfect and imperfect, enough and not enough seem to lose their strangulation hold over us; suddenly we breathe a little deeper, there is room for movement and flexibility, the control that once made us feel safe seems a lie and a bad joke somehow. We are beginning to understand the meaning of freedom. And this movement from captivity into freedom begins with a simple question: What are you seeking?

Or, translate the question into it’s deeper variations: What are you looking for? when you look at yourself, others, the Universe, the Divine. Whatever you are seeking is also seeking you? You will see what you expect to see. You will find what you think is there. What do your beliefs tell you? And how many of those beliefs still work for you? Do they bring you fear or pain, or do they take you to a place where love, joy, freedom are the common experience?

Take a slight pause to consider the questions…a minor shift in focus, one small off-step in perceptive point of view … are you seeking a stranger that is a friend? Are you open to finding the Beloved in the faces and animals and the world around you? Is a stone a stone — or can you open your eyes a little wider, look a little deeper — to the life and flow and love that hides within it? If you can pause and consider the questions a new expansion of your being will come. Suddenly, the journey opens wide a path in front of you and what you have been seeking meets you in the garden of life.

 

Glass1

Humming

 

Christ comes as a dirty, broken beggar.

Buddha comes as a sick bird that needs tending.

Shiva comes as an enemy desiring your destruction.

Atman dances at the Center Expanding.

 

God shows up as a crying child

asking you to bandage His cut knee.

Ram plays hide-and-seek with

Loki and Odin in the Garden.

 

A whisper flutters on the wind,

tells you that you are standing

in the Navel of Creation where

Vishnu is dreaming.

 

Rumi and his Dervishes are dancing in and out

beside you.

As you waver and stumble, watch, go back to standing.

Grace masquerades in all these guises

playing a game of charades with your mind.

 

Don’t fear, dear one, your Soul sees clearly.

Reach out — offer the poor beggar food and water.

Reach out — tend to the sick, bandage the wounds.

Reach out — stroll in the Garden, Dance a new song.

 

Growing into ever deeper circles of Knowing —

you are humming in the breath of Brahma.

do you See?

 

All that God wants

is to be Seen —

 

Like that distant adoring Lover

seeks a glance from the adored Beloved.

 

Look! Here I Am in a bluebird sitting on a branch!

Look! Here I Am in the ocean wave roaring in your ear!

Look! Here I Am in the sand caressing your feet!

Look! Here I Am in the sweet-voiced song of a friend!

Do you See me? All around you in this Living

my Joy and Love for you pours forth —

 

You are Dreaming — Condemnation is a child’s nightmare.

Wake Up!   Look!   Do you See me …

your Beloved always trying to get your Attention.

Do you See?

Sent Out

I Am that Lamb sent out

into dark groves of Shadow

searching for the Wolves —

 

Each Step, walking with the Shepherd of Love,

Standing Staff of Love, directing movement.

The Lamb goes nowhere without the Shepherd.

 

The Wolves, eyes glittering in Forgetfulness,

seek blood — but this Blood, this Vein

pours forth Eternally — Drink Here, it cries out!

 

Laying down and down and down — Deeper into

the Bliss of Dying to Union with the One.

 

I Am that Lamb, that Shepherd, that Blood,

that River of Life Flowing Eternally —

 

The Lamb bleating to the wolves,

as teeth clamp down around the throat —

Drink —

You are that I Am too, my brothers.

You are this same I Am sent out.

 

 

 

 

Please, Hurry!

I asked Shiva and Christ

to have a chat with you —

that if Their Will is This —

they need to be quite clear with You

about It!

 

I Know You breathe Them.

Their voices whispering

cyclonic Peace, twirling winds

across your Soulscape. I will wait.

 

The god’s have Their own Timing.

But, so You Know, I giggled with Joy

when I asked Them to Speak with You!

Only Wanting what is Destined for me —

 

Asking They send you to me Soon!

I Am laughing in Joy at my own Request,

In This vast open non-time Ocean of Love —

Still, Something inside me begs —

Please, Hurry!

Want Explained

freya-wave-laurie-behnen.jpg

Want Explained     ~for Rob

 

I do not want to be on a pedestal

to fall from

my feet slipping

into stepping on your heart.

 

I do not want to be a muse

adored and believed

to hold magic answers to questions

my answers

can never satisfy.

 

I do not want to be a fever

of passion that burns in you

the flame dying down, flickering out

as time — age passes

leaving only embers of a dying fire.

 

I do not want to be a need

only to fill you for a time

the stomach, once full,

unable to hold more

is satisfied and the plate pushed away.

 

I want to be a river

you fish in, wade in, wash in, travel down —

I would be water that carries you with it,

moving forward

toward a never-ending sea.

 

 

One Step

 

 

lightening1

One Step    ~ for Rob

 

One Step

Away

from playing it

Safe —–

Never my game.

 

Enough deep-soul losses

Tempt Us to comfort-rest in

Strange Fantasies of no more

Wasted Efforts. Stop and allow

Someone Else to carry the

Weight of us for a time.

 

One Step

Away

from playing it

Safe —–

Never my game.

 

I Turn —-

run to Free-fall, Deep-breath, Jump

into the Danger of Air,

No Ground, The Abyss —-

Leap Into the Blue-eyed

Beauty of You —-

Fiat Lux! 

 

Intention

 

images (1)

 

I didn’t wake up with the intention to write Sanity poems.

I never wake up with the intention to write Insanity poems either.

The poems are a great Zen Master spouting lessons

Of coming and going and coming and going.  Allow

What is to Be. That was my intention when I woke up.

 

Truth in the Kiss

th7376NXPR

I tell you I would rather be kissed

than fucked because

it is the strongest knowing learned

those deep hard years

from cold hours of barren lust

in the dark loneliness of

disconnected sex.

 

Lying alone and broken on the bed,

in those fever-laced-burning dying days,

in the un-solaced hours of prayer after,

I missed Love’s kiss most of all.

 

Some women need a lifetime

to learn the price of all they’ve lost,

to learn the love of a mate

whispers its truth in the kiss.

 

You kiss me like crystal water pours

from a mountain spring.

I kiss you like thirst drinks down

cool well-water.

 

You taste like water – life – Holiness.

I thirst like death – isolation – Sin.

 

 

 

Loaned

images (50)

You lend me a strong warm arm,

clasp my body closer.

You lend me a warm heart-solid chest

to cradle my face against.

You reach, tender fingers hands tracing

the tears as they roll my cheeks.

 

You lend  —  loan  — run  —  reach —

Hand you to me like water

pours into scorched desert sand.

You come to me like a golden treasure

hidden in the ashes of burned ruins.

 

In these alone hours

when you are where you are

where you are owned – belong – home —

I think of borrowing and returning.

Contrast 9-19-19

 

Contrast4

An ambulance siren screams on a distant highway.

The neighbor dog across the street barks.

Teenage skateboarders roll past the house

Cutting down driveways from sidewalks.

Dusk falls — Birds sing — Crickets chirp.

The stray cats come crunch their evening kibble.

The ex-husband laughs and lights-up across town.

An ex-boyfriend downs a drink in some Northern bar.

The sun sighs a last light and falls into darkness.

Love and I sit together on the porch,

Talking like old friends over coffee

About the wisdom of numbers

And the magical reality of contrast

In black-and-white photographs.

 

 

The Only Us That Endures

sophisticate-richard-young

Only in the backwoods of Carolina
in the Year of Our Lord, 1982
would the marriage of a 23 year old man
and a 15 year old girl
make sense. And
Without a pregnancy, to boot!
No need for a shotgun

wedding
except we loved before we knew
what love cost,
the price exacted
as that first great flame of crush
burns low, embers left
dying.

You were my person of first things:
First trip to the mall
First dinner in a steakhouse
First trip to a movie theater
to watch romance
complete
its union through Richard
and Debra in An Officer and A Gentleman.

All with you. Before then
I walked through gardens, picked peaches.
Motorcycle gangs and Jack Daniels drinking —
straight from the bottle — rape violence poverty
the three demons of daily existence.

I believed
You could save me
but it would take years to understand
the depth of that damage,
more years to know no one
could save me from myself.
I hated me years before you
with that cold-sterile hatred.

My promise of kindness
like that day I gave you
a shoulder rub, like
our first Christmas shopping
the mall in Charlotte, the night
I sat in the new pink nightgown
beside the Christmas tree and you
said I was beautiful. Then

I wished I could use your eyes
not those dirty broken lenses I owned.
And I wish the children knew now
How much we loved back then —
air to lungs, pulse through blood —
before they became the only us that endures.

Photo Credit: Sophisticate by Richard Young

Too Poor for Water

bear-feet-robin-lee-vieira

We were always
needing, asking
for something we didn’t have.
Living on the kindness
from strangers —
the church folks
with the a dutiful goal
of giving to those
without.
Wood stove for heat
Water from milk jugs
filled across town.
Too poor for water —
Looking with wonder
at houses where
the normal people
lived —
our outhouse symbolic
one terrace down —
wondering what it
felt like
to wear the normal life
and live in a common town.

Photo Credit: Bear Feet by Robin Lee Vieira

Richard Blanco: Writing the Past in the Present

Blanco2

I’ve been writing this since
the summer my grandfather

taught me how to hold a blade
of grass between my thumbs
and make it whistle, since
I first learned to make green
from blue and yellow, turned
paper into snowflakes, believed
a seashell echoed the sea,
and the sea had no end.

~from the poem, Since Unfinished by Richard Blanco, in his book, Looking For The Gulf Motel.

Richard Blanco: Looking for The Gulf Motel

Richard Blanco is one of my favorite poets. He has the unique ability to transport readers into the vivid world of his life with simple and effective language. There are no high-brow obscurities or cloudy word association-meaning questions. Rather, Blanco is a poet who paints bright portraits of people and places, a narrator who brings voices with their individual nuances and personalities to life on the page. His poems are memoir vignettes that trigger deep emotions and lasting impressions for the reader.

I first heard Richard Blanco read poetry, like many other Americans, when he read the Blanco3poem, “One Today,” at President Obama’s second Inauguration in 2013. The voice of the poet combined with the simple truth of the poem was entrancing. His reading was a beautiful tribute to the President and the country.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper —
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives —
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem. /…/…

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always–home./…/

“One Today” is standard Blanco, mixing the personal life experiences, the normal and mundane moments that give our days meaning, with the larger aspect of culture and country — the “we” of the now-famous poem a unifying cry.

The second time I heard Richard Blanco read his work was in May of 2014. It was a privilege to hear him in person while attending The Writer’s Institute program at Miami-Dade College in Miami, Florida. He read the title poem from his book, Looking For The Gulf Motel. Again, a unique voice mixing past and present, one and all, in a poem that reaches out to pull the listener into the magic that is Richard Blanco’s world.

A striking aspect of his world in Looking for The Gulf Motel  is its complex duality: Tupperware, cats, and Blow Pops sit opposite being queer in the poem, “Queer Theory: According to My Grandmother.” Then, in the poem, “Venus in Miami Beach,” the eternal ocean opposes the human frailty of aging:

Once, as gorgeous as her name– Geysa
once a girl chasing fireflies who hadn’t lost
her home and country, sisters and husband,
once a mother who watched me as I watch
her now, afraid of her alone with the sea.

Blanco’s Gulf Motel world, as with his other work, is one of diversity and mixture: cultures, Blanco_press_63locations, and experiences are all participants in a complex dance, intertwined with the dual realities that lie at the heart of being human and finite in a world that exists infinite after us.

It is the meticulous decoding of these qualities that reaches beyond the “normal” boundaries of poetry – an eclectic juxtaposition of past and present shared by a voice that knows every inch of it by heart.

Blanco opens his life to us in a way that brings us distinctly into that world. We live the moments with him, experience his love of this America, his closeness and devotion to his family, his confusion at the complexity of life — and the unique challenges that being gay and Cuban create for him. Heart is at the core of Richard Blanco’s writing.

Blanco’s loving heart is exemplified by finely detailed poetic craft. This love creates an articulately expressed depth of sentiment and clarity of emotion rare in American poetry today.

For further reading:

Richard Blanco website

Richard Blanco at Biography.com

Richard Blanco on Facebook

LookingforGulfCvr

untitled 2 (from 2005)

light-graham-dean

To write to you from
this dark place
where lights’ shadow
never rises and
full things don’t exist.

It was easier in
the abundance,
when my souls bounty,
like a garden at harvest,
burst to fullness,
needed emptying –

like a bowl overfilled.
Poems came then, like drops
of honey spilled across a table.

This empty time knows
nothing of words, lines, stanzas.
It cannot produce harvest
from a barren field.
Photography Prints

Photo Credit: Light by Graham Dean