I closed my eyes for just a wink,
it seemed, to find two hours past;
and in the space of that mere blink,
the sky, dull grey and overcast
had cleared into an inky blue.
The tepid post-rain afternoon
had settled, like the evening dew
that lurks beyond each near monsoon.
The stars were ringed with sweaty haze,
like Van Gogh bulbs against a cloth;
the cloying, heavy jasmine sweetness
filled the air like honeyed broth
and made the air so treacle thick
that it was hard to breathe it in,
while dirt and stone and grass and brick
were glazed with sweat, like my rough skin.
18 JUN 2005
With each breath, opposites are reconciled:
like the unconscious seeping under the door
that the river makes as it rises during the night,
then at first light ebbs slowly away
as the sun’s heat pulls it into its glowing bosom.
To dub the inhalation Da, to sense its quiet strength,
then name it Ma as it comes forth from the lungs,
its motion merged with infinite atmosphere,
warm tendrils seeking out atom by atom
the molecules that shape the space,
flesh out the illusions of matter
and the world’s wide mask of being and nothing,
is to lower a string into a lake
and think you’ve split the water.
There is a moment, between sighs,
where there is only one expanse of air,
samadhi in a pregnant pause;
and in that instant what divides
a flame from its penchance to burn
becomes the only line between
the different forms of god.
22 DEC 2004
This life is but a whir of endless dreams
made into concrete that never cures, and
set against a mad rush of marching time
that blurs each second into the next. Its
seemingly solid instances are but
illusions; under scrutiny they turn
to small clouds of worthless dust, or crumble
in your sweaty hands like sculptures of salt.
With each new breath the world is fragmented
and reformed; a moment holds a million
tiny deaths, and gives birth to fresh legions
of galaxies that exist only in
that small span of temporal space between
the impulse to blink and the act itself.
Yet in that minute fraction of being,
before each fragile cosmos is destroyed
to make way for another one to come,
there is an opportunity to seek
beyond the strict confines of what is known
and discover, in a fleeting glimpse, in
the silence between inhale and exhale,
an infinite pause where chronology
fails, where the hands of clocks are motionless.
In this gaping chasm, our wistful dreams
suit themselves in the armor of whole flesh
and spend entire lives in the passionate
embrace of their own imaginative
perceptions, chasing their own chimeras.
And in between each dream’s breath in that place,
as with our own, there is an endless space.
08 AUG 03
Where am I in all of this confusion?
If I pause and take a moment to breathe,
letting go of this veil of illusion
[that separates (like two different leaves
along two slim branches that stretch their way
in opposite directions, yet never
touch, except through the trunk from which they splay)
with a soft touch easily severing
one’s sense of unity with all living]
just listening to the low, quiet breath
of an opened flower or an old tree,
I recognize myself; my misgivings
about my life’s purpose that make me fear death
fade away. I am at peace, at last free.
Am I just motion in some great chaos?
If I release this cloud from deep inside,
letting the soft flow of air slip across
my tongue and pursed lips, it does not collide
with the not-me of the universe, but
instead melts back into a single stream
of boundless energy that we each cut
and divide into our separate dreams,
imagining that these walls we construct
are so solid, so real, unbreakable.
Yet in a single breath these veils shatter,
our isolation seems to self-destruct,
and those beliefs once so unshakeable
crumble in the still space beyond matter.
04 APR 2003