To find again the solid ground,
the pulse beneath the surging song
that lends its subharmonic sound
to all that hear and sing along;
To seek the strings that touch the heart,
that plucked, would shake the listening spine
and signal for the dance to start,
to find grape deep within the wine.
To sense the beat within the vein
and chart its course from start to end;
so feeding soul and bone and brain
with food that causes hurt to mend.
To find again the fertile earth
where roots run down and deep, unseen,
for nutrients that may give birth
both to what will, and what could be.
03 JUN 2007
Six years, the longest I have ever been
in one spot without moving out and on,
and still this place does not possess my bones
the way it would if I had come of age,
or taken my first steps, read my first book,
lost my virginity or first paycheck,
under these spreading, great magnolia trees,
through hurricanes and floods and summer’s heat.
My ties are severed to those memories;
there is no real connection back to where
the formative in me began to set,
to where grandparent’s porch-swings gently rocked,
or drifted snow blew up against the house
so high it blocked the window of my second story room.
There is no chain between me and the land;
what sacred space I ever found is gone.
And even when I visit, after years and miles away,
only their ghosts, if that, remain as shadows.
As always, disconnected from my peers,
whose constant habitations in one sphere
I wished to share, but never had the chance,
the sense of place in me is hollowed out.
At home, but homeless, my spirit abides
in pieces cast among my former selves;
How long before I call this city “mine”,
and recognize its rhythm as my own?
2 AUG 2005
The roots must lead us further down;
it does no good to taste the fruit
unless we first have knelt in shadows
there among the rotting leaves.
The kneeling first, and then the crawl
along the coursing, mottled bark
that starts to thicken as the trunk
breaks through the soil that gives it life.
Among the worms that churn the muck,
the beetles and the stinging ants:
there where the humus is still moist
and cakes to concrete on our hands
we find the source, the Mother core,
like buried treasure from the deep,
between the fingers of the oak
splayed like a hand clutching the earth.
The grass between your toes, so soft,
gives only hints and subtle clues;
to find the Mother’s hidden love
cast off by culture’s mad distain
requires the digging, dirty knees,
and scratches drawing your own blood;
a desperate scrabble down and down
past patriarchy’s well-kept sod.
Her love is buried, long-forgot;
and proving ourselves worthy, work.
If you would make your half a whole,
man, woman, child: dig deep.
08 MAY 2005
Reach down to touch the waiting earth
that there beneath your feet, alive,
in constant movement hurls through space
and yet seems solid in the place
where through your bones, like vibrant roots
its energy expands and shoots,
infusing marrow, flesh and bone
with strength from every tree and stone.
Reach up into the far flung sky
that just beyond your tiptoed grasp
becomes the wind that pulls you on
and turns to clouds, and then is gone
until you slowly breathe it back
to watch the gap begin to slack
between each molecule of air
until there’s only one space there.
Reach in beneath your surface skin
under the epidermis where
a million cells each pulse with life;
dig deeper, like your mind’s a knife
that probes each inch of sinew, vein,
and stretch of bone from toe to brain,
until you find your inner core
that will live on when you’re no more.
Reach out just past your fingertips
and touch the edge your sense permits
where science teaches your range ends
and leaves to faith what there begins
connected by some unseen thread
that spins between the live and dead
transcending time, and thought, and space
in patterns saints and madmen trace.
Reach all around, hands outstretched wide
and offer out what is inside
Push up what fills you from below
Pull down an armful, then let go
Expand in all directions, free,
Beyond logic and sanity
Past expectations, good and ill
Grasp all of life. Come, get your fill.
23 APR 2005
What is secret song that the whole world
hums underneath its breath, too soft to hear
unless you sit in silence, in the dark
and listen as intently as you can?
And when you hear it once, why it is so
that its refrain eludes your memory’s grasp?
Does it vibrate on some harmonic scale
that with its very echo self-destructs?
The melody, so simple and so pure,
seems to be shifting constantly in flux
so that each phrase is new; no line repeats,
nor lends itself to rote and mindless chant.
The rhythm pulses static long enough
to catch your heartbeat’s diastolic thump,
but suddenly it swells in pregnant pause
to fill all time in but a moment’s breath.
I have heard music played beyond my ken,
so wild and free it stretched my sonic grasp
to breaking; and then all the pieces slipped
back to their assigned cells of time and space.
Long past that last note’s echo I will know
what symphony the universe conducts;
and in that gaping chasm, my small voice
awaits the cue to loose its single note.
What secret song is known to the whole world,
yet takes a lifetime’s listening to hear?
The sound of living, one breath at a time,
and finding sacred every sip of air.
20 APR 2005
I chose to walk a path of wildness;
though these modern city streets are paved
and seem to revel in a blindness
that believes the urban sprawl has saved
us from what nature could remind us:
somewhere beneath all this black and gray,
behind the masks that progress may wear
as it fumbles through lines of a play
it has not written, and does not care
to find meaning in what those words say,
there is an rough edge to our control.
Beyond that border the feral earth,
that patient presses diamonds from coal,
in each single instant gives birth
to the strange chaos that feeds our souls.
Where the sidewalk ends and turns to vine
is never clearly marked on a chart;
and your map is not the same as mine,
even if we would pretend to start
from the same place at an exact time.
What’s more, both paths may appear the same
(if anyone still took time to look)
and like gods often bearing false names
to confuse those who insist on books,
will merge at times; they are not to blame.
Instead, it is our pride that deceives;
we do not seek to balance, but rule,
and as a despot king we believe
our road divine, and others for fools
unfit to share the glory we perceive.
But it is there; the wildness can’t be tamed,
nor trimmed and manicured for too long
before it tires of such polite games
and flexes its muscles, lean and strong,
to escape the gilded picture frame.
I would go after, where it now stalks
amidst the dark, thickened underbrush;
sometimes just at dawn I hear it walk
right under my open window. Hush!
Can you hear it too? It likes my block.
18 FEB 2005
We are not lost here in these woods,
nor are they lost in us;
if you listen, still, for just a moment
the sensation of roots, searching
for moisture in this often parched land,
pushing away the organic substance
that keeps us from being grounded,
sensing which way is the center,
will slowly come upon us,
like dawn, stretching its lazy arms
to embrace the freshness
of the world.
Listen: you can hear the Earth
breathing softly with you,
laughing when you start to smile
and weeping when you walk away.
If we are to be lost, She says,
we will be lost together.
01 MAY 2001