Tag Archives: belonging

Causes Worth Fighting: Petrarchan sonnet

We each must choose the causes worth our fighting
from a great myriad of pointless quests
designed to breed confusion in our breasts
and keep the fuse inside us from igniting.

The frivolous is made to seem exciting;
it titillates and leads our thoughts astray.
We lose momentum somewhere on the way,
and valor turns from acts to talk and writing.

And then, the courage fueling forward motion
begins to wane, reduced from flame to spark;
we stagnate, turned from blood and flesh to stone.
What starts as dedication and devotion
slips fast away from bright to cold and dark;
our coalition lost, we fade, alone.

31 MAY 2017

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Mother Earth

She waits for us to understand,
or better, to remember:
that at her breast we all have suckled
since we each began;
and for a thousand thousand years
have eaten at her table,
imagining some unseen other
laying out the spread.

She waits for us to come back home.
Our lives are spent returning:
pretending that we start apart,
we blindly seek connection
to what we would call the divine,
imagining it elsewhere
when it is underneath our feet.
We never can be parted.

She waits for us to recognize,
to hear, to begin listening:
the current runs inside of all,
a song we all are singing,
that all is sacred or none is,
that there is no exclusion;
what binds us is her life in us.
What separates? Illusion.

22 APR 2013 (Earth Day 2013)

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Road Going Nowhere

On the south side of the road going nowhere
Winter wind letting the chill into my bones
Standing tall, as if I don’t care,
Acting like I’m supposed to be there
As if lost highways had a need to be somebody’s home

Nothing much out there for miles, only horizon
And power lines above that stretch on out of sight
Standing still, as if my motion
Would hurt the sky with its commotion
As if I could change the world but didn’t have the right

If you wonder if I’m leaving
How you’ll know when I am gone
Look for the ripple left behind me
on the surface of the pond

If you want to know the reason
Why nothing golden seems to last
Know that each thing has its season
And fades away when its time is passed.

On the south side of a road leading nowhere
Winter sun setting slowly over a hill
Standing here, as if I’m growing
Acting like there’s no place else to be going
As if I could stop the world just by being stiil

Nothing out there for miles in all directions
Just the echo from an airplane high overhead
Standing still, as its reflection
Fades slowly beyond all detection
As if the last word in a book no longer read.

If you wonder if I’m leaving
How you’ll know when I am gone
Look for the ripple left behind me
on the surface of the pond

If you want to know the reason
Why nothing golden seems to last
Know that each thing has its season
And fades away when its time is passed.

18 JAN 2006

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Love is Enough

Back in December of 1991, Aaron Flinn and I were attending Berklee College of Music. We co-wrote this song as both a tribute to our main inspiration (the Beatles), and also to reflect our own vision of the world as it could be. I wrote the lyrics, and Aaron and I wrote the music.

Have you looked around today?
Have you anything to say?
Everybody’s searching but they just cannot be found
Everybody’s speaking but I cannot hear a sound

What is what it’s all about?
What is there to figure out?
Everybody’s looking but they haven’t searched within
Everybody’s running but they don’t know where they’ve been

I have climbed the mountain and come down the other side
Nothing you can do or know can counteract the tide
We have got the answer but we’re all still mystified
When all that really matters is you try

Love is enough for everyone.

Have you heard the wind today (blowing through your mind)?
Have you found a song to play? Search and you will find…
Everybody’s singing but they haven’t found the tune
Everybody’s worried about coming in too soon

What is there to sing about? Sunshine, sunshine…
What is causing you to doubt? People, people all around…
Everybody’s running after someone else’s claim
Everybody’s different and that’s why we’re all the same.

I can see eternity inside the children’s eyes
Nothing you can say or feel can help us when we cry
We can hold the universe inside a little smile
And all that really matters is you try

Love is enough (love is enough) for everyone.

Have you heard a thing I’ve said (love…love)?
Have you thoughts within your head?
Everybody’s talking but we haven’t said a word
Everybody’s brilliant but we’re all a bit absurd

I have heard the voices in the cosmic lullaby
Nothing you can be or do can stop the question why
We can find the answer in our hearts before we die
Well, all you’ve really got to do is try.

Love is enough (love is enough) for everyone.

For you and me and I and thee
And he and she and they and we
For every b and g
And all the fishes in the sea
For everyone who can’t agree
And all the people on their knees
For all the mountains and the breeze
And all the flowers and trees
For those that dream of harmony
And each and everything thing that breathes
For every single solitary blessed one of these that still believes
The truth will set you free.

Love is enough (love is enough) for everyone.


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Redefining My Peer Group

When you think about it, what does a jury of one’s peers really mean? Legally, I suppose it means that because all individuals are theoretically equal under the law, one’s peers in a litigious sense means other equally theoretical equals.

A peer might be anyone who shares with me age, gender, ethnicity, race, education, geography, nationality or religion, in some combination. But considering any of these factors in isolation does not make sense to me. This does not seem to be the basis by which I identify my peers on a daily basis. For example I do not consider all men to be my peers, nor all southerners, nor all people who did not quite graduate from college? Not on a typical day.

For me, a peer is a fellow traveler. Not someone on the same path as I am, nor someone who has been where I’ve been, but someone who has been faced with the same kinds of dilemmas, made similar choices, and lived with the consequences of those choices in order to a achieve a similar goal. That means that in order to decide who my peer group is, I have got to get the order of the questions right. Often, we ask “who is going with me?” before we ask “where am I going?” As a result, whether or not the traveling companion is suitable, advantageous or even compatible for the journey cannot be in any way intelligently determined.

Who are my peers, then?

People who have lived in more than one state. People who have been divorced. People who read books daily. Curious people. People who vote their conscience and intelligence and not the party line. People who believe that life and death can be defined as energy borrowed, energy returned. People who feel that art, beauty, kindness, compassion and doubt are essential elements of human existence. People willing to get their hands dirty. People who recognize that all ethical systems are based on the principle Thou Before I and actually, where possible, live according to that standard. People who believe that love is not ownership. People who seek commonalities, rather than differences. People who seek beyond institutionalized anything (schools, churches, governments) in order to discover how Universal Truth becomes Personal Truth. People who see beyond all of these Aristotaliarian compartmentalizations. People who know there is no such thing as prehistory, who draw outside the lines, who accept personal responsibility for who they are, where they are, and how they got there, who believe that a meritocritous egalitarian society is not only possible, but achievable, one person at a time.

If my life were on trial, I would insist that 12 such individuals be found to weigh my fate.

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After a Line in Rumi

Between the acts on the great stage
the green room swells with life;
like ocean waves the movement never stops.

Each spent performer, bathed in sweat,
absorbed into their entourage,
glows with the energy of the crowd.

Around the curtain’s edge, those next
to play are bathed in the footlights;
their skins mirrored white phosphorus.

All are intoxicated with a sense of time
on the heady brew of ideas and wild talk;
each creates their own constellation.

It seems to me an India:
a festival begun ten thousand years
ago, with millions in the band.*

I came here as a stranger, long ago;
although I know the hour I arrived,
I could not say which door I used.

With jugglers, clowns, actors and saints
I’ve sung and played and swooned;
the stage is shared with all who care to dance.

Outside the street is dark; no lights
run down the path that leads away.
The door is open; no one stands in wait.

I do not know the ticket price,
nor if I walked or came by car.
It does not matter, either way.

The lights are dimmed, another song
from silence rises into form;
I know the words as if they were mine.

When will it end? I cannot say;
each claims their after-party rights,
as if this show will ever end.

I’ll sing as long as I’m allowed,
and stay until its done;
there are fruits and wine enough.

And once I’m filled and all sung out
whoever brought me to this place
will have to take me home

17 DEC 2004

* Bhagavan Das, in his biography, describes India upon his arrival in the early 60’s as “a big outdoor festival that had been going on for 10,000 years, with 10 million people in the band.”

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Joy to the World (a different version)

Joy in the world! The time is come!
Let earth reject all kings.
Let ev’ry heart give itself room,
and with all nature sing, and with all nature sing,
And with, and with all nature sing.

Joy in the world! No tyrant reigns!
Let men new songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy!

No more let pride’s illusions grow
in wars that spoil the ground;
It’s time to let earth’s blessings flow
Far as all life is found, far as all life is found
Far as, far as all life is found.

To fill the world with truth and grace
We must make nations prove
The folly of self-righteousness,
And share justice and love, And share justice and love,
And share, and share justice and love.

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