the women who save me


this is for all the suffering of the women who save me,
ongoing in the present tense, that is
as in every day
every day passed
every day to come
all the every of all the moments of all the times space conceals from us.

there have been many, one of whom carried the biggest burden of my conversion,
in whose ears i imagine,
are the gunshots of my shouting,
the bruises of my arrogance,
the bullet holes of my jagged words,
the crown of thorny battering of my distance,
intellectual-isms creeping into bloody holes.

she once wrote me, when we still used paper,
“I always love you” and that use of the present tense,
the ongoing, habitual, continual, never ending persistence of love,
echoes inside me,
inside me,
inside me.

in her face, in her hands, in her her,
her womb, her womanity, humanity,
do i find refuge and hope,
fertility i have never requested of anyone,
and am a proud non reproducer of myself,
but in her fertility of love,
her fertility of determination,
of continuance in spite of,
patience, acceptance and slow moving tears,
do i believe in another world,
one unlike the one she finds herself caged in,
as we men are caged in ours,
having closed the door and locked it ourselves,
in iron coldness.

a woman king, a crydian


we live in a world where men are not allowed to cry,
or women to be kings.

i don’t like this world,
i’m a man,
and i’m crying now.

i cry every day.
it seems to be the only thing i’m consistently good at,
the only thing that comes easy to me.
people say i’m too sad,
i say they are too happy.

400 million animals will be murdered today,
after suffering for years in chains, isolation cages,
stuffed into packed rooms, eating each others’ flesh,
diseased, poisoned, abused,
3 billion people will barely eat today,
bleed and bow for that dollar they squeeze from each turn of the earth,
5 billion don’t have it much better,
maybe 25000 or so children under 5 will die in the next 24 hours for no reason,
while 1000 women will be sexually assaulted in just one country,

we pay people to make us laugh and call them comedians,
because we want to forget,
maybe we should pay people to make us cry,
call them crydians,
so that we can remember.

i’m a crydian,
i cry when i see a dead bee,
a singed meteor falling through the sky,
a memory of my violence,
her whimpering,
the times i shouted at the women in my life,
and forbid them from shouting at me.

eternal pause


‘hey there, africa,’ i said.
‘hey there,’ she replied.
i first saw her on the mountain top, carrying water on her head,
now i see her in symbols,
carrying words forward into space.

like everything else i would experience in life,
this one came with a love story,
all my stories are love stories,
all my endings, so far tragic.

when we are able, when we are strong enough,
we do what we can to survive,
carry what we need to,
haul ourselves up and down paths,
bow to whom we should,
struggle against whom we believe vulnerable.

these three ladies are my teachers,
their patience,
their eternal embrace of the same place,
gives me hope that my own struggle,
my own carrying of myself forward and over,
will be immortalized in a single moment,
the moment she touched my heart with her lips,
and kissed compassion into my soul.

the origin of blossoming


there was a time in my life where i would have seen this as a painting,
a watercolor to be exact, of a reality called dahlias.

in those days i might have commented on the style,
the technique, used some art terminology to capture the artists capturing,
of this thing in reality called dahlias.

but now i don’t see it that way at all,
i see the universe is very creative,
and in its creativity are a variety of forms,
and techniques,
methods to create something from something else,
texture, dimensionality,
organization of course,
water and sunlight,
blood in the form of nutrients,

in its creativity the universe has developed many amazing forms,
and the tendency to see any of them as the original, is unoriginal,
just like these painted dahlias were inspired by a form,
so were the dahlias they copied,
also inspired by other, previous previous forms,
but none of them are the original,
the original is the moment we see it,
feel what we feel,
admiration, excitement, perhaps nothing,
the original is the moment of experience,
which continues to evolve over time,
so in the end there is no original moment,
just blossoming and blossoming and blossoming.

Flight of the Monk


I bought this painting after spending a day with Michael Phelps,
in January, 2009,
not long after the miracle his-hundred-thousandths-of-a-second gave us,
for me this master plan of the universe,
to put on the ultimate show,
was a moment of global unity.

except, of course, those monks getting chopped to pieces in Lhasa and other cities,
burned, shot, destroyed, and left to die in the streets,
just so the world could celebrate a few weeks of games in good conscious,
and in the end, be reminded how amazing its human population is.

a few months later I would spend a day with Michael,
eager to hear his take on the irony of the experience,
his games,
my painting, by Stetan Kalsang,
whose monk was taking flight from the violence to befall them all.

though we had nearly a day together,
and I had had months to plan,
in the end I never said anything to Michael because it didn’t seem right,
because I realized it wasn’t his battle,
that he’s not a battle person out of the water,
and that it would be a mistake to give him the burden of Tibet’s suffering,
he was just a good kid, doing this thing,
swimming, playing video games,
saving his own soul.

though he would eventually leave me, the painting still hangs on my wall,
and when I look at it, I remember how things come and go,
lands, people, beliefs, lives, cultures,
and it seems there’s not a whole lot we can do about it,
but marvel when the hero splashes up to the wall,
and cry when the others are shot.

elephants are small, really


it’s normal to perceive the universe in forms we humans can accommodate,
where elephants are big creatures, and we, relatively small,
but big at the same time,
if we are staring at a twirling sparrow when asking the question.

one day this painting stumbled into me,
and i sat down on the steps,
for perhaps an hour,
amazed by how small elephants really are,
and how, in spite of our best attempts to remove them from the earth,
in good hands,
at least somewhere in time, maybe even space.

perhaps this is just my ability to see more than expected of me,
to imagine an version of “god” better than the one i now have,
to see that, perhaps everything is just the way it’s supposed to be,
and somewhere elephants sleep peacefully under the stars,
in a being whose hands are large enough to hold them as i hope to one day,
when with my two hands i can touch the universe softly, and heal it.

and then, no more


she was never going to leave me,
and i was never going to leave her,
she’s gone now,
and i am too,
lost, i mean,
has anybody seen me?

she wrote me a poem once,
“Ghost dance and I am there,
on the plains, as in my dreams,
as i was,
brown skin in sun,
black hair in wind,
dancing, dancing,
for love,
for joy,
for peace,
for pain and sorrow,
i am alive,
and then, no more. . .”

mother goddess of the universe


the bird who woke me up this morning, was the same bird of my childhood,
in whom i understood i was not alone in the world,
and the world was inside me.

though i am 53 now, the bird has lived on within me,
migrated over worlds and time,
to remind me she takes care of us all,
and the smallest in the world,
are the biggest.

my goals in life are small,
to see how much love i can feel, how much i can give,
how true i can be to the smallest among us,
who settle on our outstretched hands,
alight on our dresses,
feed at our breasts,
live through us.

if i could go back in time to a certain day,
i know exactly the day i would travel to,
what i would wear,
how i would enter the room,
the size of the smile on my face.

i would start with a soft voice,
i would follow with open arms,
an open heart,
i would allow words to slip directly from my soul,
and like the birds she cares for,
my touch would tickle her belly.