Truth Within Our Midst

Flirt with truth
You may find more than bargained for
Reach inside, beyond where questions go
Answers arise from deepest confusion

Yield to the moment’s beckoning
Speculation subsides
leaving the here and now
to tell it’s own story

Challenge your deepest weakness
There you find your bottom
reaching to the ocean’s floor
where time starts over

Then, before everything begins again
let your heart dwell
just beyond all surface awareness
There, give time a chance to return

Awaiting Morning’s Light

Throughout the night
moonlight swept through long dark trees
standing deathly still
waiting for morning’s quiet return

Near the creek
high above the forest bed
a familiar barred owl calls out
claiming stray moonbeams his prey

Ghost-like, shadows hover
between trees and beyond
to places figured lost
save their fortuitous lingering

Somewhere, in the spaces between
what’s known and what can never be found
the night slips into my soul, and
so shall I also wait for morning’s light

Doing What You’re Here to Do

As your life happens
in deep unexpected ways
give in, to the light
shining magestically through
all standing between you, and
that shining through
like sparkling diamonds
in the black satin night sky

Surrender, best you can
to what you’ve always been
from the first moment
your soul breathed
inhaling life’s eternal beauty
exhaling what only you can provide
in this incantation
and this incarnation

And when you know
what can be known only by you
about this life
its purpose and position
rest assured, you have achieved
what you must
so all else, inside and outside
can continue forward

Autumn Changes in Our Lives

The air turned suddenly cold last night
Not bitter and biting, like lifetime anger
festering in the soul
but cold enough
freezing helpless leaves
making them wince in pain

Taking her orders straight from the top
Autumn brings down and colors up
what eventually passes
Giving way to Old Man Winter
his long thick white beard
and deep frosty breath

Perhaps a good night for a fire, warming us
to impending changes in the weather and ourselves
Not a mandate for winter coats yet
but certainly an occasion for donning
that heavy wool sweater smiling at us
from the dresser’s bottom drawer

All this said and done
Autumn readies us, for what is to come…
transformational change, like that brought on
by the marriage of death and rebirth
Like that touching us
in our final working years, just before retirement

Autumn in All Her Glory

Walking, painted forest all about
Reds, yellows, golds, oranges,
Nature’s magical extravaganza
coaxing us deeper within

Autumn, screaming vibrant color
Her sweet voice, ringing in our ears
With gentle fingers, plucking harp strings
enticing leaves to turn their final corner

Migrating blackbirds overhead
waving last goodbyes
tip southward, then disappear
into streaming white sunlight

Tempted into submission
we give her all we have
Refilled, there is no containing
what she gives back

Strangers to Life’s Inevitable Suddenness

You forget the golden sunrise, letting
the shifting sands of time, slip
through your fingers, like
life falls off the bones
of subtle lonely strangers

Knowing nothing of the waiting
shadows linger deep
just out of reach of tomorrow, where
hearts ready in quiet desperation
haunt us, then let us go

And then, just before surrender
to what beckons
you rewind, and
in your own unique suddenness
the inevitable happens

Do not go gentle into that good night

By Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Cat and Mouse Games

Cat and mouse–
one game I try not to play, but
one playing its way
through my life and yours

Watch and you’ll see
There is no pretending, or
disinterested play, for
every move is life or death

For the cat, it’s all in the hunt
As for the mouse, it’s about slipping away
evading capture, and
living to tell tales of the mythical adventure

Don’t fear its reality, cat or mouse
but enter dog, and cat becomes hunt’s object
mouse slips free, and
the cycle continues

Like so many things in life
Cat and mouse become part
of something larger–
something even the hunt cannot contain

Beyond What’s Apparent

Think of the odds
unthinkable as they are
Imagine something, beyond
where imagination usually leads

Find yourself, midstream
between what’s known and anything other
searching for the crack, expanding
across the cosmic egg you call your life

Hatch the truth–
not at all perfect, often missed
accessible though, if you linger
just beyond your denial

In all this
go beyond what you know
Find what nobody knows you have
What you don’t know you have

There, you’ll find your way–
the way you lost
whose end wants
just one last beginning

When a Factory’s Life Ends

Foul gray smoke once belched
from tall red brick stacks
A bittersweet sign of life–
the old factory was still working

The smoke has now ended
along with the noisy metal-banging
that kept men busy
from sun up till sun down

The iron gates are chained shut
Never again, will they greet the dark faces
of hardened men with stale breath
from strong black coffee and cigarettes

Too easy to blame, too many strikes
for the factory’s foreboding silence
but hungry workers elsewhere, willing
to work for much less
and customers needing less metal
are just as much the reason
why the dark faces have grown much darker

The mill is history–
a cold, lifeless archeological ruin
So are the paychecks that paid the bills
giving small consolation to the two thousand men
laughing at each other’s lame jokes
dreaming of days
they wouldn’t have to work so hard

Now that day has come, and
their dreams and jokes both have ended.

When Autumn Came

By Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Translated by Naomi Lazard

This is the way that autumn came to the trees:
it stripped them down to the skin,
left their ebony bodies naked.
It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves,
scattered them over the ground.
Anyone could trample them out of shape
undisturbed by a single moan of protest.

The birds that herald dreams
were exiled from their song,
each voice torn out of its throat.
They dropped into the dust
even before the hunter strung his bow.

Oh, God of May have mercy.
Bless these withered bodies
with the passion of your resurrection;
make their dead veins flow with blood again.

Give some tree the gift of green again.
Let one bird sing.

The Slow Economic Bleeding Takes Its Toll

So many small towns
Desperate
Down on their luck
Fallen, and
unable to get back up
No way to revive opportunity

I’ve seen their faces…
all those workers, young and old
losing it all, including their dreams
More than they ever imagined–
gone, like a vanishing ghost
leaving them cold and empty

Times have been tougher
like the Great Depression
but the slow economic bleeding
is taking its toll everywhere
Hope is still out there, but
wrapped in unfamiliar clothes

Who Am I?

Who am I…
when I stop being afraid
stop pretending
give up trying to be somebody, and
finally give in to being me?

I’m not…
the person I thought I was
wanted to be
was to please someone else, or
imagined one night all alone

The easiest thing, and
the hardest thing in the world
is being who you are
without trying, and
without being anyone or anything

All of us stray from ourselves, and
forget who we are
Next time you lose yourself, just remember
you are the subject, searching
for what you aleady are

Truth as Your Surgical Knife

Psychic surgery
You’re the surgeon
Cut carefully
removing only the bad apples
spoiling the bunch

Some parts of us, look diseased
needing extrication, but
at a closer inspection, we see
good and bad, sewn together
All parts of the same cloth

Parts and wholes
just illusions
like chickens, desert journeys, and
Sunday afternoon football
All parts of who we are

Surgery, on one level
separating us, parceling out
what’s not needed
to be healthy
and grow stronger

Should you decide
psychic surgery is needed, and
something beyond cosmetic fixing
choose truth, as the knife
used to remove what’s no longer needed

Saturday Sunsets and Promises Beyond

Of all things
happiness, above
everything else imagined
all things promised

Climbing, far ahead
Higher, than the most perfect sunset
Clamouring beyond
even best Saturday night promises

Taking us, down
life’s most worn path
time knows so well, but
finds no end in sight

There, and only there
truth curls up next to
tall sleeping lies
awaiting the next Saturday sunset

What It Takes

Not at all clear what it takes
to make it in a world
where success is all numbers
and truth is strictly quality
Clearly, more is not better

I have my doubts
You’re entitled to yours
that anything better
than more of the same will happen
when the motive is just getting by

Something different is needed
of you, me and all others concerned
if we’re to get past status quo
and march in brave new directions
where no one has been

And, in all this
we must be prepared to accept
that everything possible can be done
and still, it isn’t enough
to take us where we need to go

A Prayer for the Haunted

Sometimes ghosts haunt you
even in your dreams
Sometimes they demand conversation
Engagement you’re not ready to provide

At any cost, avoid possession
For surely then, you’ve lost it all
and then, hope escapes you
like a clouded over full moon

When phantoms come calling
become too much for you
pray, as you never have before
starting first with our Father
thou art in Heaven
protect me, in thy name

Then, ask the blessed angels
your guardian watchmen, be brought forth
in the Holy Ghost’s name, protecting
you against desperate incarnate beings
seeking complicit bodies
to host their reincarnation

In whose name, we ask
what no other can oblige
but safekeeping from all evil
And, in the name of the most holy, amen

Hanging in Pristine Nakedness

Too often, too much
At times, not enough
Then, when we’re satisfied
something new arises
moving us, to yet another new place

Usually a place we’d never find, unless
the world slows down enough
letting us catch up
letting us surpass ourselves
and find more truth than lies

More solid, dependable ground
than turbulent soil
undermining our sense of hope
Releasing us from banality
like every beach releases its sand

And once the beach disappears
and all her sand is gone
we’re left, hanging
like the new moon
in pristine nakedness, before the sun rises

When You Pray

When you pray
do you trust
your prayers are heard
and will be answered?

Do you believe
something infinitely larger
inside and outside you
is always there to help?

Something including you
going beyond you
seeing you, for who you are
connecting you to what you need

And ultimately
bringing you home
where you began, and
where you will end

No Escaping Who You Are

Escape your lies and self-deception
like time out runs the clock
and like the waves
always stay ahead of the ocean

Whatever you hold onto is nothing
compared to what is left
after you let go of the illusions
blocking your path to reality

No matter how hard you try
there is no escaping who you are
Eventually all clouds clear
and the real you shines through

Once it does, there is no hiding
no more pretending
you can be anything better
than who you already are

Find a Cure

Chloe’s eight
Sweet child, lovely smile
eternal optimism, and
stage four cancer
in her brain and spine

No, it’s not fair
Chloe knows that
She still believes in miracles
and hasn’t given up
Nor should we

Look into her sparkling brown eyes
So much life, speaking through them
telling us there’s something more powerful
than the hideous beast
feeding on her precious life energy

In all this
so much unexpected hope
from what seems so hopeless
From all this
life becomes even more special

October Full Moon

Why does the October full moon
seem so lonely, yet so bright?

Why does her luminous light
seem so still, without flicker?

Why does solitary moonlight
fill my dreams with deep mysteries
keeping me awake as I sleep?

Why does the moon remind me
there is more to life
than what the sun can show?

Why do such questions
linger inside me
like hungry grey wolves
scouring the woods for prey?

Why is there no rest, until
I make peace with this October moon?

Why Wait?

Sometimes we get lost, waiting
for things to happen in life
While waiting
we miss the joy in our life
and replace it with worry
doubt, disappointment and confusion

Waiting causes us to wish
for a reality different
than the one showing up
While waiting for what we want
we postpone engaging the moment at hand–
the only reality available to us

Like most bad habits dying old
waiting is a vice grip on life
causing us to miss
what presents itself
and deserves our full attention
So, why wait?

In a Heartbeat

More elegant, nothing could be
than a simple heartbeat
So rhythmic, so alive
So vital to all I am

Pushing life, through my veins
one precious surge after another
Keeping the miracle going
even without my asking

Quickening in the presence
of a lovely lady
Fluttering at the sight
of a spellbounding sunset

Invigorating me, as I run
life’s endless mazes
Exonerating me of my sins
of too much of too many things

Its irresistible music, overtakes me
fills me, sweeps me away
Fills my hope for the next moment
Thump-thump, thump-thump

Yielding to Myself

On foot I hiked across the field
To no transient pleasure did I yield
For I must find my heart’s desire
Most surely before, I retire

The sun shines bright upon my head
In quiet I walk, no word was said
A clearing comes within my view
Just then I knew, what to do

I climbed a tree to the perfect place
And toward the sun, I did face
Younger days rose up inside of me
For from my tree, I now could see
A part of me that had been lost
One I must know at any cost

Until the sun went down, I did sit
An illuminating fire within, had been lit
Sometimes we need to get away
And find ourselves in another way

When darkness fell, I headed home
The sky above, a star-filled dome
On foot I hiked, across the field
Finally, to my true self, I did yield

The Crickets’ Autumn Song

Solitary crickets, drone on
through the night’s deepest hours
about fall’s impending ascent

They tell poignant epic stories
they never quite finish
leaving last lines, for the winter sun
to write on fresh-fallen snow

The crickets hypnotic chirping, drowns out
the 12:07 am train, passing unnoticed
except for the squealing rails, stretching
from one end of the night to the other

Summer died suddenly, but gloriously
like the fuzzy green caterpillar, morphing
in one afternoon into a graceful butterfly

The crickets just do what they do
without being asked, or rewarded
They sing in a voice, heard by the turning leaves
the fading grass, swelling pumpkins
who otherwise might miss their time

When I was young, I was too busy
to hear the crickets sing
Now autumn rises up in me
as I ready for the winter sun
to write again last lines
in the fresh-fallen snow