Stormy Weather

Inside all of us, storms aplenty
Some predictable, others sudden, without warning
Thunder, lightning, heavy rain—
We survive, all parts of life
Hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, tsunamis—
Always deeper, more devastating
Often more than we can withstand

Watch we must, our inner radar screen
Observing for changes, signs of what’s to come
Never perfect information though
Each moment abides in its own flow
Carrying us to its eye
Where there is peace
But no seeing beyond

Storms come and go
Like the wind—
Sweeping us into surrender
Into places where we must change
To transcend ourselves and survive
To find safe harbor
That place beyond all stormy weather

Stroke

Imagine not knowing
Where you are
Who you are
How you’ll ever get back
To your place of knowing

Imagine the torment
Raw unformed fear
Galloping throughout your being
As your mind races
Leaving you nowhere

Imagine the hell
Of being forever lost
Not just a bad dream
Or even a terrifying nightmare
But an endless state of not knowing

Imagine one day
You are perfectly normal
Everything seems right
Then without warning
The world you knew and loved is gone

All the theories, concepts, diagnoses
Explaining why your brain misfires
Why your consciousness is lost
They don’t matter
You can’t find your way back

Youth’s Butterfly

Our youth
Like some ineffable butterfly
Flits about in our memories, dreams, reflections
At times, as real as any dream can be
Always, midstream between the familiar and unknown

The older faces about us tell stories
Going past the point butterflies can go
Places no words can reach
Spaces outside the universe we’ve grown to love
Placeless realities no eyes can ever see

Somehow, we start over again before we end
Revisiting, remembering our beginnings
Hoping our memories help us hold on
Somehow anchor us in the shifting sand
Trickling through life’s hourglass

We seem to sense the futility
Of holding onto what only visits
Like the sun in summer
Like the butterfly in the garden
That disappears as quickly as it arrived

Sweet Amelia

I thought of Amelia, just this morning
Not long after the sun rose
Setting my heart on fire
I should have felt guilty
Just a tinge of remorse
None came, and so
My memories grew deeper

Plain as day, I saw Amelia
Her beauty lapped at my eyes
Her sweet scent, crushing me
Leaving nothing inside me to hold back
I knew then, as I did upon our first embrace
There’s no forgetting what’s eternal
What’s forever etched in your soul

No flower blooms forever
Yet she flowers deep inside me
But even in her receding waves, there is grace
Even when the sun disappears, leaving her naked
There is no forgetting
God’s own daughter
Only can I think of her—sun-sweet Amelia

Note: A tribute to Amelia Island just north of Jacksonville, Florida

Looking Back in Time

Eighteen in ’69
Just a young man. deliriously free
Eager as a spinnaker sail
On a wild racing sailboat
Cutting through time
So many years after
Still chasing the translucent wind

Eighteen, a ghost in Tucson
Land of sunlight, magical sunsets
Each moment, virgin
As the first time
An ancient lost star reappears
Driving Speedway, Abbey Road blarin’
Strange visions, smokin’ Panama Red

Creamsicle-orange sunset, Gates Pass
Beyond where last songs linger
Ladies of the Canyon
Nights of White Satin
Something in the way she moves
Purple Haze, guitars on fire
Lit mescaline dreams, May wind-swept clouds

Saguaro cactus arms out-stretched
Holding on to what’s left
What began, never ended
Now fifty-seven, moon-struck memories
Wispy clouds, awaiting sunset
Red-green tie-dyed tee shirts
Just one wish…do it all over again

Something but Nothing

Each of us, a part of that larger something
That speeding beam of light
Streaking through the universe
That churning river, no beginning or end
That idea, completely incomplete
Seeking form, expression, repetition
Even before it is aware of itself

Each of us, a part of that other something
Something beyond us, you, me, anything
Always something other than what we think
Illusive as the beauty we sense
But cannot touch with our hand or words
Like chasing smoke from a distant fire
Or a butterfly through the heart’s garden

Each of us, something
But nothing by ourselves
Contingent, perhaps co-dependent
On each moment flowing through us
But even in the moment
No permanence, foundation, or reason
We just are

Hummingbird

I waited for you
You did not come
I watched for you
My eyes grew tired
I fell fast asleep

As I slept
There were dreams
Dancing through my head
Of you
Life and death

You were there
In all my dreams
The buzz of your wings constant
Your gleeful chirp between sips
Of life’s sweet nectar

I awakened from my dreams
There you were at my window
There you were in my heart
It’s all a miracle—
The dreams, life, hummingbirds

Another version here

Our Inner Life Condition

Inner life condition, more than anything
Gives rise to our joy and satisfaction
Little else really matters
Nothing else can save us from the demons
We’ve carried around since birth—
The demons we must lose before we die

What is in our hearts
What brings our minds peace
Speaks louder than any words
Saying more to others
About who we are
Whether we’re worth the time
To know as a friend

While many, perhaps most
Strive for happiness in the outer realm
Our souls can never abide there
We are but single heartbeats
Echoing across a vast canyon of moments
But we are those heartbeats
And that’s all that will ever matter

Dreams Come True

Do you remember when you were nine
And you dreamed, without sleeping
Of travel to far-off places
Being a major league baseball hero
Discovering long-lost worlds
Where extinct Indians lived
And being so rich
That nobody in your family ever had to work

You’ve done all of these things
But in ways you never imagined
And for reasons you never expected
You’ve traveled inward
Discovered your own long-lost world
Rediscovered friends you thought gone forever
You are the hero of your own life story
And you have a richness way beyond money

All your dreams have come true
Even the tiny ones
That open vast life doors
And most of the large ones
That you thought could only be dreams
So you sit, watching clouds drift
Across bright blue sky
Now you see it’s all just a dream

Lao Tzu on Leadership

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him….But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, “We did it ourselves.”