A January Eve Riddle

We can choose to forget or remember
Depending upon our current reality
We are now just past December
Last signs, youthful vitality

Truth a mere lost vanity
Younger years, days gone by
Sparing all humanity
Hopes, dreams, say goodbye

Amidst the rush, long winter storm
Nights and days lose all form
Tell us why we should conform
Live we shall to transform

These dire times to be overcome
Onward, upward, way beyond
So much left to become
Then alas waves life’s magic wand

We Are All Blind

We are all blind,
even those of us
who can see
with our eyes.

We are blinded by:
the incandescent light of day,
the thundering sound of darkness,
by what we take to be knowledge
and also ignornace,
and by what we believe is real and right.

Every word we use colors our world,
strips it of its shapelessness,
robs it of its completeness,
and separates it into pieces
that we struggle against
to find a meaningful connection for ourselves.

All poets are blind.
Ask any one of them,
and they will tell you
they cannot see
past their own verse
and the hideous curse
it casts upon them.

We are all blind,
even those of us
who can see
with our eyes.

Stop worrying about
what your eyes can and cannot see,
and just open your heart.
From there, you can see perfectly.

Click here to hear me read this poem.

Also, see the post immediately below.

Borderlines and Boundaries

If we are not careful
our lives turn into nothing more
than borderlines and boundaries.

If we are not careful
these borderlines and boundaries
splinter our sense of reality
and cause us to see separation
when there is only connection.

If we are not careful
our lives end up having more limits
than possibilities to grow into.

How can all this be?
It’s easy.
We decide that our life is about judging
rather than simply experiencing
whatever we encounter in life.

We form preferences that exclude
fresh new experiences.
And from these preferences
habits and conditioning grow
that we take to be who we are.

That is not who we are.
We are that which comes before
all preferences, habits, and conditioning.
We are boundaryless beings
without independent form
that cannot be separated from all else
we consider to be the universe.

Contrary to what we may think
reality is not a fixed thing
with clear starting and stopping points.
Rather it is more like the sky, a river, a conversation,
or a loose thought or feeling
that flows without fixed boundaries.

If we are not careful
our borderlines and boundaries rob us
of our joy, well-being, and happiness,
and they leave us barren
of the very life we seek.

Be the boundaryless being that you are.

Light and Dark

Light and dark, both parts of one.
Never one without the other.
From darkness, light is born.
From light, darkness takes root.
Never one without the other.

The dance of life, always in between.
Light casts its shadows.
Darkness in those shadows grows.
Night gives way to day.
Day turns back what night has given.
Sun and moon always in twilight dance.

Each soul a dance from light to dark,
and then back to light.
No escaping darkness’ fall.
No escaping light’s return.
Light and dark, both parts of one.

Click here to hear me read this poem.

The Battle of Bands on Religion

Religious belief.
Few topics are more hotly debated,
and yet most debates go nowhere
except in closed circles
always meant to be left open.

There are debates between circles of belief,
like Christianity and Islam, and
there are debates within circles of belief,
like what different brands of Protestants believe, and
there are debates within circles within circles of belief,
like what different brands of Christian fundamentalists believe.

Most all appeal to an authority,
which they claim is the highest, but
how can there be any truly final authority,
when there are so many?
There can’t be.

The good news is that most belief systems
point to something higher,
which, in one way or another,
helps us keep our insidious egos in check.

The bad news is that most religious debates
seek to emphasize differences
and ignore what all share in common,
which is that none have the answer for all.

Many have tired of the ranting and proselytizing
of organized religion, and have chosen
to label themselves spiritual.
But I find even the spiritual camp
to be overflowing with debates
about who really knows the real deal
when it comes to the Divine.

And then there is the ongoing raging debate
between science and religion,
which makes me laugh, as now we watch
both using consciousness as a fulcrum
to lift up their ideologies.

So what are we left to believe?
Believe what you will, but remember
that whatever you believe
can and will limit what you know.

As for me,
I am writing this poem,
instead of sitting in some hard church pew
on this Sunday morning.

Click here to hear me read this poem.

This poem was prompted by a recent exchange with one of favorite aunts about religion and spirituality. By the way, neither of us won the debate. 🙂


Those of truth
live in shadows
like those rarely seen.

Those of truth
try their best
to go unnoticed,
like the last flicker of sunset,
before it turns into night.

Those of truth
have stopped searching,
because they know, they have
all they will ever need.

Those of truth
pause to wonder
because wonder is
even more than it seems.

Those of truth,
last and foremost,
find Scarborough Fair
in all they see.

And those of truth
will always know
the end is near
for all but truth
that lingers long
and wanders wide.

But in the end,
truth we know
can never hide.

2:47 AM: Imagining Life

So many thoughts at 2:47 AM.
Mostly loose ones,
drifting like ghosts
in and out of you.
All as fugitive as breath, yet
some presenting themselves
as incarnate as rays of sun,
lingering at sunset.
We know better,
or at least we should.
We can be closer to ourselves
when we’re captured
by moments like this.
Night moments, when
it’s quiet enough
to hear the house sigh,
and you can glimpse
another side of yourself–one
demanding the utmost gentleness
before it will show itself.
But even that disappears,
like the dream awakening you
in the first place.
You wonder what really holds us–
here in this moment.
It all seems so fragile.
Not in the sense of shattering
like a glass slipping from your hand, but
more like a mirage on a hot summer day.
One moment it’s here, and then
it’s gone in the next.
Just like life.

Getting Past Ourselves

Our biggest struggles
in life
are with ourselves.

Some escalate
into battles, and some
into life-long wars
that take
the best part
of who we are.

when we lose
that part
of ourselves,
the struggles deepen,
causing the battle lines to grow,
exposing more of us
to even more
of what consumes us,
breaking us down,
and ultimately destroying
any hope we have
for peace.

The answer is
always the same,
and that is to surrender;
letting go of all
that causes us to struggle,
including even
our desire for peace.
For as long
as we struggle
even for peace,
we remain
at war with ourselves.

Shall We Dare

Shall we dare
linger one more moment
and let the warm morning sun
fill us with peace and comfort?

Shall we dare
lie perfectly still and listen
to the rhythmic beating
of our hearts resting in love?

Shall we dare
forgive ourselves for what
we so much more easily
can forgive another?

Shall we dare
stray from the known path
and explore one not known
during our daily walk through life?

Shall we dare
grant another blessings
that we ourselves
cannot possess?

Shall we dare
accept what we always questioned
and question
what we have always accepted?

Dare we shall
all this, and more
and in so doing
allow the life we love to appear.

Reflecting on a Meaningful Life

Life in the abstract is meaningless.

How’s that for an abstract,
and therefore meaningless answer
to the critically important question:
Is your life meaningful?

I ask the question because I care,
and also because asking you the question
creates a mirror allowing me
to reflect upon my own life
and its meaningfulness.

Certainly philosophers serve their purpose
by raising age-old questions
perplexing all pondering them, but
a meaningful understanding of life
flows from living a meaningful life.

Should I say that again?
I shall.
A meaningful understanding of life
flows from living a meaningful life.
Mr. Thompson, my much feared and revered
high school chemistry teacher, was right:
The proof is in the pudding. Always!

So, what is a meaningful life?
Look in the mirror
and ask yourself that question.
Prescriptive answers by another
to that question, are indeed unjust.

You must decide for yourself.

So, how is your life, and
is it meaningful enough to you?
Moreover, how do you decide
whether your life is meaningful?
For most of us, we decide
based upon what is most important to us.

And what might that be?
The list is nearly endless, and
it includes everything from love
to fame and fortune,
good health, family, and friends,
serving a higher purpose,
attaining spiritual enlightenment,
helping others,
freedom and individuality, and
for some novelty and creativity.

Is my life meaningful?
As I stand before the bathroom mirror,
on this gorgeous early May morning,
an unexpected smile breaks out on my face.
I think: What a ludicrous question!
Need I ask such a question of myself
on this beautiful day,
overflowing with life possibilities?

Indeed, my life is meaningful, and
not for any particular reason.
It just is; as I am.
And that is enough for me.

Now that I’ve resolved that issue,
I am curious to know:
How did mirrors ever get to be so smart?

Reflecting on What Really Makes Us

There comes a time
When we allow our collectiveness to matter.
When our place with others seems more important.
When what we see as our generation
Shapes us and the identity we project.
When we make being a Boomer, or
Remembering the Beatles’ Abbey Road album
As more important than they ever could be.

There comes a time when we realize
That so much of what we are
Makes little difference
In the grand scheme of things, and
That so much of what made our world
Was nothing more than a long series of random events
That we just happened to be a part of.

Eventually we see; at least most of us
The improvisational nature of life, and
So improvise we do, in ways we like best,
Until the time comes
When we must ultimately surrender
All scripts and all we think we know,
And give ourselves over
To that which cannot be changed, and
Most likely not even remembered
Until the next time
Some random event
Makes it all seem familiar.

And so, there comes a time
When we finally accept that
Life rolls through us
Like an unscheduled freight train
That only stops
When it stops.