Aadhya Chamber Ten
Aadhya Chamber Eleven
Aadhya Chamber Twelve
Aadhya Chamber Thirteen
Aadhya Chamber Fourteen
Aadhya Chamber Fifteen
Aadhya Chamber Seventeen
Aadhya Chamber Twenty
Aadhya Chamber Twenty-Two
Aadhya Chamber Twenty-Four
Zyanya Chamber Four
Zyanya Chamber Eight
Chamber 8: Testimony
I’m sitting in a pew;
a child of eight.
A deacon winces behind a lecturn
as he recalls the bitter plight
from which he was saved.
For some reason they call it testimony.
In the deacon’s moment of salvation,
when he was in the pit of despair
and the hand of God reached down
to save him,
he was naked.
Not even a figleaf.
(Damn and dam those Adamic themes.)
The deacon had been
the victim of alcohol and nameless drugs,
caught in their merciless undertow.
He ended up in the fetal position
on the floor of his shower (not exactly Eden),
when something miraculous happened.
A voice spoke to him.
I wanted to ask, were the drugs still working?
But it was church,
and my father was next to me.
I didn’t want to invoke the stern lanterns
or the stooping whisper.
That voice, at least to the deacon,
it wasn’t his imagination, he protested,
or having been caught in the crossfire
of alcohol and heroin.
he made that quite clear.
Instead, by a miracle’s mirage
the deacon had stood to his feet, half-choking,
half-baptized by water,
in a birthday suit
that I couldn’t help curiously imagining.
The voice the deacon heard,
seemed to need a capital “V”,
because he had referred to it as the Voice.
It’s a funny thing to me is that god
should be capitalized, as if it’s a proper noun,
and any action (verb) or thing (noun)
that issues from god, should also be capitalized.
God is not a name for a person.
Even when I was eight
I knew that god was an indefinite pronoun.
But back to the Voice.
The deacon’s cadence slowed down,
his tone wrenchingly somber,
and then, he whispered the words the Voice told him
(from outside of himself,
he emphasized one more time):
“Lift yourself up. You have work to do.”
Hmm, I had been properly baited,
fileted and baked,
and then this punchline?
That was the Voice?
That’s all it said?
That was what saved you?
That’s your testimony?
That was divine intervention?
For a deacon?
What about me?
Maybe the voice would say:
“Get out of bed. You have school!”
My mom said that.
That’s my testimony.
Zyanya Chamber Nine
Chamber 9: The Theory of Everything
If we are to walk a tightrope
with the tipani of righteousness
its querulous beat,
we must be calm, steady, poised,
At our back,
vultures crown the sky,
ink blots spiraling ever-closer
to stain the land.
One foot out
the rope cringes with the weight.
Far below, a rattlesnake darts
from behind gray rocks.
The theory of everything
is woven upon the tightrope
in code that only an ant
Doubtful it would illuminate
the ant or any of us.
You mean a theory for every thing
in every dimension
that ever existed or exists?
Do you mean the future, too?
Is there such a theory
that can connect all the dots?
Leave nothing out,
I wonder where wonder would be found
if such a theory materialized.
from out of the gloom of ignorance,
we looked upon our silver screens
and saw the irrefutable truth
Would any of us understand?
The tightrope is too high.
The net, too thin.
The code, too small.
Our minds, too thick.
When the tightrope cringes
our hearts fall to fear.
Looking backwards to the wooden platform
that small block of safety
with a leaning ladder of Pisa.
And yet, there is the pull
of the other side.
The jawboning parrots block the way
critics of all things original,
The theory of everything
is the most original
of all originality
for the simple reason it threads
in a single fabric.
What could be more original than that?
Zyanya Chamber Ten
Chamber 10: One and Equal
The stories you’ve been told
have made you pray
to the sky-fixer.
With the weight of a ghost
the genie spins.
You lower your clasped hands
to your sides and sigh.
A downward glance,
a broken floor,
a stunted breath
stuttering in the wireless world.
The unequal falsehood,
stood up by derelict stooges,
but as strong as a belief
Forked tongues welded
these stories to your mind’s basement,
the casement for the blind.
What does equal mean, any way?
Equality is a concept
from the other side.
It has not bred
on this side of the abacus.
It is the orphan in the corner,
the inductive murmur
stand like a sculpture in empty
We can see it,
know it in our minds,
imagine its purpose,
but, like a marble eye
it stares back at us,
One and equal is the chant.
One and equal.
One and equal.
Perhaps it is more a prayer
than a chant.
Maybe an affirmation?
Maybe a hope?
Certainly not a mantra.
The sky-fixer, spinning in weightlessness,
waits for more voices.
The franchised choir
whose mercenary ways
ultimately precipitate the reins
that embrace you
and hold you as seven and a half-billion
wandering the coagulate spirit.
Garbed as particles of one thing
ignorant of itself.
You pledge your fate
to the invisible giant whose
bowels of confusion constitute your path.
You rise up in protests,
victorious with new laws,
to the flying goalposts of equality.
The genie sleeps.
The three wishes expressed
lilt on the winds of time.
ONE. Give us immortal life.
TWO. Give us freedom within that immortal life.
THREE. Give us purpose.
A fourth wish limped behind,
whispered in a croaking breath:
Give us equality.
The genie scowled,
its arms green and muscular,
“There are only three wishes.
You cannot have more.
Do you wish to substitute?”
The particles, lost in their blueprints,
collectively shook one head
and crawled their separate ways.
Zyanya Chamber Eleven
Chamber 11: Our Home
When all else fails
remind me of our home.
Even the word is warming.
In the back of a deep drawer
I can reach blindly,
fingers as eyes.
When I imagine home
I have no fingers or eyes.
Something approximate of light.
Something unbounded by
heaven and hell.
from the infectious armies
that patrol the borders
between black and white.
Liberation is the ultimate home.
There is no border,
No antibodies patrol
with creeping tendrils.
No antidotes to patch poisen’s
Home is cast from a matrix;
a boundless source
A mystery billowing
like a forceful form half-seen.
When all else fails
let me hear the primal hymns
that soar through the tall,
Let me feel that ecstasy
when light and air
expose the soul’s heartbeat,
and its drumming
cannot be unsummoned.
When all else fails
remind me of our home.
In my final depletion
only speak those words:
Zyanya Chamber Thirteen
Chamber 13: No Shelters
I walk a path surrounded by
darting from the underground;
angling their way
to the gleaning shelter.
Can you see this shelter?
Invisible horses herd us.
Stern voices command us.
Winnowing touches draw us closer.
Our purpose is lent
from a landlord cast of clay,
surfaced in gold,
burnished to a sheen that blinds.
Inside the shelter,
compliance of generation
thinned to the same
themes of sin and insufficiency.
How can a shelter,
based on sin and insufficiency,
be a shelter?
An oasis for slaves?
A detour into the illusory?
The pull of a demonic shade?
A mirage of tarnished hope?
A dream of salvation
where souls are properly attired
in bowing minds.
I walk a path
that moves serpentine, dotted
with eyes that see
around bends and over mountains.
That see the karmic freight
borne of a listless, if not witless, mass.
Whose map encircles
an entire galaxy of learning
where there are no shelters.
Zyanya Chamber Fourteen
Chamber 14: Purpose Served
Do not be seduced
by the plow of nihilism.
Its seeds sprout,
and nihilists believe
in the sun, water and soil.
They are the equal and opposite effect
of something ineffable,
where real, unreal, and surreal
align in a magnetic clasp
The Enlightenment obscured
like an eclipse
blunts the moon or sun.
The core of light
the program of blockage
ebbs and flows
through generational time.
Science will prove perennial mysticism.
The eclipse is always temporary.
But in the shadows
the senses come alive.
Zyanya Chamber Sixteen
Chamber 16: Monument
For if just once in its brief lifespan
the mud-limbed creature staunch entrusts
the entirety of its being to a single guiding star,
without thought to consequence or charge,
shorn of reservation and uncertainty,
of indurate heart, of resolute mind,
of immaculate soul…
it is ever sung and honored
within the senior ranks of bravery,
notwithstanding the overt success of its mission.
The act of commitment bricks the monument;
a willed reorientation of self
to the nurture of the seed’s kernel,
to the perfume of the flower of life
from which all life springs.
And should it be asked of me,
a sprout of divine derivation,
if the retrospective yields the lesson,
I would proud salute in quiet reverie
the God-spark’s passionate audacity
that emboldens and animates the mundane.
Zyanya Chamber Seventeen
Chamber 17: The Gates of Crumpled Paper
Inward goes the call.
The writing proceeds, but the words
beneath my gaze
before they reach me.
A hand that is mine
holds a pen that is yours
over a paper that is ours.
Its white geometry
stares up at me like a gate,
using me to sour fate.
I know the madness inside you
lurks, breeding with itself—
each generation madder.
Until all of us,
straining to see what is within,
the last of kin
a silent monster
in my shadows.
Truly, it is not your fault
that you are a petal of gold
on the flower of disease.
I have crumpled another
page on the floor,
hoping to please you.
Another gate refused to open
so I closed its existence.
Your pen is too fine
for my words anyway.
And my hand is
tired of denial.
I can tolerate the savage smile.
The lock of hair cut in rage.
The latch left open at night.
The blackouts that seize you in their cage.
For that one small gift that you have given
is not so small.
A muse of a lonely highway;
of searchlights that prowl the night
in a feast of anti-mimicry.
You have brought me here
to see the crumpled gates
that my bare hands have laid
before your madness.
In this aloof chaos we call earth
we have both listened for the apology.
Stabbing at our brains’ indecision
every ounce of us drenched in the
sanctity of sweat.
The pitiless tint of crumpled paper
like birthmarks of the
cream carpet face below.
Lifeless and languid
they imitate cruelty in their disavowal.
But like you,
their denial is part of a calculation—
the kind that is not kind.
“Tough love,” you said,
“is the only witness to true love.”
You sacrificed your letting go so I could
Gathering the words that had fallen prey
to a matchstick’s fleeting light.
The small gift that you have given
is not so small.
It has no dimension.
It has no presence at all,
yet it gives permission like the sun
The moon to dream.
The mountain to hope.
The ocean to feel.
The desert to desire.
The forest to commune.
The earth to live.
The human to love
and to leave too soon.
I know you know us.
You have pressed yourself to me
in the falsetto of love’s voice.
Not enough I thought,
but it was enough to create us.
When you go on, past me,
remember, any thought you might have
of me, is not me.
It can only be us,
because there was never a time when I walked
or ran or crawled or laid on this land
alone of you.
My deprived angel, if you go mad
when my flesh
is crumpled on the floor
like a birthmark on Death’s face;
I will crush the gates for you
with my bare hands.
I will talk with the king.
I will tell him you are forgiven.
I will show him your small gift
that is not so small.
“There is only mercy
in a world of madness.”
I remember your words’ stealthy aim.
It was my heart,
the one thing that cannot be reduced
by a cage.
Like an evening shadow
I will wait the moment of your return.
The king and I will walk the land together,
listening for your arrival.
When you come,
I will run from my rations.
I will lie atop you heart to heart;
The holy art!
And the time of crumpled papers,
of launching words like fireballs
over stone walls
into the deaf kingdoms
that hold sanity dear…
souls will finally sit with us
around fires and cheer.
We are not crazy when we hold our breath
as one lung.
When we close our eyes
to the punishment of purity.
When stars speak
to a leaf and
we intercept the repartee,
Zyanya Chamber Eighteen
Chamber 18: So, So Slowly
You cannot mute fire with Holy Water.
You cannot lure the wind to obey.
Yout cannot find the weakest in the stronger.
You cannot answer the questions that stay.
Cannot is the limit of can,
that you cannot unbelieve.
If you live a full life’s span,
gravity falls without reprieve.
Life is a humble, sprawling beast,
a tinder night seeking embers.
A castoff world unmoored released;
licking losses it falsely remembers.
Behaviors beneath the skin bloom,
their mount of the inner vessel complete.
Vanity spreads the bristles of its broom,
sweeping virtues to the street.
If we give, truly give of ourselves,
the water within becomes holy.
We learn what the universe tells,
even though it seems to speak
so, so slowly.
Zyanya Chamber Twenty
Chamber 20: Real Gold
Following fires that bore into the land
like storms driven by lightning,
I see horizons cast deep,
flung by powerful, emboldened arms.
There, in that crease that folds mystery,
I can see a future
where ten billion differing beliefs
disintegrate into one.
Where the inside-out clarifies
why slavery can finally die.
We have been wrapped in slavery
since time was born on earth.
We accept the husk,
as if it was us.
The fools gold of spirituality.
The dazzle of light.
The glamor of angelic hosts.
The vanity of hierarchies undisclosed.
Its recipients; love-obsessed people
with u-shaped mouths.
The sovereign is integral.
It is not cut-off from the motherload.
The pocket of gold spreads everywhere.
There is no mine to find.
We are it.
There is no have/have not.
There is only illusion.
Well, that is worth finding.
But it is underneath and beyond and invisible.
It is cloaked and silent.
It dreams us awake,
and nightmares us asleep.
It runs when we walk
and walks when we crawl.
It seems to tease
like a harmless want.
The truth is,
it’s clear like perfect glass.
An oasis or mirage?
Somewhere in that midpoint,
intoning threats of sin.
We stand at the perfect glass,
watching the tarnished gift of mortality.
We delete love
in every judgment and blame.
Yet love remains
the only game.
Hakomi Chamber One
Chamber 1: A Fire For You
On this, the shortest day of the year,
I have journeyed to the Great Plains
to build a fire for you.
The night air is cold like a cellar
cut from ancient stones.
But I found some wood among the deserted plains
buried under the grasses and dirt,
hidden away like leaves
that had become the soil.
After I cleaned the wood by hand—its dirt beneath
my nails and the fabric of my cloth
I sent a flame
combusted by the mere thought of you.
And the wood became fire.
There were hermit stars that gathered
overhead to keep me company.
Your spirit was there as well
amidst the fire’s flames.
We laughed at the deep meaning of the sky
and its spacious ways.
Marveling at the fl at mirror of the plain
that sends so little skyward,
like the hearts of children denied
a certain kind of love.
You played with spirits
when you were young among these fields.
You didn’t know their names then.
I was one.
Even without a name, or body,
I watched your gaze, unrelenting to the things
that beat between the
two mirrors of the sky and plain.
I believe it was here also
that you learned to speak with God.
Not in so many words as you’re now accustomed,
but I’m certain that God listened to your life
and gathered around your fire
for warmth and meaning.
In the deserted plains he found you set apart
from all things missing.
Dear spirit, I have held this vigil for so long,
tending fires whose purpose I have forgotten.
I think warmth was one.
Perhaps light was another.
Perhaps hope was the strongest of these.
If ever I find you around my fire,
built by hands
that know your final skin,
between the sheets of the sky and plain,
I will remember its purpose.
In barren fields
that have long been deserted by the hand of man
I will remember.
In the deepest eye of you
I will remember.
In the longest night of you
I will remember.
On this, the shortest day of the year,
I have journeyed to the Great Plains
to build a fire for you.
Hakomi Chamber Three
Chamber 3: Forgiver
Last night we talked for hours.
You cried in unstoppable sorrow,
while I felt a presence carve itself into me
source and savior of your dragging earth.
You feel so deeply,
your mind barely visible
staring ahead to what the heart already knows.
I see the distance you must heal.
I know your pacing heart bounded by corners
that have been rounded and smoothed
like a polished stone from endless waves.
For all I know you are me
in another body,
slots where spirits reach in
to throw the light
Prowling for crowns.
Are there ways to find your heart
I haven’t found?
You, I will swallow without tasting first.
I don’t care the color.
Nothing could warn me away.
Nothing could diminish my love.
And only if I utterly failed
in kinship would you banish me.
Last night, I know I was forgiven.
You gave me that gift unknowing.
I asked for forgiveness
and you said it was unneeded;
time shuffled everything anew
and it was its own
But I know everything not there
was felt by you and transformed.
It was given a new life, though inconspicuous,
it wove us together to a simple, white stone
lying on the ground that marks a spot of sorrow.
Beneath, our union, hallowed of tiny bones
beseech us to forgive ourselves
and lean upon our shoulders
in memory of love, not loss.
Blame settles on no one;
mysterious, it moves in the calculus
of God’s plan as though no one thought
to refigure the numbers three to two to one.
The shape stays below the stone.
We walk away,
knowing it will resettle
in our limbs
in our bones
in our hearts
in our minds
in our soul.
Hakomi Chamber Four
Chamber 4: Nature of Angels
Midnight in the desert and all is well.
I told myself so and so it is,
or it is not,
I haven’t quite decided yet.
Never mind the coyotes’ howl or
the shrinking light.
Holiness claims my tired eyes
as I return the stare of stars.
They seem restless, but maybe they’re
just ink blots and I’m the one
who’s really restless.
There is something here that repeals me.
In its abundance I am absent.
So I shouted at the desert spirits,
tell me your secrets
or I will tell you my sorrows.
The spirits lined up quickly then.
I heard many voices become one
and it spoke to the leafless sky
as a tenant to earth.
We hold no secrets.
We are simply windows to your future.
Which is now and which is then
is the question we answer.
But you ask the question.
If there is a secret we hold
it is nothing emboldened by words
or we would commonly speak.
I turned to the voice,
what wisdom is there in that?
If words can’t express your secret wisdom,
then I am deaf and you are mute and we are blind.
At least I can speak my sorrows.
Again the wings fluttered
and the voices stirred
hoping the sorrow would not spill
like blood upon the desert.
But there were no more sounds
save the coyote and the owl.
And then a strange resolution suffused my sight.
I felt a presence like an enormous angel
carved of stone was placed behind me.
I couldn’t turn for fear its loss would spill my sorrow.
But the swelling presence was too powerful to ignore
so I turned around to confront it,
and there stood a trickster coyote
looking at me with glass eyes
painting my fire, sniffing my fear,
and drawing my sorrow away in intimacy.
And I understood the nature of angels.
Hakomi Chamber Five
Chamber 5: Final Dream
Strike the flint that burns
a lonely world
and opens blessed lovers
to the golden grave of earth’s flame.
Listen to the incantation
of raindrops as they pass from gray clouds
to our mother’s doorstep.
Dreams of miracles yet to come
harbor in their watery husks.
Stand before this cage
splashed with beauty and stealth
and arranged with locks that have grown frail.
A simple breath
and all life is joined in the frontier.
Here is the masterpiece of creation
that has emerged from the unknown
in the depths of a silent Heart.
Here is the laughter sought
among rulers of death.
Here are the brilliant colors of rainbows
among the spilling reds that purge our flock.
Here is the hope of forever
among stone markers that stare through eyelids
released of time.
Here are the songs of endless voices
among the heartless dance of invisible power.
There is an evening bell that chimes
a melody so pure
even mountains weep
and angels lean to listen.
There is a murmur of hope that sweeps
aside the downcast eyes of hungry souls.
It is the fragrance of God
writing poems upon the deep blue sky
with pin-pricks of light and a sleepless moon.
It is the calling to souls
lost in the forest of a single world
to be cast, forged, and made ready
for the final dream.
Hakomi Chamber Seven
Chamber 7: Warm Presence
I once wore an amulet
that guarded against the forceps of humanity.
It kept at bay the phalanx of wolves
that circled me like phantoms of Gethsemane.
Phantoms that even now
replay their mantra like conch shells.
Coaxing me to step out and join the earthly tribe.
To bare my sorrow’s spaciousness
like a cottonwood’s seed to the wind.
Now I listen and watch for signals.
To emerge a recluse squinting in ambivalence
inscribed to tell what has been held by locks.
It is all devised in the sheath of cable
that connects us to Culture.
The single, black strand that portrays us to God.
The DNA that commands our image
and guides our natural selection of jeans.
Are there whispers of songs flickering
in dark, ominous thunder?
Is there truly a sun behind this wall of monotone clouds
that beats a billion hammers of light?
There are small, fl at teeth that weep venom.
There is an inviolate clemency
in the eyes of executioners while their hands toil to kill.
But there is no explanation for
voyeur saints who grieve only with their eyes.
There is only one path to follow
when you connect your hand and eye
and release the phantoms.
This poem is a shadow of my heart
and my heart the shadow of my mind,
which is the shadow of my soul
the shadow of God.
God, a shadow of some unknown, unimaginable
cluster of intelligence where galaxies
are cellular in the universal body.
Are the shadows connected?
Can this vast, unknown cluster reach into this poem
and assemble words that couple at a holy junction?
It is the reason I write.
Though I cannot say this junction has ever
been found (at least by me).
It is more apparent that some unholy hand,
pale from darkness, reaches out and casts its sorrow.
Some lesser shadow or phantom
positions my hand in a lonely outpost
to claim some misplaced luminance.
The phantom strains to listen for songs as they whisper.
It coordinates with searching eyes.
It peels skin away to touch the soft fruit.
It welds shadows as one.
I dreamed that I found a ransom note
written in God’s own hand.
Written so small I could barely
read its message, which said:
“I have your soul, and unless you deliver—
in small, unmarked poems—
the sum of your sorrows, you will never
see it alive again.”
And so I write while something unknown is curling
around me, irresistible to my hand, yet unseen.
More phantoms from Gethsemane who honor
sorrow like professional confessors lost in their despair.
I can reach sunflowers the size of
moonbeams, but I cannot reach the sum of my sorrows.
They elude me like ignescent stars that fall nightly
outside my window.
My soul must be nervous.
The ransom is too much to pay
even for a poet who explores the black strand of Culture.
Years ago I found an
Impression—like snow angels—left in tall grass
by some animal, perhaps a deer or bear.
When I touched it I felt the warm presence of life,
not the cold radiation of crop circles.
This warm energy lingers only for a moment
but when it is touched it lasts forever.
And this is my fear:
that the sum of my sorrows will last forever
when it is touched, and even though my soul
is returned unharmed,
I will remember the cold radiation
and not the warm presence of life.
Now I weep when children sing
and burrow their warm presence into my heart.
Now I feel God adjourned by the
source of shadows.
Now I feel the pull of a bridle,
breaking me like a wild horse turned
I cannot fight the phantoms
or control them or turn them away.
They prod at me as if a lava stream should
continue on into the cold night air
and never tire of movement.
Never cease its search for the perfect place to be a sculpture.
An anonymous feature of the gray landscape.
If ever I find the sum of my sorrows
I hope it is at the bridgetower
where I can see both ways
before I cross over.
Where I can see forgeries like a crisp mirage
and throw off my bridle.
I will need to be wild when I face it.
I will need to look into its
unnameable light and unravel
all the shadows interlocked like paper dolls
and cut from a multiverse of experience.
To let them surround me
and in one resounding chorus
confer their epiphany so I
can hand over the ransom and reclaim my soul.
When all my sorrows are gathered round
in an unbroken ring I will stare them down.
Behind them waits a second ring,
larger still and far more powerful.
It is the ring of life’s warm presence
when sorrows have passed
underneath the shadows’ source
and transform like the dull chrysalis
that bears iridescent angels.
Hakomi Chamber Eight
Chamber 8: My Son
My son is two.
I watch him walk
like a drunken prince.
With his body bare I can see
his soul better.
His shoulder blades
gesture like vestiges of wings.
His features stenciled upon pale flesh
by hands that have been before me.
He so wants to be like me.
His every movement like a dusty mirror
or awkward shadow of a bird in flight.
Every sound an echo heard.
Every cell pregnant with my urges.
But my urge is to be like him.
To return to childhood’s safe embrace
and certain honor.
If I return to this place
I hope my eyes will look again upon his face
even until his blades are wings once more.
Until I have circled his creaturehood
and know every hidden cleft
where I have left my print indelible
unable to be consumed.
Until all that he is
is in me and our hands are clasped, forged,
entwined, in voiceless celebration.
Until we are alone like two leaves
high above a treeless landscape
never to land.
Hakomi Chamber Thirteen
Chamber 13: What is Found Here
What is found here
can never be formed of words.
Pure forces that mingle uncompared.
Like dreams unspoken when first awoken
by a sad light.
What is found here
can limp with one foot on the curb
and the other on the pavement
in some uneven gait
waiting to be hidden in laughter.
What is found here
can open the swift drifting of curtains
held in mountain winds
when long shadows tumble across like juries
of the night.
What is found here
can always be held in glistening eyes.
Turned by silence’s tool of patience.
Like feelings harbored for so long
the starward view has been lost.
Hakomi Chamber Fourteen
Chamber 14: Forever
Memory, like a root in darkness,
piercing light with its stem
has found me.
Ordering my world
like architecture of feelings
bound to you,
held for you as shields of hope.
In the dispersion of love,
has been our call
answered in the sweetest caress
two can share.
And you wonder if ecstasy will diminish us
like rain the sun or
wind the calm.
When we know one another
in the deepest channel of our hearts
we can only utter one word
cast from this stone’s mind: forever.
When winter calls my name
in the highest desert of light,
I will not despair because I know you
in the deepest channel of my heart
where I understand the word, forever.
Instantly healed by your caressing lips
that unmasks all that has tortured me.
The panting of mouths
tired but astir in passion’s flame
can only cease when I have entered you
I carry you in this flame,
emerald-colored from my dreams of you
beneath the trees within
where your beauty consumed the sun
and snared my soul so completely.
I cannot truly know you apart
from a throne.
Spirits made to shine beyond the din
of boorish poets
that strike flint below water and cry without passion.
I have known you forever
in lonely streets
and the thundered plain.
In wilted villages and cool mountain terraces.
I have watched all of you
torn open to me speaking like a river
that moves on forever.
And I have waited
like the greedy mouth of an ocean
drawing you nearer to my lips
so I can know you forever
as you empty into me abandoned of all fear.
Hakomi Chamber Seventeen
Chamber 17: Imperishable
Through this night I have slept little.
My eyes, closed like shutters
with slats that remain open,
wait to invent dreams
of some charred reality.
I sense you, but no weight on my bed.
No shift or creaking other
than my own restlessness.
and released to the night
like a mantra slowly drowned in music.
Your presence grew with the music
devouring it in silence.
You came to me so clear
my senses aroused in electric storms of clarity.
The buzz of mercury lamps
alongside rutted roads,
shedding their weightless light.
In all of this waiting for you
no fortress or foxhole bears my name.
I lay on the Savannah
staring at the sun hoping against hope
it blinks before I do.
My wounded cells,
tiny temples of our mixture,
have weakened in your absence.
I can feel them wail in their miniature worlds.
My feet resist their numbness,
deny them their war.
As I lay here alone
waiting to be gathered into your arms,
I ask of you one thing,
remember me as this.
Remember me as one who loves you
Who pierces shells, armor, masks,
and everything protecting
your spirit in needless fervor.
Remember me as this.
As one who loves you unmatched
by the deepest channels
that have ever been forged.
Who will love you anywhere and always.
And if you look very closely at my love
you will not find an expiration date,
but instead, the word, imperishable.
Hakomi Chamber Eighteen
Chamber 18: Another
One skin may hide another,
I remember this from a poem when I
launched a fire across a field of deadness.
At least, to me, it seemed dead.
I felt like a liberator of life force
renewing the blistered and dying grasses.
Actually, more weeds than grass,
but nonetheless, the flora had flat-lined.
I peeled back skin with holy flame
and brought everything to black again
as though I called the night to descend.
From blackness will arise a new skin
cresting green architecture from a fertile void.
As the flames spread their inviolable enchantment
I saw your face spreading across my mind.
Remember the fire we held?
I hoped it would unfurl a new skin
for us as well.
Forever it will roam inside me
invariant to all transformations and motions.
One person may hide another,
but behind you, love is molting a thicker skin
than I can see through.
No flame can touch its center.
No eyes can browse its memory.
I want nothing behind you in wait.
Seconds tick away like children growing
in between photographs.
I will not forget you in the changes.
Cursed with memory so fine
I can trace your palm.
I can inhale your sweet breath.
I can linger in your arms’ weight.
I can hear your exquisite voice
calibrate life with celestial precision.
One purpose may hide another.
I heard this as the fire died out
to reveal the scent of the wet earth
and growing things.
I could feel my love decompose
returning to the uninhabited realm
where it belongs.
Where all hearts belong when
love is lost, and the code of the mute,
coiled in fists that pound,
reveal the wisdom of another.
Hakomi Chamber Nineteen
Chamber 19: Missing
Facing another evening without you
I am torn from myself
in movements of clouds,
movements of earth spinning
like the sure movement of lava as it rolls to sea.
Yet when I arrive from my dream
you are still gone from me
twenty-three footsteps away;
a bouquet of the abyss.
When I look to the east I think of you
softly waiting for me
to chisel you from the matrix
with smooth hammer strokes
from my hands.
Freed of barren, untouched shoulders,
you can open your eyes again
flashing the iridescent animals,
valiant vibrations of your rich spirit.
Your picture is the centerpiece of my table
I stare at you in candlelight,
the windows behind, black in their immensity,
only enlarge you.
Making you more of what I miss.
At night I go among your body
to feel the presence of your heart beating
spun from another world.
You can feel me when this is done
though I am invisible in all ways to you, but one.
A reflection in the mirror.
Beneath your eyes
you see me dancing away the body.
Dancing away the mind.
Dancing away the incarnations
of my absence.
Hakomi Chamber Twenty
Chamber 20: Half Mine
When I see your face I know you are half mine
separated by the utmost care to remember all of you.
When I undress my body I see that I am half yours
blurred by sudden flight that leaves
the eye wondering what angels carved in their hearts
to remind them so vividly of their home.
When I see your beauty I know you are half mine
never to be held in a polished mirror
knowing the faithful hunger of our soul.
When I watch your eyes I know they are half mine
tracing a trajectory where sensual virtue is the very spine of us.
When I hold your hand I know it is half mine
wintered in kinship, it circles tenderness
beneath the moon and well of water when the feast is done.
When I kiss your lips I know they are half mine
sent by God’s genealogy to uncover us
in the delicious cauldron of our united breath.
When I hear you cry I know your loneliness is half mine
so deep the interior that we are lost outside
yearning to give ourselves away
like a promise made before the asking.
And when I look to your past I know it is half mine
running to the chokecherry trees
invisible to the entire universe we found ourselves
laughing in sudden flight
eyeing the carved initials in our hearts.
Sparing the trees.
Hakomi Chamber Twenty-Two
Chamber 22: Compassion
Angels must be confused by war.
Both sides praying for protection,
yet someone always gets hurt.
Someone cries so deep
they lose their watery state.
Angels must be confused by war.
Who can they help?
Who can they clarify?
Whose mercy do they cast to the merciless?
No modest scream can be heard.
No stainless pain can be felt.
All is clear to angels
except in war.
When I awoke to this truth
it was from a dream I had last night.
I saw two angels conversing in a field
of children’s spirits rising
like silver smoke.
The angels were fighting among themselves
about which side was right
and which was wrong.
Who started the conflict?
Suddenly, the angels stilled themselves
like a stalled pendulum,
and they shed their compassion
to the rising smoke
of souls who bore the watermark of war.
They turned to me with those eyes
from God’s library,
and all the pieces fallen
were raised in unison,
coupled like the breath
of flames in a holy furnace.
Nothing in war comes to destruction,
but the illusion of separateness.
I heard this spoken so clearly I could only
write it down like a forged signature.
I remember the compassion,
mountainous, proportioned for the universe.
I think a tiny fleck still sticks to me
like gossamer threads
from a spider’s web.
And now, when I think of war,
I flick these threads to the entire universe,
hoping they stick on others
as they did me.
Knitting angels and animals
to the filamental grace of compassion.
The reticulum of our skyward home.
Ancient Arrow Chamber Two
Chamber 2: Temptress Vision
A temptress vision has encircled me like a
willful shadow of a slumbering dream.
Is it the powerful light of purpose?
If I squint with all my strength I may see it.
Always must it be inside of me
like a pilot fi sh inseparable from its host.
It fearlessly drinks my essence.
Such a bitter taste I muse.
Spit it out upon your table of perfection.
Compare this grain of sand with your galaxy.
This spire of sorrow with your deepest eye.
If my callous mind can see you,
there are no interventions.
No pathway away.
I am a lock-picker.
A fence-cutter of the wicked watchers.
A traveler that has sought
the mystery that eludes all but the outlaws.
The wild-eyed, unrelenting fools of purpose
that remain outside the laboratory of wingless flight.
You are the eternal Watcher
who lives behind the veil of form and comprehension,
drawing forth the wisdom of time
from the well of planets.
You cast your spell and entrain all that I am.
Am I just a fragment of your world?
A memory hidden by time?
A finger of your hand driven by a mind
unfamiliar with skin.
Touch yourself and you sense me.
Visions wild with love.
Splendor that beckons like a secret whisper of gladness
spread on the winds by an infinite voice.
The sound of all things unified.
I am part of that voice.
Part of that sound.
Part of that secret whisper of gladness.
This limitation must end in lucid flesh.
The dream of sparks ascending
quickening the cast of hope.
Avoid the brand of passivity
the signs complain.
Shun manipulation before you are stained.
Spurn all formula and write new equations
in the language of sand.
Heed no other,
nor listen to the seduction of holy symbols
standing before the windows of truth.
Define from a foreign tongue.
These are the battered keys
that have led me to unlocked doors.
Doors that collapse at a mere breath
and behind which
lay more pieces to collect for the Holy Menagerie.
The never-ending puzzle.
All the stars in the sky
recall the purpose of your hallowed light.
Burn a hole through the layers.
Peel all the mockery away.
Enjoin the powers
to answer this call:
Bring the luminous vision
hidden behind the whirling particles
of the Mapmaker.
Let it enter me
like a shaft of light that enters
a cave’s deepest measure.
Ancient fires still burn in these depths.
Who tends them?
What eyes are watching?
Waiting for time’s flower to bloom.
To submerge in the relentless subtlety
that moves beyond my reach
with a jaguar’s stealth.
To dream of elder ways
that leap over time
and leave behind the puzzle of our making.
O’ temptress vision
you steal my hunger for human light.
If there is anything left to hollow
let it be me.
If there is anything left to cage
let it run free.
If there is anything left to dream
let it be our union.
Ancient Arrow Chamber Three
Chamber 3: Bandages of the Beast
There were many random omens.
Sending olive branches with thorns was
only one of your repertoire.
You offered me a book
where all the answers lay encoded in
some strange dialect.
Symbols undulating like serpents restless for food.
If I was windborne as a lambent seed you
would still the air
and I would fall into the thicket.
If I yearned for sweet water
you would pass me the bitter cup.
If I was an injured fawn you would flush me
from the cloister, corner me against cold stone,
and admire my fear.
Everywhere I steer I seek the one look of love;
yet love humbles itself like a mannequin
changing its clothes to accommodate the dressmaker.
Underneath there are bandages of the beast.
Underneath there is the tourniquet of deliverance.
But beneath the shell there is emptiness, so defiant
it is clothed in finery that neither
dressmaker nor beast can touch.
You have mistaken my search as my soul.
Raking through it for clumps of wisdom,
you have found only what I have lost to you.
Held like rootless dreams
I will vanish in your touch.
If you pass your rake over this emptiness
you will feel clumps of my spirit.
You will find me like tiny pieces of mirror broken
apart yet still collected in one spot.
Still staring ever skyward.
Still reflecting one mosaic image.
Still the accompanist of myself.
Ancient Arrow Chamber Six
Chamber 6: Of This Place
Her heart ran
in the wilds of deserted plains.
Sun-etched land barren of clouds
and singing water.
If she listened closely
her hand would call
and signal its thoughts upon her brow.
But in this place
she could only offer her arms to the sky
like a tree its branches
and a flower its leaves.
In this dusty basin,
silence gathered like smoke
clearing the mind of the scoundrel.
The infidel of thoughts.
Blots of yellow leaves and white bark
could be seen hiding in pools of life
surrounded by red rock spires.
Clustered sand monuments held together
by some other life form.
She wasn’t sure.
Perhaps one life is the same as another
only tilted sideways.
Caught from underneath
by some invisible hand that animates
even the coldest stone of this place.
A smile emerged and perched upon her face
drinking the sun’s clear ways.
She could spear
a million miles of air in a glance
and send the window of her flesh
into the cloudless sky.
Upon this ocean a hawk sailed ever closer.
She watched the silver speck
spiral overhead dreaming through its eyes.
Feeling the winds gild her wings
in the softest fold of time.
A tree of pine sent its sky roots
deep within the air to weep its sweetness.
gliding through branches
to every needle in their factory of air.
So strange to feel the pull of earth in flight,
but she knew the antagonism well
in the splendor of this place.
She knew it had settled deep,
lodged like permanent ink
in the heart of her.
Under skin, muscle, bone
it fought the single path.
What madness calls her away?
What dream is stronger than this?
What heart beats more pure?
Of this place,
it is so hard to know which is host
and which is guest.
Which is welcome, which is pest.
Which is found and which is lost.
Which is profit, which is cost.
She gave her prayers
to the skypeople and waited for a cloud —
her signal to leave.
She should return home
before dusk settles in and the golden
eyes peer out against the black code.
In a single breath she held the ancient ways
that never left.
She turned them inside out
and then outside in.
Again and again.
Waiting for her signals in the sky.
If not a cloud…
then perhaps a shooting star.
(Besides, it was too dark for clouds anymore.)
When the first star fell she held her breath
afraid she would miss its spectral flight.
She wondered with whom she shared
its final light.
What other eyes were heaven bound
in that secret moment?
Was this their signal home as well?
And what was it they found
buried so deep in a whisper of light
that none can tell?
She waited with solemn eyes
for more stars to fall,
to gently sweep her away
from the magnets of this place.
If she listened to her hand
it would scratch a sign in the sand for another
to take her place.
It would touch the land
in honor of its grace and wisdom,
and become a tree, rock, hawk, or flower.
Ancient Arrow Chamber Ten
Chamber 10: Downstream
Take me from here to there.
Let the wind blow
my hair and the earth’s skin touch me.
Open me like broken bottles
that bear no drink
yet think themselves worthy of the trash man.
Open me to the clans from which I sprout.
Are they colors separated, cast apart
like memories of drunkenness?
Open me to Africa, Asia, America, Australia.
Open me like a package
of mystery left on your doorstep
in the sweetness of laughter.
Open me to the crudely made lens of love
that screams to be of human hands
Open me to the glance
that comforts strangers like the tender overture
of a mourning dove.
Is the wisdom of horses mine
Is the muscle of wolves
lawless or the healer of sheep?
Is the black opal of the eye
the missing link we all seek?
Open me to the authors of this beaten path
and let them flavor it anew.
Bring them flecks of the rumored and rotten
slum that waits downstream.
Show them the waste of their watch.
The shallow virility that exterminates.
The ignominy that exceeds examination.
Open me to the idols of the idle.
Let me stare open mouthed at the herdsmen
who turn innocence into fear.
Is the plan of the sniper to uncivilize
the nerveless patch of skin
that grows unyielding to pain?
Open me to the stains
of this land that original sin cannot explain.
Let these symptoms go
like dead, yellow leaves fumbling
in swift, guiltless currents downstream.
Downstream where the slum
lies in waiting.
Downstream where the idols’ headstones
are half-buried in muddy rain.
Downstream where animal tracks
are never seen.
the lens of love is cleaned with red tissue.
Downstream where the herdsmen
herd their flock and beat the drums
promising a new river that never comes.
Downstream there lives
a part of me that is sealed like a paper envelope
with thick tape.
It watches the river like the underside of a bridge
waiting to fall if the seal is broken.
To plunge into the current when I am opened
by some unforgiving hand unseen.
To be drawn downstream
in the gravity of a thousand minds
who simply lost their way.
A thousand minds that twisted the river
away from earth’s sweetness
into the mine shaft of men’s greed.
So it must be.
So it must be.
Open me to the kindness
of a child’s delicate hand when it reaches out to be held.
Let it comfort me
when my bridge falls and the swift, guiltless currents
pull me downstream
where all things forgiven are lost.
Where all things lost are forgiven.
Ancient Arrow Chamber Twelve
Chamber 12: WingMakers
I am destined to sit on the riverbank
awaiting words from the naked trees
and brittle flowers that have lost their nectar.
A thousand unblinking eyes
stare out across the water
from the other side.
Their mute voices seek rewards of another kind.
Their demure smiles leave me hollow.
Am I a perpetual stranger to myself?
(The thought brands me numb.)
Am I an orphan trailing pale shadows
that lead to a contemptuous mirror?
Where are these gossamer wings that my
I am waiting for the river to deliver them to me;
to lodge them on the embankment
at my feet.
My feet are shackles from another time.
My head, a window long closed
to another place.
Yet, there are places
that salvage the exquisite tongue
and assemble her wild light
like singing birds the sun.
I have seen these places among the stillness
of the other side.
Calling like a lover’s kiss
to know again what I have known before;
to reach into the Harvest
and leave my welcome.
These thoughts are folded so neatly
they stare like glass eyes fondling the past.
I listen for their guidance
but serpentine fields are my pathway.
When I look into the dark winds
of the virtual heart
I can hear its voice saying:
“Why are you trapped with wings?”
And I feel like a grand vision inscribed in sand
awaiting an endless wind.
Will these wings take me
beneath the deepest camouflage?
Will they unmask the secret measures
and faithful dwellings of time?
Will they search out the infinite spaces
for the one who can define me?
Wings are forgotten by all who travel with their feet.
Lines have been drawn so many times
that we seldom see the crossing
of our loss though we feel the loss of our crossing.
We sense the undertow of clouds.
The gravity of sky.
The painless endeavor of hope’s silent prayers.
But our wings shorn of flight
leave us like newborn rivers that babble over rocks
yearning for the depths of a silent sea.
I have found myself suddenly old.
Like the blackbirds that pour
from the horizon line,
my life has soared over this river searching for my wings.
There is no other key for me to turn.
There is no other legend for me to face.
Talking to flowers and gnarled trees
will only move me a step away —
when I really want to press my face
against the windowpane
and watch the WingMakers craft my wings.
Ancient Arrow Chamber Seventeen
Chamber 17: Memories Unbound
I have this memory
of lying atop a scaffold of tree limbs
staring out to the black, summer blanket
that warms the night air.
I can smell cedar burning in the distance
and hear muted voices praying in song and drum.
I cannot lift my body or turn my head.
I am conscious of bone and muscle
but they are not conscious of me.
They are dreaming while I am caught
in a web of exemptible time.
My mind is restless to move on.
To leave this starlit grave site and dance with
my people around huge fires
crackling with nervous light.
To join hand with hand to the rhythm of drums
pounding their soft thunder
in monotone commandments to live.
I can only stare up at the sky
watching, listening, waiting
for something to come and set me free
from this mournful site.
To gather me up in arms of mercy
into the oblivion of Heaven’s pod.
I listen for the sound of my breath
but only the music of my people can be heard.
I look for the movement of my hands
but only wisps of clouds
and crescent light move
against raven’s wings.
Sometimes when this memory peeks through
my skin it purges the shoreward view.
It imposes on the known predicament
with a turbulent bliss
that bleeds defiance to the order.
There is certain danger in the heritable ways
of my people who send me the chatoyant skin
humbled and circumscribed.
My white appetite leached of earthly rations.
Misplaced to the darshan of the devil,
the very same that
maneuvered my people to reservations ñ
the ward of the damned.
(At least I have no memories of a reservation).
Perhaps it is better
to lay upon this mattress of sticks
with my wardrobe of feathers and skins
chanting in the wind.
Perhaps it would be better still
to be set atop the cry shed and burned
so prodigal memories would have
no home to return to.
I have this memory
of escaping the pale hand
of my master that feeds me
scraps of lies and moldy bread.
My skin yearns for lightness,
but it is the rope that obliges.
I have this memory
of holding yellow fingers,
large and round, dripping with ancient legacies.
Of seeing the rounded belly of Buddha
smiling underneath a pastoral face
in temples that lean against a tempest sky.
I have this memory
of dreaming to fly.
Stretching out wings that are newly attached
with string-like permanence
only to fall in the blunted arms of obscurity.
I have this memory
of seeing my face in a mirror
that reflects a stranger’s mind and soul.
Knowing it to be mine, I looked away
afraid it would become me alone.
I am patchwork memories searching for a nucleus.
I am lost words echoing in still canyons.
I am a light wave that found itself
darting to earth unsheathed
seeking cover in human skin.
Ancient Arrow Chamber Twenty-Two
Chamber 22: In the Kindness of Sleep
I visited you last night when you
were sleeping with a child’s abandon.
Curled so casual in sheets
inlaid by your beauty.
I held my hand to your face
and touched as gently
as I know how
so you could linger with your dreams.
I heard soft murmurs that only angels make
when they listen to their home.
So I drew my hand away
uneasy that I might wake you
even as gentle as I was.
But you stayed with your dreams
and I watched as they found their way to you
in the kindness of sleep.
And I dreamed that I was an echo of your body
curled beside you like a fortune hunter
who finally found his gold.
I nearly wept at the sound of your breath,
but I stayed quiet as a winter lake, and bit my lip
to ensure I wouldn’t be detected.
I didn’t want to intrude
so I set my dream aside
and I gently pulled your hand from underneath
the covers to hold.
A hand whose entry into flesh
must have been the lure that brought me here.
And as I hold it
I remember why I came
to feel your pulse
and the beating of your heart in deep slumber.
And I remember why I came in the
kindness of sleep—
to hold your hand, touch your face
and listen to the soft breathing
of an angel,
curled so casual in sheets
inlaid by your beauty.
Ancient Arrow Chamber Twenty-Four
Chamber 24: The Pure and Perfect
Someday the messengers will arrive
with stories of a nocturnal sun
despondent, burning implacably
in the deepest shade of a thousand shadows.
They will tell you of the
serene indifference of God.
They will draw you by the hand
through bruised alleyways
and prove the desperation of man
rejected from the beauty of an unearthly realm.
The news will arrive
as a tribute to the death of oracles.
Sparing words of purpose
the messengers will announce the
cold fury of realism’s cave.
Someday, the messengers will send their thoughts
through books that have no pulse.
You will be accused of weakness
that drowns you in servitude.
A queer rivalry will beset you
and your life will crawl like an awkward beast
that has no home.
And you, my dearest friends,
who are truth—who were all along,
will renew your devotion
to a powerful image in a distant mirror.
You will listen to these stories
and tear at your silent heart
with animal claws that are dulled
by the stone doors of time.
Where the unattested is confirmed
your vestige-soul is stored.
It will strengthen you
and cradle you in the light
of your own vision,
which will be hurled like lightning
through twilight’s dull corridor.
The messengers will cry
at the sound of your rejection.
They will scream: “Do you want to be a
lowly servant and lonely saint?”
Mutants of the light
are always tested with doubts
of a swollen isolation
and the promise of truth’s betrayal.
Listen without hearing.
Judge without pardon.
The grand parasite of falsehood
will prevail if you believe only your beliefs.
Someday, when all is clear to you—
when the winds have lifted all veils
and the golden auberge is the locus
of our souls—
you will be tested no more.
You will have reached destiny’s lodge
and the toilsome replica of God
is jettisoned for the pure and perfect.