Love Poems from God: At the Golden Edge of the Shadows
My lover, the Earth
Slow down, she whispered.
You’re missing everything.
What you’ve begged and longed for,
fought and took flight after,
dug down into and cried over,
is right here.
Soothe your bare blistered feet in my soil.
Caress my smooth bark with your roughened hands.
Lay your whiskered face in my soft green moss,
and your body down into my leafy ferns.
Smell my loam, my perfumed pitch of pine,
that sweet decaying Balsam wood,
and taste my moist earth in your mouth.
Let me invade all your senses.
And I let her.
A loon’s wail wakes me
from this nubile dream,
and once again I hear people
and smell wood smoke in the wind.
A note to self
A butterfly just passed the window
half steamed from my breath, half
covered in droplets and rivulets of rain.
It carried with it a message
in its rhythmic flight that I
was too tired to read so God roused
a dog to barking for its evening walk
that I ignored to lay back down until
I myself was moved to write this poem
to remind myself that I am loved
and not forgotten hiding myself
away in this dense, wet forest.
Just like the Monarch butterflies land in Big Sur’s gardens in Fall,
and a thousand Sandhill Cranes gather in the wetlands
of Nebraska in Spring, the Mystic in me returns home wearing
a backpack and carries a wooden walking staff in hand,
hair and beard disheveled. He enters the doorway of my heart,
a face hardened by weather and softened with experience,
a gentle, warm smile, and sad, tired eyes. Without a word,
he finds the espresso machine, makes a cappuccino, sits
down in the chair in which he used to read and write when he
was younger and still living with me, before I fell into the trance
of adulthood and worked myself nearly to death, forgetting him
as when a child forgets their stuffed animals during a move.
Seated in my heart center, he looks through rib-like windows
at the Mystery of the Universe, and sips his cappuccino. I’m not sure
when I realized he was gone, or if I did at all. Did he vanish or wander off?
Did he say something to me before he left? I turn my attention to him,
hoping to learn what I have missed of my own life, and I become
lost in reveries of my own. The smell of espresso brings me back,
and I ask if he plans to stay. He nods, a soft smile, says he waited
to return until it was the right season, and closes his eyes and sleeps.
A Man Walking His Dog
bumblebees buzz in flowers near the home’s front sidewalk
and the dog snaps his mouth around one then lets it go—all abuzz and erratic;
he’s done this with butterflies too but the mole he caught yesterday
died on the trail where it was dropped, and when the man looked up
in amazement, he saw a curly, fluffy white-tipped black tail
swishing back and forth attached to a black bear of a dog
prancing down the trail looking like Gene as he sang in the rain,
a dog’s dance of joy—a jubilation—a knowing that he is free to snap
his jaws of death and be the Master of the Universe
acting like Death herself, deciding the hour of another’s fate
or God, giving the gift of life; and the man wonders how a nobody like him
gets to walk such a Divine Creature, and even the warm bag of stink
held in his hand, like a sacred talisman, has the weight of gold.
Once the paparazzi went home, their flashbulbs popped
and crushed under heavy foot of the mob,
once the tabloids were burned to ashes in fireplaces
and wooden stove, he allowed himself to sleep.
He slept for a few hundred years and when he woke
the world had changed. His dog, ever faithful,
kept guard during the turning of the centuries,
ignoring the chimes and bells of history unfolding.
Waking from the sleep of the ageless he walked his dog,
amazed at the new, and how it blended seamlessly with the old;
familiar and unnerving. No one would of course know him
the way he knew himself and he felt someone dying inside
and nobody being born. Someone was scared of being seen,
noticed. Nobody sighed in relief. Someone wanted to be seen
and noticed. Nobody cared and could not have cared less.
Someone clung tightly to himself while Nobody admired
the new gardens in bloom, the animals that changed slightly
with the passing of the years, and the way the air smelled vaguely
like home with some scents unknown, as when he used to vacation
in foreign countries feeling free as only a nobody could, and now he
himself became an undiscovered country to be explored.
He heard birds chirping, and the sound of an old dog walking
slowly next to him: someone ordinary, and nobody special.
Maybe I am wrong?
Maybe my Knowing is just longing after all?
Maybe what I thought was the North Star
was just a satellite, or a speck of dust on my glasses.
I have wandered through this vast desert for centuries
guided by a feeling that my Companion was real.
Sparse conversations over campfire dinners we shared.
Naked we splashed a waterfall of bodies into oasis pools,
drank the cool, sweet waters of coconuts pulled from palms.
Rode camels to lighten our burdens when walking was difficult.
We crossed mountain ranges and met hermits and monsters
in caves and on riverbed bottoms. Made love on river banks
with soft rocks for our bed beneath our bottoms. Walked high
desert terrain, sandy dunes, across spent oceans. Glorious walking.
I look back from where I stand, at the edge of time
where history erodes, and see only one set of footprints
in the sand. Everything is still, quiet. There is only
the fragrant wind that whispers sweet songs of love.
Dense and lush seaweed and kelp
wave back and forth at the seafloor,
their tendrils gently caress and touch
a mermaid’s purse, left for caring by
a mother shark protecting her pup.
Beneath the roots dug deep in the sand
is where God lives, like a buried crab
who breaks the surface of the ocean floor
when scraps of food pass by.
Ne’er mind the adorned thrones of Heaven
with its streets of gold; the true majesty
of God’s presence lies in the pith and pitch
of the bottom where He feeds on our
pain, sorrow, and woes that pass in the current.
His magnanimous hunger, the longing to absorb us.
The Waking Well
He realized he had been living in a well,
and the proverbial light at the end of a tunnel became literal for him.
What he imagined to be God sending
signals of hope, turned out to be daylight.
For centuries, he would climb toward the radiant light,
and fall back down in its absence,
body limp and crumbled at the bottom,
slick with mud, bruised and scraped;
a daily routine formed in the hell
of his own mind.
Waking up to his predicament,
that choice to give up in the darkness of night,
hope became stones to climb,
and despair a slippery slope.
God became not a fleeting flickering signal,
but the well itself, the stones in the wall,
and the darkness.
Ghost in the Shower
where is there a place for you?
You, with that foreigner’s
accent, here, that was familiar among
others like you, there.
You, with a smile
so full of pain and remorse,
a torture of fire.
I’ve seen movies
of our people felled like trees
bulldozed into shallow graves.
As a child in American Suburbia
I escaped you;
left you in my shame of your experience.
I could, or would,
never understand you,
never know death that way.
You swam the Danube
and drank its freedom,
but left your soul
left your soul hungry.
I could not feed you.
I could only stare
in disgust at your varicose
like road maps through country sides
I would never visit,
and wonder how your blood
was my blood.
You lie deep in an unshared history lesson.
You are unread pages
burning within me,
and your grave is covered in grass
that wouldn’t regrow on those
Were you alive
when we met,
Is there any
place for you?
My forehead rests against the cool tiles.
Water, like tears, or maybe tears, streams down my face.
The fragrance of coconut mint soap made in some fair trade,
eco-friendly factory in Northern California mingles with my body odor,
sour from today’s hike in the foothill and pungent with shame.
This is a stand-alone shower with just enough room
for one person to stand alone and turn around.
I rest a cheek against the soothingly cool tiles,
arms outstretched along the walls, hands searching blindly
for a lover, or someone to love me.
I wonder how my grandmother made it through Auschwitz,
what those showers were like. Mine is a luxury spa of suffering.
Hers concrete with frail naked bodies pressed skin to skin.
Sometimes showers were not showers at all.
Standing alone, I feel a firm hand against my back and hear
her voice, in a strong Hungarian accent, rumble from deep within me:
Stand tall boy. I didn’t survive so you would crumble
in the fragrance of pure essential oils lavishing your senses.
I survived so you would inherit warrior blood through my matriarchal
blood line that flows like fire in those varicose veins that once disgusted you.
I live in your rage of injustice and of those persecuted.
I live in your compassionate gaze toward those you serve.
I live in your fierce drive to live in your own suffering.
Now finish washing, you stink to high Heaven.
Ocean Front View
The tsunami came fast.
It was a good thing
the beach umbrella
was chained down!
Go to where the wound is,
be willing to feel
The vibration of the pain body
and our innate radiant goodness
are the same. Being
in our deepest pain
is the salvation of God,
as that’s exactly where
God’s salve is used.
Over and over
Till we know for sure we are
the edge of the water the wave
the mud the struggle the salve
He sat in the stillness in the midst of it all.
One hundred angry men sat in a large circle
facing him, faces scowled, crack and twisted,
mouths forming words but no sound came forth.
He sat in the stillness in the midst of it all.
He heard the creaking of chairs
loosened by time and the changing of weather.
Heard the scuffle of chair legs against the floor,
etched and scarred from eons of this ritual.
He sat in the stillness in the midst of it all.
He saw mouths twisted, spittle flying forth.
Saw legs bouncing
and hands waving;
each finger dancing like grass in the wind.
Saw sunlight through stained-glass windows
filling the old hall, and dust, like stars
held still in space.
He remembered a time in his childhood
when he ran away from his angry father
into the nearby forest, sunlight
brightening leaves and patches of earth.
He came upon a 12-pt buck standing still
on the trail, head erect, ears pointing toward him.
Their eyes met and the sound of his child’s heart
filled his chest and ears.
The deer bowed in what he imagined
was some kind of message from God,
that he would be ok, that he would grow up and live,
and it leapt away, leaving him tingling
and firmly rooted to the earth: safe and joyful for the encounter.
The room erupted in noise, and he returned
to the encounter group in the old hall,
grateful to hear the messages of God
through the mouths of 100 angry men;
and he sat in the stillness in the midst of it all.
Misty Mountains and Mud
It’s as if his feet were bound
by chains or leg weights,
making each step
up the forested slope
a major force of will.
The pathway, full of loose rocks,
slugs, broken branches, bones,
and slippery mud,
seemed to have grown over.
His pace slow and labored,
he noticed more than he would have
had he been free to move at his own pace.
There were indentations in the mud
Short shuffled steps,
like his own,
leading up the path.
There were indentations in mud
where others had fallen
perhaps in prayer
There were indentations in mud
of foreheads and splayed bodies
where others had lain
posed in prostration of surrender.
Down in the mud life was bustling
with colonies of ants,
crickets chirping and jumping
from blades of grass to rocks.
The sounds of birds and the whoosh of wings
from overhead he heard.
the soft babbling of a stream.
Face in the Mirror
I stand for a length of time
I stare so long I see canyons and rivers,
craters and mountains
etched in my face.
There are whole villages,
with houses and thatched roofs,
horses and carts, wells and springs.
The pace of life is slow there, moves
with the seasons, bound by the Laws of Nature.
I find myself living in one such village
with my wife who tends
to chickens with our dog at her heels.
Village children circle around her
as she sings songs of our ancestral past.
Even in the serious sadness of these fables
she makes the children laugh and squeal in delight
at the foolish tales of the trickster god,
who like me, creates chaos and mayhem where none
is needed, just for the sport of it.
I watch her from my window where I write
new stories of distant lands
to share later
near the community fire.
An itch on my nose
and I see a man with shaving cream
on his half-shaven face
staring back at me.
Facing the Unknown
My knees knock and are bowed.
My hands fumble to hold
this bowl of rice
that is my offering.
The smell of sandalwood
wafts into the room
and transports me to the Realm of the Heavens where Buddha and God and Jesus and Mohammad (peace be upon him) and my grandmother
are playing cards,
cigars hanging from mouths, or between fingers,
or smoldering in ashtrays
while dogs lie at their feet sleeping.
Each player laughing or looking serious depending on what cards they are holding
as if the fate of the world
will be decided by this
Let God set the plan and the pace
I will walk with you son.
Lord, I’m looking for love in the wrong places,
in the wrong people.
Be aware of where Love is
See what you have son.
No longer do you need
to desperately seek friends here on Earth.
Instead find Peace
with the Friend who has always lived within.
Who walks with you.
Your attention has been dispersed, scattered like seeds in the wind.
Some seeds planted in fertile soil,
Others lay drying in barren fields, and yet you still wait for signs of life, desperate to be loved,
Wasting your precious time and energy.
When instead the Friend,
Who always lives inside you,
is waiting patiently to be found.
Falling upward into Grace
We usually think of the Fall
as moving downward rapidly through space
mouth agape in a soundless scream.
But who’s dream is this anyway?
I’d prefer falling upward into Grace.
Like when a baby is tossed
high into the air
as if she were a beach ball
delighted to be lifted
into the heavens
finally reaching the vast dark
Rest well my son
Life will be difficult
for you at times.
It will feel like your heart is being squeezed
and your body shocked.
Notice the Stillness that surrounds you,
and surrender to what life
is offering you as there are great lessons
to be learned.
You will be persecuted like your ancestors
and your people before you.
Hold fast son.
Take strength in the Truth of who you are,
for your radiant innate goodness
will be the ship on which you take passage
through this storm.
Rest well my son
Like a great blue heron,
be watchful and ready to take flight,
yet be still,
and let the gentle waters calm you.
What you were born to do
requires you to suffer greatly.
I wish it were not so,
as I know the pain you will feel
on this path will hurt and burn.
This is the pain of purification.
Just as the blue flames of My love
surround, protect, and strengthen you,
you will transform in the fire
of the life you chose.
Do not despair, rest well my son.
The Great Father
I bore you to live Big,
to climb the highest peaks of spiritual existence,
and to sink deep into pits of human despair.
All of this to know
the majesty of Great Spirit
who created me, and through me, gave life to you.
You are born royalty,
Just like every other living
and non-living being.
You’ve been entrusted to keep
Spirit safe and housed in your
consciousness held in your body.
But you will be prey
to larger predators,
whose gaping maws
want to chew you down
to fill their bellies.
But I am here
as your protector
and I will rip out their eyes
and slash their faces with my talons.
That is why I was made
with talons for fingers
so I may guard you
and you may live
one more day
to play in these fields.
Your Great Mother