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Black desert scarab–

Stink beetle–

Staggers in jagged circles

Across the desert mosaic…

Dense little licorice tank,

He is too black for this place,

Cannot blend anywhere,

And rambles as if from the exhaustion of not belonging.

Yet the Raven is Black–Unknown

So black he too turns blue.

He carries his belonging with him, inside him,

In the Wh!Wh!Wh!Wh! of his wings,

Which sweep away all question of belonging,

And he lands with full (and comical) entitlement

Upon the cedar branch too limp to bear his weight,

And yet it does,

Through his sheer will to belong.

Presence Pretending

 

It’s quite simple, really…DSCN0586

I know…

But I pretend not to…

And then I forget that I know…

…forget what I know.

It’s the grandest game of Hide and Seek:

The one I am afraid to play,

Until I remember that I am already playingDSCN0587
Or I wouldn’t be afraid.

The one in which

The Hider and the Seeker—

And the game itself—

Are all the same stuff:

Presence Pretending.

 

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80 Years a Mystery

Today –August 18th, 2016–would have been my father’s 80th birthday.

This week offered me little stillness to attend memories, but the universe gave me a few moments this morning

— and a very few lucid brain cells–

to open to any messages or significances.

 

 So it is that I simply and briefly honor him today,

The mystery and miracle of him.

The one who is now but a memory:

A collage of snapshots in my psyche,  

Gems in my treasure box,

Aches in my bones, bruises in my soul,

and Echoes of an hysterically clucking chicken and the a bar of soap clunking to the bath tub floor, as Daddy chicken lays another egg for his daughter, who giggles with inexhaustible delight from her perch on the toilet seat on the other side of the shower curtain.  

…The one who lives in my intelligence,

who heals and shines through this living heart, mind and body.

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Disfrutar II: the Holy Sea

To live by the sea…

To walk to the shore for matins, for confession…

To collect all concerns of the heart in a single vessel, shaped like a question mark,

And carry it down the beach along with your steaming tea…

 

Every wave is a prayer bench.

Wait for the next one and pour your question in,

Empty your mind,

Watch the foamy fingers catch it and draw it back to the watery heart of the earth,

to the beginning of time,

and then return the answer on the very next wave

…and the next.

Every answer the same, every answer new,

every answer just for you:

I am the door; knock and be opened.

Rest here, on these shifting sands.

But don’t go back to sleep.

 

m.l.     Costa Natura, Estepona, Espana

Disfrutar I: Profiting from a prophet

As I sort my way through Jet-lag and half-emptied suitcases, I post the first in the Disfrutar series, musings from my sojourn in Spain.

Disfrutar 1:

July 16

Day dawns primordial pink, even over Irving, Texas.

It lifts the curtain of darkness with the corners of its luminous grin,

An old and knowing friend more reliable than my own faith….

 

My own faith, which falters, a shark caught in nets of outgrown biography, dulled imagination, suffocating circumstance.

Some souls, like sharks, need movement to live, need fresh experience flowing through their gills to oxygenate their mission, as they patrol the sea of humanity, praying more than preying…and pollinating.

 

Outside the Red Roof Inn, grackles—dollar a dozen dervishes—squeal with delight,

the same explosive squeal here as everywhere—Phoenix to Miami—

the same precious, exuberant, unfettered delight—

pops the bubbles of ferment,

pierces the swollen film around this heart.

 

Joie de Vivre needs no translation.

 

In their explosive, laughing peals echoes the voice of A.K.,

short for “African King,” he insists, until I demonstrate sympathetic familiarity with Arabic.

Then Akmiel, my Ethiopian taxi man tells me it means “complete.”

He is Prophet King of the Grackle Tribe, and my own wake up call:

“In America, Life is Good,” he says, “I love my job…

We have water to drink and a shower every morning…!”

 

So do I.

When did my heart wander from its home among the grackles?

No matter; they never missed me; and the dawn tells me it’s never too late to rejoin the party. It never stops.

And the password is always “Thank You.”

 

m.l.       (somewhere over the Atlantic)

Ask not for who the Diving Bell trolls….

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Pain:

…multifold, dense,  indistinct,

…pushing upward, collapsing inward, twisting in all directions at once;

…fumes wafting off of semi-solid emotion;

…tangled with tendrils of mind and meaning….

Tethered so,

there is no rising above it,

no wrapping consciousness around to contain it, like Ganesha swallowing a flaming demon.

There is only diving to the center to be consumed in its black fire

among the other charred structures of  self,

like skeletal wreckage rusting on the sea floor,

obstinately solid, and made more so in the witnessing.

Who is seeing this?

Who is the witness patrolling it all in a diving bell,

seeing all and engaging none with the eyes behind my eyes?

This I,

who lets “me” wallow in squalor, impervious and yet pervasive,

this I,

who fills the depths,  surrounds, and every space between with the silent sound of Presence

…and an invitation to the party of which I am guest of honor but not dressed to attend.

m.l., July 14, Eldorado, NM

Anal Fission and other dark forces.

There may be be no cure.

You can do the math.


What I wish for my poor world

is a psychic sitz bath.

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We often associate the phrase “Pain in the Ass” with a nuisance. Truth be told though, pain in the ass is a formidable adversary, precisely because, since it is attacking the area of the energy body (root chakra) associated with one’s survival and fundamental validity, one can scarcely help but regard it as adversarial. It is some of the hardest pain to allow, to accommodate to, because it seems to attack one’s very right to exist, one’s root in the physical world.

Even though I have lived pretty clean for my first 50 years, in recent months of my 51st year, I have developed an uncannily ferocious complex of afflictions at my tail end. This is where all the deepest shadow has been stored.

The body is a miracle, subject to physical laws but also to much subtler psychic forces. It is an instrument and a repository for all kinds of intelligence, and each intelligence has its own kind of memory. And when those many expressions of memory are activated all at once—by, for example, retracing old trauma—it is quite a phantasmagoria of sensation. Physical pain is one thing, but when combined, beyond clear cognition, with collective and personal trauma, shame, powerlessness and all manner of other human themes and emotion, which rip through the subtler bodies like a napalm wind—it quite literally cleans your clocks. It makes it very hard to even pretend to functionality. The ages are demanding audience and catharsis; it becomes your dharma or your downfall (and often looks like both).

As a carrier of the void, I’ve always been an advocate for the underbelly, the vulnerable, shadowy side of human experience, where the soul mines rich, forbidden truths. Even if these truths turn out to be fictions, they must be respected, as must the dark, which is real until someone turns on the light.

When you call in the Light, it comes. It is then you learn that thoughts, memory, and all other structures of self cast shadows. The light begins to flush them out. It augers in, down, deep. It awakens in the beneath and the between. Thus it is that, after a glowing honeymoon phase basking in the light, the emboldened one who recognized its Self in the Light, and romanced that Light with bold vows and prayers for more, enters a tunnel of increasingly chiaroscuro transfiguration.

My latest, formidable adversarial allies in this process have been a hemorrhoid and anal fissure, afflictions which can inhabit the same square inch of bodily real estate and require completely contrasting treatment. They cohabit insistently, en-fleshing every paradox that must be held without resolution in the heart and mind.

They bite my ass, slashing, like Kali, with excruciating precision at the tender tissues of my hind-end, and also at pride and all other sensations and structures of “self.”

I can feel that self grip in defense, in indignity, in the same mechanism that has preserved me and my ancestors through the ages, allowing us to evolve to this point.

Simultaneously, I can feel how, if I could access that impulse and relax it, there would be no more pain. What a conundrum, when the self recognizes that it is its own obstacle to peace, to liberation; when it recognizes that there is no remedy possible, only forgiveness. 

The body is not at fault. Nor is the person who fears she has failed to keep it healthy. This is simply a time in our seething world when we are being called to respond differently, to Love: To love the pain and the assholes and all inflamed eruptions on the world stage—whether violent actions or political candidates— not because they are asking for it, not because they are what or who they are, but because we are what we are.

We are being asked to Trust what we are, and embrace what we are,  in ourselves and everyone else:

  To BE Love even if when can’t FEEL love.

It is what we are for.

It is what we are made of.

 

Fire Watcher

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I climbed to the ridge to see fire

— if I could–

at the root of the smoke plume

which poured from between the mountain’s legs

and wrapped the horizon from south to east

in a tall, thick ribbon of cloud,

fed by a combine blade of blaze,

low and hungry, wide and steady,

blackening the land.

 

At first the distant curtain of smoke

showed little contour or movement,

as I sat among the nearer flames of blooming cactus

—yellow opuntia, cholla all in fuchsia–

Even this smoke-filtered light turned them into jewels.

 

Darker plumes now spiraled

against the greater wall of ashy air,

prompting me to announce

 –to no one but my already-illumined neighbors—

that the fire had found structures.

The texture of the rising plume began to buckle

as it gobbled this richer fuel,

chugging upward into fattening, soft-serve billows and curves.

 

This darkness, though, was it blacker smoke?

Or just shadows sculpted by a descending sun,

who cast its light dispassionately,

feeding all shape and form,

feeding flowers,

feeding the wonderings and sunburn of a poet

sat on tiny planet

turning, turning, ever turning

from blue, to green, to brown….

m.l., eldo, nm

June 16, 2016

The Molar of the Story

     It’s not like it was going to be a normal week. I was to start teaching a new yoga class at a local wellness center. I was going to minister the service at the Center for Inner Truth.

     But my own center of Inner Truth had something else in the works: a whole new teaching in surrender, another pride stripping pass from the Great Tongue of the Divine Mama-cat. Of course,  she used all external and circumstantial trimmings of my life as leverage, and all I could do was let go. Sometimes we resist these surprising developments and it becomes like pulling teeth, a tug of war between the Ego and the Divine Endontist. And no matter how the little self sets its jaw, we all know who eventually wins. This week offered a multi-faceted—metaphoric as well as literal—spin on Extracting Wisdom.

     There is much more to the story–a layered and remarkable glimpse of how Grace steers and nudges our psyche and circumstances with mind-boggling precision– and maybe that tale will roll out later. But for now, amid the happy anesthetic high and drooling grin, I simply report it’s been a good week for growth—a hard week, but a good week. I’ve welcomed new living wisdom, rather than clinging to a tired old tooth: a personal “demolarization” that had become a monument to collective demoralization.  In place of the wisdom tooth now there is what dentists call might a dry socket but what I will call a sacred void.

     And where the molar aching in its socket seemed to harbor grief. The after birth has offered nothing but laughter.

Photo on 6-10-16 at 12.21 PM

Visions R us

I’m Listening, I say, as I close my eyes.

There appears the lapis, azure and aqua feathers of a head-dress, betraying an otherwise camouflaged man of wisdom standing motionless in the shade of tall reeds… a dust-colored serpent extending forward from his ribs and curled backward to his right, to gaze upon a blue tile box behind.

A snake reaching for past treasures left unplundered, and a shaman gazing upon a river before him, one that I cannot see, yet he takes for granted.

This private kaleidoscope is enough.  

The message: All is Well.

I stand bejeweled with all I need, sheltered from true harm.