Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dreaming in Venice

I dreamed I was swimming
In the canals of Venice
With elephants
A dolphin
And my granddaughter
As a reformed mermaid
Or perhaps
Transformed mermaid
Would be more true

People were swimming up
To her
Antediluvian paparazzi
“Show us your colors –
Your colors!”
We laughed.
This was what they
Always said when she
Still had her tail

The elephant carried a baby
Curled up on her shoulder
To keep him dry
He was dark heavenly blue
With patches of gold
And rust red
Like barnacles
On his skin
He was smiling
As babies do

Behind the young Indian boy
Who swam like Mowgli
All arms and legs
Exuberant inefficiency
The dolphin glided,
I thought
If I swim closer
I’ll be able to touch its tail

It was mysterious
In shape
Its round tail oddly
Resembling a propeller
I could tell it had
A purpose and direction
It was dreaming too
With eyes closed
In the warm waters

My granddaughter's legs
Were long
As she managed the currents
Again I noticed the
Elephant’s smile
Where were we headed
So happily
And with such purpose?
Were we all psychic

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Thought is an ocean
Waves and swells
with influences
dissipates and subsides
on the in-breath
and crashes down
with the out

Mindfulness is
watching this
without attachment
or confusion
or agitation

Neither wave nor boat
nor whale nor bird
nor swimmer
nor the rising up
of water
into cloud.

For Christopher Cameron, one of the most graceful navigators of the mind's ocean I ever met.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action

Movie theaters, those giant ocean liners
Getting up, I’m searching for my land legs

Life on the big screen, the convoluted plot,
The probing characterization

We observers of drama
In the safety of the darkness

Must take off the 3-D glasses
And pick up where we left off

In the daily script
Of our dangerous lives

Outside where the bruises
are most lurid on the inside

We are all little mermaids
Who bartered our tails for love.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Among the Elders

In my memory
She is always smiling
Even under the mask

Her heart is permanently
Broken open
She watches the children

Old and young
With the same patient care
She counts each day a treasure

Freed from the prison
From the terror
From the death

She carries herself
With a well-earned grace
And laughs at the devil himself

One cannot but smile
Emboldened by her courage
By her faith.

My painting of Ama Ahde (Adhe Tapontsang) at the Tibetan Reception Center, 2005. Working under her was one of the most inspiring times of my life.