Saturday, December 2, 2017

Inhabiting Light

In the interstitial membrane between externally driven activity and internal necessity, I find myself feeling like a new immigrant. Tears come to my eyes in spontaneous fellow feeling for all beings – from the lowliest insect to the most privileged human. All of us are here at the whim of karma, in a maelstrom of events that feels out of control.

I'm not assigning blame. Karma is not a system of punishment, it’s just a neutral system of cause and effect. So probably I shouldn’t say “whim” or even karma. Is it atavistic to speak of God? Or should I just point to the plethora of spirits and god beings that populate all the unseen worlds around us?

Whether or not we label this “all” as God or not, the fact is, we are not the decision-makers ultimately. Not to say that we don’t alter each moment of our existence by our consciousness. But I don’t feel a sense of ownership about the ultimate destination of my being, even if I am the driver. And every time I consider an action, I'm aware of all those beings around me.

This is not to say that our actions can't be meaningful, or that they aren't vital. In this time - perhaps more than ever - we need to act from the levels of our deepest understanding. But what I'm talking about here is the place in between those moments of action.

So, as I said, I find myself in this interstitial membrane. And previously I was always in the hub of activity, driven by plans, goals, and endless lists. And now meditation isn’t just one of those goals. It’s a framework or maybe a vehicle. The “yana” of Vajrayana, Mahayana, etc., becomes quite relatable.

In previous years, this blog has mostly been my poetry, a form of expression well suited to a life whose energy is devoted mainly to working for a living. Now, for some reason, prose feels more appropriate. Not that I won’t jot down something symbolic next time I am alone in a darkened restaurant with background music and a glass of wine. Like so many writers, alcohol loosens my tongue.

But for today, I feel like a child just learning to walk. And an old image comes to mind, of being in a dark tunnel and heading for a faint light in the distance. Except that now the light is everywhere.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Trust Is An Option

Anybody who knows me is aware that I have a phobia about driving in traffic. I'm great alone on a highway stretching into nowhere. Or better yet, a local street like this. But put me in a situation where I have to go somewhere new, be alert to street signs and landmarks, and manage to stay in the proper lane and keep from going too slowly and my heart starts to thump.

So, of course, moving to a new city is a challenge. I've tried to drive somewhere new each day. And it gets easier. Maybe Connecticut isn't quite as pressurized as New York. But my biggest challenge was finding the DMV to register my car and get a new license. After putting it off for a few days, somehow the GPS got me there even though there was this confusing bit where I could swear I went in a circle. I wouldn't have been able to do it again.

The line stretched outside to the parking lot. Well, it was a Saturday. After an interminable length of time, I finally found myself inside holding a numbered ticket and standing in a (still) long line. But eventually someone called my number and I went to the counter. First I had to present the three pieces of identification - my NY license, passport and social security card. The first two were easy. The social security card was not there.

It was not in my folder, my wallet or my purse. The lady behind the counter was kind and said I could sit down and look for it and then come back. So I did that, and finally went out to the car in case it had fallen into the seats. Still no card. I had no choice but to go back home and find it.

So I tapped in "Go Home" on my Garmin because the cell phone had used up the data for the month and the speed was reduced. I continued to follow the GPS directions until suddenly I was in Downtown. And I realized that "Go Home" on my GPS still had my NY address. I looked on the bright side. I could now scope out parking garages and see where the streets were because this was another area that I wanted to explore but had been too chicken.

I drove around a bit and didn't stop because I had an appointment at an open house in the afternoon for a yoga class. But I did pull into a parking lot and tap in my new address on the GPS.

Once I got home, of course, I began the search for the social security card. Not in the kitchen. Not in the office. Not in the files. Not in the office trash. Not in the kitchen trash!

In one last effort, I went back to the wallet (for the fourth time) and dug around in the pockets where you put credit cards. And there it was. Wedged in with a couple of old business cards.

So I took this as a very important lesson that I could trust myself. I'm not going to screw up. At least, most of the time. And if I'm just patient and confident, I'll probably do okay.

So far, I've managed to find two library branches, the grocery, the home goods store, the package store, the DMV, the furniture store, a beautiful yoga studio, a Thai restaurant, the bank, the pharmacy, a good gas station, a place to service my car, the movie theater, a woods with hiking trails, and a walking trail by the river.

Next time I'll go downtown and try out the organic food market, a farmer's market and art galleries. Maybe figure out where to park at the train station. This is only the beginning.

I don't know why I'm writing this. It's not like my usual poetry, but maybe it'll give someone else a dose of confidence.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Did you ever notice
It’s not loneliness
It’s not the yearning so much
For companionship
Or even intimacy

It’s the luxury of having someone
Help you make decisions?

A million decisions
Every day
To make in solitary

What to spend the next
Five minutes doing

What needs more time

Whether to meditate
Or go for a walk

Whether to tackle the bills,
The dishes, or the laundry

To binge-watch some Netflix
Or color my hair

Whether to work on the novel
Or this poem

To be honest
I’ve always had a problem
With intimacy

Nobody gets close
And if they do
I banish them all too soon

It must be a shock
It must hurt a lot
To be let in
And then shut out

I used to rationalize it
With an artistic need for solitude
That desire to create without audience
Without critic
Without collaborator

And then I learned to dance
To co-create with a partner

Now I miss that steady hand
At the small of my back

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Kindness is a Spanish Guitar

Part I.

The light filters in from the ocean side
with a benevolence totally unwarranted.
Such is earthly life in a paradise
perpetually re-conceived each day,
in spite of all our sins.

A well being fills me
not entirely due to alcohol,
but of course it's hard to discern.

Kindness abounds,
if only in my own mind.
I hear the sounds of flamenco guitars
but are they real or imagined?

To move with fluidic essence
that lives in our bones
to move with the liquid spirit
that flows through our sacred channels.

My blood and breath unite
in the acceptance of this assignment
life's forward unitary steps.

Men laugh and jest,
and it seems universal,
a timeless riposte.

Women dance around their sharpened philosophies
afraid to spill it all.
Someone told them they were too smart.

I'd introduce them
to the jesting men
if they weren't so brittle.

Some wounds need more than laughter.
The guitars might help.

Part II.

Who could even begin?

Its dissolving tongue
utters soundless words.

You sit on my doorstep
waiting for yourself
to arrive.

Myriads of time
stamped with arcane symbols
roll by my mind's eye
like a still movie montage.

We were young once
yet what a fallacy.
Youth is an eternal
state of mind.

I only imagine you with me
because you are.
You don't let go
and I castigate myself
for my attachment

When all the time
we cling like soul mates
to the raft of time.

Someday when we are
in our aerie watching this movie rerun
we will gaze at each other
and smile.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I Am Such a Messy Prototype

Like children playing with their food
Creativity without a care
Things fall down
They come together
For an earnest lifelike doll
All scars and broken beauty
Anticipating the next assignment

This finger painting
Without numbers, lines or lofty aims
Mixing colors always ends up
Browny green
Nothing smooth or bright
And yet you see it and you say
Oh, yeah, I know that feeling

In the end
It takes a lot of ugliness
Accidents and big mistakes
To make good art.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bird on the Wire

It's hard to imagine
the world after

Millions of people
hunt for food
and shelter

Acts of cruelty
and kindness abound

Animals and plants
keep on course
as always

We tell ourselves
we have free will,
dominion and agency

While scrambling on
the edge of oblivion

Poems like this
are being written
in the quiet tunnels

Of the lungs of sentient
beings everywhere

I am only a scribe.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Hibernation Blinks

Pallid leaves flattened by softened sleep
Nestle among the remnants of our waking dream

Our nostalgic ruminations glisten
In the afternoon haze
As the first pioneering flakes begin to fall

Leaving snow kisses that appear
Like forgotten or yet to be lovers
Before dissolving on earth's tongue

There's something tentative about the season
Months of winter still to come

In that pause between the deep breath
Of lighted trees
And the side streets banked with old snow

We find the path we carved out
In the unforgiving past
Inhabited by disappearing longings
And inappropriate ambitions

It's there in clear, straight lines
Beneath the layer of icy leaves
That our ghost dogs love to sniff
For the rabbity fragrance of tomorrow.