TALKING TO SHIVABALAYOGI ABOUT THE MOTHER’S SHAKTI

3474709560_617b849a8a

for Carol and for Stefan Pyne

“…if you feel like a room without a roof…if you feel that happiness is the Truth…”
P Williams

Happiness coming over me!
Silver schools of Gulf trout moving in waves under the skin!
Every mullet in the Gulf has a name.
Both their eyes have names.
The scales that cover their eyes each has a name
written in a kind of fire known only to the Most High.

But you tell me joy is evidence of a wound.
The Mother is always lifting up her children
to wipe the blood from our eyes.
You say we are moving down this road alone, alone
but every body is one candle lit inside another.
We make the necessary efforts to shine and one day we all
catch fire together.

Sitting at my ease now, becoming more and more
like the air around me
I swim into another body made of inhaled breath
the hand of the first body is stroking the long white beard of the other.
I can taste my name being called.
Because I am saying this, I know it’s nearly time for me
to die.

But for now I am a rooster strutting on the roof ridge of a white church
my feathers all red and gold!
Elaborate coxcomb thrown back fluttering in a furnace of wind
I go cockadoodledoing while the preacher tries to preach.

Hey you crying on your knees!
Hey you, bent over with your back broken under weight of fear and guilt
come outside and whirl with me!
Everything you believe about yourself is vomit.
Your sermons are mouthfuls of rancid meat!
Why not come out whirling with your arms full of fire?

Take this gallon can of gasoline and pour it over both our heads!
My fingers are match sticks already struck with fire.

bee in flight on the road to the White Salmon River

bee in flight, taken on the road to the White Salmon River

.

WORDS WRITTEN ON THE MORNING OF MY SIXTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY

290477

for my friends Rob Sacks, whose first girl friend in high school was born on this same day, Aja Thomas, whose birthday is the 29th of April, and for Rick Lehman who was born on July 26, 1950.

.

I know well the bitter wine that Jesus bled
when he cut his foot on pot shards
stepping into the Jordan.

When the dove of light opened its wings and the sky
bled for him the many voices of our Fathers
their hands all hard and oily on the backs of our heads
desperate to bless us.

Underneath our fingernails, the dirt not washed clean
by the river
is there to remind us where we came from
what we are.

.

BAPTISM BY IMMERSION NEAR THE TRINITY RIVER

baptism3
.

Grapeland, Texas 1959

It was November and she would not wait until Spring
so we drove to a farm close by the church and gathered round a cattle tank
to sing

“Shall we gather at the river…”

But the Trinity was treacherous and full of gar.
The Trinity was full of holes.

The preacher wore white overalls, the woman a gown made from a bed
sheet.
They stepped into shivering water like two herons.

I remember the smell of mud around the green pond
covered hard with hoof prints and patties
the steers we boys had driven off with swords of willow.

It did not take long to hold a hankerchief over her nose and mouth
to let her three times down into the body of the Lord.
She went down shivering into ecstatic waters.

She went down shivering in ecstatic water.

 

.