I WAIT FOR YOU

mandala_abhasa__holographic___dim_lighting__by_travisaitch-d6na5vb

for Carol

 

 

one

I don’t remember you.

You are always here as breath and as circulating blood.

Cover my face with a blanket of dirt and I will be with you in the sudden sky

sky with no stars, only our four eyes there

burning.

 

I am homeless.  You are the alley way I dream and wake in.

I  follow the curbs of your body looking for a hand

out in blessing.

Your voice is with me as tidal horns of traffic

and as drunk men in empty parking lots cursing God because they have lost another tooth.

Your voice is with me as  wings of pigeons leaving these magnolia trees

then returning.

 

Nothing is hidden from you and you are not hidden from me.

You stand in front, behind, on every side, alert as barrels full of fire.

From the corner of my eye I see your reflection in standing water

arms open to the murky sky, a dollar bill at your feet someone has thrown down

in disgust.

 

You tell me that on both sides of every struggle there is unbroken faith.

You say I am surrounded by mirrors

and that every mirror is an open grave where you are willing to lie down naked

to finish this struggle in my arms.

 

I can’t die

until my body remembers its relationship with the space between stars.

That’s when the dead let go, floating out of their graves, dressed for a wedding!

I am not afraid to love you as a human being, as something less than an angel

and more trust worthy than a God.

I have known your waves of love.

They carried me here

where I walk in  these gutters running with rain

where I wait for you and for your last wave.

I did not come here to capture light, to hold it prisoner

then release it finally into night.

I did not come here to whisper “OM, OM…”

I came for you.

 

In my sleep I dream of wheat fields

bordered by pines and poplar trees in a river of wind.

Startled wood doves are bleeding into dawn.

Two hawks circle me

their shadows cutting through  the grain  like curved scythes.

 

two

66 years gone now.

I am not a young man ripe with love.

I do not follow the road that likes to rise between a young man’s legs.

Now I wake from my dreams in a bed, long married

happy, learning the bliss of contentment, the bliss of being satisfied.

I see you coming

sometimes with your hands raised in blessing, sometimes with a butcher’s knife.

Either way my love.

 

I like to go out walking, greeting strangers as if they are Rama

and I am Hanuman, his servant and friend.

The sky is not a wall for me. The grave is not a promise.

It is the marriage bed.

All that is left of me now is the outline of a body taut with emptiness.

But there is also a subtle joy

that does not much disturb itself with laughter or with tears.

 

I wait for you

to lay my head upon the shoulderless curve of you.

 

 

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PRAYERS IN WINTER

Baba Hand Writings for USA

There is no difference between faith and unbelief.

Words are bloody rags placed on an altar.

“I believe, I believe…”

Dead men slow dancing with worms, ashes raining from their eyes.

Every prayer, including this one, a tsunami of self pity

a rogue wave in a daub of spit!

All day our faces are gulfs of green undrinkable water.

At night coyotes hunt the river bank for lives more quiet than their own.

Ten years ago you told me

“Come to the river in morning, among grass widows, in blades of light.

Come repeat a name composed entirely of water.

Whisper these syllables across the river not as prayers

but as breath let go of, not expected to return.”

Now you say

“Don’t try to find me where I’ve always been.

Look for me in dangerous places where the poor cook their own hands

for food.

I am the poor and the dead.  I am meat in the fire.

Only when the tongue is taken back into your mouth in ashes

can you speak my name again.

Only when the roof of the mouth collapses in fire

and the skull is broken into, robbed of everything

it possesses.

Only when you are empty as the endless canopy of sky

can you kneel like a drunk man

amazed to find the full moon floating in a cup of wine.

When you can see the mountains of the moon

bearing witness to a light only the blind may see

and sing words only they can sing whose throats have been cut

only then speak my name.”

There is an oak tree planted by the river

so old only its leaves know the world still exists.

When I sleep, I hear the west fork of that river

and smell it in the fine hair on my wrists.

There is something in me wants to be that cold

wants to come back to itself in deep water

where the river curves and the bank is undermined.

There is a quiet that goes on gathering in the river

until it touches a man between his shoulder blades and he wakes.

But there is no meaning in this world.

There is heaven. There is hell. There is purgatory

and there are hallways leading between them.

You tell me

“Every house is on fire!

The moon is dancing naked on the roof ridge

with all her feathers fallen to the ground!”

You say

“Throw off your blankets! Your sheets are in flames!

The bed where you are sleeping is now the unmade sky!”

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WORDS WRITTEN TO MY WIFE AFTER WORKING OUTDOORS IN WINTER

Pic-Services-ForestryIcyLimbOnRoad
in 1994, for Carol

1

A river of blood runs under the bridge of the rib cage.

I have come home from work with a cracked tooth
the pain of it like a soft flickering of lightning.

See a new moon hung in the frost broken limbs of our maple tree.
I want to lay my face against that moon, calling, “Carol, Carol…”
A light coming on gradually inside this leather box
I call myself.

2

I am a working man behind on his payments.
Loans taken out in another life eat my liver like a crow.
I can’t afford these words I am saying.
Can’t afford the assurance of men who walk in straight lines
or of those who follow their own desires
toward imagined pleasure or pain.

3

You tell me the way to heal is first
find the wound.
Go to it tenderly as you would a woman.
Stay with her, giving what you are to what you are.
Nothing stays the same, you say.
Even pain finally moves toward itself.
When self meets self, there is an end
to it.

4

But I say, let all words bleed away.
I hold up empty hands asking you to make them
emptier.

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ARTHRITIS OF THE HAND IN WINTER

017

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Three vertebrae in the mid back that once were tender as willow, cracked in a fall from a three story building. Now they hold to each other as three widows would,  living in a one bedroom apartment. I have a nose broken in four places and a ring finger that can not bend, as a swan will, to its own reflection in a palm full of water. The body worships with a child’s faith every illusion of safety but, with age, begins letting go of faith, learning to make do with common sense and the support of a brace.

This morning the moon is the color of a mule’s hip bone, the one I found in a field of crowder peas outside New Waverly, Texas in 1959. The sky is white as the face of a man in his sixties, raised on pork. I am walking to the White Salmon again, following the circle of my breath. Hear the spangled screech of hawk or eagle hunting ground squirrel in the fog. Sounds like a tambourine or the ornate rowel of a Mexican spur suddenly set spinning.

Walking in snow a hundred feet above the river, I recognize my own boot prints coming toward me from yesterday. Cloud fills the narrow gorge to its limits. Crows caw to each other over the rapids, swell their breasts and make the popping sounds of courtship. In the shadow of an overhang, egrets are murmuring and their murmur is a twin to the murmur of the river.

Without gloves on, the cold moves ‘cross the swollen knuckles of my right hand, as a wind that circumambulates five sacred hills where little fires are built. This fire is how I know the sky comes down to the riverbed and enters into bone. My hand, the color of a slice of wonder bread, is open, offering the sky back to itself. The One without a name who takes the shape of water and of air is also present in fire and in bone.

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THE RUDRA GAYATRI MANTRA

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for Baba Shiva Rudra Balayogi, who taught me this Mantra

May the Divine consider my prayers that all eruptions of thought subside, that the mind relax into the heart, and the heart be conscious of Itself.

 

I know nothing.

Thoughts come and I believe in them and I love them.

In that loss of attention a world is born

in which every flower has a name unknown to itself,

in which every moment has a Mother and a Father,

a beginning and an end that are so close together they are

essentially the same.

 

Between the Mother and the Father is a snow melt river

boiling through a narrow gorge.

Along that river a billion lives are lived,

a billion blessings, a billion curses.

To find the quiet that was never lost, I walk into a desert,

try to dig down through rock and bone to the river underground

but that river is a river of blood.

No one wants to drink from it or see it come open into the light

of day.

We want to know it and be known by it only in the dark,

when artificial light fails us and doors are all closed

inward.

 

When the mind comes back to itself there is unheard applause.

There is rejoicing that leads by a red dirt road

back to the Quiet.

At the end of that road is no imagined home, no one weeping

for our return.

There is the space  between thoughts,  a sky with no

end to it.Visit post

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FOR JUAN RAMON JIMENEZ

juan-ramon-jimaenez

 

1973

Because I have known the space between thoughts

known and endured terrible silences

I keep quiet, say nothing.

I find myself walking around the house in a coma

the right hand held in the left.

The moon sitting in the window is watching me like a child.

I want to be a happy man but if this house won’t cooperate

I will leave it!

I will wind the arms of the sky around my head and leap

into the subtle body of my soul!

When I become whole, I may never speak again

or I may speak for the first time of my secret visions

of my memories of angels in the cornfields

of the light around my Grandma’s coiled and braided hair

of  the green flames of pine trees.

 

 

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