I WAIT FOR YOU

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for Carol

 

 

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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.

 

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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!

Look up and see the bed where you are sleeping is now the unmade sky.”

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SEVEN PRAYERS WRITTEN IN THE SPRING OF 1974

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I WILL LEAN INTO YOUR VOICE

I will drink your voice as a willow drinks the wind.
The terror of your nails!
The meat of your presence!

The seed bull enters his herd with a trumpet!
Grackles fly out of maple trees, shaking their limbs as if in seizure.
The magnificent Eye that sees all creatures afloat in itself
sees me!

I want to run my hands along the nylon over your void. Let me
call your name.

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Lord Krishna Bewilders Brahma

PRAISING KRSNA

Standing on a lake, playing his flute,
golden dhoti giving birth to wheat fields in the air.
Worlds, men and women tangled with stars
are streaming from the flute!

He speaks his own name and a universe leaps into being.
He keeps quiet and everything disappears back into his Being.
He stops playing and eats a mango.

Over a sourceless, sounding lake he walks
every footstep leaving a child waking up in water
of the Mother’s womb.

We are praising you Krsna,
praising you Krsna,
Krsna!

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Photo of bee taken on the road to the White Salmon River.

Photo of bee taken on the road to the White Salmon River.

I LOOK IN THE INFINITE DIRECTIONS OF THE EYE

I look in the infinite directions of the Eye.
See your face upon the Earth,
the circle of your mouth,
your teeth like white geese whose beaks point toward the sun.
Hear a caravan of wind, a shipment of breezes,
thunder carrying your Voice over the farms.
You are the ark and the creator of the ark.

I am calling you like a young tree frog calls for his mate in the night.
I am calling like a cricket to the moon.

I want to be stripped of limitation, forced full of lights.
I want to be a raining presence of affection,
to stand naked before you
and give myself wholly to the river off your glance.

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PRAYING IN A HORSE PASTURE NEAR MIDNIGHT

I enter through a wound
going down into the world
where fire walks, embodied in blood.

I walk into the fire and I burn
upside down in a suit of ashes.

Near midnight
I drink words from a broken cistern,
words and ashes mixed together.

I want the earth never to have existed!
I want colors going back into light!
I am afraid of little breezes touching my arm!
See wings made of moon light beating in the dark!

Something in me wants the iris to float out of my eyes,
wants me to be old, to surrender to the sky,
give up to the floating scenery I am described by.
I want that too!
I want to disappear, become all this.
I want to be with you and to know you.

Come down to this pasture where long eared donkeys bray.
Come down from the tower of the trees
or bring me up.

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HEARING TREE FOGS IN THE RAIN

Hearing tree frogs in rain, I draw back the curtains,
let their clear syllables fall across my boots.

Last night we slept together touching ankles.
Now I stand at this window
holding in my hands the green light of cedars.

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bee in flight on the road to the White Salmon River

bee in flight on the road to the White Salmon River

I SPEAK OF THE NEW BIRTH!

I speak through a cylinder of foam
birds raging in my throat.
A season of nails falls from my hands,
my feet.
The sky slides into my shoulders.

I am not this, I am not that!
The hundred angles of my smile attach to light.
I speak of the new birth!
Nothing is tangled.
The star is a star after all.
The coil is a river and the river is my self.

Watch for me, where I fly in the body of an oriole,
an answer without a question!

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PRAYING BY A CATTLE TANK

I want to be touched by the nameless Presence.
I want my lips to be leaves of fire!
But there are flies on the surface of the cattle tank.
A mare with a belly like a church house has come down
to drink the water.
From where I sit, I  see
the jawbone of a cow that bloated in winter and died.
See a blue jay, everything eaten but its feathers!

I hold my hands up against the land, the sky, oak trees
without end.

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MORE LIKE THE SKY THAN THE SKY ITSELF

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for my dear friend, Rob Sacks, on his birthday

We seem to be alone but we are not.

Seem to be solid but we are more like sky than the sky itself.

All day long busy pouring water from one hand

into the other.

At end of day we get back to open air.

Stand listening to the wind

separating calls of dog, coyote, wild turkey, formations of geese

from the sound the sky makes going red.

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ARTHRITIS OF THE HAND IN WINTER

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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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