Arcoiris

The arc of history bends just right,
like the look she gave me last night.

It’s a bow and arrow, shooting far;
part flood, a boat a la mar.

An ark on an arc, filled two by two;
a couple coupled to create you.

The ark doesn’t sail on solar wind.
It draws its power from pistons pinned.

The arc is a sea of constant nexts,
the ark is the moment propelled by sex.

Grand as it seems best not forget,
Progress can’t be made if we don’t beget.


This is a tongue-and-cheek piece about the tension between the important and the trivial. In the end, even the grandest thing boils down to its component parts. While perhaps mocking the self-importance of human history, it also expresses awe at the power of conception.

Image is from http://www.malcolmhorton.co.uk

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Duramen

My mind raced. I knew I wouldn’t feel anything. Do I ever really feel anything? I move through my feelings so fast it can be hard to tell. I wonder whether it’s all for show. It seemed my thoughts had given up on me, and it hadn’t even been 5 seconds…

Then, pop, there it was; something in my chest, a heavy feeling that sort of pulsed with each breath I took. Maybe I just seldom notice what’s going on in me.? I let that thought go and tried to just be with that weight in my chest. Is it always there? Is this different than normal? Is it a wound?

What makes a wound? It didn’t hurt. In fact it felt good. Well, that’s over-simplifying. It didn’t feel good, but feeling it did. It was like finding this amazing part of me, my heart, that had been there all along but that I didn’t pay enough attention to.

The weight seemed to lighten, but it was still there the same as before. Now, though, I felt connection spreading. I felt my awareness of this part of me expanding, and in this greater context the weight wasn’t so heavy. I felt that this was what connected me to everything else, though that’s not quite right either. It was bigger than that yet smaller too, more intimate.

As I thought through this, I lost the feeling again. I was thinking about it too much. I wanted to just be with it. I felt in my mind this vibrating tension, like my brain was pushing up against my skull. I sat with that too.

Why am I sitting on this buckwheat sack with my legs crossed? Well, I do this regularly. I think it’s helpful in getting to know myself and in becoming more skillful in my choices. But I also do this because it helps me feel better, calmer, less lost in the pounding pressure of my mind; because it makes me feel both more connected and less attached, both more myself and part of everything else, both all and none … because really what’s the difference?

That’s what the buzzing in my head is, differences, and I’ve got to be a part of that too. They’re unavoidable. They’re our teachers here. Words and choices, labels and society, norms and dichotomies all help us learn, but the biggest lesson is that they are all part and parcel of the same infinite un-creation.

How does knowing that make me anymore skillful? How do I act from that place, that knowledge? What binds everything together? Love? Gravity? Are they the same thing? A force pulling us together that can sometimes keep us apart. Didn’t I just say everything was the same thing? There’s that bzzzing again.

Words are to experience as an mp3 is to vinyl; much worse than that in fact, but the same idea, low fidelity. The problem isn’t limited to words either. Hell, even our eyes suffer from it; we manage to see solid objects in a multitudinous ocean of energetic particles. For most of our purposes it’s better that way, but sometimes you’ve got to see the forest or at least stop running into that tree.

So, I’m feeling hurt, but that pain in my chest connected me with my heart, and that in turn connected me with everything else. I’m feeling hurt because my father, who recently married a woman younger than my wife and estranged himself from me when he discovered I was having a son, his first grandson, saying that he needed to put his past behind him for reasons that had nothing to do with me, well he sent me and my brothers an email telling us his wife Renee is pregnant, wishing us the best, and halfheartedly asking “If you feel up to it, let me know how things are going” before signing off “Love, Will.” Who the fuck is Will? Oh… that’s right… this guy is Will. Dad is dead… or, just, different. Differences, like branches hitting me in the face.

I’m really in the woods now. But we all are, and our roots feed from the same wellspring. My heart drinks the same water as his. What’s skillful then? In this ridiculously complex world of differences, how do I act with the knowledge that we are all part of the same whole, that despite differences everything is also the same kind?

There’s my answer; right there in that word: kind. I might not know exactly what to do, but at least I’ve found my compass, and maybe I can make my way around this tree.


Duramen is “heartwood,” the center of a tree. 

This post is part of my throwback Thursday series and originally appeared in April of 2016. 

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Time Value of Moments

I took for granted what I’d been granted.
Growing up I never saw it this way.
I never felt it all slipping away.

Now I devour hours, though I try to fast.
I can’t savor minutes, when days go too fast.
Every instant that goes passed
is taken from my future into my past;
a lump sum added to what has amassed.

The more I carry, seems each has less mass.
I try to grasp, yet every moment turns into my last.
I can’t catch a second, only the now can last.


This piece is about the relativity of time and it’s fleeting nature. Specifically it seeks to express the idea that as we age our perception of time accelerates. What seemed an eternity to our younger self becomes a mere instant. 

Image is from cnbc.com

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Great Falls

I went to great falls today, and walked out to the overlook on Olmsted island. Two vultures with small, leathery, red heads and black, cloak-like bodies sat perched on a craggy outcropping of gray-green rock amid tall, bare-branched trees and the rush of rapids, perfectly accentuating the menacing air that hung about this almost alien landscape.

Why alien? Unfamiliar yes, but it is no fault of the land that we have not gotten to know it. How quickly we pejorate the unknown; an easy excuse for lazy minds. To understand the seemingly foreign is to become acquainted with yourself, and in so doing to broaden your sense of security and well-being in your own individuality. The more you can recognize as being of a kind with the idea of you, the more robust your self will become.

As I walk around the tall, pole-like trees, up the hill and across the canal from great falls, I feel this connection, this kindness. Everything looks at me. I look at everything. We see ourselves all around.

Amazing to have a mind that can choose the narrative; frightening too. A scary story indeed to be a lone self, one man desperately protecting the fleshy sack of bone and blood that allows for his existence. One misstep from oblivion. Enemy to all things. Even allies are suspect and temporary in this perilous context. Much better to feel my sense of self spread out and embrace all the formerly alien aspects of existence.

————

This post is part of my throwback Thursday series. It originally appeared in March 2016.

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Sound Mind and Body

He’s a self made man. Of course that doesn’t mean that he is the asexual offspring of himself. Nor does it mean that he owes no debts. Many people helped shape him. What it does mean is that in being shaped he learned not just how to be, but how to shape. He learned how to craft himself into what he wanted to be.

His desires are doubtless the result of the circumstances of his biology and his rearing; he can’t claim total responsibility for that. But it is his ability to choose which among them to realize that makes him self-made.

Perhaps counter intuitively, his ability to resist some desires in favor of others required accepting them all. Only by allowing himself to dispassionately experience a desire can he let it drift past without reaction. He learned to live in this gap between stimulus and response. The world flowed in and out of him and in the moment of recognition he built his bridge and found himself.

He honed this skill by practicing in the way of the hand and foot. He began as a child for fun but something more profound drew him further in. He had no idea that the physical practice would shape his mind as well. In the health of his body he found peace of mind. The practice gave him the tools to always make himself anew. It planted in him the seeds of meditative awareness necessary for self control. With a sound mind and body, he became himself.


This piece is dedicated to Master Wahlstrom. The man who taught me self-control. Kamsahamnida kwanjangnim.

Image is from http://www.tobys-brain.com

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Erosion

Sometimes I feel like a jagged rock in a raging river; like an obtuse protuberance that rapids thrash against; as if I am surrounded by tremendous violence that it is battering me.

Slowly, the currents erode my incongruous edges and smooth me out. I become more accustomed to the forces around me, yet I am still worn by them.

Slower still, the waters wash more and more particles off of me and leech my minerals away until, finally, I am no longer that jagged rock or that smooth pebble. I am no longer fighting the current, nor am I slowly worn down by it. All of me is now become the waters.

I realize that it was only my resistance that created violence; only my narrow, desperate grasp on self that saw a battle. Separation tore me apart. Separation into definitions, into categories of self and other, rock and river, calm and fierce, peace and violence, good and bad. This realization required only a change in perspective. A change that perhaps could have been made earlier, but that, regardless, was inevitable.


This post is part of my Throwback Thursday series. It originally appeared on Mar. 23, 2016. #tbt

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Reaping/Sowing

You tore me to shreds;
tattered scraps of red
ripped into little pieces.

First you pulled me apart,
then you clawed out my heart;
my chest a hollow trunk.

I thought I should die,
so little was left of I,
instead I had grown.

Rather than end,
I was sown in the wind;
seeds awaiting water.

Then I saw that you cried,
A piece of you had died
at the sight of my slaughter.

Where I now felt big,
You felt like a twig;
alone without roots.

Your tears wet my seeds,
and out of your deed
I grew into a grove.

While you still felt small,
we sheltered you all
under our canopy.

And you molded and rotted,
your pain almost forgotten,
as your humus finally found root.


“My heart gets bigger when it falls apart,”  Inspired by Ellis Delaney’s lyric. http://www.ellis-music.com/

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