friday 7 march 02008 9:46am
california and jackson, a silver-gray morning on which the water matches the sky

my friend lives
on a high hill
in a place
with many windows.
this morning i looked
past the cathedral next door
and the sprawl of skyscrapers below
and for a moment, oh, a moment, wondered
how that vast ship
could be floating
in the air between the skyscrapers
like that.

thursday 10 january 02008 5:04pm
in the air just after takeoff

my eyes cannot tell
where the purple mountains end
and the blue clouds begin.

thursday 27 december 02007 7:47am
in dream

there was a song that we had to learn. when sung just right it lifted us

and we soared and flew in our own skins.

thursday 17 may 02007 12:05pm
gate 5, PWN
one side of the war

i'm waiting for a late flight at the portland, maine airport. just now i realized that there was an awful lot of fuss at the gate opening where the folks are coming off the plane i'm about to board. a whole herd of people with flags and cameras and flag pinwheels jostling excitedly. i haven't seen anyone there to meet a flight at the gate in years. it's a tiny airport, and i guess security made an exception for this. security coming in was the same as it was leaving san francisco, except that several of the tsa workers were smiling and when i commented to the nice fellow who asked how my day was that he seemed a lot happier than the security folks at sfo, he serenaded me.

the sign i could see a moment ago said "welcome home son and brother" and i saw the word "honor" down in the corner.

and then one fellow coming off the plane got swarmed by children and i heard "welcome home, uncle chris!" in a high shrieky little voice, and an old woman holding a flag in one hand and a camera in the other was flushed red, weeping and taking photographs and the man at the heart of it all was fervently kissing a woman in a denim jacket while a half dozen children clung to his knees.

now i hear "daddy daddy daddy" and damn near everyone is weeping, including me.

wednesday 18 october 02006 10:56am
rising and falling

today the Little Zen Calendar says

When we realize the everlasting truth of "everything changes," and find our composure in it, we find ourselves in nirvana. - Shunryu Suzuki

there are words on my body. i have told you this before. the left wrist says one. this is for everything. the right arm says forever. this is for james, and for everything. there are pictures. an iris on the right shoulder. a feather on the left wrist. the pictures say things to me, too.

this too shall pass. james told me the story of those words when we were new. i think it might go on the back of my left achilles tendon, so that it will rest in my lap when i am sitting. maybe for my birthday.

rolling around the difference between surrender of and surrender to. surrender of is the birds. surrender to is the waves of the oecan. i am working with devotion on these lessons:

kneel. swim. accept what is. bow. say yes, thank you. yes. thank you. accept what is. work for change, and accept what is. bow. let go. let go. fall. fly.

tuesday 17 october 02006 10:58am
pain, fear, and the birds of freedom

today the pain is heavy like a cloud. the sad part is that there is no source for the pain in this moment. the pain is caused by fear, and the fear is caused by past pain. clearly the past pain has not been fully integrated yet.

the mind wants to integrate. the mind presents the fear and the pain again and again. it tells the old stories in the familiar words. it tells the old stories in new words. there is fantasy: imagined conversations in which all that would ever wish to be said is said. fantasies in which the pain returns anew, and the mind schemes ways to cope if this should be so. fantasies of every possible future and past. the mind tries it all on. in all of this, there are two simple messages: i have been hurt. i am afraid of being hurt again.

during the time where the story seemed new and the pain was my daily breath, i was given these words by a friend:

My experience is that everything is bliss. But the desire for bliss creates pain. Thus bliss becomes the seed of pain. The entire universe is born of desire. Give up the desire for pleasure and you will not even know what is pain. – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

so i breathe. i breathe the pain. i breathe the fear. i take it back into me. i try not to call this bad, i try to accept it as it is. this too shall pass. this too shall pass. i breathe this, which is, and i remind myself: today i am not dead.

i remember Joy Harjo, the poem i read many times many years ago, and have sung to myself ever since. this is part of I Give You Back from the book She Had Some Horses.

I release you, fear, because you hold
these scenes in front of me and I was born
with eyes that can never close.

I release you, fear, so you can no longer
keep me naked and frozen in the winter,
or smothered under blankets in the summer.

I release you
I release you
I release you
I release you

I am not afraid to be angry.
I am not afraid to rejoice.
I am not afraid to be black.
I am not afraid to be white.
I am not afraid to be hungry.
I am not afraid to be full.
I am not afraid to be hated.
I am not afraid to be loved
to be loved, to be loved, fear.

Oh, you have choked me, but I gave you the leash.
You have gutted me, but I gave you the knife.
You have devoured me, but I laid myself across the fire.
You held my mother down and raped her,
but I gave you the heated thing.

I take myself back, fear.
You are not my shadow any longer.
I won’t hold you in my hands.
You can’t live in my eyes, my ears, my voice
my belly, or in my heart my heart
my heart my heart

But come here, fear
I am alive and you are so afraid
of dying.

and i breathe. the stories come. and i let them go. again and again, i just let them go. i watch her turn into a bird

and fly away.

again. again. again.

the air around me today is filled
with the birds of freedom.

and i breathe.

friday 14 october 02005 2:04pm
for india

and now you are the wind
above the mountains

and the mountains

and the light of the sunset
behind the mountains

and the gull flying past

and you
you live in all of this, now