May the 4th, 5th, 6th be with you…


How is it that we’ve lost sight
Of knowing what we have,
This ultimate gift
The greatest blessing called life.

Yet, soon as we are reminded,
With pains and loses
At home and afar,
We acknowledge this truth.

That yes, we are indeed alive,
Yes, how fortunate we are.
Then why do we behave,
Behave so abominably?

We allow material possessions
Personal prestige,
Judgement and ridicule,
To feature throughout the day.

Has the truth of ‘living’
Dawned with you today?
Or is it merely a fleeting thought
Occurring on some days.

When the depth of yearning
To know the infinite,
And humility entwine,
A knowledge of old

Comes to be learnt.
That you are indeed,
An image
Of all that is clarity,
Understanding
And almighty.

Then unfolds
The gifts sublime
That only your ‘senses’
Privilege you to behold.

Feelings of gratitude
Surface to obliterate
The space occupied by sorrow.

Joy bubbles
Where misery once stood,
Compassion flourishes
Eating away the roots of greed and fear.

And love’s light surrounds
To vanquish the darkness.

So in May, learn knowledge
Of the life force within.
So you may sense
As only your humanity enables.

Loving the Child Within

In the dark,
Shivering and cold,
I remember you.

Laughed at, ridiculed
Ashamed.
Needing to disappear,
I remember you.

Searching for that look
Of approval.
Wanting that comforting
Hug.

Instead,
Feeling unseen
And left behind.

Now all grown up.
But I still remember you.

I remember you
Because I was you.

I saw you
And I see you now.
I held you
And I hold you still.

With a kindness,
A guidance,
A protection
Divine,

I have grown.
Grown to know
The great power of true love.

The kind that holds
The stars in place,
The sun at bay,
The moon for play.

Is this a fairytale
Or supreme astrophysics?
Either way
I must be loved.

How else
Could I be protected,
Be free to witness
Explore and come to know

The Might.
That surrounds
Nurtures and holds,
Both me and the stars.

April’s Resurrection

With the unexpected
Mandatory isolations,
Arrives a resurrection
Of lifestyles of old.

Families gather
Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The elderly are watched over
With keenness and compassion.

The poor and homeless
Fed and sheltered.
Communities work
With united forces.

With efforts big and small
True mindfulness and consciousness
Regain strength and center stage.

Within the self
Something deep is touched,
Stirred and begs to rise
As another resurrection.

Stripped of the usual noise
Busy-ness and distractions,
There is an exposure
Of the decluttered self.

The self that knows consciousness
That feels the depth of gratitude
That recognizes the greatest love
Of the One who always cares.

With no concepts to cloud
And only a few and basic
Needs to be addressed,
The obvious is made clear.

The preciousness
Of the ultimate gift
Yet non-permanence
And fragility of life.

The question begged to be asked.
What is it that you resurrect?
Your goals and ambitions?
Your achievements and certificates?

Neither past nor future matter.
The unexpendable commodity
Is this moment now.
The frame of existence.

Resurrect your being
The qualities that enliven you
Not by what surrounds
But by what lays within.

Allow in this quiet time
Listening to the voice
Lost in the usual noise.
And resurrect what you know
You’ve always been.

Novel Warrior

Most all warriors through history
Have been armed,
Carrying weapons of the era
Swords, bayonets to machine guns.

Patrolling and confronting
Ready to destruct or be destructed,
With nerves of steel
Conditioned through training.

Today, the insipid enemy
With no face or form.
Is quiet to arrive
Slow to show its presence,

Allowing time to infiltrate
Spreading wide and far.
Infects and destructs
The unlikely to likely.

Warriors have been summoned,
They wear no camouflage
They rage no war
They have no weapons.

She/he is my brother, sister, mother,
Father, aunt or neighbor.
They bring to force
Their daily expertise.

From farmers to grocers
To store cashiers.
From EMT to nurses,
And doctors.

With an endless list
The warriors of the war
Novel, like the enemy,
Rise to the call.

Unprepared
And without combat gear
Or training,
And most of all

Being blindsided
And abandoned in the trenches.
They are truly
Novel.

As always
There are those behind the frontline
Manufacturing , packing
Delivering, fixing
Communicating, supporting.

But the unseen hero
Will be the ones to heed
When nothing else can be done;
The act

Of social distancing,
Isolating to quarantining.
For this is no one man show.
It is only in unison

That we can bind
Our resources
Of endurance,
Hope
Courage

And humanity.
To defeat and rise,
With the least of casualties
This novel virus, COVID 19.

Mates of the same soul…

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For some,

I am a representation

Of their enamor with another.

For some,
They see me but fear my thorns.
For others
I’m too dainty to touch or unreachable.
But you,
You find me though I hide.
You see
Not only my contours, hues and parts,
But my longing, luster and love.
With your lens and your gaze,
You cast away my shadows.
Make my surrounding disappear,
Give me center stage
Bringing me into existence,
And then make me immortal.
Hovering and circling
You embrace
Even dance me.
Moving from a steadfast stance
To glorious highs of the smoothest rhythms.
Finally, we find our place
Where the moment is captured,
With a knowing that the frame,
Shows how we are mates
Of the same soul.

Shelter In Home


Comes natural to the hermit
Enforced on the convicted.
A sort of imprisonment
Intended to safe guard.

And today,
The likes of me and you
With access to the essentials
Water, food and light.
But little preparation
With unheeded forewarning,
The mind is unconditioned
The body unable to relax.

As sources of entertainment fade
The confines close in,
And the loss of freedoms
Begin to set in.

What is most amiss?
The face to face
To see and feel
To interact, to feel of significance.

At heart we are social.
Beings in need of beings.
So here lies opportunity
To reach out in solidarity.

Break free of the concepts,
Traits of greed and fear.
Evolve to enable
Humanity at its best.

Perhaps the greatest outcome
Is yet to be seen,
As from our strife and grief
We learn the truest meaning

Of the real ‘Shelter in Home’.
For you are the home
Where the grandest one
Chooses to reside.

So take the time now given,
To acquaint and befriend.
Meditate in your solace
On the place most neglected.

Uncover your buried gifts
Your allies, your strengths
Your inner peace and joys.

The key to this realm
Is to deflect and rebuke
The noise, the distractions
Of the exterior, the illusions.

With these layers
Of shelter in home,
Be kind
Be gracious
Be in gratitude.
For you are ‘home’
And in home
Of the greatest of arms.

Madness of March


From the maddening crowds
Masked with mayhem,
To voluntary quarantine
And prohibited movement

The making of mass hysteria.
Heads rise above the cellphone
Our seeming invincibility
Suddenly cracked open

Finally we see each other.
Is it with empathy or fear?
Is it with comradeship or disdain?

With opposing forces
Hand in hand
How are we to survive?
How are we to accept them all?

Looking to Mother Nature
She shows constant dichotomies
Where the unlikely
Co-habit and even thrive.

On the hardened brittle bark
Beauty resides
As blooms spring forth
Soft and sumptuous.

From murky stagnant pools
Emerge the pristine lotus flowers,
No looking back or down
Just rising with a divine grace.

So this March
Is like no other,
Tests and trials
All yet to come.

Let not madness reign
As the confusion may prevail,
Rather rise with fortitude
And generosity of heart.

What comes, must pass
So lose not sight,
And ask of yourself
What are my powers
Which are constant,
Restoring and sustaining.

Nature’s Valentine

With your eyes upon me
I stand in your trance
Delicate, supple,
Dare I say, beautiful

Your kindness showers a light
What you see is your reflection
Except you think
The beauty belongs all to me

Together we beam
Bouncing energies that gleam
Much like chicken and egg
Where does this beauty begin and reside?

Universal is this beauty’s light
So easy to see in nature’s delights
Yet if so omnipresent
Why so hard to accept
That we are part of the same exquisite design

Come, my admirer
Share with me your heart
So that I may too
See my reflection

Then with such an embrace
Of love, light and beauty
Gratitude can reign
And we both shall have truly lived

For the love of…. February

Looking, waiting
For that love
Must you be
So illusive!

Yet like electricity
It’s really just there
Flick the switch
And all at once
Illumination
An infusion of warmth

But no
Love must be tangible
In a man
In a woman
In an experience

Yet like electricity
It’s still just there
Look behind the sheet wall
Under the floor boards
Even against your very own skin
Crackling and coursing
Ever present

Love too, we’re told, is everywhere
High up in the sky as the birds glide
In the wide open seas as dolphins dive
On the vast lands as flowers and trees thrive
But what of man
He appears to have to strive

Perhaps the search
Needs go no further
For if we learnt to dig a little closer
We’d find a wealth
The love of our true nature

Once this hidden pot
Revealed and found
Appears it has
No bottom ground
Love now reigns
Without any bounds

I give thanks
To the One that heard my cry
Pointed me
In my own direction

Now, for the love of
All time
I need only
To close my eyes

Departing January

January you arrived 12.01
With sparkles and sizzle
Must you fizzle
As you depart?

Taking with you
The glimmer of hope
Planted in the dark

No! you bring beginnings
Opportunity to start afresh

Yet each year brings too
My detectable age
With my luster
Working harder to push through

Searching and embracing
Ways new and old
For truer gratification
I survive the winter

The winter where the sun
Barricaded by thick sheets of cloud
Leaves brittle and dry

The winter of separated lovers
Conforming to conventional expectations
Hearts ache and cold

The winter of lost souls
Deafened by laws and rites of religions, traditions
Confused and wandering

Whether the season
The heart
The soul

January
Thank you for your lesson
Your message of hope
To seize each moment

As this gift of time
Despite the seeming ease of renewal
Is the keeper of all things

Depart now
Leave with me my resolutions
My aspirations
As I pray to circle once more
Around the great one
So as we may meet again

Night Beauty

Bright beauty
Of the night sky
Waxing and waning
Sickle like or full
Applauded and acclaimed
Yet you remain
Most egolessly
Humble and servant
To your Sun
You teach me
To see
You and I
Are the same
Reflections of the Almighty
Vessels of the Great
You accept
Your position
Your role
Your rotation
Yet I struggle
In my place
In myself
And my time
Watching your grandeur
On nights of your fullness
You leave me with patience
For dreams of fruition
When through me
There’ll be shine
Perhaps just as much
As to light
A few dark corners
In a mind or a heart
But even more so
To give myself
The chance to acknowledge
The One that chooses me
And bestows the life light force
One breath at a time

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Sisters, brothers
Not if one mother
But of Mother Earth

Perhaps near
Or may be far
Thinking of you all

Christmas brings to light
All present
All lost

So hold back
Not the joys
Nor sorrows

As we carry
Memories
Aspirations
Even our misfortunes

My gift to you all
The reminder
To focus

On the present
Whether wrapped
Of not

So that you may
Live
And not merely
Pass
Through this life.

Merry Christmas
My siblings
Be you
Near or far.

Coming Home

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Sitting on a bench
Sharing our stories of
George Eliot
The pen named writer
The high school we all attended
The hospital where you were born
Once in the forefront
Then the backdrop
Of our lives

Sitting on a bench
Sharing our stories of
Riversley Road park
With the parading peacock
The pristine bowling green
The wading pool and bandstand
And of course the Museum
Once in the forefront
Then the backdrop
Of our lives

Sitting on bench

Sharing our stories

Outside
Abbey Theater
With new friends in times of need
Old ones re-acquainted
Once in the forefront
Then the backdrop
Of our lives

All these memories were fortunately made
So stories now can be re-told
And I can still cherish you
No matter how quickly
The two years have flown by

Staples of Life


Photo by Max Malloy, curtesy of Pinterest.

Staples of Life

Food?
Water?
Light?

For the warrior of old
Chia was his sustenance
Now with innumerable grains
Some so old like amaranth, unknown

For the arid desert nomad
A palm on the horizon, a vision of hope
Now water, flat or sparkling
And in any flavor sought

The shepherd into his night
Lead by the galaxy of stars
Today with the neon lit skies
Some have lost the savoring of dawn

So what now remains
As the staples of life?
What is it, without which
We cannot survive!

Conditioned to strive
For fame and fortune
Placing prosperity before responsibility
Lost is man

In the battle
The mirage
The day’s toil
Leaders, soldiers, all men
Muddle in circles

The greatest of misfortunes
Has befallen mankind
For he has no answer
To what sustains his own life!

At times, man is forced to face
His dichotomous humanity
For some a choice
For most not

When stripped naked
Of the labels, the roles
The doing and undoings
The staples of life
Emerge from the core

Humility or pomposity
Vulnerability or defensiveness
Compassion or suppression
Gratitude or greed

Wait not for the unraveling of your life
Embrace your core
And claim
The grandest of staples
Fit for this life

Simplest of Thanks: Gratitude

At no other time in existence
Has there been a world of such abundance
Where we have them all
Choice, access, immediacy.

So, how hard is it to be grateful?

“You can be anything you want”
“Where there is a will, there is a way”
Philosophy to preachings
Man is the almighty!

So…How hard is it to be grateful?

Gratitude now linked to the tangible
Objects and materials
Acquisitions and conquests
Talent and masteries.

Yet the most sublime features
Sustaining our existence
The true wealth of mankind
Diminished to being taken for granted
Forgotten, dismissed
At best at the bottom of the list.

Requiring ownership and rsponsibility
Value to enable preservation
Is the air we breathe
The ground that hold us
This planet we all share.

Perhaps deeper still
The constant repair and re-birth of each living substance
The invisible atomic and cellular exchange
The very life source
Sustaining those things we enjoy.

Yet we abuse, even destroy
These majestic elements
Lost in our ignorance
Our pride, greed
Our righteousness.

Gratitude, I pray
Wake me,
Wake in me
So tomorrow can be
As fruitful as intended
By the Master designer.

 

Original art by Tejal Patel.

Hope Revived

Folded clothes
Untouched trinkets
Made up bed
Empty room.

If facts could speak
They’d affirm
You’ve left a space
And you’re no longer here.

Yet banners posted
Butterflies flutter
Abbey Theater’s a buzz
And your spirit’s a stir.

Your friends, your family
All gather and know
You maybe gone
But your core essence still remains.

Your light, your love
Your hard work, your intentions
Have inspired a start
An effort beyond your ‘Hope’.

Binding our spirits
Our want to be whole
Well-being the focus
And hence we exhibit.

From arts to crafts,
From 2 to 3D
We sing, we dance
We cry, we laugh.

The spirit of a soul
Can speak well after
The vessel is gone,
And you my love
Are as pure as they come.

In your remembrance
We’ve come to know
Love never dies
And Hope will always prevail.

Returning Old Friend

Left guessing each morning
As the night sky lingers,
Sun rising faster elsewhere
You tease your arrival.

Tickling the leaves
At the tips of weighted branches,
Sway is soft, sometimes brisk
Ghost-like you change the air.

Mid morning telling
With full force brightness,
Your are not quite ready
To come and stay.

Waiting for your signs
With warm hues of amber and burnt orange,
The longing deepening
For what only you can deliver.

Trees will be crowned
With jewels to be shed,
Giving comfort
And rustle to my feet.

Fall you arrive
Bringing time to reconnect,
As the hearth becomes
The gathering spot.

Time for reflection
Three quarters in,
The year almost done
What’s happened? what’s yet to be done?

Lists never completed
Bewildering and unforgiving,
Instead let’s give thanks
To each day, each season.

Thank you my old friend
You teach how to shed,
Keep gratitude close
And revive for seasons to come.

Alone in the Crowd

A profound problem prevails
Not of drugs,
Alcohol or sex
But of attention.

With lack of stillness
Abandonment of eye contact and listening
Value is lost
In the one on one.

With quality misperceived
Defined by quantity of ‘likes’
Distances traveled
Selfies with monuments.

This scarce commodity
Briefly given
Desperately craved
Now sought for in the unlikely.

These gadgets abundant
Handheld to worn,
Closer than keys
More valued than currency.

What have we become
When what we need
We’ve found in a mode,
Which serves only to perpetuate the disease.

With false sense of belonging
In a crowd yet alone
Hoping to be heard
Yet not a word is exchanged.

“Pictures are worth a thousand words”
But today we cry
No more pictures!
Just give me a moment
And few real words.

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Hardest Love

Learning to love
The ‘hardest’ person
In your life
Will be The greatest achievement.

To love this ‘hardest’ person
Means to Accept
Their weakness
Their faults
Their idiosyncrasies.

To love this ‘hardest’ person
Means to Forgive
Their choices
Their mistakes
The pains that are carried.

To love this ‘hardest’ person means
To show kindness in their loneliness
Share laughter in their sadness
Support their efforts
Acknowledge their concerns.

So begin now
To Love, Accept and Forgive
This ‘hardest’ person,
As it is none less
Than You, yourself!

This task appears easy
In this ‘me’ world
But who is it that we love?
The true self or the made up self?

Past the screens and barriers
Lies a tender soul,
Strong and fruitful
Locked away with but one key.

True love is this key,
With the mighty power
To release from all suffering
To embolden with courage.

So unlock this ‘hardest’ person.
Allow the potential
To surface
So love can be felt
Inside and out.

Artwork by Yossi Kotler, curtesy Pintrest.

MT

Give up!
Lay down!

Clamber the sounds,
Words, thoughts
Vibrations.

“Let the dark flood
Surround
Drown out
The very last speck
To feel the pain”

It lies and lies so well
The dark, there is no escape!
The dark speaks
Rages!
Eating away
Any glimmer of hope.

Yet fleeting rays
Tiny threads
A reach
A grasp, then a plunge

For dear dear life.
Head hardly above
The murky water of thoughts.

Slitting eyes sense a beam
Light carrying warmth,
Familiarity, union beyond this life.
Co-exist they cannot
Light and dark.

Yielding to the moment
The presence of a ticking time,
I find
I am
Still I am,

As the life carrying force
Brings me through
Dark to light…

Losing the Child

Every moment intense
With joy or discomfort.
The infant knows
Of nothing else.

Life as a child
Simple and unencumbered
Brims with adventure.
Here
Exhaustion is of excitement.

No need for bells and whistles
Nor ribbons or tassels.
Play and repeat play
Is the perfect ticket.

So what happens in all the growth?

We practice and perfect.
Becoming masters,
No longer enamored.
We call these milestones.

With crownings and honors
For drone like behavior,
These achievements a demand
Conforming to institutional norms.

With passage of time
Fatigue and age,
Perhaps we no longer
Jump, skips or dance.

Lost in this mud
Is the pure spirit of child,
The glee, the radiance,
The essence of life.

Without your childhood roots
Exist you would not,
So let the energy of old
Climb back into your bones.

Maybe then the ‘adventure’
Will not be lost,
Allowing your rise
To claim,
With the heart of a child
The aim,
To play again
In this great game of life.

Feathered

Having followed the trail,
A feather here
A feather there
Your faith has been inspired.

Soft and supple
Drifting and floating,
Eagerly you found them
Each one never too far.

They have lead the way
To new horizons,
Even helped to surrender,
Letting go of what no longer served you.

But perhaps all along
Another message lay deeper
For as you held each feather
Slowly you made your own wings.

With your searching
Tracking
Trailing,
You have now been found.

It seems to me
It is Crystal clear,
That you my dear
Are your very own angel.

So now, with each step you take
You need not look any further,
For you are the way
And the destination too.

For my friend Crystal, her feathers and faith.

Mothered

Birthing Mothers
Your place, no one can take.
Nature’s way
To guarantee unconditional love.

Sisters older, younger
Dotingly, grudgingly both,
Never miss a beat
To watch your back.

Daughters, nieces
Adopted girls,
You spark a love
Of pure adoration and awe!

Cousins, aunts, grandmothers
All partake
To share the special times
Uniquely ours.

Incidental crossings
By mentors, colleagues
Acquaintances, even strangers
Can leave those single memories and gems.

Last but not least
The girlfriend, the bestie.

You mother my soul,
For with you
I can rest and play
Cry and laugh.

For in life
We will always long
For the safety and nuturing
Of being Mothered.

Above photo curtesy of Pintrest, found by Jeanne, my friend.

Birds Eye Privilege

 

From Wright to Ron
Discoveries to adventures
The two legged man
Makes his way to flight

With science and courage
Precision to check marks
Buckles and headphones
We were set to go

Engines splutter to roll
Thrill engaged
Moving forward
Seamlessly to flight

Ascending the rise
City sights pass by
Then Central Valley food carpet
Spreads and sprawls wide

Ranges, aqueducts
Mineral pools and more
“Rita” gives life
To my very own birds eye

Sheets of cloud
Ominous at first
Like Bermuda Triangle
Stories and tales!

Control tower guides
Securing the passage
Skirting the dangers
The pilot’s my hero

If first flight
Was not thrill enough
On return, sunset to dusk
Entrance me again

Partnering the sky
Traveling side by side
The horizon waves good-bye
To the passing of my day

Hues of pink scattered in blue
Then creamed orange to zestful blaze
With last moments left
Golden yellow takes stage

Majestic rise to bow
From both the sun and my heart
For here heaven meets earth
With the breath and blessing of God

Thanks to Ron,
And Rita, his bird
And to Laurie,
For friendship, fun
And so much more!

Resonance 1

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Flow of flutes
Beat of drums
Glide of strings

Instruments played
Notes to melodies
Melodies to harmonies

Moving towards me
Ears not only
But my pores

Hear the feeling
Of ancient times
With divine perseverance

We blend
Boundary lost
Vibrating as one

Am I the music?
Is the music in me?

In this space
Unquestioned freedom
Peace

Gently resides
Inviting me
In

Held
Rested
P’haps even saved

Bringing
Flow, rhythm
Resonance

To my being
Being alive
Being here

The things you never thought that happen to you…

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Basking in the light

You feel the sun

Did you know it comes up

Just for you?

 

Fingers entwined

Palms face to face

Perhaps as you stroll

Maybe just seated together,

That moment, it happened

Just for you!

 

Countless events

The mere length of a breath

A strangers smile

The taste of a pickle

A star streaking across the sky

Did you know they happened

Just for you

 

No premise requires

No transgressions possible

No power can deny

You just need the currency

Of being alive!

 

To know

What really happens in life

Takes no PHD

No millions or billions

No name or fame

 

So wake up to life

Capture this time

As so much is happening

Just for you!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 7th 1998

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As the ‘passage way’

Of parenthood,

We’ve strived to be.

From nurturing to

Nagging,

As cheerleaders to

Protectors.

 

But actually,

With our smiles

Our laughter

And even the cries,

It’s Companions

We have grown

To become.

 

We’ve won as parents!

We hope you did too!

As despite any time

Apart,

We always feel that need

To come on back.

Back to the place

Of our togetherness.

 

So as 21 years

Rolls on in,

We have only to give

More of what

We’ve been blessed to have,

More WE.

 

From dream

To reality

You have emerged,

Definitely

A gift of complete

God-liness.

 

As beauty radiates

From inside out,

May you leave

Little gems

Of a life well lived,

Where ever

Your story unfolds…

Happy Birthday, Honey.

 

 

 

Blessedly Alive

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Deepened blue to grey mingle

Streaking the clouded sky

Robbing of luminosity;

Nature’s foreboding way.

 

With unseeable cracks

The leakage begins,

Pitter patter, a sweet sprinkle

A gentle caress.

 

With wind accompaniment

Shifting cumulus and nimbus,

A rhythm ensues

Giving signs of greater offerings.

 

In awe of what has no actual form

Yet holds a thunderous roar,

Comes forth as precipitation

A dance of both fear and hope.

 

To witness is to be entranced,

This illusionary masterpiece,

Magical to monstrous

From one moment to next.

 

Connections click

Like cogs deep inside,

My engines kick start

With a heat of ancient knowing.

 

With droplets delivered to every pore

My being stirred to a glow,

With no measure, no timing

No rhythm, no rhyme

This feeling bestowed

By the mightiest hand.

Making my being

So blessedly alive.

 

Rain or shine

Thunder or lightning,

Drizzle or torrents

My life is afoot!

 

Each second

Each day

This mighty breath,

My rain so delivered.

 

With; everything is possible

Without; the clock has struck out.

 

So,

Blessed are all moments,

And may only ‘breath’ be the one

That ‘takes my breath away’!

 

 

 

Love into the Mirror

faceinthemirror

See the big deep eyes
Staring back at you?
The centered nose
Trying not to sniffle?
The pouty lips
Wanting not to give it all away?

Ever said,
“Cry its OK”
To that face in the mirror?

Standing apart from the form of myself
Separating from the pain
Allowing the play to unfold
I watch,
I acknowledge,
I comfort

Myself.

How?

By saying
To the face in the mirror

“I love you”

From deep within
Comes a Knowing
I am not my pain,
I am not my circumstances,
I am not the labels.

So I say, to the one
That no one else sees
And the one that looks right back into me,
I do
I do
I do love you!

Name that vase: Natronia

Produced and posted by The Alchemist’s Studio, http://rakupottery.ca/2019/01/08/name-that-vase/ with request for naming and writings.

The inspiration for naming your #44 comes from its immediate ability to draw me back to Tanzania where i experienced Lake Natron, a mineral-rich soda lake which sits below the ‘Mountain of God’, Ol Dionyo Lengai, an active volcano that spews a dark silvery carbonatite ‘cold’ lava at 500-550 celsius.
Your vase reminds me of the colors, textures and unlikely combination of life and death at this lake. The story is real but your vase is the mythical symbolization, Natronia, to me!

Natronia

Oh ‘Golden’ one
Think yourself so mighty,
Robbing me of my waters
Running me dry to the bed.

My visiting flamingoes may flee
And the fish eagle saved
As my alkaline petrifying
and volcanic waters vanish.

But perhaps you leave
Behind, my most renown
Beauty of all,
My crystaline core.

Varied hues of ruby
Azure and seagreen,
All mingle and run in and over
My contours, cracks and crevices.

See my form now!
Matched by none,
As I am the one and only
Lake, Lake Natron.

With me you will find
Life and death
On and in me,
Both like nowhere else.

When waters swell
My salts are savored,
My ruby red
Never feared.

Yet with pH high
I cannot help
To immortalize those poor creatures
Who know not what is wise.

I lay witness to mighty God,
Ol Dionya Lengai.
Beauty is my nature
Protect those that come to my shore.

Pictures curtesy of Nick Brandt and Depositphoto.com.

The Gift

No bow or ribbon in sight
No crisp enticing wrap
No tag to who or from where
Yet the unimaginable gift lays waiting.

Sometimes its hard to believe
This gift even exists,
That’s because it’s just not recognized,
Not seen for what it is.

Then moments arrive
Your quiet little dream
Or your deep screaming cry
Yield into form.

So what is your gift?
The subject of your dreams?
No my friends
The gift is a power.

The power to connect,
Connect and have relation
To the design within
Who hears all your ‘noise’.

So what when you feel giftless
When life is a mess
When all your efforts go astray
And defeated and alone you feel.

Remember you’re connected
Connected to the Source
And knowingly or unknowingly
We feed in the ‘noise’.

This noise, this input
Entered into the mainframe
Coded, decoded
With only one core instruction.

“Synthesize more of the loudest, most abundant input”

With little understood
This natural law, power, gift,
We misuse labels
‘Miracle’
‘Misfortune’
To explain our realities.

With a little understanding
Acknowledgement, appreciation.
We can come to recognize
That actually, all is our own doing,
Be it our dreams
Or our nightmares!

So beware what you dream for,
Snap out of your nightmares.
Focus and attend to your strengths,
Define your objectives,
And witness the majesty of designs
Create before your eyes.

Unforgettable

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Infectious smile
Hearty laughter
Jester, teaser
My heart so warms
Wanting to be sad
Instances unpredictable
Yet somewhere there is freedom
For both you and me
My spirit knows you’re in peace
My living form still wants you near
As days pass I learn
I can still have joy
Joys we both made
My gratitude eases the pain
My humility allows acceptance
From my depth emerge answers
Not all that are alive are living
Not all that are dead are gone
But if we are truly One
Then it must be
That if I live
Then you must too
And so, brother
My heart continues to beat ♥️

Dare You Deny

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Black man kills.
Thug!
Brown man kills.
Terrorist!
White man kills.
Mentally ill!
What inequalities!
Outrageous righteousness!
Blatant unconsciousness!
Common denominator
Innocent
Deaths!
Beneath the differences
All are flesh and blood
Requiring acknowledgement, acceptance
Striving for peace and love.
These are our commonalities.
Dare you deny!
Yet presidency given
To fear, greed and anger.
Dare you deny!
Deny this noise your attention
Dare to be a just voice
And claim the you
That enables unity yet choice.

Connect

 

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Without a thought
To the cogwheels, circuitry
Nuts, bolt and divine engineering
We forge or stumble forward

As the day dawns

With all faculties replenished
One foot then another
One task to the next
Obligations and responsibilities
Desires and obsessions
No questions asked
Working this machinery
The human form
We do as we please
Yet in one mere second
All operations
Can come to a screeching halt
A&E all over the world
Full of stories never heard before
Details dramatic, devastating,
At times even demonic
Yet the fact that life
Is somehow limited
Is just so hard to accept
Fact undeniable
Yet realism is demoralizing
So pretense to oblivion
Manufactured as the norm
Maybe too deep,
Too philosophical
Yet I insist
STOP
Smell not only the roses
But the fragrance of life
Watch as it permeates
All that moves, dances
Sways and flies
Connect with the source
Acknowledge this power
As you rise each morning
And go about your way
Breath in, breath out
Befriend the magic
The blessing, the power
The foundation
This breath in all your days

Faces to Face

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Playful mischief, joyous;
Entertaining, enticing
Mutually enjoyable
Spirit of youth.
Effortless and poised
Every muscle showing,
Direction and intent
Clearly undeterred and successful.
Pained, exhausted, lonesome
Fallen face of luster.
Requiring, requesting,
Yearning for the deepest loving.
Coming or going
With differing days and times,
My face or yours
We recognize them all.
Knowing all our faces
Knowing all we face,
I say lets offer
To each other
Never to face it alone.

Diwali 2018

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Embraced by the Light
The glow from within,
The shadows vanish
And clarity ensues.
Light brings
Focus to my view.
Floatation
For my spirit.
Purpose
To my step.
A smile
To my face.
With the dance of celebration
We acknowledge this day,
Linked to a culture,
A history,
A people and their ways.
No belonging or relinquishing
Of sorts is necessary.
For all persons
To enjoy
This universal phenomenon.
The rise and fall
Of the day.
Time is a concept
Encapsulated
By day, week
And year.
Yet true rejuvenation
Is a simple,
Breath away.
Breathe in,
Breathe out,
Move forward,
Let go.
Cease never to celebrate
With each moment,
Each breath,
Each day.

 

Sagrada Familia

 

Continued visionary,
Gaudi, introducted by chance
As originator, Villar
Passed the reigns so each
Block, tile, chiseled wood
Glass, marble, steel
And more formed every
Pillar and pew
Chapel and alter
Stairwell to steeple.
All standing together
As this monumental structure served
By the many creative minds and hands.
Today, Jean Vila-Grau
Stains panes so beams and rays
Glow and rain in
To majestically
Bless moments beholding
All past, present and future combined.
The density and charm of light
Heighten senses
As constantly as the changes from dawn to dusk!
Sheer size and variation
Of formations inside and out
Captivate with a stupor
The boggling conforming
Mind! What lessons to learn
As few can claim
This absences of completion
Ongoing effort
Continued metaphorism
Yet is this not the commonality
Between all that lives?
The continued transformation
As stagnation is progression to decay
Perhaps inanimate
Yet a power still resides
Catholicism? God? Existentialism?
May the answers
Be as creative as the creating force
And challenge to inspire the search
Of one’s own divine individuality.

Om

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Thumb to index
Gentle touch for closure
Creating encompassing circuitry.
With this centric
I gather and hold
Even relax and quieten;
As this is where there is home.
Here I am awaited
Fully and singularly.
Pinky through middle
Stepwise incline
Yet platformed without summit.
From here I let go
Let fly, that which is no longer owned,
Pains even gems of wisdom.
Lips seal and hum
A vibration of life
The Om song of eternity.
Om in my hands
Om from my lips
Om of my heart
Inscribed and indelible.
May this sanctuary
I always know,
For my rest and renewal
For resetting and reinforcement.
Then may I grow
To know
The teachings
Buried deep of patience
Of compassion
And mostly
Of the One wholesome love.
Photograpy compliments of Robert W. Kelley.

Mona Lisa

Parched as a summer sky
Harmless as fluffy clouds

Flat as crisp clean sheets

Thus your canvas
Lays ready for your mark
Prime colors and more
Compounded, concentrated
Paletted and waiting
Patiently to bring forth my being
Gently you stroke me
With rich creamy oils
Giving depth for my presence
Followed by subtle blends to conceal me
Slowly you find me
With layer on layer
Revealing my form
Shielding my vulnerabilities
How you know me
From inside out
Innocently coy
Expressively inviting
History has spoken
My darling Leonardo
They recognized your brilliance
As they preserve me with reverence
Intrigue we have inspired
Our secrets maintained
Hence you and I have become
Renown and eternally synonymous

 

Artwork courtesy of Nathan Sawaya

The Friendship

For a short while

We came across

Each other’s paths

As friends

We shared a time

A passage

Leaving deep memoired ravines

Intention:

We’d be friends forever

Not just this lifetime

But the next too

What folly

How fickle

As time has but one power

And that is 

To changes all things

Even the great Colorado

That ran virulent and strong

For so long

Dried out to be depleted

With the passage of time

No surprise then

For our short meeting time

Of days, months even years

To wither into moments and memories

Yet what splendor

Did she leave

That Colorado

Laying canyons deep

And etchings one of a kind

We my friend

May no longer walk

Side by side

But footprint on my heart

Smiles surfacing to my face

And our times

All return

To remain my solace

So now

Where ever I sit

I have you still

Here right beside me

Deep in the caverns of my heart

Fulfillment

Given the push from childhood
Fulfillment has become
Such a loaded word
Grand standards to reach for
Implicates wondrous achievements

Is it any surprise
How the masses strive and search
Yet end up feeling
So terribly unfulfilled!

If the above quote is to be heeded
The formula quite simple
Combine ‘today’ and the ‘heart’
And readily available
Is the sum of fulfillment!

‘Today’ so simply
Appears and ticks away
Yet dreaded and labeled
As work day, stressful day
Difficult, long
The list goes on

With a little adjustment
Switching the frequencies
Tuning into the heart
Alas, a little kindness
A little gratitude
Even joy, laughter and light
Again the list goes on

This heart
Not the pumping organ
But the one with no boundaries
At times exposed
All over your sleeve

When allowed to surface
Radiates to share smiles
Gives comfort and spreads wellbeing
It’s power
Infectiously contagious

This is true existence
Acknowledgement of the given time
Your ‘today’
And feeling that ‘heart’ replenish

What great wonder is felt
When ‘today’
Your tool appears
And the heart
Is fulfilled!

“….weather the uncertainties of love….”

I feel compelled to share a write up by Maria Popova from her Brainpickings publication, on one of my most favorite artists, Gibran, about his understanding of love…

The following gives me a window into how the depth of unfettered love can be allowed to unfold as we learn to love, not just a person but all parts of creation.

“Kahlil Gibran on the Courage to Weather the Uncertainties of Love

“Love is the quality of attention we pay to things,” poet J.D. McClatchy wrote in his beautiful meditation on the contrast and complementarity of love and desire. And what we choose to attend to — our fear or our faith, our woundedness or our devotion to healing — determines the quality of our love. How we navigate our oscillation between these inescapable polarities is governed by the degree of courage, openness, and vulnerability with which we are willing to show up for and to our own hearts. “The alternations between love and its denial,” philosopher Martha Nussbaum observed in contemplating the difficulty of knowing ourselves, “constitute the most essential and ubiquitous structural feature of the human heart.”

That is what the great Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher Kahlil Gibran(January 6, 1883–April 10, 1931) explores in one of the most stirring passages from The Prophet (public library) — the 1923 classic that also gave us what may be the finest advice ever offered on the balance of intimacy and independence in healthy relationships.

Kahlil Gibran, self-portrait

Speaking to the paradoxical human impulse to cower before the largeness of love — to run from its vulnerable-making uncertainties and necessary frustrations at the cost of its deepest rewards — Gibran offers an incantation of courage:

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

Illustration from An ABZ of Love, Kurt Vonnegut’s favorite vintage Danish guide to sexuality

In a sentiment John Steinbeck would come to echo a generation later in his beautiful letter of advice on love to his teenage son, Gibran adds:

Think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

The Prophet remains a timeless trove of wisdom and a mighty clarifying force for the turbidity of the heart. Complement it with Gibran on why we make art and his stunning love letters, then revisit Adrienne Rich on how honorable relationships refine our truths, Erich Fromm on the art of loving and what is keeping us from mastering it, Leo Tolstoy on love and its paradoxical demands, and this wondrous illustrated meditation on the many meanings and manifestations of love.”

Quinceanera

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Arriving today
With each milestone attained
You’ve been a bundle of joy
So perfectly precious
With each year unfolding
Petals you have adorned
Claiming your beauty
The most demure and timeless
With Latino roots
From maternal Mexicano
To paternal Nicaraguan
You stand so very unique
Young lady
Your quiet mild ways
Serve well to disguise
What a force you really are!
With strengths unseen
You choose the challenges
Most would never entertain
And find too rigorous and leave
You’re a boundary breaker
Setting records and heights
Leaving proud parents in a daze
“We have claim to this wonder?!”
Today, as you celebrate
Your Quinceanera
Your gentle morphia
From sweet girl
To young lady
Hold onto all
That makes you so you
Then tend and grow
To complement
What an amazing being you already are!

Tanzania 🇹🇿

Irreplaceable
One of a kind
The stars aligned
And our time came to fruition
The apprehensions
Anxieties, dreams and expectations
All surpassed
Even the best author
Could not have written
At first glance
Came a knowing
‘Unfold what may’
As I stood in your hands
And walked as if with a friend
Pockets of people
In towns to villages
Children to men of the Maasai
All smiles and welcomes
Hospitality endearing
Leaving warmth
Down to my core
With spectrum of adventure
Wide, wild and of wonderment
Yet secured by the guides
With rifle, machete and spear!
The call of the wild
From lion to elephants
With splashes and scurries
By hippos and gazelle
Terrain of diversity
With rubbles roads to wild bush
The crunch of dried salt beds
Even great whirls of red sand
Monumental forms
With Kilimanjaro and Meru
To Oldionyo Lengai; mountain of Gods
All footed by plains and lakes
No less than the great Natron
Just a piece of this planet
Yet you’ve left me awe
Stirred me deep
And revived me well
They call you Tanzania
I shall call you the soul
For all you are
Has always been just so
Live long, Tanzania
Be fruitful
Your survival is the legacy
That Mother Nature
This Universe
Is strongest of all

Ngorongoro

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Above : Curtesy National Geographic

Winding down the ridge
From the dense thickets
Acacias, vines, tall grasses and more
Decent steep and curvaceous
Bronzed red earth guides
Deep to the crater
Belly of the volcano
Flat with vast plains of grass
Pools and alkaline lakes
Predators gorge
Lions, hyenas, jackals
Hunting and scavenging
Prey
Wildebeest, gazelle, zebra
Languidly lounge
Or frolick and prance
Birds flutter like Fischer lovebirds
Trot like gineafowl
Wade, treading water as pelicans
Fly and swoop those vultures and cranes
Asantesana-Thankyou
For my opportunity to bear witness
To gatherings of lifeforms innumerable
To the world largest ecosystem
Asantesana
To the powers of this universe
Sun, moon and Earth
Bringing life
Sustaining life
Recycling life

The Baobab Tree

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You may not tower
But stand you do
Strong and grounded
With reassuring girth
Your vertical ripples
And segmental trunking
Branch up symmetrically
Dispersed across the plains
You lend life to many
Hosting beehives
Nesting Superb starlings
With dried out river beds
Elephants gnaw deep into your trunk
Sucking your rich sap
Parasitic plant life
Twine around and into your branches
No harm done
As your longevity is into the hundreds
Oh mighty tree
Humble and kind
In this arid bush land
You stand giant-like
Sharing all you are
Giving house and nutrients
Denying not even the termites
In awe of your qualities
Humbled by your lessons
You teach it is possible
To live with all who share your space

Man of Maasai

 

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Standard 6 foot 3 inches
Draped in colored shuka
Spear and machete unconcealed
No mistaking your identity.
Footprint invisible
True to your ancient ways
Treading soft on your red earth.
As one with your land
You live side by side
Beast, bush and Man.
Boma-home, simplistic
Matted or bricked
Domed or steepled
Housing your family and livestock.
Your community ways
Protect the elderly
And teach your young.
What men of honor
Trust once gained impeccable
Unity undeniable.
Accepting of right and wrong
No law keepers required
Justice served from within your circles.
With tolerance to political and western tyranny
You have accommodated ‘globalization’
By being inched out of your land.
Of the ‘worldly’ new ways
Not all is needed
For human existence
Nor this great planet.
Much we can learn from you
As you sustain yourself
Your families, your communities
My prayers for your survival.
I shall never forget
Our precious time
Meeting at rock mountain bed
Guided through adventured lands
Dancing by light of campfire.
Thankyou
Nameste
Kwa heri
May we meet again.

Yogis in Africa

Yoga was a repeated practice and component on my recent adventure, lead by the instruction of Erin Elizabeth Young

 

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Bandstand cabana
Kindly made available
Yogis international come together
On rainbow colored mats
Circular goddesses rise
Then dive to savasana
Egyptian salutations
Welcome almighty Sun
Seeding love, joy and life
Atop the A1 Hotel
Daring to face Mount Meru
We reach for the clouds
And dive to forward fold
Happy as clams
We clasp our hands
Then spread to warrior woman
Our strength never too far
Chirping birds surround
We perch on terrace edge
Stretching out in free dance
To reach the Tarangire plains
Above the Ngorongoro Crater
Amidst the thick foiled ridge
Sheltered by Acacias and more
Joined by creatures big and small
The sunset claims the backdrop
Making backbends a must
And finally a full circle
With morning, noon and night
Glory be to this kingdom
This gifted abode my body
And this divine privilege of existence
May I remember always
My breath
And strive to dance in its rhythm