Everyone is having a hard time. Everyone is insecure. Everyone is hassled. Everyone is tired–we all need more sleep. Everyone wishes he had more courage, more money, and better social skills. Everyone wants more glamour in his life, and we all desperately need more laughter. Few can figure out how they ended up living the life they lead. Don’t be misled by flippant talk; it’s a battle for everyone.
– Joshua Halberstam
the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
and nobody finds the
crawling in and out
the bone and the
for more than
there’s no chance
we are all trapped
by a singular
nobody ever finds
the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill
Alone With Everybody by Charles Bukowski
in the world between worlds
where the shimmering abstract
holds all the secrets within us
words are absent
no scripture exists
there are no definitions
as there is no need for such things
in our eternal knowing
we are ever-being known
the mystic colors of God fill us
unseeable in this earthly realms obscured vision
they hold us there
where we don’t need to be understood
or understand anything
we are simply
all we could ever hope to be
we are the lover and the beloved
You in I
I in you
until the scab scraping
demand of this waking earth
this illusion glazed moment we choose to serve
pulls us completely blinded
into a day in a life
pushes us ass-backward
into the harsh reality
of jaded time
of hard-earned, hard-learned experience
of continually disappointed expectation
of broken hearts, once tender
of broken dreams, once beautiful
broken everything, once whole and healthy
and instead of fighting for our very lives,
we put away our dreaming space,
as if it were somehow the wrong
we decide we’ve learned the truth –
that love hurts –
though what we’ve learned is trickery –
because true love sets us free
and so we surrender to
the soul-sucking zombie apocalypse of our addictions,
our chosen favored forms of slavery
as the children of chattel always do
not knowing our vast worth
our royal bloodline
our supreme destiny
we clothe ourselves in useless, flimsy armor
our only known defense.
we use fools gold
cheap drug store variety,
Madison avenue, false-advertisement protection,
these rabbits feet of proclaimed luck,
these traps of anger, arrogance and pride,
against the barbarian onslaught
of what we have been brainwashed to accept
the carnivorous eating of our flesh
by the demands of our own complex making
focused only on our foolish collecting of silly objects,
overrated treasures and pleasures
as we ignore our need for love
choosing instead to battle
the cannibals salivating at every corner
waiting for us to stumble and weaken
so they can take our place at the top of the illusive list
of whatever sort
we have entered into
as our arena of competition
eventually they will toast to their victories over us
with our own fresh, falling blood
pouring from the golden goblets we ourselves had taken from another
we accept it as normal
as we attend to the business of forgetting
who we are
pretending to be full
as we starve to death
in order to get just a little bit more than those waiting
for what will never satisfy any of us
lusting for salt
even as we faint from dehydration
we live, lonely, in empty mansions
forgetting all that makes a house glow
is the home light burning inside of our other to warm our bones
in order to impress those who will never truly know us, love us, or want our best to be honored
in order to arrive at the end of our hourglass
dragging what we will not be able take with us…
we trade our chance to be truly remarkable
to create singular intimacy
we see our chance to find gardens of happiness,
to build something as mind boggling as the seven wonders,
and we choose to ignore it
as we continue on.
too busy, too consumed,
to stop for a moment,
just one moment,
to take off our shoes,
fall down and worship…
to allow the lover into our heart –
as though love isn’t important enough for the likes of us
why do we go about wasting our opportunity here?
how can we awaken to the highest and best within ourselves?
how can we choose to lay our hearts bare in vulnerability?
how can we empty the deepest motes of fear and isolation?
why do we trade love for ash?
why would we ever do such a thing?
Let us return again to where we began…
the joyous place of our belonging
to the passion and wild danger inside our freedom loving hearts
children on Christmas morning
full of sheer wonder and excitement
at the beauty of who we are
passionately in love with our created uniqueness
the fullest colors of our self unleashed
living worship eternally under vast blue skies
shining from our highest place,
with the extreme audacity,
the sheer wonder and glory
of our calling as love
I in you
You in I
Amy Lloyd (AL)
Many of us seek that which we will flee if we find it. I have seen this time and again, both in myself and in others. We seek, we search, and then we find a calling or a relationship that is a perfect reflection of our yearning and we turn away and go back to seeking, almost as though the light of our true-path was too bright for us, too vulnerable for us, too real for us. This is a pattern that we have to recognize and heal or else we will never stop looking for what is already there. True-path is not always around the next corner. Sometimes it’s right under our feet…
Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
Empty-handed, no explanation.
After three nights of not sleeping,
Three nights of listening for
His footsteps, His mules sliding
Deftly under my bed, I stand
At the stove, giving him my back,
Wearing the same tight, tacky dress, same slip,
Same seamed stockings I’d put on before He left.
He leans on the kitchen table, waiting
For me to make him His coffee.
I watch the water boil,
Refuse to turn around,
Wonder how to leave Him.
Woman, He slurs, when have I ever done
What you wanted me to do?
Reason by Robin Coste Lewis
Get off my back, God.
Take your claws out of my shoulder.
I’d like to throw you off
like I would brush off some particularly repellent insect!
Sometimes I get the feeling that if I could turn round
I would see you
grinning at me,
full of glee, plotting, scheming, devious, challenging
The hell with all this stuff about fire and storm
and still, quiet waters.
I’ve got your number.
I’ve unmasked you.
I’d like to throw you off
like I would brush off some
particularly repellent insect.
You’re a daemon!
Unfortunately, you seem to have this great attachment
Actually, being honest, I know in my heart
I’d miss you if you weren’t there,
leering at me, reminding me of death and dread and destiny,
winding me up and puncturing
I know, with a sinking feeling in my gut
that all the best of me
– the fire and storm,
and even, now and then, still waters,
are born out of the death-defying struggle
that we wage,
my dearest daemon.
Wresting With God by Kathy Galloway
I didn’t ask for this,
in fact, I believe I tried to block it,
avoid it at all costs.
But here I am feeling
facing my bittersweet days.
Wondering where the hell
this is gonna take me?
What is my purpose here?
where I lived my experiment for 5 years?
what was taken
and I am not sure what to do with it…
light it up
burn it down?
all I know is this is the place
I have been called to
at this moment
for only God knows what,
and He’s not talking,
hasn’t shown his face in weeks.
I must rely on this silly sliver of a promise,
that it is meant for my good
Trust is a ruthless business,
an extreme proposition to live.
I am not leaning to my own understanding,
or natural desires,
even a bitty-bit,
or I definitely wouldn’t be right here
– right now
or anytime in the future.
Yet here I am,
standing on this holiest of my profane grounds,
way out in the back forty
of thecomfort zone,
knowing beyond knowing,
I’m in the only place
I’m supposed to be
This is where the magic happens.
Amy Lloyd (AL)
God wants to encounter you with His love, so you can become a light everywhere you go, your life will shout to the world, ‘I’ve seen Him, I’ve felt Him. I’ve heard His voice. He is alive. He is here with us. In us. For us.’
I always say we learn virtue by practicing not by thinking about it. I have been silently but actively observing the world around me paying attention to the subtle details and nuances of spoken and written words and the behavior and actions or inaction that trail them. Words are as much of a communicator of truths as they are of falsehoods. Time and time again human history has taught us that actions will reveal the essence of our intention. The honest but hard work of virtue lies in action. It acts upon the merits of thoughtfulness, sound judgement based on receptivity, cooperation, observation, broad mindedness and wisdom. It transforms, expands and evolves. Truth does not crown itself king amidst the utterance of words that are used to describe it. It only upholds to its reverence when it is purposefully active as it is so in nature. It differs greatly from the action of falsehood which only acts to benefit itself in a superficial accordance to judgements that are based upon reactionary egotistical self proclaimed righteousness, which is a bizarre tendency of human behavior. It loves to boast its declarations with repetitive renditions of words from a conglomerate array of them barely even scratching the surface of thier true meaning. The depths of truth is far beyond reach for those who proclaim falsehood as Truth. It’s a masquerading of words that don’t align with its corresponding action.
Truth is multilayered, multifaceted and complexed, a sort of breeding ground for simple truths that are free flowing through life right beneath the surface of reality. It is ubiquitous as space. Yet mainstream treads through a dense cloud of a fictional existence constantly trying to figure out the meaning of life and its purpose amid illusions in a perpetual loop.
– Lisette Hesmadt
Preach it, teach it…wear it like a robe…
Breathe it, sniff it…take it to the road…
Hold it, form it…release, than sigh…
Belt it out…whisper it ….murmur the sound…
No silence, but stillness…
Find the paradoxes, hold the tension…
Walk the corridors until you miss it…and walk it again…
You are not mystic, nor healer…until your fear is all gone…
Baptize it, drown it…rise from the dead…
Then burn and burn…
TO BE READ IN THE INTERROGATIVE
Have you seen
Have you truly seen
the felt steps of the breeze
Have you touched
really have you touched
the face of that woman you love
Have you lived
like a blow to the head
Have you known
known in every pore of your skin
how your eyes
your soft heart
must be thrown away
must be wept away
must be invented all over again
There is grace on ground like this
(we can say that every step we take
every day we live)
wherever we are is sacred ground
every bush we see burning holy
every rock singing glory
every bird testament of trust
every tree drips abundance
every flower secure in extravagant love
and drop of the summer rain
shimmers with promise
rocks standing firm in the faith
glittering in sunshine
we are made of stars
held together with a bit of mud
breathing the breath of the creator
made up of the very same matter as the universe
life / death our greatest gifts
the space between
will be shades of heaven
or the darkest shades of hell
we choose our path with every decision
free will is our constant companion
our most important recognized awareness
guard them well
dance a lot
share the miracles
strewn all along our way
Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.
Who will be as honest in small things as in great things;
Who will make no compromise with wrong;
Whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;
Who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success;
Who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular;
Who can say “no” with emphasis, although the rest of the world says “yes”.
– Ted w. Engstrom, from Motivation to last a lifetime
It doesn’t change when we stare at it from across the room. It doesn’t change when we sit in prayer and wish it away. It doesn’t change when we skirt the edges of the shadow. It doesn’t change when we pretend it’s all Go(o)d. It changes when we cross the sacred battleground willing to die to our truth. It changes when we look the lie in the eye until it has nowhere left to hide. It changes when we pick up the sword of truth and cut the falsity until it bleeds right through. The era of the sacred activist is upon us. Not the warrior run amok, but the benevolent warrior who fights for our right to the light. Some battles are worth fighting.
– Jeff Brown
It’s not easy
to do the hard thing
to be patient
to be strong
to allow the pain
the tears of exhaustion
to press on
to refuse to settle
to believe in spite of loss
to keep the fire warm
to build wells
to send out love
to melt your defenses
to keep touching the lepers
to allow healing to come
to ruthlessly let go
to remain open
to keep saying yes
Nothing happens by chance, no one goes on a quest without a reason, without the pull of the magnet there is no action.
When all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen;
Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
And round the world away;
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day.
When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among:
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young.
Young and Old by Charles Kingsley
I lay and watched your final breath
Lay in a pool of steel, blood and nashing teeth
All knew your smile and humor
I saw the life you were to live
So much love you left behind
So much more you had left to give.
Every breath I took was fire
Not desire, No silent repose
That life I was given back was given to chasing ghosts
No action, no deed, nothing ever was my own
From reverie to taps, a life spent chasing ghosts.
In times such as this,
What is born of such circumstance?
Death gives birth to so much mourning
That spawns life and living.
Your death gave birth to me
Achievements you will never see
Tears, monuments, poetry and prose
You gave your life,
I gave you those.
Just another life spent chasing ghosts.
Chasing Ghosts by Charles Cooper
And then there comes a moment
when all you have suffered,
all you have learned,
all you have lost and found,
rise up and become.
and suddenly you are
who you dreamed of being,
so many years ago.
suddenly you have arrived
at what you caught glimpses of
for so many years,
and the search,
the free fall of broken dreams,
tumbling down rabbit holes,
stumbling over the feet
of your own lack of knowledge,
you find yourself on solid ground.
raising your Ebenezer,
those tributes to God,
for all the mighty stones of help,
building this foundation,
on the solid rocks of your soul
you know so well.
and though the pilgrimage may continue,
though the journey is definitely not over,
though life is fragile,
and security an illusion.
there is a new sureness to your step,
a trusting unshakable,
a calm in it all,
a new assurance of provision,
a new traveling song to be sung as you walk forward,
always pilgrim ready for new adventures.
forgetting the names of what lay behind,
you press on to your calling,
the prize set before,
reveling in the mercies, ever new,
for each new day.
there is no stopping now.
you have found something
which cannot ever be taken.
you have arrived here by your own determination,
reached a place,
both spiritual and physical,
a place of such magnitude
the light shines from every angle,
it has sealed up the oldest sores,
bound up the deepest wounds,
satisfied the deepest longings,
settled old scores with finality.
no longer will you settle for less than you deserve.
no more will you tolerate anything less than your own best and highest offerings.
you must be all you can be.
that is all.
gratitude fills you for this place,
a place so lovely,
it can bear up
even under the weight
of your hearts wildest desires,
with just this simple name
it resounds inside our souls like a bell –
you are home.
right where you belong.
This road is not for the timid or the faint of heart. not at all. But there is no other road. No one will simply wave a magical wand over you. It is a road of destruction and the question is, “How much are you willing to give up? How much can you endure?
LIFE – the temptation is always to reduce it to size. A bowl of cherries. A rat race. Amino acids. Even to call it a mystery smacks of reductionism. It is the mystery.
As far as anybody seems to know, the vast majority of things in the universe do not have whatever life is. Sticks, stones, stars, space – they simply are. A few things are and are somehow alive to it. They have broken through into Someone, or Something has broken through into them. Even a jellyfish, a butternut squash. They’re in it with us. We’re all in it together, or it in us. Life is it. Life is with.
After lecturing learnedly on miracles, a great theologian was asked to give a specific example of one. “There is only one miracle,” he answered. “It is life.”
Have you wept at anything during the past year?
Has your heart beat faster at the sight of young beauty?
Have you thought seriously about the fact that someday you are going to die?
More often than not, do you really listen when people are speaking to you instead of just waiting for your turn to speak?
Is there anybody you know in whose place, if one of you had to suffer great pain, you would volunteer yourself?
If your answer to all or most of these questions is no, the chances are that you’re dead.
~ Frederick Buechner
originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words
maybe we should redefine the human body
this fleeting flash of existence
into something more manageable
possibly use an oracle from a lost tongue
or something children can grab
even the physical fact of your face
stubble of rough beard
its really an undiscovered haven of wilderness preserves
or some flashing blue temple of luminous fibers
you are a cloud capped tower
the souls fiery predilection
a great globe
a gorgeous palace
melting into thin air
this coat of you
garment of flesh and blood
a miracle of armor protecting us from dust and plague
a kaleidoscope moving at the speed of light
provoking an epiphany of star poems
law me down a border on the edge of this constellation
so I can escape an ejected primordial comet of revolutionary escapades
before too long let us each and all reclaim human regeneration
and so welcome the clean space to become perfected art
this blinding flash of condensed atoms
breast arms and legs
turmoil totally unmanageable
welcome me into this new undefinable rouge ecstasy
I wonder if writing this poem
will spill you out of me
through my fingertips
will the ink become your blood
this paper your skin
for me to touch
again and again?
I wonder if stretching my hands to the sky,
while standing on my tiptoes
will release your wings
so you can fly free with me
into the starry sky
discovering all the worlds we have inside?
I wonder if I stand as tall, and as still, as a tree
you will come to me
climb up inside me
twist your arms and legs into my branches
hold me close and never let me go?
I wonder if I sing you a love song
if I will become a part your soul
and you part of mine
both of us sewn within these chords
of mine and yours
absorbing each other
into our very dna?
Will we become each other?
Forever becoming each other’s other?
mirrors of beauty
to dance inside the aleph
where heaven meets the earth?
HEARTBREAK is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control, of holding in our affections those who inevitably move beyond our line of sight.
Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life’s work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is just as much an essence and emblem of care as the spiritual athlete’s quick but abstract ability to let go. Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.
Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream, a child lost before their time. Heartbreak, we hope, is something we hope we can avoid; something to guard against, a chasm to be carefully looked for and then walked around; the hope is to find a way to place our feet where the elemental forces of life will keep us in the manner to which we want to be accustomed and which will keep us from the losses that all other human beings have experienced without exception since the beginning of conscious time. But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.
…If heartbreak is inevitable and inescapable, it might be asking us to look for it and make friends with it, to see it as our constant and instructive companion, and even perhaps, in the depth of its impact as well as in its hindsight, to see it as its own reward. Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is no alternative path. It is a deeper introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something or someone who has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the last letting go.
If I wrote a poem today
it would be the saddest one you would ever read
It would break your heart into small pieces
and scatter them all over the world
It would cause you to cry new oceans into existence,
and all the stars would burn out from the pain of its essence
Global chaos would ensue
the world, as we know it, end
Therefore, I will not write a poem today
I will wait for another day
when love has found me again
and my heart is a riot of joy
rather than sadness
Then I’ll write a poem so brilliant
so brimming with happiness
it will create a new heaven
and a new earth
where we will dance forever