Friday, August 7, 2015

Elder Poets on a Summer Afternoon

The wind stirs up longings
The blood answers
The breath nods like a sage
While the earth itself
Purrs in the gathering rain clouds
Of portentous creation

Nobody knows exactly
Not even the scientists
Where we’ll all be in ten years
But we unconsciously
Hold hands like kids
Singing “London Bridge”
Knowing all poems are futile

Someday we’ll have a solar roof
Give up our car
And ride a bicycle
Recycle bath water for the garden
‘Til then, we’re just surviving
In the years we thought
Were supposed to be golden

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Chasing the Ultimate Reality

You don't have to be extreme to be a hero
You just have to go ahead and live each day
While everything adds up

Beyond the future dome,
Can you tell me your vision?
Can you imagine it?
Or is the darkness so vast and uninhabitable
Even a glimpse is forbidden?

We each duck in and out of the scenes -
The main program -
Like ghosts, wisps of esper
Who can keep track?

Are we just programmed too well
To stop chasing the dream?
Even knowing it's inferior,
Not worth all the effort,
Not worth the cost,
It's in our genes, our DNA,
to hunt and gather
Find and build shelter
Mate and bear young
Or at least love

And beyond that?

If you had a gift, would you use it?
Being alone is just as much a myth
As being One
You can choose

What am I saying?
I don't know
Except that striking out on a new path
Is difficult, depending on the stakes

Do you think I know the answer?
Have I seen the astonishing brilliance
Of the All?
Have I felt my heart burst with grace?
Has the top of my head
Dissolved into light?

You don't have to be extreme
To be a hero
You just have to go ahead and live
Each day
While everything adds up.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Music Says

You can plan and dream
You can craft your future
Like a child with a toy
And still
When the moment comes
When you find the experience
Stepping up to greet you
You’re never ready
You’re never prepared
For the first kiss of reality
The bright light in the darkness and the sound
Of recognition that
Tugs the corners of your mouth into a smile
And you can wade into the sea
With all the other travelers
Writing music
From the edge of your heart
Catch your breath and just
Go deeper

The ragged edge of anticipation
Sinks into Friday night
Like a long lost friend
Realizing the interval
Between the dream of love
And its negation is as thin
As a whisper of air
In a cracked doorway
You can almost dare yourself to cross the boundary
And entertain the unadorned idea –
It could be (no, really) – it might be –
Just stop and close your eyes
No act of will allowed
You got to take a breath

And what do you do
When someone asks you to make a memory?
It has to be an endless sort of idea –
Nothing flashy or fly by night –
You just have to give yourself
The time to think
And remember good times by the fire
Golden light speaks in a
Universal language

There’s a certain feeling as you’re lying in bed
Your arm splayed out to the night
And the molecules in your hip
Are settling
And you remember your body
As a familiar home
I’m telling you now, give thanks for it
Keep track of it
And when that sense of wonder
Comes upon you – when it fills your lungs
And makes your heart beat faster,
It’s not just your

Don’t we all love fiction?
You know you get drawn into it
Even against your will
Ain’t it fine?
Ain’t it worth it?

What’s really weird is
People laugh at stuff I’ve actually done
On a serious tip
Sometimes it takes years
To be able to laugh at yourself
It takes a stranger
To see the advantages, don’t it?

I’m glad I stepped over that threshold
I’m glad I fell
I’m glad I took the chance
To make that mistake
I’m glad I have the old scars
That turned into some kind of
Elegant tattoo (who knew?)
Are jubilation and resignation
Two sides of the same coin?
Perhaps a slight adjustment
To choose heads or tails

I know what my secret is
I know how to keep a fire going
It’s something I learned in my old age
How to cup my hands around
The base of the flame
And feed it with the
Ineffable joy of non-attachment

Someone who can hold himself
Who can hold himself back
What I’d give
You can smile and say
A lot with such a one
In a small space
And let the water plunge
Over the waterfall
On its own course,
That desire that builds up,
We knew it all our lives
It’s not feigned nor forced
What people call destiny
Is just what can’t be sidestepped
No matter how hard
You did or didn’t try

(May 15, 2015)
Written during a performance by folksinger Chris Trapper at River Station, Poughkeepsie, NY