Complicit

I read him Mary Oliver’s luminous words
in bed at night, perceptions written
nearer her end and yes there is sadness,
his eyes well uncomfortably,
who wouldn’t wish (were it possible)
to turn away from the degradation
of nature loved with the whole
of our hearts;

The loons on Goose Pond, circling
around us with crimson eyes, echoes
of their haunting cries tattooed
into memory, early morning and dusk,
nine chicks that year and two adults
and one would be hard pressed today
to hear a single pair if lucky,
human encroachment into nesting areas,
refusal to admit error in bulldozing
sacred spaces for greed and profit,
filling wetlands, giant killer bees
building, harmony absent, drones
taking over the hive,
and what are we, if not complicit?
None are blameless;

It seems a lifetime ago, smoke cannot
pour itself back down the chimney;
opportunity now lies in discovering
wonders of a pine forest far
from lake or ocean.
I must ponder more deeply
the meaning of water.

Progress

Money’s not love
and it isn’t respect,
it sure isn’t friendship,
it doesn’t buy that;

So retreat if you must
in a world overmuch,
when content and timbre
appear out of touch;

Regroup and resist,
the temptation is grand,
hold onto your vision
all else out of hand;

Only you cut the deck
while there’s magic afoot;
in the creases and cracks,
all trees start with the root.

Dark Moon Rising

I’m waiting in the dark to sleep,
but it won’t come, I feel the creep,
the broken bits of hearts and minds
lie scattered like the leaves, the vines
are choking back a flood of tears,
are mourning for the empty years
it seems we have accrued in vain
while human rights now fall like rain
onto a toxic, littered ground
of ignorance worn like a crown;

‘Tis not the sceptre of a King,
this ruthless gore, the suffering,
the Baptist’s head upon a plate,
in service to some nobler fate
as if accused could turn within
and simply shed offensive skin;

Did not in mind the lessons gel?
A heaven craved, what tortured hell
demands this blood out on the streets?
Attacking those who cannot meet
the venom dripping from veiled eyes,
the blindness-shredding thin disguise,
the dull and cataracted gaze
of Stepford wives, of husbands crazed,
and even their pale Christ would flee
white-peak’ed haberdashery;

We breathe a truth, believe it’s real,
has always been, despite appeal,
what cannot be accepted, worse
when viewed as blessing or a curse
can only be corrected there,
within the flesh and bones and hair;

One finger pointed out and straight,
four digits cannot castigate,
but curl, unyielding, toward the one
that dares to judge another’s son
or daughter somehow less than they
whose lives, unblemished, rue the day
of Judgment when their fate is sealed
and once again they stand, revealed.

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Free

When did women learn
the soul bashing false humility
of self abnegation?

When did men first crush hearts
into emotional valises,
compartmental corruption
of the tender qualities
that endear them to us?

We are free.
And if we are not liberated,
forgetfulness is the culprit.

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Perspectives on Truth

I used to be completely committed to telling the truth. In a way, I still am. What the requisites are, however, has changed. It seems the older I get, the more valuable incorporating other viewpoints becomes; for what, ultimately, is The Truth? Perspective must be considered when exploring this in any given situation.

I realize in the past, part of the truth telling was predicated more upon the rightness of my own thinking rather than the ultimate truth in context and content. Defending my claim to rightness was a byproduct of fear, though I wouldn’t have called it that at the time.

For all the good an early religious upbringing may have accomplished, it did no service when it locked me into a belief structure so tightly that I feared anything contradictory. God, as perceived by The Church, might be wrong, and I could not go there. Disentangling myself from a fundamentalist background took many years. I was well into my thirties before I was brave enough to crawl out from under the rock of that crumbling stanchion. The result has been a continuing unfolding of greater universal truths and a more grounded, relaxed state of being. Seeing God in everyone and in every living thing has paradoxically allowed me to actually walk the walk, rather than simply sitting at the feet wishing only to be worthy. Enough.

The longer I live, the more I am aware of what I do not and cannot know. Experience is so objective that I now take a brief mental pause before responding, if needed. There are as many ways of looking at the same issue as facets to a diamond. Pause, reflect, reset. Then write. And write some more.

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Diamond

Somewhere along the line,

I learned to separate

recollection from reflection;

memories from lessons learned.

 

Once the needle was stuck in the groove

like an old vinyl LP,

scritching and scratching static

clear through to my core.

I could neither bump it forward,

nor hearken back to reconstruct

another track.

 

How the shift began,

where it seated itself at that long banquet table

measuring the breadth of life,

I do not know.

I am only grateful that it did.

 

All my life has been like that:

subtle shiftings and backdoor gatherings;

avoiding the grand entrance whenever possible.

Transforming and slowly polishing

stone to gem, porous black rock to brilliant diamond;

myriad surfaces picking up hues and subtleties,

refracting back to their source.

 

Precious gifts are useless when pillaged or ignored;

instead they are banked and trussed,

forming the framework of kindness

radiating silently from the cavern of the heart.

 

~ bj

 

Unknown

 

 

 

E=mc2?

Like sparks and fish

and rapids strong enough to cut through granite,

the mind veers off and into another coral cave,

another orbit; a cosmos of the frenetic

in the attempt to assuage itself

over its charge’s inevitable demise.

 

How does consciousness live

with containment such as this;

bounded by skull and bones and flesh?

 

Illusion, the product of limitless creativity,

becomes accepted as real

while the spirit knows it is being hoodwinked.

Still, like a dog chasing its tail,

the momentum continues until,

in order to complete its rotation,

it becomes as unlike itself as possible

and morphs into a line.

 

And we wonder at insanity.

 

Take Two:

With diligence and observation,

the mind can be stilled.

 

~ bj

 

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The Constant Gardener

We contain it in consciousness;

Remember, so we do not forget,

and get on with our lives

or risk drowning in despair.

 

Each day pregnant with unknowing,

we risk all by walking out the door;

mingling with the masses

or digging in the soil.

Even there, shards of glass,

old metal and pottery

percolate to the surface,

surprising skin, unprepared.

 

Planting over and around the damage;

creating beauty is what I know –

Hands taking over

where the head leaves off;

Mind quiets down.

 

Mulching the surface,

softening soil to contain

life-giving moisture;

inviting breakdown,

the flowering of vitality.

 

What is this delicate balance,

how can the human spirit hold

a lifetime of soaking up

splendor that bursts the heart open;

joy in creating – then sorrow,

regret; the shame

in what our species is capable.

 

How do we sleep at night, cradled

in the knowing, the awareness

that we are doing our part;

contributing to the betterment

of a world in the throes of transformation?

 

Sowing seeds of loving kindness,

I garden.

 

 

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