Vows

He never wore a ring, she said.
Though it might have been better
than mangling it on a lumber hook
two days after the wedding,
nearly cutting that digit free
at least.

Such things happen,
I know.

Symbols on display
do not indicate what harbors within.
Commitment, where it exists,
lies safe within a beating heart
and cannot be excised that easily.

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Focus Feature

At times I reflect on the busy of mind,
while I’m out drawing circles, they’re marching in line.
This marching in line seems so orderly, sane
yet it only appeals to the logical brain.
Drawing lines on the paper or lines at the mall
does not nourish a garden or sense the loon’s call.

The stars in the heavens, a baby’s sweet cry
arise not from narrow – now roundness applies.
I raised my son up, he is vibrant and sage,
I expect him to care for me into old age.

The line it will penetrate, stories appear
to cloud up the vision and plug tight the ears.
A circle invites us to join in the dance,
allowing for movement through life’s random chance.

A heart has no edges, free minds liberate;
illusion is folly, leave it up to the Fates.
If you yearn for sweet endings, heed this wise epithet
for embracing the circle builds a life, not regret.

 

photo: David A. Aguilar
photo: David A. Aguilar

THE GOLDEN RULE

Whether attributed to Confucius or Jesus and/or simply as a conclusion drawn by many who observe life’s workings over time, Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you is an assertion fastened upon from my youth. It has stood the test of time too, though I now simply consider it karma.

It mystifies me that people who espouse one set of guidelines and live by another are the least likely to understand the implications of this simple Law of Attraction. If I wish others to respect me, I learn to respect others. If I want to be treated kindly, I practice kindness. To everyone. If friendship and unconditional love are desired, I liberate my own considerable affections and entrapments (money and time leap to mind as particularly Western concerns).

If I yearn for others to appreciate me, I consistently demonstrate qualities I wish to have mirrored back by others. These things may be difficult at times, but of course they can be cultivated.

Life is too expansive a canvas to cower in the same corner when there’s a diverse world waiting to be explored. If I continue reinforcing thus and so, I restrict my experience to a set of circumstances that rubber-stamp that belief. I relegate myself to the smallness of my own confusion rather than the glorious adventure waiting beyond the boundaries of what I believe to be known.

image from The Neverending Story

CHOICE

Being married to a builder for many years, I cannot look at a bathtub spout without likewise intuiting the plain galvanized pipe that lies at its center, conveying both hot and cold water from their respective copper pipes and sources to that vessel of respite at the end of a long day.

Similarly, I can no longer look at a person and glimpse the veneer they inhabit without also sensing the undercurrent of dissatisfaction or dissimilitude in the presentation.

It might seem like a curse, and I can understand your thinking. It is the bubble burst; the dream splintered into fragments of a plain vanilla reality. Strip away the many-hued veils and the dancer appears, naked and exhausted, as simply one of us.

This commonality is what draws me in, oddly enough. It humanizes the lofty and elevates the mundane onto the level playing field of life. If you dare to join me there, we can soar on thermals of imagination because we know there are no limitations, now that we’ve cast aside that heavy cloak of artifice.

Freedom lies in that shared parenthesis inserted into the continuum of existence. Authenticity is paradoxically that which we cannot view with conditioned eyes, yet it is felt right down to the bones. We either meet there or plunge like Icarus back into the practiced abyss of suffering and into the dreams of others.

 

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Image: Anna M. Rinaldo

Spin

She moves, and moves

frequently enough,

expects life to fill a yearning,

bottomless craving, a pit.

 

Young face etched with uncommon sorrow,

she doesn’t yet understand the power of thoughts.

Nubile, she hasn’t calculated

life as the means by which we are blessed

with conditions and kinesis,

this dance of adversity and rapture;

maturation only as rapid as we, ourselves allow,

simply to surrender into the miracle

of a blink in eternity,

this life, as we know it –

splendor on a spinning orb.

 

ascend-dance-red

volcanic rock

I find I’m looking for fear

with a background trembling

in anticipation of its discovery.

Why does my mind willfully seek out

that which engenders this shaky unrest?

 

My body yearns to move

while thoughts, suspended in space,

inspire little if not lethargy.

 

Two wires twined inside a sheath,

allowing a human be(com)ing to survive.

One goes to the production of energy,

physical. The other immobilizes

the very vehicle to my liberation:

the yang, the yin.

 

The pureness of wondering how

to sink further into feelings

soothes my ruffled collar;

and I breathe more deeply,

now out of intention.

 

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Dig

To intellectualize myth, desire – 

the analytical approach crumbles,

becoming grit underfoot;

providing traction, perhaps,

useful fractal before one slips,

yet again.

 

We live,

we breathe,

we interact.

This is the dance:

choices and consequences.

 

Joy is the offspring of accepting

these noble truths;

bitterness arises from cowardice:

the should-haves, could-haves,

didn’t, won’t, damn it.

 

Life is more precious than we know.

Don’t waste a moment being stubborn.

Consciousness unfolds its gates;

we have but to walk through them,

unresisting.

 

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Prescience

Beauty is indifferent to itself.

 

Largesse of spirit contrasts with strength

of jaws snapping to the indifferent air,

I don’t know what it ees, but every wanna

dese local boys, dey see one white woman

and dey tink she some kine goddess or somet’ing.

 

Grain of salt and all.

 

Until today, cycling by primary grades

out for recess in the unrelenting sun;

chubby brown boy with dimpled smile

joined by both hands

to a tall yellow-haired girl of eight

standing next to a diminutive friend,

gleaming waves of jet cascading clear and full

down her small perfect back.

 

Paper crown colored in crayon

quickly pilfered from the tow-head

to be placed atop the beaming stripling.

Darker girl looks on imploringly,

sparkling eyes inviting his to acknowledge;

her unfolding splendor remaining,

at least to him,

invisible.

 

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EXISTENTIALITY II

She gazes over her shoulder once too often,

catching her reflection in the rear-view mirror,

frightening.

And she can’t decide if she, herself is the cause of the unrest

or if it’s simply her-in-present-time that maddens.

 

Nevertheless she drives, and drives often,

trying to escape the past, the future,

the feeling that somehow memories aren’t temporary;

that they will not succeed in overwhelming

the only stability she knows:

that of a mind fixated on rote lines

and what science calls facts

and they keep her safe,

or so she thinks;

and they keep her sane,

or what passes as lucid

and she prays to a God she no longer believes in

but the alternative is, like the image in the mirror,

far too unabridged to contemplate.

 

~ bj

[Woman looking at reflection of herself in rearview mirror], 193

On The Mongoose and Other Ramblings

If you ever met a mongoose, I doubt it would elicit your admiration. Crafty and cunning, they slink low to the ground, falling upon eggs or killing baby birds the way eagles pluck fish out of clear running water, only not nearly as majestic. Unlike squirrels peppering mainland highways too confused in traffic to set a steady course and undone because of it, mongooses possess laser focus as they strike a beeline across the tarmac. They do not waiver in this nor in any action I am aware of. Weasel of the tropics, the mongoose is generally thought of as a nasty, vicious creature.

Today while on my bicycle, I spotted a mother mongoose with two little babies tagging along behind her. When I spoke to them, one of the babies turned around and its beady little eyes glistened in the morning sun. It was nothing if not precious.

Thus I began pondering humans, and how we, like the mongoose, have adapted to prey not only upon other animals, but upon forests and minerals and oceans and, yes, even upon one another. Save the philosopher’s journey into the concept of predestination, we no more chose our species or the color of our skin than the mongoose chose to be a mongoose. For better or for worse, our collective cunning knows no bounds. Yet on the flip side, humans can be loving stewards to our offspring and to other living things.

Like the mongoose in Hawai’i, many of our ancestors come from foreign shores. And we adapt, some would say overly-adapt to our circumstances. As supreme opportunists, there are no easy answers as to why one moment we are tender and the next we are blowing up a village. The mongoose, on the other hand, is simply following nature’s directive to survive.

 

mongoose