Poetry/Prose

From Now On

Photo credit: Mine

Photo credit: Mine “Red Woman” (Salvador Dali’s house in Figueres, Spain, holds this, one of his works)

(This is from a writing prompt, issued through the Write Yourself Alive workshop I am participating in this month–today we were instructed to write a poem without punctuation, then take the words and punctuate them–I have always found the enter key a statement in itself.)

Just give me a chance

to feel you might

lose myself

in your voice

and the workings

of that windmill

channeling air

into water

that drips

into shadowy cracks

of dry bread soils

my soylent green

it’s made out of people

Charlton Heston said

to a wave of high-minded

stoned

seventies fans … of cinema?

back in time

when it wasn’t so good

but now we see

what it was worth

and the sublime

curls its fingers

around now

as I turn again to you

ask if you are ready

for an adventure

of such proportion

that nobody would believe it

if we told them

and we mayn’t even believe

when it starts

so hold onto your hat, they say

if you are, indeed

ready

or not

here I can’t turn away

not just yet

because we need time

to taste this, don’t we

feel it suck away the past

and blow it out the other end

as a field

of frosting-colored flowers

that taste to the eyes

like the childhood sweets

that drove our obsessions

yet nourish our soul

like that last bite of food

our mother murmured

a wish for us to finish

this could be

an endless stream of reasons

that cools every passion

washing life’s driftwood to shore

to start fires that burn

in sequence

forever

this is not an invitation from me

it springs from life itself

and I just can’t hold it back

this advertisement

because we may have always known

every day of disappointment

or a triumph

in those moments

when we would be walking

pause

and scream in silence

“where are you for gods’ sake!”

and whisper

“where are you”

and whimper

sometimes through tears

“where are you”

the one who seeded this desire in us

and made us crazy with a hunger

and rarely panic

that we may not find us

in this lifetime

before peace

in knowing

we would be worth waiting for

a million lifetimes to find

and if this life is just a spec

let us polish our journeys

to recognize each other

someday

so you, here, now

just let me know if …

and maybe

just give me a chance to lose myself

if you did

in fact

I would have to say

next to nothing

from now on

next to nothing

from now on

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Poetry/Prose

Great Glass Walls

Image credit: Mine, Beijing 2010

Image credit: Mine, Beijing 2010

Dear Anonymous,

I tried to write a note to you today but when I was about to send it, I thought of all the synapses that would fire in your brain and cause you to respond in the way that you would, because you think the things that you naturally do.

And I wondered in that moment, how many people I have loved had wanted to write to me but couldn’t because they knew the same …

… that some strange volition within me would take the purity of their words and feed an ego that just couldn’t know better at that time.

How many?

I wanted to tell you so many details. Things that would get lost on the way to your deeper wisdom. I have tried this before. I know. They will.

So now I will send you nothing at all–something more pure than the ego can touch. Something so subtle it overwhelms the world. Something that will never be said but somehow be known until the moment before we die or almost do–what is real, what is true.

There is no me. And there is no you.

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Poetry/Prose

The Friendship Game

Image courtesy: animecourtyard.com

Image courtesy: animecourtyard.com

Level one

I tell you a secret truth

Your inner judge stays asleep

We go to the next level 

Drilling down to deeper truth

Rising up to greater comfort

When the judge wakes up

Turns its blind eyes

Perks up its blocked ears

Swings its leaden tentacles

The game will end

Many people will play

And few people will capture the princess!

Bonus! Friendship game soundtrack:

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Poetry/Prose

Permanently Temporarily Solar Powered

Photo credit: mine, sunrise, desert sunrise, unflitered, near Shahania, Qatar

Photo credit: mine, sunrise, desert sunrise, unflitered, near Shahania, Qatar

Hey you

Living forever

We’re all so

Very

And you think

Without a thought

For years

You’ll never die

Until one by one

“They” start to

Even as

Their shadows

Play sonatas

On your strung up

Violin heart

Haunt your

Electric memories

Entranced daydreams

Lucid showers

Liquid mass transits

All. your. dreams

Even as

Their laughter

Drifts in from,

Launches

Your life

Into,

The past tense

But the same green lights

Same city corners

The same crossed streets

Are not the same

They’re not

Beside you

Even if you know

You keep shoving it out

Hard

You work and work

Strike up conversations

Binge on a series

Zone out to music

Pray and chant

Say you do it for them

Because they would want to

Not because you

Necessarily do

So then you

Get fit and let go

Apologize and regret it

Run away

Climb a mountain

Sit in a cave

Confess to the tides

Feel holy

Mundane

Nothing

Run and spacejam

Eat and talk

To keep it from your mind

How temporary

And fleeting

This lifetime is

How mysterious

Its expiration date

Yet you know

You do

It’s as clear

As the sunrise

Before your eyes

Every day

Temporary

One day

Like a birthday

Denial drops away

And everything shifts

Everything counts

My friends

This is not a rehearsal

Everything counts

Not for them

Buddhas

For you

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Poetry/Prose

Social Studies

photo credit: mine, Koh Samui

photo credit: mine, Koh Samui

The feeling

When it’s right

It’s like being weightless

Energized

Free

When it’s wrong

It’s like a million memos

To the mind

Deciphering

Decoding

Exhausting

When you don’t have to think

You know

When you don’t know

You think

The gut doesn’t think

It knows

And from the moment

I first saw you

Years ago

In dark discos

Darting around

Shiny, yet

Somehow insecure

Worried, frantic

Sorting through crowds

Searching for something

Hiding from something else

I always paused to think

About you

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Poetry/Prose

We Always Find Out

girlwithblackgoggleswithtesttube

I am

Amused

Beyond a PhD in

This thing

Boys

Wishing to be men

Do

Even as

I prepare to retire

I still research

Now and then

Behind goggles

Sometimes surprised

Always amused

And it’s funny

The chemical

Physical

Biological

Types

That we draw

To this lab

To watch

A few words

Some body language

A hypothesis

You think

That we think

It’s real

That we’ll cry

We think different

And we prefer to laugh

We are scientists

We always find out

Read up on things

Exchange research

We all study

We all share

We all talk

We. all. talk.

Observe

Divide

Mimics from real

The tapestry

The venoms

Potent

Impotent

Of wildest dreams

Woven

Specimen after specimen

Slide after slide

Microscopes

Beakers

Bell jars

Tattered radios

In corners of labs

Play music

Sometimes our favorite songs

As we spank our hands together

Wink at each other

Slough off our lab coats

Call it a day

Go out for a drink

Celebrate results

We are scientists

We always find out

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Poetry/Prose

Now, Decide

photo credit: mine

photo credit: mine

Right now is a live wire.

You may think only something (maybe boring, maybe not, but limited by what you are exposed to) is happening.

When really everything is, now.

From the outside to sit still may seem pointless–but it is in doing this that we boil ourselves down to nothing and feel everything at once.

A massive speck, sitting there.

You might be in a little room with just yourself yet you know a whale is traversing the sea, a baby is being born, someone is digging through garbage, a businessman is clinking a glass over a million-dollar deal and you sit there and just know.

And on and on and on.

It’s electric, and you have so many options, how to perceive, right now.

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Poetry/Prose

Heart + Soul

Me, giving myself a hug, like I do every day.

People practice yoga for many reasons. I am starting to think that mine was so I could give myself a really strong hug, every day.

A draft/scrapped stream of consciousness submission to a love book, which runs from grounded factual almost-narrative to ethereal, philosophical mumbo-jambalaya (I submitted another piece so just share this one in case anyone likes it–it’s a “true” story).

I guess if I were to sum up what I have learned in one sentence, I’d say this: love—I mean really loving—is inherently risky when you think of yourself as separate from its bounds (but my point with this piece is to argue with great gusto that you are NOT). There are so many other things you can say like “yeah, but there’s always another chance at love,” etc. But I want to focus on the perception of risk.

I want to drill deeply into the idea of risk, because it is by doing this that I feel I have learned to love more deeply than I ever thought possible. I have learned to move–or rather dig, like one would try to dig a tunnel through the Earth herself and emerge on the other side to, surrender, lie down and look up at the stars–through the risky stage into the more mature stage of embodying love more fully than ever.

These days, love, to me is not even a contract. It is a purpose and an impulse that is a highest birthright, a deepest refuge and an unlimited source of courage and power.

(One quick aside: meditation has been the key to me discovering and focusing on the concept of risk as a critical key to loving more freely and deeply. Sitting still on a regular basis kinda makes you brave like that.)

My story is grounded in the fact that about 12 years ago I left the comforts of my own culture to date, marry, divorce and again continuously date and have relationships with men from countries and customs quite different than my own. People ask why I have trouble going back to American men and I will say this: once a man from another culture stretches your perception of the way love can be, you have trouble going back to a more predictable pattern.

After my first breakup with a Turkish man, I was completely devastated. The idea of finding something like that seemed preposterous. So I lost hope. I met another Turkish man after that who showed a tendency to commit so, in one unconscious, default, fearful-foul swoop, I married him when he asked.

I loved him, but not in a way that was risky.

Not in a way where I felt I had something really to lose. He’d never leave me. Not because I was me, but because he was dogmatically locked in somehow. Marriage was more important as a container than as an experience and a daily stream of choices toward intimacy, organic behavior and interpersonal evolution vs. guarantees and automatic behavior.

I have not married since.

There was something so settling yet uninspiring about that marriage. We were together three years—two of which were minus any sense of physical passion given that there was only a modicum to begin with.

When I began practicing more yoga and moved us to another country, as a leading spouse with an overseas job, the shifts within me were too great. I realized I was stronger than I ever knew before and gained a sense of the fact that I could survive alone. I broke out of the marriage and into an international scene of men, many of whom were Arabs.

My first experience after divorce was with a Pakistani man, then an Egyptian, then a South African, then an Indian and then, for a year and a half, I settled down with an Iranian professor who specialized in artificial intelligence and natural language processing. We seemingly had a very nice run, but then one day, out of the blue, an expert at studying and testing the real vs. the artificial, he said he couldn’t be with me because I wasn’t Iranian. So many messages we humans make up to say a simple thing: my soul doesn’t run in parallel with yours anymore.

Needless to say the last five years of my life, post marriage and in the thick of dating, have been a character-building exercise. The breakup with the Iranian was especially disillusioning and yet profoundly sobering because he was a) the first person to ever break off a relationship with me and b) he retracted his love–confirming several times that he never meant the words he said every day until that point. The words “I love you,” suddenly became somewhat obsolete in their subjectivity.

Someone could get really jaded by all this–but I found it an opportunity. A chance. To get real.

When I look back, this was a massive turning point in my process to learn how to love more closely to what my ideals of the feeling truly are. The key word being: feeling. Countless memes, books and self-help guides circle back around the concept of loving yourself. But to really get down to this at the experiential level, for some of us, takes going through pain and loss.

These are the only types of experiences that we engage in to understand ever more deeply our ability to survive them. Some people may not engage so fully as try to medicate these sentiments. But when you engage them, when you burrow deeper and deeper into the pitch-black caverns of pain and loss, you start to notice a pattern that the more deeply you loved, the greater the depth inside you reached when these sentiments call you with them.

This is where risk comes in. When it’s real, when it’s deep, you know it can—and will, by death, breakup, circumstance, eventually—be taken from you yet you must proceed. Through the pain, this fact becomes matter, and the experience of your deepest levels come in so handy as anchor points for you moving forward.

Because you know, it’s going to get really dark sometimes, but you also know something more important—you will and do survive. This is the other side of the coin of loving. It’s a coin that is constantly rotating in the air if you can only keep your heart open.

Closing the heart–by either nailing down a relationship that may not be based in love or by avoiding the pain that love promises–will freeze that coin in mid-air. A dullness will take over your life. You will be an observer of love rather than a subject to its whims.

By nature, when you are separate from it, love is totally risky. Deep, true, honest, passionate and vulnerable love carries risk. Yet the fear of losing it is far greater a risk in the end. And even fighting that risk and defeating that fear cannot protect you from the pain of someone leaving your life. Still, what if you could see these situations from a different kind of dimension. A dimension where you are all one in the same and just moving in and out of these mirrored rooms and experiencing all these experiences and losing but gaining before losing again but one is related to the other?

In the end, diving in, pushing against all of your fears, against all the perception of what is gambled, means diving deep. And the deeper you go the closer you are to the wellspring’s source inside–yourself.

Once you get a load of that, it’s like you see this massive light on the ocean bed. Nobody else can see it. Nobody else can reach it. You know it’s your secret. You know it’s inside you. This light. And you just kind of shift.

Voila! Risk no longer applies.

Instead of tightly fisting the good and loving times, obsessing and over-analyzing how you can make them last, you open your hand and let them come and go. You are enough. You are love itself. As is everything else that makes that inspires that love to grow and expand. And as it expands you realize something—that everyone that ever loved you, every love you ever shared, EVERY EXPERIENCE WAS AND IS FROM THE SAME SOURCE. YOU.

This drops your shoulders if you let it. It introduces fear to its dead end, when you remember. If you return to this thought, really let it sink in, you begin to feel the futility of being anything but fear’s opposite: loving.

You are not threatened. You are suddenly operating from a center instead of reacting to external realities. You are highly mobile, never stuck, never trapped, never abandoned. YOU ARE LOVE. And you know how and where to move when you admit this–flow away from what is pain and toward what is joy.

If nobody is around to share it with, you are bathing in it–you find you have so much of it inside. You just do.

It’s time to stop getting so confused and distracted about the source of love–right behind, under, above your nose, 24 hours a day, every day of your life.

Acknowledge and fuse love as it is: the gift of life itself, coursing through you, offering you constantly a breath, a view, a sound, a taste of it. Poised and held surely at the very breast of life itself, you are life’s baby: alive, tended to, and if you should be open to it, loved.

Sometimes I drink my smoothie in the morning and imagine I am at the breast of the universe. Isn’t that weird? Well. It’s true and it makes me happy.

You woke up, you can read this, you have food to eat, you can interpret this with electric intelligence–when did you forget this meant that you are always, always, so, well, loved!

And from this place, the love you extend from yourself is like honey from a bee of your mind, flying flower to flower, processing experiences, self assured in its flight, landing, natural, purposeful. Being alive is a calling, and it’s enough.

Stop struggling against it by creating things you want that you don’t have. Just be … just buzz. Love is its own reward, a luxury, a risk, a gain, a loss, until you realize it is actually you. And the fibers of your being begin to insist on this. You start to realize you are gold.

You are pure gold and you deserve to be protected, cared for, respected, alive. Boundaries start forming around this, naturally and cognitively. You start to study, how to care for this love that is yours. You discover things that cause you to move toward or away from others, effortlessly, without a second thought … it doesn’t matter because you are and have enough: love.

And you don’t need to be around people who promise to be the source of that love and can’t. In fact, you just won’t.

Again, risk starts to reduce as a consideration, in a practical sense this time.

Finally, I will say it hurts sometimes. It does. Because, as the adage proclaims, change is the only constant in life. But that feeling you keep trying to avoid happens whether you engage in loving or not. You suffer less to understand how it works–that it is you at its source, that it is inspired and mirrored by others in a magical mix of ways, but to begin with, it’s YOURS.

Today, I have a lot going on in my private life and nothing at all. Depends on the day. Bottom line: I love myself, I integrate everything every lover, every friend, every family member, every ONE gives me that is good for me and throw the rest in the burning garbage can labeled “past tense.”

Risk is an invention of the mind. Love is natural, organic, resourceful–nothing experienced could ever be a net loss.

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Poetry/Prose

You Would Have Been Lions

photo credit: mine

photo credit: mine


Cubs

What can I say?

When I can’t lick you

I know

You would have been lions

My mind is part of nature herself

All twisted and dressed

In cement

And male ambition

My mind is part of that nature too

And it got made up

Still, I want to lick you

Cubs

Both of you

You are still here

You would have been here

You will be here

And yet

You would have been lions

Cubs

Everywhere

Every moment

Every chance

I think of you

You are still here

You would have been here

You will be here

And when you are

I will never let you out of my life

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Poetry/Prose

Lucid Dreams of Liberty

Tycho Dive Album Art

Tycho Dive Album Art

This might sound weird to some people, but I like going through things–all kinds of things.

Every day I say thank you for this life and EVERYTHING; every, little, thing, feeling, neurosis, worry, joy, happy memory, exciting upcoming event, strand of love extending over oceans, unresolved regret, etc., etc., infinity.

It’s all invited, it’s all at the table.

And I cherish all of it for a few minutes a day, because it’s my process, all of it.

Yes, I like going through things–not around them, not avoiding them, not locking them away.

And I like when my friends, life coach, healers and family call me out to help me do this … to help me see what’s what, what is a load of crap worth no attention whatsoever and what is worth concentrating on.

This process is like turning the light on in the attic of life.

Taking time; sifting, sifting, really looking at stuff.

Deciding what is useless and throwing it away.

Keeping what is useful and integrating it into my person.

Otherwise, all that crap we don’t look at, sort through, really attend to, sits in unlabelled boxes, lives up there, mixed, acting out, through us, unconsciously.

I want to know all the things in all the boxes, where they are.

I want to clean them.

Sort them.

Find the gold that the experiences left me, throw away the load of crap ego-bate it was buried in.

If I really want to help others in the future, I have to look through this stuff closely, consciously decide I don’t need the ego-drama ride, consciously throw it away.

With every box unpacked, I come out in a more meaningful place, with more people to relate to, more deeply.

People I can look at and say “hey, I see you there, I know where you are.”

This way, I can meet more people, feel more life, experience more connection, less judgement, more clean, motive-free Love, less fear, anywhere, anytime, with anyone.

This way, I am truly free.

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Poetry/Prose

Only Natural

Rural Nepal, 2012

Rural Nepal, 2012

Ask yourself

What is natural?

Walk into the forest

Of your sensibilities

Buzzing with life

Action

Reaction

Stillness

Disguises

Realities

Is it poisonous?

Or is it a mimic?

Nature

Mind blowing

Sit there

Go into your nature

Walk slow

Feel the bottom of your feet

Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss

The Earth

Holding you up

Infusing all of you

Always

Ask yourself

What is natural?

When you are walking through doors

Sitting at desks

Driving your car

Fantasizing

Talking on the phone

Imagining

Neurotic about social media

Worrying

Crying about a memory

Pining about the future

Pumped on inspiration

Choosing to be bored

Is it natural?

Is it?

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Poetry/Prose

Keep Moving, Mapmaker

PS: Did you ever notice how  phallic the NYC metro map is?

PS: Did you ever notice how phallic the NYC metro map is?

You are a cartographer
Your life is a map
There are ways to get places
And there are experiments that result in dead ends
No shortcuts
No guarantees, except:
Every day life gives you a chance to improve your resolution

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Poetry/Prose

Just Be Fame

fame1And I think you know it’s rare.

For someone to see.

You.

Facing insecurities.

Out of control.

In control.

In between.

Waiting in lines.

Wondering.

Crying in secret.

Chewing cheap gum.

Fumbling with your iPad.

Like everyone else.

How could you not?

When I saw you, I saw a person.

Not a picture.

Not a title.

Not a name.

I looked at you.

Heard your voice.

Answered your questions.

Wondered what you were hiding.

Because you had to.

Heard what you were hiding.

Despite you.

What you assumed about me.

It wasn’t.

Projected–it could only be you.

And I loved it.

The mysterious gap.

That revealed everything.

You thought you hid.

I spoke with you.

Measured.

Sincere.

As if you were a merchant.

And I tended to you.

As if you were my fleeting customer.

And I think you know it’s rare.

For someone not to care too much.

But just enough for you to know.

I do.

For someone to trust nature.

More than temptation.

To put you higher.

Than human.

There is no fame in a moment.

Unless I am famous too.

And when I turn around.

I see all the layers.

That separate you.

From everyone else.

And I wonder why.

Anyone would want this.

Fame.

And I sense.

You’re the kind who never wanted it.

As much as it wanted you.

Like a mother wants her child.

To come in and wash his hands.

And sit at his place at the table.

As much as it challenges you still.

To believe something it tempts you not to.

That you have nothing to prove.

Don’t worry; I see, and your secret is safe with me.

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Poetry/Prose

elf-600-still

Talk to the person who seems the most opposite to you

Maybe they turn you off, annoy you a bit, even scare you

Talk to them, and love that part of you that you hide from yourself

That part they were lingering around to help you find

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Poetry/Prose

Never Hide, Except

Pasha

Pasha

This morning, in my quite-minimal apartment, Pasha found a new hiding place. I looked everywhere, walked around calmly, calling his name.

Have grown too old to panic when I lose connections, or beings in my life, or things anymore, but a numbness takes over as I search and search in vain. Indeed, I looked (seemingly) EVERYWHERE for him.

I knelt on the carpet, thinking of him, all he means to me. Wondering if somehow he had flown away–or if this was when aliens would finally be discovered!

Knowing he was somewhere but where? Left there alone only to be quiet and think.

Space and time have a reason: I thought of his essence, the highlight/lowlight times we had shared in silence, completely merged in the moment, resting in satisfaction. His playfulness. All his good qualities. A person and a cat–boiling life down to what matters.

Then I walked past the bathroom and remembered one, last possible (and of course weird) place. And he was there. It wasn’t like in the movies–no music to herald our reunion or sappy “Oh my God I thought I lost you!”s

Nah. I just looked at him, touched his offered, and slightly portly belly and my whole body relaxed. It doesn’t have to be dramatic to be real.

And there were a couple insights I thought worth sharing: Cats (to those who love them) are master teachers.

I.e., Everyone needs to hide away at times, to go where nobody could possibly find them, at least for a little bit of time, to go inside themselves to a treasure chest of pure energy, life force (prana/breath) that is theirs alone, so they can slo-mo set foot on their birthright trampoline bounce … and this helps those around them, too, to recognize them, make sense of them, because the fastest way I have experienced to be deeply recognized (if there was anything for someone to recognize at all) is to vanish.

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Poetry/Prose

Fists are for Fighting

hand-tattoo-tnKeep your hands open!

It comes

That thing you want so bad

And all you want to do is curl your fist around it

But then it changes

Gets crushed

Resents the journey it took

To reach you

And all it wants

All anything wants

Is to be free

When it escapes

It has memorized that terror

It will not return

So keep your hands open

Through everything

Keep them open

When it comes

Whatever it is

Whoever it is

Whenever it is

Keep ‘em open

Observe

Don’t shoot it

Don’t trap it

Don’t catch it

Become one with it

Appreciate it

Support it

Wish it well

When it goes

Keep OPEN

Because that’s the only way

Anything good

Will ever get in

And anything past its use

For your living soul

Will escape

The end

Is the beginning

Make it end good

Like Seinfeld

Most of all remember:

The fist begins in the mind

Train the mind

When the bird of love lands

To keep open

Smile so deeply inside

Without disturbing the winged one’s nature

As you support it

In your open wide hand

One day, the bird will land that wants to call your hand home

Before you realize it

Your open hand will be covered in straw

Baby birds warming themselves atop it, chirping

And on that day, you will feel

You never had to make a fist

You never had to do anything

To enjoy the natural splendor

Of love’s most natural flight

And necessary landing

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Art, Music/Book Reviews, Poetry/Prose

Start Again

Whatever it is. Whatever it was. It’s gone.

No pact or promise can hold it in place.

Not because you don’t deserve it, but because it’s always changing.

Appreciate it and let it go.

It will surely fly back to you if it wants to do–or into the sky, carrying a part of you to timeless heaven.

Eternally impressed–its memory will shift around your actions and change their meaning every day.

The minds-eye mirrorball–shifting light of reason as the hours, days, years, lifetimes pass.

We live in so many dimensions.

Let go and see it.

Let go and live into your next one.

Every day.

Look in the mirror first.

Say it to yourself first.

Start again.

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Poetry/Prose

Who Do You Think You Are?

Image courtesy clashot.com

Image courtesy clashot.com

Let me put it this way

We lose a civilization

With every extinction

Everyone

Has the wisdom of society

Even if we only see

With our narrow minds

Their purpose relative to us

Entertainment

Nuisance

Food

Transportation

Companionship

Lives marked

If survived

By our reactions

To convenience

Or inconvenience

Reckoning

We never will

As everyone collides

Millions and millions of galaxies worth

Of us

Species, families, kingdoms

Come

Call them what you want

Put them in silly categories

The birds would laugh

If they could or would

Pull focus

On the tiny speck

Of humanity’s rationale

It’s absurd

This obsession

Running away

From what we don’t know

By making up stories

Of what we think we do

You will get so much further

Watching, listening, whispering

Submitting

To your territory

Your dharma

And wide amazement

To all others’

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