Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The bloom is off the branches






As life explodes from every corner of our consciousness,

A moment, please,

For the petals of blossoms 
Dropping from the trees.

I myself might not have noticed

Were it not for the antique truck on someone's lawn 

Which I drive by every day -- twice
-- undertaking that part of life you might call routine 

Never noticed it's been parked
under an apple tree this whole time

Struck anew by the sight of it
dusted perfectly with the petals 
of those sweet and fleeting blossoms.

What does it take to cut through 
the trance of living
To feel the life force moving 
Always moving

Today it is a delivery truck from the 1920s

With news for the world

Sitting still in the awesome light of the morning 

A storied and stately bier 
Serenely bearing its diaphanous cargo,
mottled pink/white,
An exquisite garment
without a body
to cover



Thursday, May 19, 2016

Long May day's run



Young man
Lying in your mother's arms
You've squeezed two days of living out of this one 
And I've been lucky enough to bear witness to it

The light that took forever to die 
made you feel like you could live
really live 
Forever 
And when you hit your limit 
and the ugliness emerged, an octave higher,
you fought stillness like a delusional sea captain 
like a mean drunk Don Knotts

But eventually you met it, horizontally,
other half of half eaten burg in hand 

And I explained to you 
'Son, you know when the day is coming to an end...'
'It comes back again?' You asked.

'Well,' I said, 'every day is a brand new day, every day we get a new day,
But the day before
Has gone away
For good 
And can never come back

'And so, 
when we are saying goodbye to the day that is ending, but we haven't yet seen
the new day
We can feel sad,
And that is an ok feeling, it's ok to feel that way,'

And before I can tell you it's a gift from God, the whole thing, the full day, the sadness of the end and the innocence and glory of the new day to come, you say,

'All wight, all wight, I'm tiooowd.'

In your mother's arms you experience the joy of goodbye to the day you lived all the way,
Not a moment gone to waste. 


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Gonna Change Again and Again



I listen to 'Gonna Change My Way of Thinking' a lot. 

It's a diamond set on the dusty road through Bob Dylan's conversion to Christianity. 

It's a repudiation of the power games, cravenness, violence, persecution, hypocrisy, alienation, self-hatred, and apathy that we meet in this world.

The original version, from 1979's landmark record 'Slow Train Coming', is written and sung by a person who's found the courage to say: the game is rigged: things are not right. 

He revisited the song again in 2003 - as a sketch and duet with gospel legend Mavis Staples. The lyrics are almost completely rewritten as a personal, pastoral shouting blues, backed by a crack band laying out without reservation. 

There's spine-tingling determination in every note: I'm breaking the trance, not gonna be hypnotized anymore. Not by the world outside (1979), and not by my own mind and heart (2003).

Gonna change my way of thinking. Make myself a different set of rules. 

Gonna put my good foot forward,
Stop being influenced by fools.


Many ridiculed him during this 'Christian period'. But whether or not you believe (I happen to), his fearlessness is bracing. 

Anyway, it's hardly an emotion exclusive to Christian belief - or to belief at all: across the denominations, and outside of them, there is wisdom meant to wake us up to what's really happening, in our lives and in the world.

For me the song is a challenge to my smugness in the high times, and a sign of hope when I'm foundering in the shadows. 

It expresses the constant newness available to us if we're willing to believe in - and act for - peace, justice, love, possibility, non-judgment, generosity, reverence for life, and a love of the natural world in which we live. 

Constant, radical renewal.  Gonna change my way of thinking. 

You can do it as many times as you want. Every time you press play. 

Every time you realize you've forgotten. 

Every time something sneaks up on you, falls on you, drops out from under you. 

And every time is the perfect time to do it. Changing it all again today.



Monday, June 23, 2014

Through all this



I thought they had all gone, been consigned to memory, or better, gone away, totally gone, no trace, something you can just let go of, something that sublimates, no need to cling, no need to express, but here they all are, back again, the boat, the blocks, the bottle, the cross, the desire, the pipe, the terrible imagining, the one-liner, the wedding, the wheelchair, the brimming over, the joy, the ease, the anger, the shortness of breath, the garbage, the dirt, the hair, the smell, the cold, the grasping, the gasping, the distance, the deadness, the chasm, the chrism, the shame, the salt, the rain, the road, the field, the past, the pot, the night, the gas, the fish, the bowl, the birds, the cage, paralysis, secrecy, pain, rage, hail, thunder, lightning, morning, missing, disconnection, unity, love, innocence, memory, ragged memory, and the feeling, never really gone away, that I'm going to have to write my way through this.




Monday, January 6, 2014

Holiday's end



When we're together, we may bark, or snip, or growl, but from our little hearth, arm in arm, we meet it all, small dispute or great disaster, the joy that brings tears, and the tears that try to drown the joy. 

And before long we must pick up and go out into our various worlds, which we forget are all one. 

It's easy to feel forlorn, bereft, separated as we may seem to be from our various members, but truly we are no further apart than a planet and its moons, or a river and its source, or a melody and its harmony and its rhythm are. 

And when we come back to each other, we are grateful, so very grateful, that we're reminded of why we yearn for time off together in the first place. Everything begins again.



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Friday, November 8, 2013

A Tangent


I read an article a while back & got the impression that the Environment Minister isn't comfortable uttering the words 'climate change'. 

Which is strange, because she's from the Arctic. I wonder if it's because the government is not keen on certain kinds of science.

My pal Finley does well working on the oil pipes in Alberta. He welds. The western cities are booming. I hear stories of towns awash in lonesome men with cash. He does it for his family.

I turn on my car and drive to buy things.
I go by Finley's house and wonder 'will he come back before winter?' That makes me think of Four Strong Winds.

When I listen to it, I can hear the bleakness. It gives me shivers. The tear ducts burn. It's like seeing the world from the air. Finley working on the pipes a wayyyy over there. 




Friday, September 20, 2013

Train Engine Bell


The train engine bell
In its urgent, mechanized march
Could raise a panic in me
At one time

It was a summoning of worry
An invocation of concern
A reminder that the beginning of the end was at hand
A clang - clang - clang and you're mine all mine, hand it over, hand it over, I need your heart just to fool 'em again.
A classic submission move
A cadence just quick enough to awaken chemical defenses.

But something seems to have changed
Could it be my way of thinking?
I can pick one CLANG and let it ring
Or speed up the march of the clapper until the bell becomes a great singing bowl, truly singing, ringing true, reverberating, living in the heart, carrying me all at once away and then back to you.


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