in this interminable uncertainty
comes the melting of belief and structure
so little remains to hold on to
I have often said and secretly feared
the prayer of letting go, of shedding
it is sometimes impossible to discern
the useless or even broken
the shapes form like pillows around my head
I am too sleepy to think
that even one of them
is unnecessary, or even harmful
it all feels so soft
and then I remember the feather I found today
a slip of white among the green blades
perhaps to remind me that I am sheltered
by a wreath of angels
or maybe that I would be fine
if I were to throw away
the whole downy collection under my head
I would be fine
after the long night
of tossing in discomfort
because in that night a light
will cross the waters of anxiety
to wherever I am in my mind,
such as now, on a rock beside a midnight lake
beside a shadowed mountain
that is kissing the orange moon
nothing with me, no pen
and at this age my brain
can no longer make copies of itself
if I were to write a poem in the air
it would surely be lost
and that is what the feather meant:
write poems without pillows
or pens, under the arc of the moon,
sheltered always, whether your brain
remembers or not
Today I will be a friend.
I will reach out to one person
and invite them into my heart.
I will open the gate and let them
enter as they wish, at their own pace,
or even not at all, if that’s their choice.
I will offer love and the space
of stillness and curiosity.
I will bless their life with secret words.
If they harm me or never come back,
I will still have been a friend
and I will be ready for my next chance
to offer belonging.
Wake in every citizen today the unquenchable desire to vote.
Keep every voter safe and free from obstruction or intimidation.
Illuminate our vision that we may see beyond our small thoughts.
Place in our hearts the integrity of non-harming word and deed.
Protect our country from acts of hatred.
Unite us as our new leader emerges.
Unite us in an expansive vision of what could be,
that we may move forward with integrity, compassion, and grace.
Unite us in our patriotism.
When you dwell in the dark quadrant of despair
and the book of your life
has become some jumbled hieroglyphics
on a gray, windowless wall,
I stand for you.
I stand on the Green Lawn of a Better Day.
Barefoot, in tadasana, I stand for you
like a mountain, grounded deeply in the earth
and I breathe into my core your garbled chapter.
A violent wind
circles my head like a black wreath.
I remember my own tempest,
how unsure I was of my ability to endure,
how lost I was when my map of Right and Fair
I stand for you at the Crossroads of Change,
my feet firm, the howling wind of shared pain
crossing my head in every direction.
My hands lock over my heart.
Inside a prayer grows wings
and takes flight,
hooks the maelstrom by the tail and trails away
until you and I are both once again
in the clear.
Both photos: GOLGATHA, 1963 by ALFRED HRDLICKA
Installed at Storm King Arts Center, New York
As I wandered the Storm King grounds, I was drawn to this somewhat remote figure in the woods. It had a presence that I couldn’t name. I didn’t identify the title or artist until after I’d left the park. Golgotha was the site of the crucifixion of Jesus. As I studied the photos I’d taken, layers of meaning revealed themselves slowly in my mind. The splash of sunlight at the heart of this figure solidifies my sense of belonging in front of that sculpture at that exact moment.
that giant man with a biblical beard
looming in the sky
unhappy with my mistakes
sending me bad stuff.
The God I love
is a beach blanket
wild with orange and hot pink patterns
sheer enough for light and air
to drift through,
the kind of blanket
that catches in the sunny beach breeze,
flapping and bubbling,
the blanket I can’t wait to
smooth across the hot sand
and plunk my goofy bones down on
so that I can partake in the full menu
of blissful beach therapies:
sand, salt air, surf, sun, sleep.
On ordinary days, like today,
when God is not a beach blanket,
she picks up her knitting
and settles down next to me on the couch
so I can take a nap without worrying.
As I lose myself in the reverie
of the God/beach-blanket metaphor
and all its possibilities,
she loops her long hair behind her ear,
leans over, all pleased and all,
and kisses my forehead,
right on the third eye.
The shock waves
have not ceased to pulse
outward from the terminal
across every body
and every body
on this rocky planet
we are love
those who buffet the waves
with whispered prayers
from our faraway posts,
writing a reply
immutable as the stars
and growing longer
with each new signature:
we are love, we say,
we are love, we pray,
We Are Love.
When she whispered I am speaking through your heart I knew she meant not to me.
She who is larger than the stars
gave promise to shrink into my heart,
become a mystery to solve a mystery.
Comes the day, I pray hello
as I open the door to my heart
and fall asleep.
The doctor enters with his lovely light
looking for places that need more light.
She who relaxes with the angels welcomes him,
answers his questions
until my heart is lit and love
radiates cleanly in every direction.
I awaken to a heart in me
that is neither muscle nor drum,
but glowing space, a vessel
of soft light to guide my way,
a mystery to solve a mystery.
Mother Mary with the morning sun above and a small green orb of light below, a blessing.
When you must cross a threshold that frightens you
to enter a territory you would much prefer to avoid,
may you tether to your wrist
a flock of helium balloons.
As you go where you must,
they will babble overhead
on their long threads,
following you so eagerly,
as if they were new thoughts—
ones of hope, creativity, courage
waiting, just waiting
for you to think them.
Who can maintain gravity
while holding the potential
to defy it?
Go, then, trailing the colors
of illumination, armed
with new thoughts
to lift you.