now stand near. close your eyes.
I’m doing the same. imagine now,
me imagining you, standing near.
to share a space!
to walk the same floors. and hand to handle,
orange juice on the left, milk on the right. the stairs.
the groceries. the calico cat. some ants. sleeping.
tending our garden. I do the watering. some of it.
blessing is this body of life.
it’s not so much your visceral intent, mattering.
it’s that you align with the intent that already is.
the writing itself, pen to paper on my fingertips,
takes me a step away from my shoes. from you.
think of mother remembering.
soft towels around her arms to keep her from drifting
out of her chair and away. she did. they brought her
home. well, that day, that home was a hospital room.
nothing familiar. memories free to put up a tent.
back in San Francisco. I was just there with friends
this afternoon, she says. she’s back to the boarding
house for her meal tonight. says, I look familiar.
she’s glad seeing me.
I don’t take memory personally.
it’s an ordinary skill taken to heart. I try.
think of this wandering like a ripe apple.
you know. something sweet.
what sharp teeth may appreciate.
there’s the child who labored, figuring it all out.
maybe not so successfully.
there’s the man growing older every day.
he feels the unconditional heft of gravity.
imagine your life. afraid. and release.
imagine telling. all your truth.
imagine knowing. what’s the truth of that truth?
gather me in like driftwood. I am. the same.
put me on the shelf. souvenirs from the beach.
all bleached brown and scattered white.
a few grains of sand speaking in native tongue.
it’s because you’re near that I remember you.
your after-shower, exuberant, untamed hair.
early morning in town. it is all too beautiful to want
leaving. open eyes. past due, observe.
palms on my seated knees. my collar up but chill
breeze behind finds me anyway. some minutes,
minutes yet before sun comes out from a green leaf
I miss your book being in my hands this morning now.
sun is now on the right side of the bench.
I’m on the left. slowly. closer my way.
Oh, I need This, is said behind my right shoulder.
was it really behind? closer to me?
sun creeps astride my paper coffee cup.
now here. now me. except my knees.
despite the warm glance, I shiver once with the
change. the brightness of the moon.
you and you, and you, are in this poem right here.
you veer from thought to ink. don’t need names.
we align by height, near and far.
now to ask, Is the daylight sturdy in these hands?
And it’s all that knowledge
that conceals what a thing is.
there was a man,
this man had body issues that kept him apart from
most sense of physical experience. what could this
man do? so the man learned. he learned to cut
his skin just so much as to feel some sense of body
connection. to be awake. what he now calls
in whatever way available to him.
seems like ample pain in this world. real and imagined.
is there a reality where pain is received in gratitude?
just to be alive.
the closer we look, the less we see of sky.
sailors say, some waves know your name.
many just ignore you, unless provoked.
if you don’t know how to do. do. allow,
allow not knowing to find its own way.
draw small circles from far away. like we do.
which of these threads have only a single source?
to see a thread is to become that thread. more.
more than chemistry.
this is what I go to sleep with and,
and what I wake up with each day.
it’s not so much being brave about life.
it’s more about surrendering. happiness comes.
like rain does,
two surfaces finding each other.
like planets do when they begin gathering.
gathering home. this could be me.
when I was this much tall. inches. now, measure
goes by another name. yet still, I am this much tall.
this is not like me
write down your sins.
no, those, those you don’t want to say.
maybe not even aloud to yourself.
some say the real meaning of sin is simply not ripe.
not ripe yet.
here, right here, have it sit right next to you. cousin, me.
here’s why. she said, dogs have a clear conscience. do we?
write. write your list or paragraphs, not that you
ever need show anyone. it’s process that makes change.
excuse me while I turn my back. some lessons are big,
but most are small. like this here.
here’s how you know when you’re seeing right.
how we got there I don’t know. but it is,
there are threads that say, who I am.
I am a child, a son, an aging man.
I am an observer, a writer, a forgetter.
I am willing arms. I am broken.
I am shy on Mondays and Tuesdays.
I am alone.
I am forgiven, when the truth is said.
I am your friend. possible.
you never see how many threads I really am
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not
certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
here’s a lesson, and it’s meant for me
take some small slices of pie, you know, like
those people those cars those crows passing by,
beside some bench beside some city street.
now, say thank you to so many each as you
can notice. individually, I suppose. saying,
thank you in your thought
no matter the face and shape.
sincerity counts. but observe,
is your silent voice genuine? you already know.
be the willing effect of. everything. freedom is.
notice what happens inside. your own thought.
does gratitude know the way home? it does.
to whom? when is the universe not listening?
making thanks includes who and what I might
think otherwise to hold at arms length from
being close? what changes? where?
where does distance first exist? who, you ask.
do we dare our feet to move? each motion matters.
is there intimacy? linger with that on your tongue.
a moment of intimacy is. each one. one moment,
and when I forget. remember instead.
appreciation arrives. like air. breathe.
who am I no question mark
am I my feet inside my shoes. no socks today. a holiday.
am I the feet that when they said, step forward, I did not.
no question mark it’s all continuous
before there was light
picture a blue barn and orange sky
I am not the blue barn. I am.
I am not the orange all around. I am.
each dawn I am, barely visible
some say eyes open is the sun
imagination more than a word
I do not expect you to believe anything you’re seeing or hearing,
and knowing you won’t believe me, that’s the only reason I’m going
to tell you the truth.
Derek DelGaudio, In & Of Itself
arms and chest and hands that’s how they arrive
for a few moments my world is just you.
embrace. I’d forgotten. but now…
the world is every possible way that it can be, including this way here.
are your thoughts affectionate? am I myself?
go ahead define, conscious affection.
am I breaking up & apart? glacial turning back to light?
the world is generous of grace,
yet seems some shy lest you willingly pluck each fruit.
we change. I change.
Not that I’m not the person that my history has grown.
I am. And I’m not the same. Bigger, Smaller, I am both.
and when asked, the word is recognize.
the rest will grow from there.
When you take a breath, are you satisfied?
Hands and. Fingers, that touched like ragged silk.
Maybe it was you.
What scars do we hide? How do I hold my hands?
Palm up, or down? Choices can be this much small.
My presence will be erased by wind and rain, like
a mountainside gives itself away to remembering.
By eyes I see. By touch, I know who I am.
What are my sins? Another name for sin is lie.
Pretending I am not you.
What feast is this? Dare we speak aloud, “I am beautiful”.
Did you mean it? Do I?
We are visible by virtue of light. No matter how sensitive,
no light, no sight.
Be the Light.
To write is far better than making things wrong.
When you look, see brightness. No blemishes.
When you walk, you look down to see your feet. When you walk, earth looks up to see your feet. You become the sky.
When you breath, you are kissing the lips of god. When your words smile with another’s, you are blessing the world.
When you are willing to let go all your stories you will be able to see heaven. Then you’ll also know, this is it.
an essay perhaps
says Fern about her house (from better days):
It was just a company tract house. Actually, it was special.
We were right on the edge of town and our backyard looks
out onto this huge open space. It was just desert, desert,
desert, all the way to the mountains.
There was nothing in our way.
Fern (by Frances McDormand) from the movie, Nomadland
Ways to navigate. There’s Sun then Moon then Sun again. Stars too, from ears to toes. Wind whispers near. Breath circumnavigates in response. There’s how waves move above a slow nesting sea. Fish too, swimming deeper than restless sight. My hand in the water. Does skin taste the salt? Ripples, the ones you keep and those you let pass by. How Moon becomes the limber sea. Oh yes, and the smell of dry land.
And the scent of you.
Wayfinding. I like that word. Isn’t that what we’re doing here?
There’s the warm pulse living inside my chest. Amber hills that seasons reflect. And there, there, another like me and I see the curve, the way a hand would appreciate shape, and what also beats inside, how we measure near and far.
More than a compass reveals.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
What I got wrong.
Mother said Presbyterian, but from the shallow end of the pool, and then, “my choice”. I looked. I didn’t believe, except that they looked colorless to me. No home. Later, my first, my only, high school girlfriend, she was Japanese. A small offering shrine in their home, toast for the ancestors. So I studied Buddhism, not that she cared in the least. But the dye was cast and no removing it. How’s that for brief history?
Not that history says why, rather what and how, maybe who, and as such always seemed fair and right questions to me. Mostly, no real teachers so imagine a patchwork mess. Oh yea, and I should include being painfully shy. Not a very good lubricant.
A child of the Sixties and going into Space, so reasonable science became more church than church. Over many years the pot on the stove grew in volume. Bubbling, blending, they came to an understanding I was willing to embrace. Reasonable?
Like mom said, it was always my choice. However, no choice about having choice. No matter the source, the story inside always is within what understandings I’m willing to swallow. My choice. That is simple mechanics, how it works.
To summarize what hasn’t yet been said, I thought I carried some useful notions about this jigsaw in my lap. It all made a certain reasonable sense but the math always summed up to zero,
neutral was the word I used.
The universe didn’t care.
Much later a genuine teacher crossed my wandering. He was honest, I was not. He observed experience, I did not. He understood math better than me. From youth he had angels at the foot of his bed. And no compromise, no negation of his experience. His universe was not neutral, not at all. Neither was he.
Here’s the math.
in my view 1 plus -1 = 0
in his vision 1 plus -1 = 1
Noticeable difference it seems to me. Seen through another lens,
Love is the state, the act, of unconditional acceptance.
That’s a pretty big mouthful just of itself. More rightly said,
the true nature of existence is “love with affection”.
Connected. Not passive. Engaged.
A lie does not negate what is true. That math is wrong.
I was wrong.
As a human, he liked his experience of life. As human, I did not. No mystery why my notions had a certain blindness the way they leaned.
Same same as choice. You are the only one point of view to look and choose. Tell me what your own life says to you. Fear or joy? Which feels real to you? A stranger walking by, do their eyes meet yours? Aversion or greeting, which feels like home?
Does the world include awareness, affection? If you do, then the answer is yes. You are both evidence and proof. Ask the question. Take the answer you get. Look. Choose.
harbored in between.
far water. and,
no bigger than my thumb
ferryboats, moving east to me
and westerly where,
I don’t know.
Is there listening when I speak? when I think? when I feel?
Aphorisms The truth doesn’t mean anything. It just is.
Happiness is a function of accepting what is. Love is a function
of communication. Health is a function of participation. Self-
expression is a function of responsibility.
Werner Erhard, Aphorisms
Astronomers pose the question, Are we alone?
I’ve come to recognize I take that personally – Am I alone?
No, not meaning interstellar companions, rather what is already right here with us. You and me, obvious, although a challenge of itself. But how about – a bird, a breeze, a bench? The molecules in your hand? What is the mutual experience being us all?
Is there companionship and purpose here?
Does that make us free to appreciate? Or the other way round, is appreciation what makes us free?
about the elephant in the room
So alright, more said for me than you. Howsoever, it wants saying because after all – it is an Elephant. My blood is not behaving as it should. Real enough. I continue only through the grace of an equally intense medicine. This situation is also – so what? But my cognitive ability does suffer some. That makes a difference here. Words come less easily. Associations, questionable in scope. Less than ideal if writing is my chosen craft. The difference is both visible and invisible. How do I see what I’m not seeing, not remembering!
So my question of late is how do I write anyway? I don’t have an answer. It’s like having suddenly shorter arms. The three observable differences are writing less often, ideas more easily lost, fewer words in smaller aggregations – and yea, tiredness that’s become a distracting background
This is what is given me. I do not have the heart to be unappreciative.
You gotta pay for the ferryboat. Or learn to swim.
My prayer for you. May there be nothing in your way.
may you smile.
Lightness is always good when plowing language.
What and how to say and be?
Maybe here is the best I can do.
Maybe my expectations don’t fit simple truth. Do my intentions really matter as a step ahead? Do I even, honestly, get to prescribe how my intentions reach to ground? Or should I simply look at them as shadow stitched onto my feet? Abundant self-criticisms. Moment inside moment. No quaking earth, but one foot in front of the other. What about all of those thousand thousand steps? Arrogant to criticize myself for placing the fork to the left or right of the plate? What other sins?
Does the cat crossing the street lament self-doubts? The birds embracing the limbs they rest upon? The window, the door? What storms intrude that make any difference to the feast? Cross the street. That’s enough.
Breathe. Observe. Participate. Appreciate.
When I was rather young it was joy that frightened me more than pain.
However. Cobblestones. I’ve been in the river a long time now.
dear Charles. Remembering, a present tense verb. Two footprints in the sand. Do you hear the village cleansing bells? Men lift and persuade the loadsome bell platform down the narrow village street. Homes, the sliding doors open wide. Families, they move the doors. Rooms open with sky. Purity of regard. The way that breathing moves the chest, moves the sky.
Once you asked, what could you do to make me feel safe with you? Anything. Anything, you said. (Who says and means something like that!) My silence was impermeable. Meaning, no, nothing to give. I was afraid. Now, in a new tropic dream, you enter the circle, you ask again, come with me, and now this time, I do. Did you see?
Blessings chimed. Expunge broken things. Lift. Move the bell. Repeat.
Ten-ish I gather my daily regimen of pills. Then drizzle them onto tongue. Some water. Then swallow. Do I hate taking pills? I used to say, well, think, I hated these exotic shells of chemistry that keep my blood intact. These days I favor not using that word, not what I really mean – too violent. Language makes difference. Besides, emotionally the moment that most confronts my attention are the simple actions moving pills from their bottles into my attendant cup. That’s when resistance happens loud for me.
I am probably mistaken much of the time. However this gathering of me is all I have to offer – except for having you. And yes, no matter distance, your living colors into mine. A matter of choice.
At my best, and that is only a fraction of me, I want to know who you are and I want you to see who I am. To know and be known.
Beloved. More than a word.
the simple breath that kept him alive.
Naomi Shihab Nye
A recent post I read brought to question relevance. So what if I have cancer? How mundane. Some people have cats, some have dogs, some, nothing to eat. Although honestly, so often now I color my thoughts with a myriad of not-yets possible. Far from any semblance of enlightenment. No, not a thought about why me, nor even how do I escape the fate of life.
But where is the grace in my heart?
Times in the morning early
when it rained and the long grey
buildings came forward from darkness
offering their windows for light
William Stafford, from Some Things the World Gave
generosity is an expression of gratitude.
said another way. generosity is the root verb of gratitude.
said another way. it is gratitude in motion.
May my life be received like fresh baked bread.
Poems. A late life arrival but here for the duration. I said I would – write – but sometimes it’s shaky ground. More than desire it takes the guise, do I have anything worth saying? No escape. Bonded companions perhaps – write and doubt. Mutual regard? But what if.
What if language grows opaque and rigid for me? Memory is a real question that way. Experience seems trustable, but words? For that I need a good hammer and nails. What to write if words get thin?
I don’t have an answer.
I have a possible obsession with the question – are poems real? Are they merely ink on paper? Do they harvest some difference in more than just a busy life with a bag of marbles to collect? I suspect they do. I hope they do. I think a poem can carry a breath. And one breath can begin Anything. And Everything. Participation is what makes a difference.
This is an unexpected universe.
Write a poem that heals. Isn’t that real? Possible? Once upon a time I gave this response, Read this poem aloud. Me, I don’t think it met the challenge, not in a conventional poem manner. Yet the title itself, that invitation to “read aloud”, that carries engagement in a real human sense. Voice.
That realization is within easy reach.
excerpt from Story Time
Bring me a new one, maybe with a dog
that trots along side, and a desert with a hidden
river no one else finds, but you go there
and pray and a great voice comes.
And everything listens.
This journal posting goes maybe one step more near. First and last lines. Keep them but toss the rest as you wish. Touch. Touch and motion is how I measure truth. Connection is only realized in twos. Given by one, received by another. Relationship, by another name. Smile.
Does a life have purpose being here? Is purpose attractive (not pretty, but attracting)? A pebble like a tree like an afternoon wind like the sound of a voice, these too apply their purpose being here.
Genuine acceptance is thus defined.
Is my life not poem enough?
may your face smile when you think of me.