bigger than a shoebox is

What invigorates life invigorates death.     Walt Whitman said.


“Gratitudes”, a first meditation, a light-opera (yet to be scored),
something whispered to closest friends.   when you discovered
holding a pen in your hand, when you learned to read and write.

aria, nothing much can be a hole big as the moon.

it was only a little pain.   OK, no, bigger than that.   and what if
it wouldn’t go away?   she worried this to herself.   she laid down
in the bed they gave to her.   indolent, as was described to her.

you’ll live.   for now, they said.   she wasn’t upset.   but she wasn’t
herself the same as she was before.   like you grow hair on your
head.   she took their medicine.   like making war inside herself.

she wondered if it was the state she’d driven to, these many miles
past turning back.   this was for keeps.   was it the change in all
the weather, Winter bigger than before?   was it her attitude?

aria, I meant it to be this way.

it was a conclusion she didn’t believe herself.   surely it wasn’t
something she wanted for herself.   broken things seldom get
invited in the front door.   and consider, the rest of her life.

but considered, it was as much wildfire on a windy day, running
out of control.   smoke billows.  lovely to see, if not inhale.
define middle.   halfway done.   a new meaning for that word.

enormity is on either side of that mark.   her beating heart, got
down from the fence.   legs dangling over a precipice, kind of
melodically.   she considered counting days.   then thought, no.

recitative, all of it, it’s all so brief.

secular prayers were given her.   twice daily.   hours passed.

scribbled notes on paper.   by hook or by crook.   navigate.

deter.   alleviate.   confuse.   that much at least, realized.

a chorus, assembled over time.

she wanted to say all the right loving things.   she pondered
the universe before she was around.   wondered, what might
be different after she was out of sight.   would any notice?

did it matter to her?   did it matter at any scale, bigger than
and smaller than.

the priest had said to her, go look at the face of a man,
a man who is dead.   answer, can you see the difference?

yes, she said.   we were all listening.

the person who was there, is not there now.   meaning,
they were not the body after all.

this parting bequest.

the priest said to her, tell me, how do you lift your hand?

she said, I don’t know.   I just do.
yes he said, as you do being born and.   there is
       a bigger life you cannot remove.

what to do, she asked.
       make more stars.   do that.

       they won’t care like you wanna think.   but they will
      shine brightly.
       bright eyes to see.   another horizon being crossed.
       someone said, Light is the face of god.


a deal with Chaos

          my god, there are stars inside.
these hands, they foster doubt.   don’t stand too close.

pointing the path where we meet.   coincident.

reconciliation needs must pause until.   contemplate.

no, not lonely being apart.   lies.   like this.

where have all the flowers gone,

          they sang.   a strangers voice.   a crowded bus.

          each ticket buys a memory.   recursively.

here, on a mountaintop, this much closer to you.

          a myth I tell myself.

not unhappy, standing alone.   more lies.   like this.

trade for half a candy bar.   sweet teeth.

camel-hair smells like dog when wet.

sometimes a blanket, call this shadow home.

no doubt about what’s left behind,

          one birdhouse and

          something else.

but I forget.    that’s the deal.


how a butterfly feels



              feels like dying, being alive.
    this poem, what did it look like when
    it was a first birth.   not a question.

              stepping stones.   after all.
    here there is a room.   there is a desk.
    four walls and a roof.   oh yea, a floor for my feet.

              wonder.   is a pinnacle.

    it’s the second floor above.   desktop, two arms reach.
    garden where there isn’t roof.   letters under fingertips.

    a fence, a gate.   sometimes snow.   listening.
              all I mean.
              it is more than me.
    a road, feet on stone.   quietly.

    random noises.   make far and near.   I’m not the center.
              even when it feels that way.
    these raining words, more kind than me.   more better.
    more stronger.      more loving.

    more astonished.

    mostly so.   that they find my fingers eagerly.
    it is a blessing.    after all.


closing your eyes

water like blood.

at night there are rocks we can’t see.   we may run right up to them
     and embrace.          (mariners take heed)

here, even in the middle of night, the middle of nothing,
it continues to lap the shore.   we listen.   we feel.   wondering.
     rhythm is our bones.

gratitude in a spoon

to feel a breath includes some pain.   gratitude.
to feel these legs includes some pain.   gratitude.

these fingers, they’re not like before.   gratitude.

these thoughts, they recall being shy.   gratitude.

memories, so many with no smile.   too few of you.   gratitude.
snow on the ground, a beauty I keep apart.   gratitude.

to feel apart from you, too common, found.   gratitude.

of intentions, a shallow pool.   gratitude.

of strength to lend a hand, remote.   gratitude.

of desire, a bowl facing down.   gratitude.

of possible.   looking with both eyes.   unfound.


tell me now, what gratitude is.
my teacher said faith includes doubt like this.

doubt, not a foreigner.   faith, an open door.
wasn’t my first guess, but gotta say,

seems right looking now.
     then sleep.   water will be like eyes.


writing meditation

                            does ordinary count?
how’s that look?   no crossed legs.
       go ahead.
       scratch that itch.   no rules.

       listen.   yea, do that.
under the carpet.   right where I stand.   no Tibet.

hidden in plain sight?   no.   in front of my face.
       hidden, same as is the sky.

eyes closed.   that’s how I hide myself.
mouth open.   waiting for words to arrive.   taller than me.
thoughts circle.   eating their tails.   pleading thoughts.
but here’s one choice.

       let go.

       same like falling is.   same like flying is.

better grace.   knowing how to find my self.
better.   finding me inside my stance.
nothing to do.  nothing, already arrived.

empty space has a face.

       yours, I recognize.

pointless.   elliptical.   listening.
appreciation grants harvesting.
       prescribed, she says to me.

am I audible?

that’s my prayer.
no matter.    but yes.

I remember now.    loving.    you.

2022.12.24 r 1

something other than clouds

here’s a shadow I am standing inside.   measured in shades of real.   yes.

which of us is the larger?   not me.   I am not the outline you think I am.

do we matter much?   well, not me.   I count only for what you don’t see.

mother, she left around this drawing of calendars.

pencil in hand.   ink only when I’m more sure.

they are clouds laying on the ground.   these white feet messengers.

read before they dissipate.   or be a fish that got off the hook.

     there see, it’s the other way around.
first and last.   I’m wondering what those mean.
     even if the meaning is simply – one.

     last might think itself first again.

although not meaning, standing alone.

toes, you see how they bend like they do.
     the better to grip.

     the better to come close to you.

although really, I’m more shy than that.   teeth being
one measure of hungry honesty.
remember, clouds are empty inside.   tectonic.
not meaning, fault.

meaning, possible.


some of the breaks

I wonder what this means.   a watercolor seems to know.
here, the first of the batch.   grandeur.   then
a matter of scale.   no.   more than scale.

     apply us to the stack.   history.

one person, standing alone.   side by side.
imagine.   see how big
someone else made their thought.

this much here.   see.   taller than me.

but we can also see.   we belong.
like the Sun coming out between the clouds.


catching rocks

tripping over my own feet.   just like thought.
like a novel sometimes.   but only when I look.


the word far is common now.
inside outside, is one of the illusions kept.
playing recursively.   time remembering time.

feeling I suppose, is my default.   like how some
might look sidewise, seeing me.

kindness.   written some might bigger now.
gardening.   on hands and knees.
that remains the gate.   grace, letting go.
as I am.
is there more?   another chance, is that the question?

yes.   no.

yes.   both.


a gift of salt

no, please, stay with me.   here, my word.   one face.

I am here for you.   just the way I was imagined to be.   so, I am.
when I’m awake I do just what god asks me to.   we call that fair.

                   when am I awake, you might ask.

zinc can make you fresh.   like a tomato bed.   fast asleep.   but no, awake.
it’s the color red.   it’s the scent of soil.   the way your lips are, close to me.

imagine rusty iron.   imagine the color of skin.   imagine being closer than before.     imagine imagining completely the way it is.
                   like an ocean is.

                   we say master, when the world is the way you say it is.   navigate.

imagine seedless melons.   well, we can say, wrong.   imagine seeds inside.
imagine birth.   mother.   imagine wanting more.
                   imagine bigger.
what makes us this way?    zinc.   a little bit.   some sun.   what you eat.   all of it.   what you breath.   what you touch.   understand?   what you see.   what you say.   feeds back inside.   the price of milk.   bread.   directions to the hospital.   the name you name yourself, inside.   even Tuesday’s do.

a donut or two.   rarely.   like many things.   do, or else.
a taste of shellac.   it’s safe you know.   beetle’s backs.   dark navy blue knee-high socks.   a brush to scrub your back.   there see, there you are again.   the movies you watch.   the stories you tell.   the ones we swallow like food.

salt then.   salt makes bigger than.

sugar, yes.   but not so much as to confuse a life.
plum sauce.   you never know when you will.
two spoons tamari.   there is a way you do that no one else does.
butter.   an ounce.   fat is where ideas take root.

                   cooking pots & pans.   as wise as books.

salt.   given by angels.   given by oceans.

salt.   makes the moment sacred.   in a pinch.

salt alone is a bitterness.   salt with another makes the distance sweet.

tongues will make feast upon summer salt.   nothing lost.

          that’s how we know each other.   taste, one of six.

salt.    evergreen.