counting these small epiphanies

I step from my room to the hallway.   eyes turn right toward the front, kitchen then living room then balcony.   where’s the cat?   first thought so swift, no time to consider reality.   then, yes then the places where she used to be.   sad feelings for her being gone?   I did for quite some while.   go, go touch the place on the back of the couch where she’d like to sleep all the while keeping eye on the hallway for one of us to appear.   Gracie liked her perch.   she savored the scratches to neck and head, pushing with all her might into more, yes please, more.   I always tried to satisfy.   there’s a crease still in the top most pillow where she used to roost.   I go touch sometimes.   close as I can get these days.   at first doing that was sad, but irresistible.   now, a memory I rather have than not.
 
 
leave aside logic here.   thoughts for a time implied my future well-being was a function of my own willingness to endure.   to continue being me.   that was not always a certain response.   too many days, perhaps, thinking it would be easier just to let go, cross over, whatever that meant.   less discomfort, possibly?   then with a friend newly realized, more than I really thought I’d ever be, I thought instead, yes, I’d like to continue a while more.   was that all it took?   I was thinking yea, maybe so.
 
 
now I think myself skipper here.   my boat.   but not really my life.   I go where goes my life.   truth is simple stuff.   still, better that second attitude.   although there’s a certain raw quality I’m unfamiliar with.   besides, can’t live right now as if it were tomorrow’s tomorrow.   Alan Watts used to tell the story of a crab sitting on a rock in San Francisco bay.   someday a gull might land and peck right through that shell – which the crab would certainly hate.   however a simple truth – not yet, not yet.
 
 
thank you Alan.   good story told.   I am trying to live that well.
 
 
so I’ve thought, in this confluence of health issues, what to do, meaning what to say.   is it somehow better or not better to say right out loud how it is being me.   no, not details, no blow by blow.   but yes, how it does feel – being me.   I don’t have that answer.   but something in me says, why stop, why denigh what I am, what changes are changing.   is it not right I should share.   I’ve lived some years thinking I was wanting more intimacy, more trust, more engagement.   how then is – stop – a right part of vocabulary?
 
 
so now I am keeping faith, writing you.
 
 
 
 

just because

    just because, because a dragon is always wise and right
    and because we should ever be appreciative and polite
    to any creature who goes thump when they walk.

 
 
that’s my rule you know.    any creature that doesn’t want
to eat me (especially any creature who could) is my friend.

 
 
 
 

apple tree


you said.    you asked.    I said, yes.
          didn’t I?

but maybe I am bigger consequence.

turning over every word every stone.
is any of me left to chance?

so oft, says the leaf, I don’t know.
          fair answering.

stay.    what’s that mean?
I want to answer, close to you.

an apple tree.    sweet this time.
but maybe, maybe I already did.

two apples.    one root.

better love.    remains.
 
 
 
 

here’s to another month


spoon on the left side or right of the plate?
how about fingers & toes, how many of those?
no, not in a dream, but wide awake.

write a story a poem a paragraph, one more time.

this time it was you.    you who asked.    and
I’m inclined, saying yes.

there is a tree that lives inside a tree.
so that story goes.    limbs inside limbs.
another snake in a tree.

and you?    another you inside you?
more bigger good grace to smile my friend.

we always knew who that snake really was.
here a nibble, a taste on a flutter of air.

there, there’s that word again.

who imagined it was big as a rock?

stand close with me.    as you do.
not being alone was forever the better
          choice.

here’s to the coin in our pocket.
 
 
 
 
 
C. after we talked.    july 2022

John

it bears repeating.    maybe I’ve posted this before.    I’m unsure.
no harm a second time.
 
 

All This Joy

song written & performed by John Denver
 
 
All this joy, all this sorrow
All this promise, all this pain
Such is life, such is being
Such is spirit, such is love

City of joy, city of sorrow
City of promise, city of pain
Such is life, such is being
Such is spirit, such is love

World of joy, world of sorrow
World of promise, world of pain
Such is life, such is being
Such is spirit, such is love

All this joy, all this sorrow
All this promise, all this pain
Such is life, such is being
Such is spirit, such is love

Such is spirit, such is love
 
 
 
This song for me is simple truth without all the clothes to conceal.   I’ve listened countless times.   If you ask me how I feel about being here in the middle of life, well this will do nicely to describe.   Sometimes I view life as a stream of questions awaiting our response.   Maybe Spirit has the questions and we are posed to answer them.   Here is the conversation inside my ear when I’m listening.

        Scribble and pin this to the wall.
 
 

love loves difficult things

 
the answer to joy is life
the answer to sadness is being
the answer to promise is spirit
the answer to pain is love
 
 
 
from the album Annie’s Song, here is John performing All This Joy
 
 
thank you John
 
 
 
 

nothing

 
 
 
 
 
 
this could’a been a poem       but it changed its mind
 
 
maybe just random thunder, nothing else?
              we will soon pass
 
 
 
 
 
 
first time I really heard this phrase,

you don’t know, what you don’t know,

I was impressed.   I remain impressed.

as big as a universe, as eloquent as forever.
 
 
 
 
 
look at the spoon the chair the table the person next to you

nothing     is about space.

what does it mean, this space that resides, that embraces, you, me

                    is space a participant?
 
 
space      is the medium through which we   connect   touch   engage
                 can it really be described as inert?
 
 
how many years have I asked how we combine this far respect
from one and another one.            why is aloneness in my roots?
 
 
how do I come to peace with this unknown measure?
 
 
 
 
 
when you sit with it you come to recognize
the word,    nothing    is a lie.   it is contrary to
what it portends.

not its fault.   not ours.   it is
the nature of this beast.

language     symbols     but those define our thoughts
 
 
 
 
 
we have no word.   we have no thought.
we have no feeling.   no remembrance.
describing    nothing    at all.
 
 
 
 
 
the very word itself, guilty of deception.
see how it references    nothing    as no-thing
by including the only beingness we recognize.

go ahead, describe everything.   at least you
get a running start if no end is in sight.   but
describe no-thing and we’re lost already.
there is no thingness to nothing, none.
          speechless

we matter to ourselves.   we are matter.
we are stars and hydrogen transfigured
by greater intent.     nothing,  does not.

at least not by what wedon’tknow
 
 
 
 
 
yet we are also space itself.   they say
most of matter is the empty space in-between
the bits of dear familiar fluff.

we are more nothing than something.
being blunt.
 
 
 
 
 

but really, what does nothing feel like

nothing has a beauty to it when looked at from outside.
 
 
of a recent medical procedure I was completely
anesthetized.   later, in recovery arrived
the clearest sense of nothing I’ve ever known.

might say it was peaceful without being broken.
might say it felt wonderful being that way.
but obvious isn’t it…

none of those, not one.   it was nothing.
no joy, no sadness, no fear, no desire, no
direction, no up, no down.

no past, no future.   no care.      no resisting
 
 
 
 
 
aside, to be honest, I feel no fear of not being
alive.   I worry some about transitions however.
 
 
will the ocean be gentle with me?
 
 
 
 
 
 
it is difficult being me.   no, not just now, although
that’s what I first thought myself.   but difficult
almost always when I breathe inside of me.
 
 
 
 
 
I am.   talking to the ocean, wave after wave.
suppose I thought that great presence would
answer me back.   room for my foolishness.

a performance of sorts.   but how genuine?
 
 
 
 
 
as you see & read, what’s your relationship
with the spaces here?   not even a second glance?
do you wonder what’s over your shoulder,
               something peripheral?

does     nothing     change what I present & you receive?
 
 
 
 
 
this is one part of the early night where
I wander about, bare feet on carpet then hardwood,
colder floor.   gratefully.   dim kitchen lights,
dark toward the front and outdoor balcony.
 
 
I’m drawn to it.   green face of ripe leaves
cloaked, but I smell them, their oxygen.
rich     full     embracing

yet fresh air past blood, into my heart is elusive tonight.

is it jealousy, why I’m uncomfortable with this abundance?
 
 
 
 
 
          I’m not just defined by what you see.

          I’m also defined by all the things
          you will never see.

               Derek DelGaudio, In & Of Itself
 
 
 
 
 
night time is the hardest time for me now.
I don’t know why.
 
 
 
 
 
 

garden in the dark

the ten most things that want to speak

 
the garden below my feet.   you make me more glad.

the wind that tattered itself through a poem.

what arrives and what departs?   ferryboats.

even the mere memory, voice transposed.   you, my family.

coming from the same, going to the same.   one path, isn’t it?

oh the sun, the sun, it has richer vocabulary than I words.

I think I need to meditate all over now, differently.

change says, you don’t really know me at all.

no malady exists without a life.   smile my dear.

sweet heaven is undiminished by my sight.

trees in the forest

        what is body doing now?

my body is feeling gravity.  my feet, the dirt.  my hands, my tail, the metal bench.  my body is moving blood.  shake it down into fingertips.  see the pink emphasis.  my body is moving food.  or is food moving, twisting and turning my bodies path.  my body is moving air.  feel the breeze in nose then throat.  pressure inside.  greater than.  swallow the atoms we want to keep.  see breath in cool morning air, reflecting out of me.

my eyes are seeing trees.  seeing leaves, thinking autumn falling down, seeing stone made by hand, seeing knees, seeing hands.  seeing a woman crossing the street, then two men.  seeing bright across the street and above, seeing shadow, like thoughts sometimes.  seeing birds, only in swift glancing flight.  seeing the time of light, seeing change.

my hands are holding shapes.  sculpting shapes.  tenderness.  curiosity.

        here, come close.

skin feels air.  more at the back of my neck when I don’t wear a hat.

my feelings feel thinking, but thinking does not think feelings, just impressions the way water does.  horse and buggy would be an analogy.  feelings feel in several voices all at once.  feelings keep moving south and west and east and north.  is it a matter of heart?

when a tree in the forest falls, the forest feels it fall.  relationship.  
relationship holds us to its breast.  be at ease I inform myself.

and sleep becomes the mirror image of that breath.

the nature of air

          you are but a whisper on the lips of God.
          as a whisper, you pass on ever so soon,
          like a line of poetry written on the waters of creation.
          yet the greatness of a whisper is that it is passed on…
                    Charles P. Thorp.

wind breathes the whole world to your face

all of it, all

imagine, imagine how that is

because, because it is real, it is

all that is, a catspaw whisper on your ears

it is touching the skin of your face

it is tasting your mouth, the inside of you

it is breathing, you

Sahara blazing into space.  that forest sea-breeze cove that
no one yet has found.  that park down two blocks when you were
only this much tall.  a field of unbound wheat visible after climbing
the low hills crest.  the place where you first felt yourself alone.
stone and salt and gulls inside the wind.

your lovers kiss between the sheets.  your lover twenty years ago.
that baby you touched inside its damp eager grasp.

your mothers breath
  
  
  
neil reid
  
  
revised 2019.10.13  (inc. the former title, breathing)