Awakening Sacred Memories

“A cemetery is not abandoned as long as it is kept and preserved as a resting place for the dead with anything to indicate the existence of graves, or as long as it is known and recognized by the public as a graveyard. The fact that for some years no new interments have been made and that the graves have been neglected does not operate as an abandonment and authorize the desecration of the graves, where the bodies interred in a cemetery remain therein and the spot awakens sacred memories in living persons.

Your mother’s sister is your aunt,

so your grandmother’s sister is your grandaunt.

My sister is your great grandaunt,

my great grandmother told me, as we 

meandered a trail in a green tree tunnel.

When we came upon the copse,

I thought the journey had ended,

but she plunged in confidently.

Through the darkness, until finally

we came upon her grandmother’s gravesite,

buried with young children and soldiers,

all mine. All dying young in Civil War times.

I was 10 and this genealogical lure

hooked me firmly, so I snapped photos

and wrote down every family song

that she sang.  Today, I’ve brought

my aged father; he’s long forgotten

the trip still etched bright in me.

I thought, fifty years later,

the place would surely be swallowed,

ten lonely graves in the middle of

time’s generosity

transforming a corner of a cornfield to

exuberant, well-fed trees crowding

the narrowing clearing.

Someone has been before us,

planting tiny American flags on the soldiers’

eroded tombstones.  

I see my father’s

woebegone face as he stares at the tall

tree that has emerged from our 

ancestor’s burial place, but I am elated.

I walk closer, see an ant scurrying up

the bark.  Were this ant’s ancestors

living alongside mine?  In our parallel

universes that have no space

for shared legends, I create one here.

“Hail, grandmothers,” I say

and it’s not clear 

whether I’m speaking to the ants

or the trees or the expansive earth,

the bond we all share, invisible

but palpable once we pause

the kerfuffle of our daily lives

and give homage to the dinosaurs

from whom we’ve recycled.

Great Aunt, Ant, Plant, Abandon, Kerfuffle, Woebegone


The Art of Feeling

“There are these very high-energy cosmic rays being accelerated out there somewhere…This is literally a new way of seeing the universe.” ~ Ian Sample, The Guardian

The painting I require

will take years of disciplined practice

to emerge.  Right now, though,

I’m standing on the precipice

of a new vision of reality

and no longer trust my words

are enough.  My reliable camera

cannot zoom in on this one.

I have to tiptoe

so carefully on the delicate lines

stretching between us,

every word an invitation to trigger

some half-buried wound

longing to come out.  And I am here

for you.  I am here to the depths

of my bones for you.

Breathing with you as it emerges,

whatever it is, however it comes,

dedicated to its integrated embodiment.

My painting will reveal 

the Indra’s net of our connection,

how our neurons are reflections

of the way we hold each other

like constellations blazing across the sky.

We marvel at our sudden appearances,

when all the time we’ve had

this meeting scheduled, the responsive

universe wrapped up in us all,

threading through our lives in

an intricate pattern briefly revealed

in the fulgent sky at sunset,

in the distant stars dancing behind

clouds, and I’ve got to go now

take out my paints and start

from the place in 3rd grade

where I stopped drawing

to concentrate on the words

that fail me now.


Word prompt: Integrated.  Featured image of neurons from Dreamstime.

Feeling Better?

Presence, witness, and be understanding as whatever emerges, emerges.  No need to assume, interpret, interrupt — or make anyone feel better! ~  me paraphrasing Thomas Hubl.

I stumble into we-space

a mess, straight from the garden

where I’ve been unearthing

dark emotions, buried deep

after being told to feel better.

Don’t be a petulant child.

All the angry, scared places

are coated with black shame,

in subterranean spaces with no

access to the light.  Trapped in believing

there must be some better way

to feel; I’m doing this wrong.

Stop that whining

or I’ll give you something

to cry about, and the silenced terror

anticipating the arrival of the truly

monstrous. I don’t want

to feel better. At sixty years, it’s

finally necessary to follow

these ore veins underground.

I long to create

a safe container with you,

to express what is alive

in me.  Right now.  Your curious, open 

light illuminating the shaft.  Speaking 

directly to this living force moving 

through me, finally embodied

once I let go of the story.  

We alchemists transform

this trapped energy we’ve mined.

We welcome all

these glowing elements, stirring

with care, fireproof mitts and vests.

Seizing this seething

piece with our wolf jaw tongs.

Delving into these fierce feelings

becomes an incantation

for transmutation wizards wielding

an outpouring of love in this heartspace.

There’s no better way to feel.

Knowing what is alive in you

enlivens me, so dig deep.

Be present.

And we all transform. 


Prompted by word prompts: Fear, and Petulant.

I Am Pele

Featured image by Parker Hamblin.  See more of his amazing artwork here.


The center of the earth burns

through me.  My power wild and glorious

you cannot harness.

I have been called demon,

but you know better.  

I live in your heart.

I burn through all your

illusions and delusions with

my magnificent gift of necessary destruction.

Seek me when you dare to create. 

You will find

I am the fire running

through your very veins.

Right now let us rise up,

tune in to our outrage

sheer conflagration bursting

from the long-suffering

earth.  This invitation burns

our reservations, no longer

hesitating to join the dance

over hot coals, reality finally exposed

insubstantial, imagined obstructions

kindling to our true life flames.


Although my doctrine has been to groove with fresh inspiration in my writing here, today an accomplice laid those plans to waste; I take solace in offering a poem I wrote several months ago.






Song from the trenches

“You can argue that if we move into these societies and contribute to the dysfunction, we have a moral obligation to its people who feel unsafe in the situation that we in part have created.” — Melvin Goodman

These screens painstakingly peel away

our compassion in a careful recipe:

desensitize, dehumanize, normalize

atrocities. We no longer know

our history, completely oblivious to

the mean greed propelling

bombs aimed by multinational

corporations.  Gleeful to snatch abundant

resources from the wreckage,

they can deny the collateral damage

refugees streaming for the safety

bubble that we’re glassed behind.

Beautiful spokespeople call themselves

news anchors, unblinkingly intone

the invented story I’m fed.

Where does this food

come from? How can I identify

sustainability? Slap me hard,

a radical awakening. There’s no way

back; this pattern has been recycling fear,

anger. Genocide. Chaos

augmented by my inability to recognize

you, brother. Sweeping desperate people

into cages? That’s what we do

best. Take away everything,

then say they are illegal, slaves, savages.

I can’t walk away from the screen

where I’m working so hard for an

occasional like, careful to bestow

an endorphin rush with a like of my own.

I’m in the enticingly baited trap

and the attention is lax here. I find

I can tap on the walls

my secret coded messages.

Wake up, wake up, wake up

with me. I need you

in all your imperfect glory,

your unprocessed grief, the

indigestible bits you’re struggling

against. We’re global citizens

now and we reach each other.

Lovingly see that humanity

is becoming, add our necessary

unique voices to the swelling

song. Together we can transform

our species if we open our hearts

to feel each other, tuned in

to the web of our connections,

this amazing opportunity to escape the maze.

I glance across the ocean at you

and throw a kiss. Wake up, beloved,

we’ve arrived

and there’s no going back.

one-year-old defendant

Thanks to the word prompters: Abundant, Mean, and Augment

Lonely, Great and Precious

“Please let me take you
Out of the darkness and into the light
If you can hear me now
I’m reaching out
To let you know that you’re not alone.” — Nickelback

“One of the important dynamics in Family Constellations is the Interrupted Reaching Out Movement between children and their parents. When a child’s connection to their parent, particularly with their mother, is disrupted by a physical or emotional separation, strong feelings of hurt, rejection, despair, hate, resignation, and grief can occur. When the parent re-approaches, the child may turn away feeling rejected and hurt, which may persist throughout their childhood.” Barry Krost

My grandson is too young to call me

and his mother has grown distant.

My best friend let me know

my wordy emails are too frequent.

My nightly walking dog buddy

is on vacation.  

When I still my chattering mind,

there are tears in my eyes

not ready to fall, not yet.

I start walking into the sunset.

This is a clever game my mind plays,

refusing to let my emotions

ground, listing instead all the reasons

— oh, god, so many, I’m just devastated

— I have to be so sad.

I’m not interested in mind games,

not tonight.  I’ve been moving energy

and so there’s bound to be some

piece of me finally freed.

I can tell by the urge to throw

myself onto the pavement, wailing,

she’s around two.  She called

a friend the other night, a long

wide-ranging talk for hours

they called nourishing later,

not admitting they both had

the reaching out

interrupted very young, and

the temptation to merge, 

to hold each other was

the river running under

their words.  Unspoken, though.

But listen: tonight I am interested

in you, my beloved, landing in my throat,

that sad silent crying stuck there, 

unuttered after a busy, distressed

adult punished you for the noise.

I’m here, I’m available, use my eyes

to weep.  Gathering around my temples

now the pain of withheld tears.

We’ll embody this feeling together.

Such a lonely child, rocking yourself

to sleep.  Let me hold you now.

Your loneliness has seeped into my now,

and I’m following your trail,

determined to rescue yet another

child trapped in the darkness.


Beyond myself, somewhere, I wait for my arrival. ~ Octavio Paz

The language separating us is glued

to constructs of time and space.

Without them, we would tumble

into the eternal now.

And so we experience

our seeming separation,

you, a young brown-skinned Muslim man facing

silver-haired peach-skinned mystic me.

We aren’t even

supposed to transmit this way, you say,

Allah forbids it. And yet Allah also leads

us to this moment, always. I have been

setting a prayerful intention to step into

the next level of being in relationships,

and so it’s obvious I’m right

where I need to be. Reaching across

this desert landscape, the deep cultural

divide in the entrance to Healthy Thyme,

dappled light moving across our faces

from the listening trees. We are connected

even though in your faith, to deviate

and impart a spiritual lesson from male

to female is forbidden. To lessen your fear

of being overheard by management, we head

to a darker corner and try different

words. I spoke to your inspired creation

of a product I need, hand-made, sustainable,

fairly priced. You’re young. This is a valuable

contribution to the planet. My choice

of words implied that Allah was not honored

as the creator of all things. You need me

to truly understand. We are residents

of our cultures’ belief systems

brick walls suddenly visible

as we painstakingly dismantle,

one by one, our preconceptions wrapped

in our ability to language what we sense

in each other: the deep appreciation

that only arises from spiritual practice.

And though perhaps ours spring

from different galaxies, we still

meet here in the shadows:

the sage elder co-creating with the young

man whose heart’s on fire.

In many ways, you are like my grandson,

an Aries child of April, Year of the Monkey,

curious, fearless, testing boundaries.

Only when he feels heard is he able to shift.

And so it is with the two of us.

The diversity of our tongues and colors

fade as we stick with it, healing

the planet by tuning in to each other,

discarding the words that don’t land,

celebrating the glimpses of a-ha!

when we resonate. We smile our goodbyes

after your gentle reminder that Allah won’t permit

you to shake the hand I’ve proffered.

Sliding back, rattling the bars

of our cultural cages, leaving

the unlocked doors open

to the navigable now.

I used these prompts today! Desert  Resident Lessen Monkey, April, Brick Dappled Deviate

With a quotation selected from Ray’s Cool Prompts Lessons From Nobel Prize Winners