Prayer of the Haunted Heart

This one is from “More Ghost Poems”, another of my nine self-published poetry chapbooks circas 1999-2004:

God please take these feelings of fear
from my bones and my breath
until my time has come
to meet the angel of death
Take these haunted dreams
shadows in the night
Take this haunted heart
into your flaming light
So many words left unsaid
So many things to settle still
God please take me into your golden dome
Use me as you will
and then bring me home

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Angel Prayer

This little prayer is from 1999, originally appearing in “12 Poems At The End Of Another 1000 Years”, the first of  my self-published poetry chapbooks:

O angels please take this mysterious sorrow
from my heart of hearts
Take these dark spots from my soul
Remind me of the simple ecstasies
the privilege of these clumsy senses
O angels I thank you
for helping me to remember
to be thankful for this air we breath
though it’s veiled in toxins
For the ability to hear
though the music has a price
For the special treat of taste
of the bitter with the sweet
For your generous gift of feeling
though it sometimes burns so deep
And for this vision I can only hope
will be clear and fair for the rest of my years
here on this planet, within this system
of light and dark, contained by this galaxy
which at once seems so strange
and so very much like home

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Live A Little

Originally appeared in “Ghost Poems”, one of my nine chapbooks of poetry self-published between the years 1999-2004:

Is this what it all comes down to?
We live a little
Never fully understanding the mechanics of self
or the purpose of these physics in motion
We just plug along each new day and
try to make our way
and then we die
No matter our endeavors
Never mind our efforts
It’s inevitable
It always turns out the same
This is why it’s so very important
to closely examine our usage of time
perhaps reevaluate what really counts
Because it always turns out the same:
a little life, a lot of death
Sometimes I feel like a ghost
moving through each new day
each new frame of this light and dark system
A phantom in my own world
Invisible, insignificant
to the proceedings around me
But I know all what’s come to be
is an illusion
The strange evolution
which has come to pass so quickly
all a passing dream
And I know there must be something more
An essence of something true
A common grain
which always stays
despite the fallen garden

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Elder Dream

All I wanted was to live a long life
A grand, foolish life–to grow old
I didn’t think about the ones
I’d lose along the way

To live an abundant life
full of mix-matched love
magical emotion, rowdy adventures
I didn’t even think of all the goodbyes
The slaughtered intimacies
The sacred tears and moments
that would trail off into history

To be an old woman
Rocking on a porch somewhere
Full of stories, visions and dreams
I didn’t take into consideration
maybe no one will be listening

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An Easter Story

It comes to mind every year around this time
Funny how things work, a stranger
30 minutes over 30 years ago
Of course I don’t even remember his name
I’d just landed my first job in that neighborhood
Was pouring drinks in old town Monterey
Tending to the chain of gypsy souls that flowed in and out there
A wild assortment of fleshly ghosts indeed, a deep end gathering
In walks this man, a lone man
So completely alone, you could feel it
An empty zone, a pillar of alone-ness
with a vacant smile and haunted eyes
He takes a seat at the bar
A slow day, empty room, lazy hour
Juke box tunes and dice cup clatter
watching the sidewalk traffic
No one had cellphones then, no texting, no PC’s
It was a time for real living
You wanted to know, you asked
you went out and found out
You had something to say, you just said it: fretting, feeling, fucking and fighting whatever came down, it was a first-hand affair
It was a time for naked souls exposed to life’s natural elements
As soon as this man sat down and started drinking he poured out his story to me
And how did I know his was for real?…you may be asking
I just did, I’ve always had my way of knowing
The real question would be why he told it, why he poured it onto me
He said something about my face
found something in my eyes
Maybe I just always attract ’em
Maybe he knew we’d never meet again and simply had to unload his burden
Brute with a conscience, hit man’s lament
He’d killed repeatedly, a hired hand
Not exactly the type of line one would use to flatter a girl
I could see that every pore of his soul was on fire
I had never met so lonely a man
He could never have a real friend, not ever in this life
because his life was a pack of lies
and he had to keep moving
Money?  Sure, tons of it, but blood money
Nice houses, plenty of them, one right after the other
He never wanted for that kind of thing
But was in too deep to ever change
And his life, he said, was like one of those chocolate bunnies
Shiny, colorful and full of promise
Looking so good on the exterior
Yet nothing but empty air beyond a very thin layer of sweetness and foil
an empty, hollow space inside
This was right around Easter Sunday, come to think of it
And every time the season passes
I couldn’t see an Easter basket without thinking of him
and wondering if he ever found asylum from his evil deeds
And with every year for me comes a little bit deeper understanding:
Is not each of our lives a little like one of those hollow shiny rabbits?
Dazzling and impressive to the eye
yet ladened down with guilt and fear and empty promises?
Are we all not somewhat artificial?
Living for the things that look good and spend well
but constantly ignoring the cold dark void within our every soul?
Though not all of us have killed by the force of our hand
Haven’t we all been guilty of murder in some form or another?
Killing the light, destroying the spirit that connects us
Forgetting to be grateful
Quick with judgement, envy, betrayal
And always so slow to forgive
As though the empty scorn never existed within our own heart
Collecting the grudges, lining up our scapegoats for the fall
Thoughtlessly censoring the love letter to Jesus
from that sad, remorseful broken-hearted Judas

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Napa Valley: Do We Really Need Another Winery?

Napa ValleyThis is a departure from my usual “M.O.”  I never considered myself to be much of an activist, even though I have some pretty strong opinions on many of this world’s injustices.  I generally get too twisted up by all the skullduggery, word trickery and outright mind-fuck that goes along with the politics of any given issue, and therefore find that I do much better behind the scenes, instead channeling those energies into things like reflection, power of thought and prayer.  But there comes a time when a person has to stand up and say “HEY!

So this is the deal:  a friend of mine lives in a quiet little community just outside of the town of Napa, California called Circle Oaks, and the quality of life there, not to mention the life of many animal and plant species, may soon drastically change for the worse.  In the tradition of ruthless, profit-seeking development, another big company wants to go in and build another huge winery directly above them, which would entail major desecration of the land and it’s many inhabitants.

We’re talking dynamite blasting, heavy machinery operations and run-off of pesticides right in their “backyard”.  Also, the water resources will be as good as sucked dry for the wildlife and  for the human community, depleting from a relatively new water reserve system that my friend was charged big money for and is still paying on!   This, smack in the middle of what has been dubbed a “drought” situation.  And, as though adding insult to injury, the company somehow finagled their way around the planning zones and will, if this all goes through, eventually build more homes on the “winery” land and rake in some astronomical profits.

Yes, Napa Valley is world famous for it’s beautiful wines, but let me tell you people, it’s not the love of the ancient art of wine-making that is prospering there these days, not even close.  The days of “poetry in a bottle” are long gone and replaced by, or metamorphosed into, for the most part, big money, obscenely big money, profit and gain and that’s it in a nutshell.  The people wanting to go in and destroy this land above Circle Oaks do not live there and do not care what this venture will do to the area.

Even many of the locals–of course wanting to defend the “local” industry–are defending the project, or at best misrepresenting it and the voice of the opponent, the people.  A Napa city sign positioned at the beginning of the road to Circle Oaks and stating that the road is not fit for heavy trucks has mysteriously disappeared.   The proposed “winery” and all the tearing up of the mountainside would be on the “back side” out of view from the downtown area and therefore not assaulting to the eyes of the purse-wielding tourist.  The Napa newspaper published an article mistakenly insinuating that the citizens of the communities which will be drastically affected by the construction are completely against tourism, cut and dry.  And, of course, buzz words and key phrases are being thrown around like dimes at a coin toss; all the standard ones like “creating jobs”, “personal freedom” and the “capitalist way”, etc. etc…capped off, in this case, by “wine-maker’s rights”…

So before I get carried too far away here on my soap box, maybe you could take a look at the website that these good citizens have put together in order to protect their homes, and the homes of many four-legged friends.  They can explain their situation much better than I.  Please take a look, maybe see how you can help, at least maybe by offering up a little prayer.  Too much of our beloved planet is being shamefully desecrated in the name of powerful big money.  The next brutal assault on Mother Earth may be in your backyard.

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Pennies On The Floor

This was originally written in 2003; a version of it appeared in 2004 in “Jewels In The Dust And Other Hidden Trinkets”, one of my nine self-published poetry chapbooks:

Now I’ve thought it over long and hard
The ways of this world
Dog eat dog, survival
Get ahead, get more
This high-dollar mentality destroying the globe
Now I’ve lived in poverty
and in grandiose places
Stepped high into the night
on a gilded path, into a golden skyline
Begged for my dinner, dined off of gilded wares
Sailed the high seas of luxury
Counted my pennies on the floor
Threw my coins to the sky
And all I have now
is what I’ve learned from all those lifetimes
That riches don’t come from the ground
or the bank vault or deep pockets
Learned the hard way
just how much money matters
And now here in this world spinning out of control
where everyone grapples for another dollar
and too much is just never enough
I sit barefoot in a human garden
where strange hungry souls
grow up all around me
directing their passion and their inquiries
toward capital gain, a basic mockery
of the system of life
(it will all wash away soon)
Now I sit counting pennies on the floor
Always just enough to get by
Counting on my good health
on a beat to beat basis
Counting on the angels
for my heart to keep pumping
Thankful for the simplest things
in this ruthles, fast-moving high dollar society
This isn’t an excuse for not having nothing
(there never was an excuse for me anyway)
I could have easily acquired all the trappings
of a cushy bloated life
Could have gone through the ruthless channels
But wanting all that stuff
fat money, power trimmings
It never did feel right to me
It always felt so incredibly wrong
And so here now I merely exist in the moment
while the years keep spinning on
and generations of whoremongers and super achievers
dash and spin past me
like fiery meteorites blazing past
a clumsy old planet stationed in time
into the nothingness of space
at incredible speed
to their inevitable demise
I step aside and let them go by
And it really doesn’t matter much to me
Everyone has their custom-made lessons
their legacies to leave
We all have to go sometime
Me, I have my “what if’s” like anybody
Wondering if I’ve used my time wisely
to meet the requirements of this soul’s education
But when all is said and done
one has got to stand firm in their heart
knowing that they have
And as I stand beneath an endless sky
watching the stars and planets as great as our world
So huge and great, and coming across to me now
as tiny points of light
When I look upward into this magical void
it seems only natural to me
that none of the earthly affairs
we strive for and worship and dwell on
could ever be as important as we make them
And the only thing that matters at all
would be the riches of your heart and soul
the light that burns inside
I would rather die knowing this
than live for the things that destroy love’s true worth

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Sacred Timeless Moment

Still trying to capture a little bit of that sacred timeless moment…

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The Levee

Here is a very old and personal poem I thought was lost forever but which has in recent years resurfaced.  I originally wrote it in February 1977, at 17 years old:

Jewell says the river will bewitch you if you’re not careful
but I don’t think it’s what will have me to my knees
The levee will possess me in a while
and though I’m not a native
it will become as thought I was raised
right here on this earthen wall
Snow is so rare here
When it snows the schools close
Children slide down towards the muddy Ouachita
on cardboard and wet asses
The levee will never let them down
it watches over the town
it will see to our well-being
Jewell says I’m protected here
like a child at play
But I don’t know
insanity can occur any ‘ol where
The levee will see to it
that I don’t float away
until I’m ready
Jewell likes to walk it while the sun leaves him
He’s never walked it with me
He goes home alone and in silence
he’ll talk with his Bible
And I’ll most likely be somewhere up on the levee
following a stranger or writing poems or
singing lyrics of trials and lifetimes into the wind
Jewell loves his solitude
Uses it like his Savior
indulging in holy stories and psalms
matching each character to the roles in his mind
While I’m probably up on the levee
or hanging over the bridge
feeling this same sacred power
experiencing similar enlightenments
yet from within my own soul
Jewell says he’s a loner
He won’t let me touch him
and is afraid to touch me from a scar
that has opened and closed over and over again
Still, I know he loves me
and I know he feels more intensely than most folk
Time is the only natural fertilizer
for this collection of his, this garden
Jewell gave me a pendlem made of clay
Last night I dreamed that he hung one too, from his neck
reproduced from mine, both magical
But on awakening there was only one
it hung singular between my breasts
Perhaps he hid his under his vest
or somewhere deep inside
I went up on the levee
and sat staring at water and brush
and I found it
Jewell says when he’s on the side of the sea or
the line of the road
what he longs for at home is the river
It’s no wonder
I’ve seen his clay heart there
fully illustrated by the muddy Ouachita
Jewell says he’s crazy
He won’t listen when I tell him
we all are
I know he’s probably more sane than most folk
He pays much attention
to the sacrifices and glories of existence
Yet isolates his own from the whole
and says it’s different
and crazy
Jewell told me the river has bewitched him
Says it like I am not aware of this power
If only he could venture to the center of me
my spirit is so very close to his
and with the hands and mind of this life
I don’t think he’ll ever really know it

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The New Jerusalem

Serpents hissing and spitting around the crown
just like with our poor Sweet Jesus
in the desert and on the Mount
Raw wisdom pours from the deep inner well
Surfaces in fractured truths
in books and language, eons of stories
childhood rumors and heated speculation
It comes in words and symbols, color and form
in songs of the etheric condition
perpetual drama of the heart
reaffirming what the heart always embraced
Things make sense now
Things are more clear
Recognizing those demons’ history of antagonism
their tired story, their sad and sorry plight
somehow makes them scatter then fade
Radiant bits of knowledge from a higher Brotherhood
messages littered throughout our days so long ago not
quite yet pertinent take on full dimensions now
take on form and meaning, generating only good will
Language of the spirit and of the seasons’ passion
speaks to us through cherished emblems
of the turning of years and centuries
Now is the time of understanding
Even that of ourselves
we only lonely had glimpses

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