Chamber 1

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Listening

I am listening for a sound beyond sound

that stalks the nightland of my dreams,

entering rooms of fossil-light

so ancient they are swarmed by truth.

 

I am listening for a sound beyond us

that travels the spine’s

invisible ladder to the orphic library.

Where rebel books revel in the unremitting light.

Printed in gray, tiny words with quicksand depth

embroidered with such care they

render spirit a ghost, and God,

a telescope turned backwards upon itself

dreaming us awake.

 

Never-blooming thoughts surround me

like a regatta of crewless ships.

I listen leopard-like,

canting off the quarantine of bodies

sickened by the monsoon of still hearts.

There is certain magic

in the heartbeat which crowds the sound I seek,

but it is still underneath the beating I wish to go.

Underneath the sound of all things

huddled against the tracking dishes

that turn their heads to the sound of stars.

 

I am listening for a sound unwound,

so vacant it stares straight with the purity to peer

into the black madness of time

sowing visions that oscillate in our wombs

bearing radiant forms as the substrate of our form.

 

When I look to the compass needle

I see a blade of humility

bent to a force waylaid like wild rain

channeled in sewer pipes.

Running underground

in concrete canals that quiver,

 

laughing up at us as though we were lost

in the sky-world with no channel for our ride.

 

I am listening for a sound

in your voice,

past the scrub terrain of your door

where my ear is listening on the other side.

Beneath your heart where words go awkward

and light consumes the delicate construction of mingled lives.

I can only listen for the sound I know is there,

glittering in that unpronounceable, stateless state

quarried of limbs so innocent

they mend the flesh of hearts.

 

 

Compassion

Angels must be confused by war.

Both sides praying for protection,

yet someone always gets hurt.

Someone dies.

Someone cries so deep

they lose their watery state.

Angels must be confused by war.

Who can they help?

Who can they clarify?

Whose mercy do they cast to the merciless?

No modest scream can be heard.

No stainless pain can be felt.

All is clear to angels

except in war.

 

When I awoke to this truth

it was from a dream I had last night.

I saw two angels conversing in a field

of children’s spirits rising

like silver smoke.

The angels were fighting among themselves

about which side was right

and which was wrong.

Who started the conflict?

 

Suddenly, the angels stilled themselves

like a stalled pendulum,

and they shed their compassion

to the rising smoke

of souls who bore the watermark of war.

They turned to me with those eyes

from God’s library,

and all the pieces fallen

were raised in unison,

coupled like the breath

of flames in a holy furnace.

Nothing in war comes to destruction,

but the illusion of separateness.

I heard this spoken so clearly I could only

write it down like a forged signature.

I remember the compassion,

mountainous, proportioned for the universe.

I think a tiny fleck still sticks to me

like gossamer threads

from a spider’s web.

 

And now, when I think of war,

I flick these threads to the entire universe,

hoping they stick on others

as they did me.

Knitting angels and animals

to the filamental grace of compassion.

The reticulum of our skyward home.

Chamber 2

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Temptress Vision

A temptress vision has encircled me like a

willful shadow of a slumbering dream.

Is it the powerful light of purpose?

If I squint with all my strength I may see it.

Always must it be inside of me

like a pilot fish inseparable from its host.

It fearlessly drinks my essence.

Such a bitter taste I muse.

Spit it out upon your table of perfection.

Compare this grain of sand with your galaxy.

This spire of sorrow with your deepest eye.

If my callous mind can see you,

there are no interventions.

No pathway away.

Convergence.

 

I am a lock-picker.

A tunnel-digger.

A fence-cutter of the wicked watchers.

A traveler that has sought

the mystery that eludes all but the outlaws.

The wild-eyed, unrelenting fools of purpose

that remain outside the laboratory of wingless flight.

 

You are the eternal Watcher

who lives behind the veil of form and comprehension,

drawing forth the wisdom of time

from the well of planets.

You cast your spell and entrain all that I am.

Am I just a fragment of your world?

A memory hidden by time?

A finger of your hand driven by a mind

unfamiliar with skin.

Touch yourself and you sense me.

Visions wild with love.

Splendor that beckons like a secret whisper of gladness

spread on the winds by an infinite voice.

The sound of all things unified.

I am part of that voice.

Part of that sound.

Part of that secret whisper of gladness.

 

This limitation must end in lucid flesh.

The dream of sparks ascending

quickening the cast of hope.

Avoid the brand of passivity

the signs complain.

Shun manipulation before you are stained.

Spurn all formula and write new equations

in the language of sand.

Heed no other,

nor listen to the seduction of holy symbols

standing before the windows of truth.

Define from a foreign tongue.

 

These are the battered keys

that have led me to unlocked doors.

Doors that collapse at a mere breath

and behind which

lay more pieces to collect for the Holy Menagerie.

The never-ending puzzle.

 

All the stars in the sky

recall the purpose of your hallowed light.

Burn a hole through the layers.

Peel all the mockery away.

Enjoin the powers

to answer this call:

Bring the luminous vision

hidden behind the whirling particles

of the Mapmaker.

Let it enter me

like a shaft of light that enters

a cave’s deepest measure.

Ancient fires still burn in these depths.

Who tends them?

What eyes are watching?

Waiting.

Waiting for time’s flower to bloom.

To submerge in the relentless subtlety

that moves beyond my reach

with a jaguar’s stealth.

To dream of elder ways

that leap over time

and leave behind the puzzle of our making.

 

O’ temptress vision

you steal my hunger for human light.

If there is anything left to hollow

let it be me.

If there is anything left to cage

let it run free.

If there is anything left to dream

let it be our union.

 

 

 

 

Language of Innocence

When a river is frozen,

underneath remains a current.

When the sky is absent of color

beneath the globe another world comes to light.

When my heart is alone

somewhere another heart beats my name

in code that only paradise can hear.

 

Is my heart deaf

or is there no one

who can speak the language of innocence?

Innocence, when words

suffer meaning and gallop away in its presence.

I have seen it.

Felt it.

I have loosened its secrets in the blushing skin

when upturned eyes witness its home

and never turn away.

And never turn away.

 

There is this world

of slumbering hearts and hollow love,

but it cannot carry me to daylight.

My craving is so different

and it can never be turned away.

 

Chamber 3

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Half Mine

When I see your face I know you are half mine

separated by the utmost care to remember all of you.

When I undress my body I see that I am half yours

blurred by sudden flight that leaves

the eye wondering what angels carved in their hearts

to remind them so vividly of their home.

 

When I see your beauty I know you are half mine

never to be held in a polished mirror

knowing the faithful hunger of our soul.

When I watch your eyes I know they are half mine

tracing a trajectory where sensual virtue is the very spine of us.

When I hold your hand I know it is half mine

wintered in kinship, it circles tenderness

beneath the moon and well of water

when the feast is done.

When I kiss your lips I know they are half mine

sent by God’s genealogy to uncover us

in the delicious cauldron of our united breath.

 

When I hear you cry

I know your loneliness is half mine

so deep the interior that we are lost outside

yearning to give ourselves away

like a promise made before the asking.

And when I look to your past I know it is half mine

running to the choke cherry trees

invisible to the entire universe we found ourselves

laughing in sudden flight

eyeing the carved initials in our hearts.

Sparing the trees.

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Bandages of the Beast

There were many random omens.

Sending olive branches with thorns was

only one of your repertoire.

You offered me a book

where all the answers lay encoded in

some strange dialect.

Symbols undulating like serpents restless for food.

 

If I was windborne as a lambent seed you

would still the air

and I would fall into the thicket.

If I yearned for sweet water

you would pass me the bitter cup.

If I was an injured fawn you would flush me

from the cloister, corner me against cold stone,

and admire my fear.

 

Everywhere I steer I seek the one look of love;

yet love humbles itself like a mannequin

changing its clothes to accommodate the dressmaker.

Underneath there are bandages of the beast.

Underneath there is the tourniquet of deliverance.

But beneath the shell there is emptiness, so defiant

it is clothed in finery that neither

dressmaker nor beast can touch.

 

You have mistaken my search as my soul.

Raking through it for clumps of wisdom,

you have found only what I have lost to you.

Held like rootless dreams

I will vanish in your touch.

 

If you pass your rake over this emptiness

you will feel clumps of my spirit.

You will find me like tiny pieces of mirror broken

apart yet still collected in one spot.

Still staring ever skyward.

Still reflecting one mosaic image.

Still the accompanist of myself.

Chamber 4

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One Day

One day,

out of this fleshy cocoon

I will rise like a golden bird of silent wing

graceful as the smoke of a fallen flame.

I will dream no more of places

Hidden–secreted away in heaven’s cleft

where the foot leaves no print.

 

One day,

I will walk in gardens holding hands

with my creation and creator.

We will touch one another

like lovers torn by death

to say goodbye.

We will lay in one another’s arms

until we awaken as one

invisible to the other.

 

One day,

I will isolate the part of me

that is always present.

I will dance with it

like moonlight on water.

I will hold it to myself in a longful embrace

that beats perfection

in the hymn of the Songkeeper.

 

One day,

when I curl away inside myself

I will dream of you

this flesh-covered-bone of animal.

I will yearn to know your life again.

I will reach out to you

as you now reach out to me.

Such magic!

Glory to covet the unknown!

That which is

is always reaching for the self

that cheats appearances.

Who dreams itself awake and asleep.

Who knows both sides of the canvas

are painted, awaiting the other

to meld anew.

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Missing

Facing another evening without you

I am torn from myself

in movements of clouds,

movements of earth spinning

like the sure movement of lava as it rolls to sea.

Yet when I arrive from my dream

you are still gone from me

twenty-three footsteps away;

a bouquet of the abyss.

 

When I look to the east I think of you

softly waiting for me

to chisel you from the matrix

with smooth hammer strokes

from my hands.

Freed of barren, untouched shoulders,

you can open your eyes again

flashing the iridescent animals,

valiant vibrations of your rich spirit.

 

Your picture is the centerpiece of my table

I stare at you in candlelight,

the windows behind, black in their immensity,

only enlarge you.

Making you more of what I miss.

 

At night I go among your body

to feel the presence of your heart beating

something golden

spun from another world.

You can feel me when this is done

though I am invisible in all ways to you, but one.

A reflection in the mirror.

Beneath your eyes

you see me dancing away the body.

Dancing away the mind.

Dancing away the incarnations

of my absence.

 

 

Chamber 5

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Life Carriers

Life carriers spawn in the primal waters

of a giant embryo.

Their progeny will settle in human dust.

Pieces of clay

with tiny thoughts of flight.

Knife-points veiled in turbid cloaks

that shun the light of a tranquil star.

 

In the remote wilds the life carriers

emerge and perch upon

the shoulders of gray stones.

They signal their desires to fly,

but their homes are suited

for the comforts of rain and earth.

The sky must wait.

(The dirt companion smiles.)

 

Circles break.

Barriers overrun.

Life carriers deny their ancient pull

from the ground.

Wings sprout like golden hair

sinuous with nature’s artifice.

Ragged feet are left behind.

The earth replaced with vivid sky.

Gravity shines its menacing stare

to hold them

with assertive hands.

 

Homeless cages

are left to rot.

To sink behind the groundless sky.

Earthen faces have dropped their smiles

and lost their smell of fresh dirt.

The dream of flight

has invaded somber walls—

life carriers have bounded

to the other side.

There they meet the next rung

of the endless ladder,

and trade their wings for wisdom’s eye.

 

Another

One skin may hide another,

I remember this from a poem when I

launched a fire across a field of deadness.

At least, to me, it seemed dead.

I felt like a liberator of life force

renewing the blistered and dying grasses.

Actually, more weeds than grass,

but nonetheless, the flora had flat-lined.

I peeled back skin with holy flame

and brought everything to black again

as though I called the night to descend.

From blackness will arise a new skin

cresting green architecture from a fertile void.

 

As the flames spread their inviolable enchantment

I saw your face spreading across my mind.

Remember the fire we held?

I hoped it would unfurl a new skin

for us as well.

Forever it will roam inside me

invariant to all transformations and motions.

(Einstein smiling.)

One person may hide another,

but behind you, love is molting a thicker skin

than I can see through.

No flame can touch its center.

No eyes can browse its memory.

I want nothing behind you in wait.

Seconds tick away like children growing

in between photographs.

I will not forget you in the changes.

Cursed with memory so fine

I can trace your palm.

I can inhale your sweet breath.

I can linger in your arms’ weight.

I can hear your exquisite voice

calibrate life with celestial precision.

 

One purpose may hide another.

I heard this as the fire died out

to reveal the scent of the wet earth

and growing things.

I could feel my love decompose

returning to the uninhabited realm

where it belongs.

Where all hearts belong when

love is lost, and the code of the mute,

coiled in fists that pound,

reveal the wisdom of another.

Chamber 6

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Of This Place

Her heart ran

in the wilds of deserted plains.

Sun-etched land barren of clouds

and singing water.

If she listened closely

her hand would call

and signal its thoughts upon her brow.

But in this place

she could only offer her arms to the sky

like a tree its branches

and a flower its leaves.

In this dusty basin,

silence gathered like smoke

clearing the mind of the scoundrel.

The infidel of thoughts.

Blots of yellow leaves and white bark

could be seen hiding in pools of life

surrounded by red rock spires.

Clustered sand monuments held together

by some other life form.

She wasn’t sure.

Perhaps one life is the same as another

only tilted sideways.

Caught from underneath

by some invisible hand that animates

even the coldest stone of this place.

 

A smile emerged and perched upon her face

drinking the sun’s clear ways.

She could spear

a million miles of air in a glance

and send the window of her flesh

into the cloudless sky.

Upon this ocean a hawk sailed ever closer.

She watched the silver speck

spiral overhead dreaming through its eyes.

Feeling the winds gild her wings

in the softest fold of time.

A tree of pine sent its sky roots

deep within the air to weep its sweetness.

She entered,

gliding through branches

to every needle in their factory of air.

 

So strange to feel the pull of earth in flight,

but she knew the antagonism well

in the splendor of this place.

She knew it had settled deep,

lodged like permanent ink

in the heart of her.

Under skin, muscle, bone

it fought the single path.

What madness calls her away?

What dream is stronger than this?

What heart beats more pure?

 

Of this place,

it is so hard to know which is host

and which is guest.

Which is welcome, which is pest.

Which is found and which is lost.

Which is profit, which is cost.

 

She gave her prayers

to the skypeople and waited for a cloud –

her signal to leave.

She should return home

before dusk settles in and the golden

eyes peer out against the black code.

In a single breath she held the ancient ways

that never left.

She turned them inside out

and then outside in.

Again and again.

Waiting for her signals in the sky.

If not a cloud…

then perhaps a shooting star.

(Besides, it was too dark for clouds anymore.)

 

When the first star fell she held her breath

afraid she would miss its spectral flight.

She wondered with whom she shared

its final light.

What other eyes were heaven bound

in that secret moment?

Was this their signal home as well?

And what was it they found

buried so deep in a whisper of light

that none can tell?

 

She waited with solemn eyes

for more stars to fall,

to gently sweep her away

from the magnets of this place.

If she listened to her hand

it would scratch a sign in the sand for another

to take her place.

It would touch the land

in honor of its grace and wisdom,

and become a tree, rock, hawk, or flower.

 

Imperishable

Through this night I have slept little.

My eyes, closed like shutters

with slats that remain open,

wait to invent dreams

of some charred reality.

I sense you, but no weight on my bed.

No shift or creaking other

than my own restlessness.

 

Wandering words

self-gathered, self-formed,

and released to the night

like a mantra slowly drowned in music.

Your presence grew with the music

devouring it in silence.

You came to me so clear

my senses aroused in electric storms of clarity.

The buzz of mercury lamps

alongside rutted roads,

shedding their weightless light.

 

In all of this waiting for you

no fortress or foxhole bears my name.

I lay on the Savannah

staring at the sun hoping against hope

it blinks before I do.

My wounded cells,

tiny temples of our mixture,

have weakened in your absence.

I can feel them wail in their miniature worlds.

My feet resist their numbness,

deny them their war.

 

As I lay here alone

waiting to be gathered into your arms,

I ask of you one thing,

remember me as this.

Remember me as one who loves you

beyond yourself.

Who pierces shells, armor, masks,

and everything protecting

your spirit in needless fervor.

Remember me as this.

As one who loves you unmatched

by the deepest channels

that have ever been forged.

Who will love you anywhere and always.

 

And if you look very closely at my love

you will not find an expiration date,

but instead, the word, imperishable.

Chamber 7

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Union

You are not here.

In this moment all that exists is here.

But you are not.

There are so many footprints

leading to my door.

Let us enter, they say.

We cannot sleep in the desert

it is too cold.

Our tears will dry too fast.

Our ears will hurt from the silence.

Let us in.

And so I gather them all up,

swing wide my door,

and step aside as they enter

hoping they will lay in peace beside my fire.

 

You were not among them.

I looked everywhere for your face

and saw only mimicry.

The blind eye buried behind brain

searching for your heart.

An antenna so alert

there is a peculiar nearness of you

flying inside my body.

I can hold this like a tiny bird in my hands;

fragile, vulnerable, waiting

for my move to decide its fate.

 

You are not here.

I wish I could reach your skin,

remove the camouflage

tearing it away like black paper

held before the sun as a shield.

Unbundle you from your other lives

and distill you in my now.

You are my last love,

my final embrace of this world

and all the others that drop their prints at my door

are dimmed by your approaching steps.

 

I can see you will be here soon.

There is victory in my heart

and something invisible yet massive wants to speak.

Reminding me of you and your coming.

Quick, I plead, give me your lips.

Give me your womanly tenderness

that understands everything

so I may lose myself in you

and forget my loss.

 

If you were here, I would tell you this secret.

But you would need to be staring up at the stars

when I told you, held within my arms

feeling the earth rise up beneath you like a holy bed.

You would need our union to be your ears.

 

Song of Whales

Your voice lingers when it speaks

like rippling heat over desert floor.

It draws my heart and I find myself

leaning toward its source

as though I know it will take me

where you always are.

It draws me near to your breath—the spiracle that

holds the words of home.

 

It draws me to the blanket you hold

around your soul you so willingly share.

If you were to dive below the waters

where the whales sing their songs

into the gathering of deep currents

that pull our courage along,

channels that flow free of worldly levels,

you would find me there.

Listening to the voice I hear in you.

Feeding my heart in the waters of deep blindness

where currents flow

mindful of you and your spirited ways.

 

Sometimes I listen so perfectly

I hear your soft breath forming words

before they are found by you.

Before you can bring them from

the deep blindness to your heart.

 

I wish I could take your hand

and let it hold my heart

so you could see what I know of you.

So you could know

where we live where we always are.

And you could pull your blanket of words

around us and I could simply listen

to your voice

that honors words

like the songs of whales.

Chamber 8

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Another Mind Open

There was a fire where smoke gathered

and danced like rivers without gravity

to the rattle of drums.

 

Sometimes I would look inside the smoke

but it curled away and covered itself

with a cloak so opaque I could only cry.

It became the mask of its consumption.

The dream of its new life.

The victorious skin always changing

yet everlasting.

There was a fire last night

that proclaimed news of a newer testament

that drinks tears, lies, vile words, even

the deep fears that linger underneath the turncoat.

 

I usually lurch away when it calls.

To me, it burns too cold

like a skinwalker lost in a body

devoured by time.

Sometimes I would dream it alive

and it would blaze—vibrant sun—

more durable than a grave.

 

In times of stillness

it would speak like a codicil of some lidless dream

that words could not preserve.

“The time has come to lift your gaze

from the fire’s brightness

and cast shadows of your own.”

The words would echo into oblivion

like stars lost in the swell of the sun’s awakening.

 

In these flames I see my

consumption fit and proper.

In its smoke

I am stored away like so many jars

in a broom closet.

Waiting to flee.

Drawing my feet to oppose the floor.

Struggling to reach the door inside these jars

of sealed air.

 

Stories escape the writer’s hand

and pursue me as though I alone held their vigil.

Their very soul.

When indeed these stories have never been told.

They have never found words

to hold though they ceaselessly try.

 

Fires blind nature.

They invest their life in her death.

But the end is always beginning

toward another end.

And the dreams of the untold

are always pursuing another mouth,

another hand,

another mind open.

 

Sometimes I look to the errant expression of hope,

and ask it to bring its flames deeper into my heart.

To burn a clear sense of purpose.

To burn away the fool’s crevice

and enshroud me in its skin of smoke.

 

Sometimes I offer myself to these flames

and know they listen.

Devising my world.

Reality coalesces around their finery

like a tower of glass enclothes a shell of steel.

 

Sometimes I feel the flames send me

words, notes, tones.

Enchantment.

Products of another kind.

Tiny crucibles of earth that burn so brightly

they can blind the sun’s creatures of whimsy.

 

And sometimes, without even thinking,

I peek into these flames

when the smoke peels away for an instant.

There, behind the mask,

is my future.

Our future.

The future.

The present in another world.

Calling out for another mouth,

another hand,

another mind open.

 

Longing

Longing, when the eyelids open

upon the deepest stimulus held by your lips

and the amorous kiss becomes my orbit.

 

I ache and long to have you with me

so close our skin would melt together

like two candle wicks sharing wax.

I only know that what is of soul

is of longing and ache.

It delivers me to the edge,

the precipice where I look down

and see myself inextinguishable,

longing to be consumed by you.

 

And in that glittering place

let me stretch with your heart

at full speed, blind and intent.

Let me dwell in you

until I am so familiar with our union

that it becomes part of my eyes.

With memory full,

we can walk home,

hand-in-hand,

in the permanence of longing.

 

So much a part of the other

that the other does not exist.

 

Chamber 9

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Of Luminous Things

Of luminous things

I have so little experience

that I often think myself small.

Yet when I think of you

and your luminous ways

my being swells with hope and prayers

that you will permit the flames to grow.

 

In mercy, we are torn apart

into separate worlds

to find ourselves over and over

a thousand times aching for the other half.

To dream of nothing but the One between us.

 

Of luminous things I have squandered none

nor have I held them to my heart and asked them

to dissolve into me.

Yet when I think of you, I desire only this.

And if you disrobed your Self and watched it

watch you, you would see me as clearly as I am.

Not small and unworthy.

Unafraid of fear.

Not uncertain like empty space.

But luminous

like white light before the prism.

 

In my thoughts I hold your heart

sculpting away the needless

for the essence.

And when I find it

I will hold it to my heart and ask it

to dissolve into me.

I will know of luminous things

that hurtle through time

bringing us the uncharted, unfathomable

desire we have never spoken.

Words are not curious enough to say their names.

Only love can weep their identity,

and I am so perfectly defenseless

to its music.

 

Forever

Memory, like a root in darkness,

piercing light with its stem

has found me.

Ordering my world

like architecture of feelings

bound to you,

held for you as shields of hope.

In the dispersion of love,

identical throbbing

has been our call

answered in the sweetest caress

two can share.

And you wonder if ecstasy will diminish us

like rain the sun or

wind the calm.

When we know one another

in the deepest channel of our hearts

we can only utter one word

cast from this stone’s mind: forever.

Forever.

 

When winter calls my name

in the highest desert of light,

I will not despair because I know you

in the deepest channel of my heart

where I understand the word, forever.

Instantly healed by your caressing lips

that unmasks all that has tortured me.

The panting of mouths

tired but astir in passion’s flame

can only cease when I have entered you

forever.

I carry you in this flame,

emerald-colored from my dreams of you

beneath the trees within

where your beauty consumed the sun

and snared my soul so completely.

I cannot truly know you apart

from a throne.

 

Spirits made to shine beyond the din

of boorish poets

that strike flint below water and cry without passion.

I have known you forever

in lonely streets

and the thundered plain.

In wilted villages and cool mountain terraces.

I have watched all of you

torn open to me speaking like a river

that moves on forever.

And I have waited

like the greedy mouth of an ocean

drawing you nearer to my lips

so I can know you forever

as you empty into me abandoned of all fear.