July 23, 2010

What Hard Won Gift to Offer?

I see a glass ball: in the ball I see all the suffering I have experienced. What occurs to me first is a drawing I made when I was a young teenager. It depicted a ball, and inside the ball was a scene of horrific depression. The images were jagged, the faces tortured. Where did this come from? Divorce, neglect, depression, cruelty? I showed it to my sister and she agreed. It was an accurate account. Other images in the glass ball were ones of living in fear and doubt - suffocating within myself - quiet desperation.

Then there is perhaps the granddaddy image of them all, Schizophrenia. They say it can start manifesting at a young age. Was this the true source of all the pain and suffering? I don't know. It is always an open-ended question- it is always a mystery - nothing is set in stone - it all flows richly down the stream of experience.

This question brings up an idea that has inspired me throughout my adult life, and perhaps even before, maybe before I could even recognize what it was. The great muse of MYSTERY! What gift these glass ball experiences have given me. And I have already well named it - the awe and wonder of mystery.

I guess through suffering comes wisdom - so I have been told - but I don't feel wise. We learn from our mistakes but I don't feel educated. Perhaps this all sounds miserable but I don't feel miserable. I look at the morning sun stream through my window.

Yet I am forgetting the greatest of all gifts - ART! It is my true passion and I thank God every morning for this gift however mysterious its origins. It fills me with wonder and awe at this beautiful horrific world we live in. Perhaps I can transform the glass ball experiences into crystal bright light even if the subject may be dark. It all boils down to this: each morning is a gift.

(from a meditation on the "6 of Fire" tarot card)

June 23, 2010

Fire Wheel of Fortune

Standing at the edge he sees the sun
often in the dead of night the sky opens up
and out flows the grand essence of peace
will the stars fall in the correct order or will
the chaos prevail and the sylphs come home?
all the sun can do is shine and follow the path
where the chariot awaits and careens across
the night flowing and fixing to create rapture
and joy - the bright light dazzles the eyes and sends
him into the stratosphere dancing with the clouds
and singing with the constellations - all will end in
the blast of never ending explosions of free will
and choice - in the morning after the freedom
he sits and rests while his spirit catapults itself
always seeing all that it can see and living all
that it can live - so he hesitates and looks again
at the sun then down to the abyss where creatures
wondrous light and mercy await his decision
one foot slowly creeps its way over the edge
his hands are shaking and his breath quickens
across from him the mountains loom large
and full of mystery where blue and gold shine
as the fiery stature ebbs and falls into a white
web where the pregnant spider all but shatters the
sky with its beauty and grace - in the meantime
his spirit grows cool and soon he begins to shake
and tremble - he has never felt sorrow like
he does now weeping into his hands as the wind
takes hold of his hands as they continue to relive
the terrible fright of the creatures down below
but all is not lost as the time for sudden peace
will shine its head into great fireworks bursting
forever in the dead of the morning - at last he takes
flight and sails past the fiery mountains and flows
deliciously through the clouds forever in prayer
and safety yet always out of control - will the flying
of the birds continue his search as the chosen one
who breathes and hiccups bubbles of cause
and effect where soon the light of the personable
and the way of security will singe the paper wings
as the terrible hills beyond hills always tied to
the end of the string - "sing once again and use
your breath to steal the pins and needles as
if you will never come home" says the salamander
as he floats into a circle and spins and whirls
a wicked top out of control brings the notion
of failure crying and warping the instrument
of togetherness where the sun will once again
rise and fill the coffers with berry juice staining
the hair and coat of the chosen one as he
enters into the ride of his life - a ride so full of
passion that red turns to white

May 15, 2010

Alive in my Consciousness

Rain - the wind blew as I made my way up to the deans office. What will become of me? How will this play out? It was the final day of baseball practice - as an 8th grader I had elected to join the team - sports not being required until 9th grade. As a celebration Scott had brought a small bottle of Sherry - the kind one gets on an airplane. Of all the places to drink it we chose the middle of the hall just outside the door to the boys locker room. Just as Scott opened the bottle Mr. H entered through the hall doorway. We broke into a run and Mr. H chased us. I ran outside and up the stairs to the gym, that is where he caught me.

Walking through the rain I wondered what my mother and father would think when I told them. It is actually quite funny to be caught with such a small amount of alcohol - there was no way to get drunk. And why had we chosen the middle of the hallway to open it? Stupidity. Mr. R the dean listened carefully to my story. He shook his head and informed me that I would be suspended for one day - the last day of classes it turned out to be.

Coming home my mother was out but my brother Steve was home and we went out to get Mexican food. I told him my news and he said that our parents would not be harsh with me for I was a good student and never really got into much trouble before. On the phone expecting a punishment instead my father said that I was already getting enough punishment at school - he chose to let it go. My mother felt the same.

Every year at the end of classes all the school had what was called "work day" where we all cleaned up the school. It was all part of the "self help system". The school had a whole hierarchy of student government. The seniors were assigned areas of the school to be in charge of. The rest of the students worked under the seniors. The seniors had what was called "slip power". This meant that anytime a student broke the rules (and was caught) the seniors had the power to" write them up" with a bad slip. If on the other hand the student volunteered they would be given "good slips". At the end of each week the good and bad slips would be reviewed and the student would either get more privileges or be punished - namely Saturday morning cleanup.

It was a work day that Ron came up to me and said, "How goes it alkie?" as in alcoholic. News traveled fast. I did not find it funny.

That year I got into more trouble this time off campus. Each year we went on what was called the Whale Watch. We took a bus ride to the tip of Cape Cod got on a boat and looked for whales. Camping out it was all fun. Before the trip as we walked to soccer practice I had a great idea - or so I thought. "Why don't we have a competition to see who can steal the most." I offered. All agreed it would be great fun.

In Provincetown we hit store after store. The first thing I stole was a Hustler magazine - we were all more than interested in such a find typical of boys our age. Then we came to a novelty store. I had on an open flannel shirt with a t-shirt underneath. When I stole something I put it under the flannel shirt. In the back of the store my friends turned to leave noticing the shopkeeper looking at us from under the cabinet. I did not see him.

Yes this was a mistake. Taking a hat I put it under my flannel shirt but then for some reason I had second thoughts and put it back. As I left the store theshopkeeper, a rough burly bald headed man, took me by the collar and gave me a headbutt. I don't remember what for I was in shock. He scared me to death. Outside the store I was shaking much to the mirth of my friends. That was the end of my career as a shoplifter.

April 11, 2010

The Fool Enters the Blessing of Water

Enter the Blessing
let the figures dance freely
The Fool asks a question
not for the faint of heart
I will leave it up to you
Great Spirit
why do the fish fly freely
on the wind?
why do birds float freely
in the water?
why do spiders create
their webs?
It is just as it should be
difficult to think
imagine the butterfly
first a worm
then a cocoon
then the magical transformation
Never will I Understand
my mind stretches, but.........
let the Unknown free me
no destination
just process
move in wonder and awe
let the Mystery free me
no truth
just beauty
move in and out of the labyrinth
let the Ineffable free me
no rain
just ocean
move up and over the mountain
where are the signs?
I am blind

March 21, 2010

Homage to Phoenix

Burn brightly wondrous Phoenix. I see you in my dreams, delicate and light yet full of power and strength. I am entranced with the colors of your wings, all green and yellow. Fly through the air in great life.

Don't turn around. I am sweating - sticky and hot. Why do you plague me? What a cruel trick you have played on me. My mind turns against itself. We climb up the stairs - the stones are odd and playful. Two people with incense walk by. Don't look at them. I am filled with terror.

As I walk slowly I try and absorb all that I can. It seems if I had 1000 years I would still not see everything. A man moves. Out of the corner of my eye I see him. He is wearing a purple gown and he rings a bell. One... two... three... He chants.

Oh great Phoenix you fill me with such hope and grace. I see you in my dreams and am comforted. On the roof I watch as you dance in red, blue and yellow. Dizzy I walk away. More rain.

STOP - STOP - STOP, not again. When will you go away? Who are you referring to? Phoenix? Paranoia? Are they two sides to the same coin? Wait this does not make sense. The memories are slow and languid - a magical time. Even with the trouble I would not change a thing. Why? Because great Phoenix rests in my chest, in my mind and on the bottom of my feet.

Don't let the destroyers win. Fuck you - Hate me, Fuck you - Hate me. Gently the wind caresses my face. I am at peace again only in the next moment to be swept into a frenzy of confusion. Great Phoenix I bow to your spirit and let your pure love course through my veins. I live for you.

March 11, 2010

My First Love

What can I say about my first - well almost - Love? Sitting in Geometry class I often looked over to Caroline sitting next to me. She was beautiful - her thin dark features easy on my eyes.

I loved geometry - it came easy for me. It was like a big puzzle that needed solving. Writing the proofs is what I loved. My friend George and I always competed for the best grade on the tests. He often won and would have won the title of best in class but he and 3 of our degenerate friends decided to skip the final day of classes. I don't think he cared much. The grading system was a series of numbers 6 being an A+ and 1 being an F. A six was hard to come by but George and I always had our eyes on that prize.

Geometry was right before lunch and I remember my stomach growling. For some reason I was incredibly afraid to have my stomach growling heard by others in the class. Flexing my stomach muscles I was incessantly trying never to be heard. Why it terrified me so is hard for me to understand now. I guess anything that called attention to me was not acceptable to my shy nature. Back then many many things terrified me.

My love for Caroline was deep - as deep as I ever felt up to that point in my life. The school had what was called the self-help system where all the students were in charge of cleaning the school - everything from waiting on tables to scrubbing toilets was all done by the students. It was when Caroline was cleaning the tables after lunch that I caught her dazzling eyes. I shyly walked through the swinging doors to the lunchroom and offered to help her clean. She smiled and my heart soared - did she secretly pine over me as I did her? I took the sponge and scrubbed the table. She seemed pleased and I continued to hope.

It was later that year that my sister Anne, knowing my love for Caroline, locked me in our brother’s room where there was a phone and would not let me out until I called and asked Caroline to the movies. I was so nervous my voice quivered but I managed to do it only to be shot down because she said her father - a local policeman - would not let her go on dates. I never knew if this was the truth or not and what was more frustrating was that there was no change in Caroline's behavior. She said hello the same - looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes the way she always had. I was flummoxed. I never got the courage to ask her out again so my love was unrequited much to my dismay.

The 7th grade class decided to have a party at Billy's house and my heart leaped for this was another chance to test my love for Caroline. I fantasized of kissing her and much to my shock I actually did! I couldn't believe my luck. We were playing spin the bottle and as I spun I hoped and hoped that the bottle would point to Caroline. And praise be to God it did point to her. I nervously got up and went over to Caroline and hesitantly kissed her on the cheek. I was in 7th heaven. Surely now Caroline would confess to me her love all would be wondrous. But no such luck. Just as there was no response to me asking her on a date there was again no change in her behavior after the kiss. I did not understand.

I jealously watched as Caroline giggled with Peter. Peter was handsome and smooth and Caroline was more into him than me. I was crushed but still I hoped that she would realize our true love and jump into my arms. I blankly stared out the car window as my sister sang "Chucky's in love.” She thought I was daydreaming about Caroline as I often did, but that day I was I was floating on some other cloud.

At the party Caroline swung on a hammock and I hopefully went over to talk with her. She looked at me with those soft eyes and smiled - my heart leapt. She must have known my love for her but nothing ever happened. She never went out with me - never kissed me again and everything spun into entropy. I never had the courage to ask her out again. She was sweet on Peter much to my dismay. I never knew what she thought of me - it was in the realm of the great unknown. So as I looked over to Caroline in Geometry class and clenched my stomach muscles so no one would hear, life went on and Caroline faded away. It took another year for me to get over Caroline I often played the scene of our one kiss - though very one sided at that party playing spin the bottle. I lived in a kind of Love Limbo as she smiled at me every day. I never got close to her as I wished - she remained lost except in my fantasies.

February 24, 2010

Water Lovers

Against the backdrop he did not know
where he stood - the uncertainty was deafening
will she love him or be a figment of his imagination?
he already had a wonderful thing going but could one
love 2 people at the same time? was there a way to cheat
death live in debauchery and hedonism as he did so many
years ago? get with reality is what she said - you think you
have the gall to wish for unanswerable tendencies?
all you will get is a fantasy - an unrequited call
a worrisome thought and a selfish glutton off the map
and two altogether separate people in the dance
of night - but isn't fantasy more rich and wondrous than reality?
only a god so transfixed in the affairs of others
will call upon the devil to do his work and live his life
being that he only saw her for such a limited time
the days were spent languishing in utter decadence
so beautiful was the inkling - the softness astounded him
together they flew through the air so free and real
up to the stratosphere like an endless glider slowly
easing its way from cloud to cloud - a balance so delicate
and loving it could only be the last resort of the angels
can air be so lovely and caring - did he realize the sanctity
of those first glances? No he did not - just go to your books
and sink your head into the floor - open your mouth so that
the inchworm will catapult itself into the basket of treachery
to be real is the goal not the purpose - look and he will find the great
answers to the questions of dancehall crutches
enter the labyrinth and rise to the endless touch
so full of passion and grace - she will ignore the solution
and ignore the side glances of freedom - all he wished to do was to
hold her in his arms - that would end the scarce treble so hooked
as he was on the end product - But No! it is all in the process
not the result - he wished to be transported into the grave
of unknown saints - to make his plea to the court of wonder and
tragedy - Rise up! Rise up! there is glory in the nights ahead
the nights filled with honey and apples only to spill out into the day
as a corpse in the sun - up to a certain point he could make the
argument that once the dramatic ears of tragedy heard the call
of ten thousand hummingbirds then the wisdom of transcendence
ekes through the pipeline of internal catapults - a life less lived
than thought of - he heard the train coming and was frightened
of the sound of rattling metal - a porous mental picture
soon to be realized as false and futile and rotting
in the end he could just see the outline of her face
the tragic failure of his thoughts and actions seeding the
new penchant for liberty and just causes - will the
monsters be at bay or will they jump start the end of the world?
he will never know just as she will never tell him her secrets

January 29, 2010

Wind Hierophant

Hierophant (n) a person who brings religious congregants into the presence of that which is deemed holy
She caught my eye for the last time
in the mist of calling me she broke
I remember the day I first stole a look
We walked and walked covering much potential
The second time I saw her figure floating
in pure seasonable heaven
we talked and toppled over one another
I saw the limit would not end the life
gather your shoes and clean the tops
there will be no half truths on earth
happiness and joy please stay
I beg with cup in hand ready for lunch
eat and be merry it is all I live for
friends are the core even if they are
all covered in moss - bust through and
see the light - Water Hierophant set your fire
on my tongue for I cannot speak
she fills me with grace and uncertainty
I am partial and she is whole
she walks toward me and makes a
small hand gesture - I sip another
and fly into excitement won't you caress me?
visions trouble our minds - you call me
in great fear and guilt maybe time
to take another walk - I ran and ran
going only as far as the wind will take me
turn in the statue of Hierophant
will I learn or just skid around in perpetuity
the cart on the tennis court buzzes and careens
next they sold tickets in the false yard
jump and feel the great passion of the falling stone
days and days I walk in the leaves with memories
of god and loneliness "Why Black?!?" she screamed
and I shrank down in insecurity "Some people
have all the potential in the world but never
live up to it" Was she talking to me? - all I see
are lines and codes - I cannot open my mouth
my lips are glued together - M calls forth
"Save me a seat" I look around and do nothing
as usual it all gets worse but that night
the sky was black the stars were pure
and all was right in the world

January 4, 2010


Deb and I used to run all over the yard
feeling the warm glow of sunshine
we would race into the woods
where phantasms lurked
soon the dusk would come and we would have to
come inside for cottage cheese with mayonaise and ketsup
as the bugs grew bustling the summer have set in
at night we wished for stories to be told
wanting the glory of the day to fill our glasses with peach cider
the house became a grand world of deserts and waterfalls and
jungles and ocean - we would travel halfway across the world to
get to bed - banging my head on the bed frame wanting to stay up just
a little bit longer to see the wonders of the television
often we would eat frozen orange juice and laugh at the pictures
in the small box of light
they would come in and place a scratchy kiss on the forehead
smelling the strange odor of gin and tonic
please tell me a story I don't want to go to bed now
I will tell you the story of Mary and Mory -
now my story is begun - I will tell you another about her brother
and now my story is done
but No! please another
at night the shadows float through the air
and I will sound the whistle of wind just as they did on the westerns
but Anne would call and be done with the sounds
turn the radio on and off with the thoughts
drift slowly into sleep hearing the talk and laughter
from down stairs - what comfort
all is well with the world