Reflections on a Standing Wave

A Sinking Ship

Dark night
A sinking ship
A cruise line
    perhaps the Titanic
    having just crashed into the iceberg

A hidden menace
    only seen 
    through the slight shift 
    of the ripples 
    on the surface 
    of the ocean

Ice pierces metal
Water snakes through winding tunnels
Filling the great ship’s belly

Peeking out the gaping wound
    contents ride currents
    out of cabin and storage
Drifting a slow waltz towards the bottom of the sea

Tin cans

Fine china

A gown
    green chiffon
    tangled with toilet paper
    a swirling green peppermint stick

Gold

A babies toy

On deck
A shotgun of chaos
    except for the old man
Sitting
Waiting

Terror ringing in the air
    names being called
    screams fighting the pitch and groan of the boat

Bodies old and young
    some clinging
    others flailing
    are poured into the ocean with the evenness of a maid pouring tea

He
    the old man
    neither flails nor clings
    but with what could be a smile creasing his lips
    calmly rides the deck chair over the edge


Steaming Pond

At a hot springs in Northern California

From soaking in steaming pond
    spring fed
    releasing tense muscle
    tense mind
I plunge into the cold pool
    a round cauldron of sorts
    a stone circle
    fluid filled
Mercurial

I lay calm
    settling with the water
    flushed skin
    beating heart
    chin resting on cool wet edge
    smooth
    unruffled

Eyes gaze
    the shining surface
    lights
    dancing reflections
    bright snakes ribbonning endless knots

I slide through this mirror
    spinning
    shortly
    shifting to standing
sandals on tan dirt road

Full moon
    anoints brow
    pouring calm silver
    through black bare trees
    and cold winter sky

On my right
    My Guide
Robed and hollow eyed
Walking silently
    sharing the path
    towards a glow
    growing brighter larger
    luminous unfolding

As guardian of this gate
He stops
    and with bony finger pointing
    ushers me
    through


Invocation of the Wave

The Nameless One calls forth to the Vast Shining Ocean

    “Rise up
    Rise up
    I am the wind
    I am the moon
    I am the deepest undercurrent

    I am the wind
    I am the moon
    I am the deepest undercurrent
    Rise up
    Rise up

    I am the earth cradling you
    I am the sun warm and bright
    I am the deepest darkest night
    Rise up
    Rise up

    I am all and nothing
    I am all and nothing
    Rise
    Rise”

Far from land
On surface sparkle
A wave is born


Flying in Surrender

They swim sleek
    joyous in the deep waters
Unhindered

Fins caressing currents
    flying in surrender
    through flow felt soft
    open to the weaving waters

Laughing eyes
    set in smooth grey skin
    mottled with streaming light
    in the green depths

Dolphins
    swimming in circles
    play amid ancient emerald spire

Atlantis
    reaching up
    praying to Poseidon


A Child’s Goodbye

I was just a young boy on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi
    Bay Saint Louis

My pet had died
A soft shell turtle a couple of inches long with a snouted nose
    Soft tan, the color of river bed sand
    Wolf River

Wading near edge under trees where snake hid
    I found him and kept him
But he had died

I had seen death before
A deeper than chocolate colored man
    laying on the long weathered wooden breakwater

He had been working on the pier next door
    and had slipped from his raft
Falling hammer hit his head
Unconscious
    he drowned

The dark man
    a trickle of blood sliding out of his mouth
    crimson water clinging to his cheek
lay there still

I remember looking at him
    feeling peaceful quiet inside
Before being yanked by my arm
    scolded
    told not to look

I thought about that man
    when I found my turtle
    floating upside down in the pond
    on the side yard of our house
I knew it was different him being a man with a family
    and my turtle being my pet
But still I thought of him

Someone suggested that I bury my turtle
But that wouldn’t do
So I got a grocery store box
    and carved into its sides
    waves
    stars
    secret symbols

Over these
    pasted carefully
    colored tissue
    covered the holes

In the bottom of the box
    I lay the small corpse
    wrapped in a paper napkin
    next to a votive candle
    swiped from a kitchen drawer

And then placed
    a tightly folded note
    to the dark man

In the deep of the night
    a multi-colored lantern
    floated out on the bay
    reflecting off the gentle rise of the black water

Red star

Blue wave

Orange spiral

Moon


Phantom Bodies

Shifting in the dark
    they come into view
    stark images
    in bright flash
    swift grey moments
Fading

They live on grey land
    Smooth
    Hard
    Parched
    Scraped clear
Marked as if by some great hand

A vast plain
    peppered with their presence
    around a lone ancient tree
    gnarled and twisted black
    against the still cover of cloud

They found themselves here quite suddenly
    grown
    unsure of their birth in this land
In phantom bodies they appeared
    with none ever knowing how or when or why

Crouching
Alone
Gaunt
Trembling
    they feared what might happen
    under the perpetual grey sky
    unchanging in hue or tone

Their hunger
    endless
    a deep need
    seeded with dark dread

Dark faces
Dark Silence
Cursed
Hardened with cold fear
    sharp eyes search each other
    with foreboding
    longing

Held back
Barely
Building
Bare teeth flash
    with hunger and thirst
A frantic rush
They breach the shielding
    with wild pairings
Furious Fucking
    sharp pitch and growl
    echoing the hollow distance

Spiraling down
    under Death’s spell
Falling into well
    deep
    depraved
Razor claw teeth
    peel layers away

Strip thick leathery skin
Black blood
Seeping stench

Wretched
Whirling
Passion

Sharp teeth tear
    at muscle tendon
Bloody bowel
    slips between bony claw
Clashing skeletons
    scratching to dust
        whirlwind
Vanish

A haunted wind howls
through the silent land
A beast unseen
    but heard and felt

The tree stands stark
    at tip of twig and branch
    drops form and drip
Red rain

The view lifts

Looking down
    from edge of clouds

A large spiral marks the land


A True Story

He had loved her
Her name was Suzanne
I never knew his

1979
New Orleans
I was working at Dixie Art Supplies
Next door was a metaphysical center
A system of training the mind
Visualize
    a Blue Square
    a Red X

She worked there
I walked in curious
She was sitting at the desk
    pencil in hand
    head tilted back
    slight trickle of blood
She didn’t move

He lay behind the desk
    I saw only his back and feet
    I didn’t see the gun
It was quiet and felt peaceful
I wondered
    if it was due
    to the ion generators
    they sold
    and had running
I imagined secret rooms upstairs

By coincidence
    a woman named Suzanne
    worked at Dixie Art

I heard
    With same name
She took the murdered woman’s job
    and vacant apartment

I wondered
    if the boyfriend had survived
    would she have visited him in jail


Parthenope

Parthenope pined for death
    reclining on a rock far from land
    her sister Sirens long gone
    blue fingers lazily trailing through her hair
   strands of fine seaweed

She sang her song
    sad
    sounding soulful
    long ribbons of weeping
    reaching out misty
    amidst the tips of waves

She felt her pain
    burning through her heart
    steadily
    and in blinding flash

She knew no escape
    banished for centuries
    to drown in her sorrow
    far distant from human hand or help

She yearned for the end
    if not to her life
    to the myths
    which scalded her with isolation
    no soothing solace or kind face
    no strong sailor to nestle to her bosom

She sang her song
    sad
    sounding soulful
    long ribbons of weeping
    reaching out misty
    amidst the tips of waves

Parthenope pined for death


A Leaking Faucet

Imagine
    a leaking faucet
    a sleepless night

Sick

Fuck

Sick

Fuck

SickFuck
SickFuck
SickFuck
SickFuck
Sick
Sick
Sick

Sick

Sick

FUCK

A flood of death
Starting with a trickle
    the loss of familiar faces
Swiftly moving from person to numbers
    the ritual calling of names begins

    Chuck Crosby
    Roger Robichaud
    Jeff Neuzum
    Van Ault
    David Weyrauch
    and so on
    and so on

I ride the tide
    swimming amongst the corpses
    trying to keep my head
    above the rotting flesh
Refusing to look into the gaunt faces of friends
Afraid of seeing my demise
    reflected in hollow eyes

The dark pool
    the seething tide
The staring eye
    burning like the sun

The drowning man
    reaches for the last time
His whispery breath
    holds a cry
    that only crabs will hear


A Prayer to Poseidon

“Son of Cronus
Father of Pegasus
Father of Aeoleous

Poseidon
    I invoke thee

He of the Flashing Eyes
He of the Strong Thigh Thunderous voice
Furious symbols

God

Capture the sky

The ocean chariot rides waves
Thunder horses
    lead the way

Lightning
    Streaking Rain
    Crashing waves

Roiling Pegasus
Steed of Stars
Conjure a torrent of Sea Wind Dark

Poseidon
    I beseech thee
Come
    and here my cause”

The winds subside
    as rising foam
Heralds his arrival

Flashing Trident
Pierces the surface
Gold points
    lead way to staff
    gripped by fist
    large and gnarled
The force of life held firm
    stronger than tempest or tornado

His wild hair
    trails through gold crown
    woven of dolphin playing

Full and kind
Emerald eyes
    glow starshine
    moon

Strong nose
Thick red lips
An ominous beard
    smoky
    curled and long
A full belly
Muscled loin cloaked
    in clouds and shells

He soothes the turbulent seas
    with a full laugh
As God he eclipses me
    a mere mortal
    but he has graced me with his presence
    and stands waiting to hear my plea

“God
    Poseidon
I petition thee

Keeper of the winds
    fill my lungs

Ruler of the waves
Wearer of bright sandals
    Clear my path

Bring me life
Father of the Ocean

Clear my vision
    let me see into the depths
    and understand”


Spare Change for a Treasure

The Meeting

1989
August
Fear
Anger
Know
    the virus lived
    so I would die

Sit
Think
Watch
Feel
    no need to dream
    my life at an end
Numb
    from feeling so much

Move
    keep moving
Death
    will not catch up to me
Rush
Fast
    no space for feelings

Walking
    to work
He netted me with a glance
Accustomed
    to avoiding
    panhandlers
Surprised
    the old man sitting
    could catch my attention
Odd
    the way he looked
    at me

Trapped
    by his gaze
Glance
    quickly in his direction
Pretend
    not to see

Somehow
Different
Approach
Hope
    to pass untouched
Braced
    for the inevitable
Step
Past
A voice
    “Spare change for a treasure?”

A quest

Stop
Turn
Slow
    towards him
Look
    drawn into the dark pools of his eyes
Again
    “Spare change for a treasure?”

Thoughtless
    “Sure Sounds good to me”
Open
    my wallet
I give him all my money

Something snaps
A whirlwind of thought and sound
    descends into my head
Jolting me awake
    into embarrassment
Calm
Smiling
He sits
    a hand filled with money

Fast
Rush
Away
Breathless
Before
    I even started

Turn a corner
Sheltered from his eyes
I double over
Trying to catch my breath


Too Big for the Sky

The old man speaks:

“He was too big for the sky
He was loaded up
    with ideas
    about who he was
    where he came from
    who he was going to be

He was too big for the sky
He was loaded up
    with ideas
    from his mama
    from his daddy
    from society
    about
    how he should act
    how he shouldn’t act
    each step to take

He was too big for the sky
Too clean for the earth
Too high for the mountain
Too wide for the ocean

And he couldn’t see
    beyond his ideas
He couldn’t feel
    beyond his ideas
He just couldn’t
    beyond his ideas

Because they were all
    He had
    He was
    He wanted to be
Amen”


The Journey

Two in the morning
Tangled in sheets from twisting
Sleepless
    worrying about my life and things

Feel
A feeling of being out of sorts
    on edge
Nothing feeling right

Doorbell rings
    once
Wondering
I go down
    and look out
He stands
    looking in
I open the door
Unafraid

“Do you know what time it is?
    I was asleep.”

“You were awake.
    I need a ride”

Buzzfire
    cracks through my mind
    with images and questions

Short Silence
Softer
    but still resisting
“How
did you know I lived here?”

“You paid for the treasure.
    I am here to take you to it.”

I paused a puppet

“OK.
    Wait here.
    I’ll give you a ride.”


A River Wells Up

We drove north in silence
It was a long drive
I was frantic in driving
    weaving too fast around dark turns
    speeding past
    trees
    looming giants
    night animals glowing eyes
    filling me with foreboding

My driving didn’t seem to concern him
He sat relaxed
    smiling occasionally
    indicating a change in direction
    with a wrinkled finger

We pulled off the road close to the ocean
And in the dark night
He ran
I scrambled
    down a cliff
To a long thin beach

Without hesitation
He said
“Wait.
    Not for me.”
    and started walking down the beach

Stunned
    I watched
A black dot against the white sand
Growing smaller
Disappearing

Cold
I gathered driftwood Started a fire and sat

The night built in moments
Listening to wave wash shore
The wind blowing salt air
The smell of smoke
Creatures rustling in the night
A hawk’s cry
A gull

With darkness lifting
I walked on smooth sand
    and rocky shore
Weaving a path
    along the waters edge
    past objects
    brought in with the waves

A tin can

An old babies toy

Scraps of wood

Soft cardboard

I stand
    open
    embracing the moment
Grey sky pierced
    streaming light
Cliffs tumbled
    red gold green
Waves
    Distant edge of ocean
    a thin line

For an instant
I Trust

The veil bursts soft
The vista reverses itself
    and opens the landscape
    my Soul

Felt
Scattered along this thin Mirror
Embers of regret
    sadness
Burning through my heart

Hurt
I had caused others
    and held onto
Unforgiven in my eyes
Knowing no action
    could change the past
Seeing myself a sinner
Unworthy

With sun
    a river wells up
    a wail rising in my throat
Letting go
Singing sun rays
Shining through the fog
A baptism of tears
    forgiveness

No need to punish myself
    anymore


Soothing Tides

Waves roll in
    filling me
Pull back
    draining to an empty shell
Light catches the tip of a wave
    sparkling
    I feel the warmth

I’ve known for many years
That I will crash upon the shore
I have held onto so much inside and out
Fear frozen
Solid
Unable to move

A voice
“No need to cling.
No need to fear.
Open hands
    full heart
    face the shore
    ride gratefully towards it.”

Frameworks
Props
Flow away
Structures built
    on lies
    half truths
    the Idea
A life raft no longer needed

Soothing tides
    shape me
    with compassion
    warmth
Images
    clear
    reflecting in morning light
    a story told
    in the shining waters

The ending always the same
    in the moment of meeting
    wash the shore

Clean


The Blessed Hand

I sit on ground
    facing the ocean
A wave crests the horizon
    rushing forward
    looming large

With sun sparkling in green water
    I see myself reflected off the wave
    and look into my eyes
A kaleidoscope of image, feeling, experience
    shift around pupils
    calm deep wells

The images shift
My body melds for moments
    into friends
    long lost
    and still alive
The dark pools of our eyes
    the same
    unchanging
    compassionate

I feel the currents of their lives
    flowing through me
    shaping me from our sharing
A flicker of light
My familiar face looks back
A brow washed with understanding

“We witness each other.
We create each other.
We come into being
    not through our own will alone.”

The spell breaks
The wave folds
crashing to the shore
And in pulling back
    and parting
A large stone is revealed
    humming earth essence
    energy emanating
    alive with wisdom
    intention
    a bridge back

The Blessed Hand
    the Otherness
    which reaches out
    and shapes our lives
    unseen

That offers us warmth
    and cradles us
    in It’s limitless embrace

Speaking
    through knowing
“In sharing
    the kind earth
    this mystery
Life
    our waters flow deep and clear.”

Knowing what I must do
I place the stone in my knapsack
    a weight good and solid
    no burden

And with my loves in my heart
    and my feet on the Path
I climb up the cliff
in full morning light
Toward my car
    and home


Epilogue

The Moon Cries Red

My feet touch ground for the last time
The moon cries red
A shimmering veil and sound
    swim above the dark trees
The cool wind and cool stars
    witness my weaving path

Near root and musty earth
A clay red vessel
    round and wide
    a hands length deep
    catches tears that fall

The fullness of the moon reflects
    a white lillipad on brimming pond
    spilling over edge
    in drop and silvery ribbon

Eyes wide thoughts still
    enter through the shining surface
Mystery

There is no regret
    the earth shall have a morsel tonight
For she will treat my body kind
Not devouring with sharp teeth and greedy hunger
But gently
    holding me
    caressing me
    pulling me deeper
    into the warmth of her womb

Melting

Close Menu