Holding My Breath

IMG_1526 ridiculous dog
“stay down!” 
i say upon our first greeting
coffee in hand
there is an
effortless morning rain 
into scattered white and pale blue
supervising crows
issue orders
surely the animals are in charge
a hand-pulled espresso
in a pottery mug
my 40th:
and wine
a cold rocky beach
on the bookshelf
there is a photo of the children
5, 3
tucked into a red tree
with tevas
so fiesty and sweet they were
and are
my baby goes to college
and again
with intention – and not
it does not matter…
we do what we can
to hold it at a distance
a cloudburst catches us
machines die
children grow up
dogs learn not to
eviscerate every
computer cord
you receive a phone call
you know what comes next
today the wall
of change is 
a tidal wave
i feel like i am
holding my breath
say good-bye
to what was
and what i imagined
dreams and ideas
and such gorgeous and treacherous realities
i know only three things
i love deeper than i thought possible
i have been loved so hard
even the wrong things
can be done with love
 you are loved
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beyond purfection

beyond perfection

is where you will find me

i slipped around it

through a vision

which revealed the other side

could be found

by refusing to

make myself any crazier than



what a relief!


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weeding and weeping

1:2 weeded gardenstep into the garden
cedar trees and alders sentinels
the greyed bench
tipping back now
needs to be righted
my ½-weeded garden
sweet woodruff and oregano
larkspur and foxglove
and horse tails
that grow
while I travel
and work
and attempt to make sense of the world
of myself and of youceltic lady
you who tend to your
gardens of love and belonging
every single day
i am weeping
and weeding
i feel it in the dirt
the every day smile of my women/children
grilling with family 
making music
but mostly the amendments
of laughter and nurture
the afternoon sigh
and yelling at the dog
who just slurped my coffee
we will never know
what might have been
what good will come of
we do what we do
because we have to
or need to
and such a gift it is and will be
we cannot know we
are shadows
until something 
heartbreaking shifts
or how empty and lost
and blessed
we were and still are
the rosemary may be overwhelming
the butterfly bush
-one would never think it-
the himalyan honeysuckle
still thrills
with trickling red flowers
the hummers are warring
for their sweetness
and i am just here
and weeping
in my gardenhimalayan honeysuckle
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SONY DSCSome days a spiritual life resembles a sunrise hike through old growth forest. We stumble through the trees on intermittently illumined paths, stubbing our toes on roots, threatened by unruly underbrush, and evading fear of what creatures are nested in the old stumps and beside occasional creeks. It is beautiful, alive, and mysterious. And mostly dimly lighted. As we walk, our eyes take time to adjust to the glimpses of light diffused through blackberry bushes, spotted on lichen beards and falling through cedar trees.

In our fear we may fixate on the glimpses of light, sometimes focusing so much on it that we misstep or are pulled into a trail that seems safe but goes nowhere. The light is – sometimes – part of the problem with finding our way, we so crave it. When we quit peering soin tensely and allow ourselves to explore the obfuscated underbrush … the dark, the night itself lets go into dawn and we find it was manageable all alone.

At this moment I think that the purpose of “awakening” is not the pursuit of the light itself … nor the faithful trodding toward some clearing where we think “all will be well”. It is an  illusion to think that we will – in time – sit in the sun for longer hours than it is light. It is not possible.

Perhaps the light is there so that we can open up the fear and blindness we experience, accept it, honor it, even befriend it. Perhaps we traverse through all this fear and mystery and hope in order to see what we have been walking through all along.old growth

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The singing night

the air is singing the stories of
oh – hear it!
only interrupt the path of our arresting
and attend even a moment to
the smell of the night
the familiar way the lobster sticks to the soft smoke-grilled shell
and the tendril of crab in butter
you gave me
the bite of mint floating in bourbon
photo (3)
if we lean into our senses
 we will hear what underlies it all
insect cymbals rattling, banging
and then falling
like a starling’s murmuration
lyrical, other worldly
and such a friend to the ear
and heart
this isn’t Puget Sound
where the night hush
sinks into the ground with the dew
and only the “whash” and plop of the waves
on the rocks
these singing nights
are heavy wool blankets
and fire breath
pull it in, blow it out
and feel it
rising and falling
like labor
and love-making
and the changing embers
glowing in new shape and form
which is friendship
last night we heard a whole song
in and between soul-filling
the glow of the fire
the word of the ivory-fingered gospel
and the picking of strings and story
of mamas and look-out towers
of failure
and birth
and the epiphanied treasures
that are mystery
we heard a whole song of songs
and story
in the treasury of music
which is our lives
each one
soft to the touch
to love and lyric and laughter
such beauty
and truth
is almost
too much to bear
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Kentucky Sunday

a wild bouquet of 3-year-olds
fling themselves into water jets
and sit down
before dissolving into
a crowd of guardians and water play
oh the racket!
of 5-year-old boys
who are deliriously
being doused by buckets of water
almost as gleeful
as their dad
who has a couple of them
over his shoulder
sopping wet
and squealing
it is into this calescent
Kentucky Sunday
the kind that could stifle
and divert every kind intent
that we call for
bloody marys
maybe 2
no celery stalk
but olives
which shipwreck and sink
to the bottom
of the glass
bloody mary 2
we sit in this summer field
you tell truth
which spills out
like the sweat on your brow
uncaged stories
as redolent and wounding as
I’ve heard
and this heartsong
only a patch in the acres of
your tender and
interrupted pilgrimage
you cry
for the love of a friend
and rehearse with me
the binding and releasing of
wonder and fear
wonder and fear
 the tugging of discontent
and the unexpected gardens
where loneliness leads
you are art
such honesty
I did not earn
but you gave
i neglected to thank you
birdcage man
we don’t know
what weighs down the pockets
of those we hold in our hearts
or only in 
rocks or nails
or a day old piece of leftover fish
wrapped in a napkin 
who knows?
the scripts written
for and by you
are with you
and being harvested
even now
like those 
sprouting children
too soon the day collapsed
into home grown carrots
organic broccoli
and cheese
and the friction
of insect legs that sing up the night
much too soon 
as you left
i thought
“maybe this is what holy is:
being trusted enough
to hold the darkness and light
of another
in your heart
and to love it all”
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Mint Julep

It is just enough
to break open a midwest summer
just add
gossiping insects
sultry walks
embarrassingly disobedient hair
“The Ohio”
I sink into a cool night
with a slight breeze of cricket-song ~~~
I swish white sugar and water
in the bottom of a glass
muddle some mint
plop ice
then bourbon and
bring on the guitar!
It takes little,
to be happy:
home grown mint,
a place to call safe
and a voluptuous summer night  
Today I could kneel on the ground
in praise
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