To a ‘goodnight’ gone, and those still to come…


I am only a part-time poet. I love to be lost in lyricism, awash in the wide stretching words of sonnets and verse, but my thoughts tumble out best, and most often, in prose and in essay. Perhaps it’s because my mind is always wildly musing and meandering; fueled by the epistemologist’s urgent need ‘to know’ and the philosopher’s desirous love of wisdom, I write for the want of understanding.

But, poetry; poetry is something that comes to me in intervals indifferent to the varying searches of my intellect. Instead, it often arrives as an unbidden and unexpected guest, whose aid is twice blessed because it is unlooked for, as Tolkien might say.

Poetry comes to me in the midst of rapture, ecstasy, agony, and anguish. In all the immoderation of an instant that evades easy expression, it emerges from the excesses of a moment in time.

Between memory and anticipation, between where I have been, where I am now, and where I am going, something nameless and unfathomable, something unexpected and ineffable spills out and spills over in abundance. The moments when we indiscreetly and indiscriminately sense an overwhelming shift in the shape of the world, a change in the amassed arrangement and organization of ourselves; when all we are rupturously collides with all we have ever been, and all we are about to become.

Poetry is simply one of the ways in which I try to grasp at something vaporous; an attempt to capture the spillage in space. It is an effort to create a time capsule; a place where the past is made prescient, where the future becomes present, where now becomes perpetual.

When the losses of all the days gone mix and mingle with the longing for all that is still to arrive, in the fullness of being here, we write. When the magnanimity of the infinite merges into a single moment, we write secret messages. We write these messages, if to no one else than to ourselves, if for no other reason than to remember…

Your voice
Still redolent in my head
Still running wildly through my chest
Still wafting through the four corners of all I am,
And, perhaps, all I’ve ever wanted

Goodnight, you say
Again and Again, goodnight
Over and over, goodnight
I listen until I’ve lost hope of ever tracking the count

I have known so many nights
Many have bidden a darkness beyond words
Some have shown stars brighter than I remember
But none now seem “good” until this one was named as such by you

How strange it is to miss the figment of a face I have never met
To be nostalgic for a life that I have not lived yet

Until then..

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Your heart is a secret…

the heart is a secret - original art by Duane Toops

Poetry is an invitation to meditate upon the experience of mystery and the mystery of experience.

The task of the poet is to make the mysteriousness of experience palpably vivid in a way that does not resolve the mystery but, instead reveals the mystery as more profoundly mysterious than we realized.

Poets teach us about experience. They teach us about our own experience. They teach us about the way we experience what we experience. With great care and reverent luminosity, poets teach us to more fully experience our experience. They do this not by teaching us how to put our experience into poetry, nor by teaching us how to experience a poem, but by showing us that poetry is always-already present in experience, itself. Poetry is the experience of everything. And thus, every experience is an experience of poetry.

We are full of secrets, and poetry is the fossil record of the human condition, maybe even the fossil record of the human soul.

Buried beneath the compacted layers of sediment is the history of human longing, the music of our millennia of tragedies and triumphs, the rapturous soliloquy of our radiant splendor; the joy, grief, sorrow, lament, despair, our excitement, exhilaration, and our exuberance.

Each poem is an act of faith; a faith that some minute piece of the manifold mystery will become material for a moment. A faith that some small substance of the things hoped for will become manifest, albeit, perhaps, in an ephemeral way. A faith that we will uncover the evidence of things unseen; the evidence of the possible. The possibility will claim meaning, and in the meaning we will find the secret of our hearts…

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What if we tried?

what if

What if we saw the mutual reciprocity that resides between the heavens and our hearts? And, what if we tried?

It’s subtle at first but so unavoidably apparent once we stop long enough to look closely.

What if we recognized that the energy igniting the truth that burns in the depths of who we are, is the same force and fire that lights the stars?

It isn’t hard to see if we just pay attention.

What if we pulled our heart-strings taunt across the sanctity of the safe place at our center and sang out long and hard?

It’s only hard at first, and it gets easier every time.

What if when we stop withholding, the universe stops withholding too?

It’s most often the things that we hold in that end up holding us back.

What if we, ourselves, are that part of the cosmos that expresses it’s deepest truths?

After all, Carl Sagan said that “we are made of star stuff”, and it is true.

What if every doubt, every question, every apprehension that wonders at the premise: “what if I can’t?”, simultaneously opens us up to the possibility of “What if I can?”

Luminous joy is just as likely as catastrophic dark, and the dark doesn’t last forever. The light always returns to carry us home.

What if we go all in on everything we do?

We will be more doggedly haunted by the things we failed to do, than by the things we failed at.

What if we open our hearts dangerously wide, so wide and so uncomfortably open that it scares the shit out of us?

What if it breaks us? But, more importantly, “what if” it doesn’t?…

What if we tried?

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I was born running…

A couple weeks ago I posted an audio version of poem I wrote called “Abide”. Someone of you seemed to like it. I really enjoy spoken word poetry and listening to poetry readings, so I thought I’d try another. Hope you like it!

I dig my heels deep and hard into the pulse and pace of a pulmonary valve bursting wide
I was born with the restless heart rate of a runner
I was born running
This pavement hears my pleas
It bears the full weight of all my angst and agony without relenting
It reaches up and pulls me into peace
An embrace as solid as the concrete that calls me home to someplace unknown
I was born running
I dig my heels hard and deep into the pulse that runs in search of poetry and my pace quickens into a prayer

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