Acorn

Even though
big oaks from little acorns grow—

big grown-up oaks with roots in the past
and arms reaching to the future,
stable, strong, multi-talented—
able to take the slings and rubber-tipped arrows,
every leaf attuned to a different channel,
providing sustenance, shade, loam—

even so

it is good to be nut brown and smooth, tiny and hard,
with a nubbly cap, a helmet-beret
protecting my solitude, my possibility.
I fit in your hand, your hand on my head, my head in your lap.

I’m all potential and patience,
strength without striving,
excitement, expectation, and stillness.

Such a mighty thing for an oak to do,
turning into an acorn for an hour or two.

Three Selves

Strange: three selves
all crowded into the bathroom at once
in the dark of the night, in the early new day.

One felt the cool tile beneath her feet, and a full bladder.
This one headed straight for the toilet.

But another self caught her eye…moving along with her
in the mirror, just slightly behind and beside her.

This one looked strange, grey striped pajamas,
Face faded and murky, an unreadable expression.
Avoidance? Fear? Hurry.

And just as she turned to sit, a third self
vanished from another mirror, quickly slipping out of sight.

Hiding they were. Lying in wait.
No longer visible but palpably present.

These selves were skillfully mimicking her.
Pretending to be her, they were nevertheless each slightly “off”:
Movements were milliseconds behind,
They hadn’t quite captured the curl of her hair behind the ear,
the tuft in the back.
Expressions too blank, eyes heavy-lidded, they looked nothing like her.

She flushed, and took a deep breath.
She knew they would pop up again on her way out, chasing her,
Whispering, mocking her hurry, What’s the hurry? Where you going?
She felt they craved her company, waited for her nightly visits.

They are always gone by morning.

Namaste

I dance, very slowly, in the sun.
There are bees in the lavender,
and probably tiny spiders underfoot,
under all this thick, soft clover.

And I think that where no cruelty is involved,
no fear, anger, or guilt—
or even awareness—
then, when a tiny beastie goes
from a buzzing crawling busy life
to mud,
perhaps a sweet twinkle of energy is released,
equivalent to the brief exquisite scent
of a tiny flower close to the ground,
hidden from view.

And so I dance, probably
releasing many twinkles underfoot.
And I feel lovely vibrations
from the air, the sun, the earth, the trees
the clouds, the tangy seaweed-breeze.

Is this what it means to share the earth?

I am seaweed, I am cloud, I am giant bird—
I am tendril vines, I am miniscule flower bursting with scent—
I am reverent and purposeful in my choice to dance
despite the inevitable deaths underfoot.

I am finished, and I bow.
Namaste, every body.

Private Smile

And there he was.
She noticed him immediately,
sandwiched between a harried mother
and a whiny younger sister,
or rather a whingeing one, it must have been,
because it was London
on the Underground,
the stations whisking by, in and out of focus.

He looked to be eight years old. No older.
Important stuff tends to happen when you’re eight,
and it was apparent that something
had happened
to this boy. Or maybe
it was happening to her, right then and there.

********

She felt a flutter of mild desperation,
an impulse to give him something,
to reach across the aisle and the anonymity
to honor his shining divinity. But what? What?
Her Tube stop was coming up.
She felt around in her pockets
but all she had
was a smooth lump of hematite, given to her by her father,
and a short wand of crystal, given to her by her boyfriend.
Being just twenty years old, she hadn’t yet come to realize
that either of these objects would have been worthy
precisely because they were precious to her.
Neither did she realize that a dirty pebble would have done the trick,
would have communicated her intent, her reverence.
Would have communicated her desire
to thank him, to bless him, to acknowledge the greatness
of his burden and his opportunity.

********

Years and years went by,
and every now and then she remembered
her brush with the Holy Boy.
That he was an ordinary-looking probably-working-class
eight-year-old Indian boy, with a mother who was so busy
with her sari and her shopping bags and her young daughter
that she never noticed the God in her family, seemed extraordinary.

But it wasn’t.

***********

The train was slowing for her stop.
She couldn’t approach an eight-year-old stranger,
Realized Being or not,
with his mother right there
and obviously displaying a lack of empathy already.
She kept watching him. He must have heard her thoughts,
for he turned and looked at her across the aisle,
a slow and genuine smile
spreading across his face.
And she smiled back.
And in this quiet moment, Everything happened.

It only took a second for Everything to happen, then he turned back,
soothing the younger child with a stuffed animal.
The train stopped, the doors slid open, she stepped onto the platform.
She rode the crowded escalator up to the surface, and the brilliant sun.

Bless Me

A sneeze happens
and everyone rushes
to bless,
and even if you’re not the first in line
to bless,
you might make eye contact, and nod and smile, as if to say
“I bless you too, I would have said it,
but someone else got there before me.”

Why do we rush to bless when a sneeze happens?
Not the historically superstitious reasons
about one’s soul leaving the body
and needing ushering back in under divine protection.

It’s our burgeoning need to bless. And these days, it feels like
there are few safe, legal, legitimate, accepted, politically correct
ways to bless others, out loud.
Except a sneeze. Sneezes are still fair game.

But,
When you handle my fruit gently at the checkout, you bless me.
When I hold the door open for you, I bless you.
When you touch my shoulder gently as I cry, you bless me.
When I tell you that your new idea is so thrilling that is makes the hairs
on my arms stand up, I bless you.

This ritual of love and peaceful energy exchange
can be extended to anything, right?
And I don’t mean out to all the people of the world,
or the animals,
or the planet itself. No,
I’m talking much closer:
Did you bless your shoes today? What about your car?
And your computer! Your phone!

In blessing my computer or phone,
I can bless
the operating system,
everyone on my Contacts list,
all my FaceBook friends,
all the musicians on iTunes,
all the followed and the followers,
all the programs,
all the apps,
all in one go.

And why not? Many of you already think this way, do these things.
Privately.
Secretly.
Quietly.

Achoo!

Remember

I don’t recommend
projecting thoughts of your most unwanted
onto your personal screen.

I can’t give a thumbs up
to the hand-wringing practice
of detailing fearful outcomes. All that adrenaline,
and nothing to show for it but a full audience, a well-lit stage,
and no lines memorized. Or worse. Much worse.

You may think you’re being wise, preparing for the worst,
covering all bases. But your Overhead Projector
is a beacon, collecting energy that shapes itself in your image.

It is better to remember, in time, that you are the projectionist.
You need not paw through the dark unspooled reels
writhing at your feet; you can choose
to focus the bare bulb,
to project pure light instead.

Look around: a flickering screen, fluttering
as fast as a hummingbird,
shows the radiance of your dreams.

All your realities are in motion around you.

Any Day

If my body is a slow-rising twist of smoke,
a narrow trailing evidence of a heart-fire,
you nudge me off my quiet spiral into a wild dispersal
that oxygenates, exhilarates.

If my body is vibration, and it is,
you hum to my frequencies, organizing an internal harmony.

If my body is energy, electricity, and it is,
you know where the turbines spin, can short them out
to open the floodgates.

The huge dam of energy and emotion
flows where it will, a wild ride on tears, sounds, movements.
Rushing out, married to gravity, finding the quickest way
down to clear quiet sunlit pools.

If my body is ideas, and it is,
you show me different stories and inventions, improvise a language
that I remember I speak, and together we laugh and laugh.

And of course I would do the same for you. Any day. Any day.

Butterflying

If you’re butterflying
you become more and more unwilling
to go on the way you always have,
become less and less unaware
of your true feelings regarding all manner of things.
You create a space inside to be quiet
and think about things for a while,
while you’re changing stripes, creating new allegiances
to your velvety and somewhat vague imaginings.
Retreat from the world to stare at your navel
until it turns an iridescent green: this delight
curls the thought-antennae haloed around your head.

Butterflying: the shocking ease with which
dispensing and embracing take place.

Away with you and your stories of blame, your habits of discontent.
But come hither, you with a tale of transformation.
Butterflying spoken here.

Fickle Rudder

doubt
is the worm in the apple
the sink in the swim

doubt
is the hesitation
the yes but

doubt
gives pause,
but usually gets bullied,
rarely giving rise
to thoughtful analysis
or thought-less meditative patience

doubt
keeps you safe
checks twice
holds the reins

doubt
has you walking away
from the stranger who would sell you a car
with a title from his cousin’s brother-in-law

doubt
has you going back in
to say goodnight again, giving one more kiss

doubt:
friend or foe?
annoying killjoy
or intuitive nudge?

doubt
creates many potential paths
that were not there before.
Do we travel on these roads,
continually avoiding one to take the other by default?

doubt
doesn’t plunge headlong into
anything special
can’t really grok
falling in love
keeps its socks on
is too afraid of germs
follows the recipe
double-checks the locks

doubt
saves lives
ruins chances
steers us with a fickle rudder
steers us with a fickle rudder