My Poetry

My Poetry
is a way of preserving experiences,
of which many are transient and beautiful,
and that need help remembering.

Poetry
puts me in touch with
a blithe, carefree part of myself
that can help me cope with inevitable rejections and humiliations.
It does not suggest that all is well,
but delights in Optimism.

Poetry
offers me  a grand and serious vantage point
from which to survey the travails of the human condition,
inspiring me to simple contemplation,
a long loving look at what is.

Poetry
pries open my eyes to the tiresomely familiar,
but critically important,
ideas about how to lead a balanced and good life,
with reminders of balance and goodness
that I should never presume I know enough about.

Poetry
takes thoughts I experience half-formed
giving them clearer expression,
using what was often thought,
but ne’er so well expressed.
A fugitive and elusive part of my own thinking,
my own experience,
is taken up, edited, and returned to me
better than it was before,
so that I feel, at last,
that I know myself more clearly.

Poetry
awakens me with powerful examples
of the kind of alien material that
provokes any boredom and fear,
and allows me time and privacy
to learn to deal with it,
an important first step in overcoming defensiveness
by becoming more open about the strangeness
that I feel in certain situations.


Poetry
leads me to a more accurate assessment
 of what is valuable
by working against habit
and inviting me
to recalibrate what I admire or love.

Poetry
frees me
from the tyranny of
doctrine, dogma,
religious rules, regulations, rites, and rituals;
free to dialogue, learn, and grow.

Poetry
teaches me to be
more compassionate to myself
 as I endeavor to make the best of my circumstances,
as they are.

Poetry
does the opposite of glamorizing the unattainable;
 it reawakens me to the genuine merit of life
as I'm both forced and privileged to lead it.

My Poetry;
A Key to my Spiritual Growth.


About What, From Where

I'm only here for a short while. 

It's such a lucky accident for me, 
having been born, 
and so I feel obliged 
to pay attention. 

I may be part of the only part of the universe 
that’s self-conscious. 
I could even be part of the universe’s form of consciousness. 

I might have come along so that the universe could look at itself. 
I don’t know that, 
but I'm made of the same stuff 
as stars
or things float around in space. 

But I'm combined in such a way 
that I can describe what it’s like to be alive, 
to be a witness. 

Most of my experience is being a witness. 
I see and hear and smell 
other things. 
Being alive, for me,
 is responding.

While writing,
 I lose my sense of time, 
I'm completely enraptured, 
I'm completely caught up 
in what I'm doing, 
swayed by the possibilities I see.

 When that becomes too powerful, 
I have to get up and walk around
because the excitement is too great. 

I can’t continue to work 
or continue to see the end of the work 
when  I jump ahead of myself. 

In writing,
 I'm so saturated with it 
that there’s no future or past, 
just an extended present 
in which I'm making meaning,
dismantling meaning, 
and remaking meaning.

For me,
writing is not just essential communication, 
daily communication; 
it’s a total communication. 

When I'm working on something 
and it's going well, 
I have the feeling 
that there’s no better way of saying what I'm saying.

The themes of my poems emerge in the writing, 
as one word suggests another, 
one image calls another into being. 

One of the amazing things 
about what I do 
is I don’t know when I'm going to be hit with an idea, 
I don’t know where it comes from.

 I see something in a phrase, 
or even in a word, 
that allows me to change it 
or improve what was there before. 

I have no idea where things come from. 
It’s a great mystery to me, 
but then many things are. 

I don’t know why I’m me, 
I don’t know why I do the things I do. 
I don’t even know if my writing is a way of figuring it out. 

I learn more about myself the more I write, 
but that’s not the purpose of my writing. 
I don’t write to find out more about myself. 
I write because . . . 

I'm always thinking in the back of my mind, 
there’s something always going on back there. 

I am always writing, 
even if it’s sort of unconsciously, 
even though I’m doing other things, 
somewhere in the back of my mind 
I’m writing, mulling over. 

And another part of my mind 
is previewing what I’m going to write.

I move between critical self-assessment 
and a relaxed, receptive, nonjudgmental openness 
to experience. 

My attention coils and uncoils,
 its focus sharpens and softens, 
like the beat of my heart. 

It is out of a dynamic change of perspective 
that a good new work arises. 
Without openness I would likely miss 
the significance of an experience. 

But once the experience registers
 in my consciousness, 
I try to transform it into a vivid verbal image 
that communicates its essence to the reader.

I do not take myself too seriously.

But that does not mean that I take my writing lightly; 
my view of my poetry is as serious as any. 

My writing grows out of my mortality: 
Birth, grief, love, joy, and death are the stalks 
onto which my verse is grafted. 

To say anything new 
about these eternal themes 
I do a lot of watching, 
a lot of reading, 
a lot of thinking. 

I just try to pay attention 
to the textures and rhythms of life, 
being receptive to the multifaceted, constantly changing 
yet ever recurring stream 
of my experiences. 


The secret of writing something worthwhile 
is to be patient. 

If I react too quickly, 
it is likely that my reaction will be superficial, 
a cliché.

And so,
I strive to
keep my eyes, ears, heart open, 
and my mouth shut for as long as possible,
not always successfully.

Being Present

I’m not brimming with hope
 but it’s OK not to be optimistic. 

Having to maintain hope
 wears me out, 
so I'll just show up,
just be present.

The biggest gift I can give life
 is to be absolutely present
for anyone
or anything,
 rather than worrying about 
being hopeful or hopeless 
or pessimistic or optimistic.

After all, who cares? 

The main thing is that I show up, 
that I'm  here, 
and that I'm finding even more capacity 
to love
because I will not heal or be healed 
without it. 

Love is what unleashes my intelligence 
and my ingenuity 
and my creativity 
for healing our world.

How is the human story going to end? 
When things are this unstable, 
my determination, 
how I choose to invest my energy, 
my heart and my mind 
can have much more effect on the larger picture 
than I ever imagined. 

So I find it a very exciting time to be alive, 
even if somewhat wearing emotionally.

I just choose to be everlastingly grateful 
for love in my life. 

I always seem to be asked to stretch a little bit more
 but actually we’re made for that. 

There’s a song that wants to sing itself through me.
 I just have to be available,
ready to dance 
the cosmic dance.

Maybe the song that is to be sung through me 
is the most beautiful requiem 
for an irreplaceable planet 
or maybe it’s a song of joyous rebirth 
as we create a new culture 
that doesn’t destroy its world. 

But in any case, 
there’s absolutely no excuse 
for making my passionate love in life 
dependent 
on what I think of the future. 

Those are just thoughts anyway. 

But in this moment,
 I am alive, 
so I can just dial up the magic of love
any place,
at any time.

Joy

Joy
in life
transcends happiness
and unhappiness
both dependent on
happenings.

I take Joy
in Being alive
in the midst of it
all.

Rebel, Moi?

Some call me a rebel.
What is a rebel?

I am one who may say no, 
but my refusal does not imply only a renunciation
as I also says yes
. . . to my rebellion.

Rebellion cannot exist
 without the feeling that, 
somewhere and somehow, 
I must be true to myself.

As a rebel
I say no and yes simultaneously.

In every act of my rebellion, 
I simultaneously experience
a feeling of revulsion at the infringement of rights 
and a complete and spontaneous 
loyalty to my True Self.

Despair has opinions and desires 
about everything in general 
and nothing in particular. 
Silence expresses this attitude very well
and ends up as complicity.

But from the moment that I found my voice
 even though I may have said nothing but “no” 
I began to grow.

Not every value entails rebellion, 
but every act of rebellion tacitly invokes a value.

Awareness, no matter how confused I may be, 
develops from every act of my rebellion: 
the sudden, dazzling perception 
that there is something in me 
with which I can identify my True Self, 
even if only for a moment.

Why would I rebel 
if there is nothing permanent in myself 
worth preserving?


The affirmation implicit in every act of my rebellion 
extends to something that transcends me 
in so far as it withdraws me 
from my solitude
 and provides me with a reason to act.

When I rebel, 
I identify with others 
and so surpass myself , 
in human solidarity.

My rebellion, 
though apparently negative, 
since it creates nothing, 
is profoundly positive 
in that it reveals the part of me 
which must be defended.

I had to learn 
to accept the unacceptable 
and hold to the untenable.

The words that reverberate for me 
at the confines of this long adventure of rebellion 
are not formulas for optimism, 
for which I have no possible use 
in the extremities of unhappiness, 
but words of courage and intelligence which, 
on the shores of the eternal seas, 
even have the qualities of virtue.

No possible form of wisdom today 
can claim to give me more. 

Rebellion indefatigably confronts evil, 
from which it can only derive a new impetus. 
I can master in myself 
everything that should be mastered. 

We can connect with creation 
everything that can be rectified. 

I understand that rebellion cannot exist 
without love. 


Rebellion is the very movement of life 
and it cannot be denied without renouncing life. 
Its purest outburst, on each occasion, 
gives birth to existence. 

Thus it is love
or it is nothing at all. 

At the end of this tunnel of darkness, 
there is inevitably a light, 
for which we have to fight 
to ensure its coming. 

All of us, among the ruins, 
are preparing a renaissance 
beyond limits. 
But few of us know it.

In the light,
Others are breathing under the same sky as I; 
justice is a living thing. 

Resident in my soul
is a strange joy 
which helps me live and die.
With this joy, 
through the long struggle, 
I find my soul,
which excludes nothing.

Silent Assent

 Many of my Catholic friends
continue to do
what I did
most of my life;
support the Catholic Institution
with allegiance,
attendance at liturgy,
(weekly or otherwise)
and monetary donations.

Most, if questioned,
do not believe
or abide by
all of Church teaching,
yet continue
in silent support.

Though I resist judging them,
I left institutional Catholicism
because I found such a way of living
hypocritical,
being effectively complicit in hierarchical
tyranny, abuse, and discrimination
with my silence.

Many would argue
that they are supporting
all the good that the Catholic Church does,
despite its failures.

This sounds to me
like something the German People
of Nazi Germany
said of Hitler,
focusing on all the good
Adolph did for the German people.

I don't think
the evils of any institution
can be justified
or even tolerated
by the good it may do.

Unfortunately,
the Roman Catholic Church
in all its tyranny, abuse, and discrimination
continues to exist
with the silent support
of millions of good people
many of whom
persist in their giving
for fear of hell
and eternal damnation.

Thankfully millions of enlightened Catholics
have Moved On
no longer supportive of the Institution's
high clericalism.

I no longer attend
Institutional church services,
nor do I financially support
the corrupt hierarchy,
directly or indirectly through a parish.
(Most pew-sitters naively think
their donations stay within their parish
and/or are only used for good.)

I do not need middlemen
for my donations to the needy,
especially ones
I cannot trust.