Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lemmings Teetering on the Ledge

At the top of a ten thousand foot ledge
The Zen advice is to step off the edge.

Careening down the expressway at 65
Years of industrial sludge have paved the tarmac
Leaving carcasses by the wayside, festering:
Hulking slabs of garbage, steaming
Fogging up the rear view mirror.
The ghost towns of antiquated ways
Left behind in the profit margins;
The specter of life’s compost buried
By the mounds heaped up in clearing the way
For the high efficiency onramps of industry.

Moving so fast it is hard to notice the details
The opportunities under every square foot blurred.
Eyes to the horizon, there’s no telling when we will get there
Or if there will be a pot of gold glistening when we do.
The sleepy-eyed children in the backseat are just waking
Grumbling softly, “Are we there yet?”
Miles and miles to go it looks:
When will we realize we can never get to the horizon—
Noticing how it always recedes into the distance?

Like “lemmings packed into shiny metal boxes”
We blindly clamor to the front or fall back in line
Systematically conveyed forward between wall to wall images
Promises plastered onto the sides of every stackable thing
Placed on the shelves of convenience.
All of us now queued for the slaughter
Of each one’s pet complaint or discomfort
But unwilling to look behind and smell
The remains of the innocent lambs strapped into their carseats
Inheriting the future leftover
From the violent severance caused
By the collision against the natural order.

Looking up, our feet stumble on the walkway
Nothing up there to swoop down and retrieve us from the wreckage.
Looking down, the precipitous plummet causes paralysis
—There is no bottom.
Looking ahead with the blinders on is just what we are already doing.

Just as at the beginning of time, the fall is inevitable:
Then, as now, madly beating in your chest, with all your heart place your foot forward . . .

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hard & Soft

Soft without hard--
Like a mosquito on an iron bull:
Impossible to penetrate the mystery.

Hard without soft--
A torpedo on a mission:
Seeking to obliterate surface vessels.

Neither posture proficient alone.

Hard within the soft:
An iron fist in a velvet glove
Unyielding but plush
—Getting closer but not yet thoroughly cooked,
The pit within the peach hurts if you bite too deep.

Hard and soft refined together
The base transformed into gold:
So malleable it spreads across the entire surface
So dense it plumbs the very depths.
—Appears perfect, but remains indigestible
The same ingot before and after traversing the intestines
Its shape dependent on the designs of the alchemist.

The marrow in the bones has always been juicy soft
Once it cracks open in the stewpot
The marrow spills out into every nook and cranny
Infusing the entire dish with its soft buttery flavor.
The hard bone, no longer necessary, discarded before serving others.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Alchemical Zen

Constructing the Furnace:

To turn this base material into something glorious is an amazing feat
When lead is pulverized and exposed to air it bursts into flame
The dense element of your earthly body is the heaviest substance in the universe
It collapses into itself like a black hole
Collecting the dull ingredients necessary for the next
Big bang of consciousness.

Mash your lotus legs like herbs in a mortar
When the pain bursts into flame fan it gently with a constant air supply
Feed the secret fire below with seamless vigilance.
The ashes drop to the pelvic floor, accumulating in the perineum:
Collecting the ashes together, start the process here.
Just above is the primary crucible of transformation.
A hermetically-sealed pressure cooker,
Where the magical potion is boiled clean, so
Keep your head screwed on tight!
Downcast eyes and a lowered chin keep the lid snug.
An unspeakable metamorphosis is taking place, so don’t say a word.
Simmer the mixture all day and all night
For days on end, for the heartiest, complex flavor.
Don’t peak in just yet or let out any steam, for you’ll spoil the entire brew.

At a surprising moment:
At an unprescribed certain time
When all else has failed, but before turning away,
Everything changes: the opposites align, step through each other, and exchange places
The triangle is inverted: the liquid flames blazing water.
What you thought was outside is in, and inside out.

Solve et Coagula (Dissolve and Coagulate):

Like a cube of salt dropped into the great sea of awareness
The body sinks to the bottom while it dissolves and disperses.
When the form vanishes from sight
A new substance congeals, fixed solid within the volatile fluid:
Nestled deep within the cresting waves
Like a duck far out to sea settling into the surges of a typhoon.
On the other side of the bottomless black darkness
A florid array of colors appears
Diverse and intricately bright, like a peacock feather
Transforming poison into rainbow light
The colors’ movement, modulated by the oscillating alignment,
Corresponds with specific spots along the band of awareness
Residing at the core of being.

Too afraid that the tumultuous, overturning waves
Would break over my fragile identity
Washing it away forever,
The bottomless pain yanked back my courage
Like a choke chain, dividing my mind and body once again.
How much more can be suffered?
Resolve building in the throat, it
Burst through the crimping collar, splitting open the seams.
The lead anchor of my stubborn determination now
Dropping down to the bottom of pain—
The bottom comes up, painless--ethereal
Rising hydraulically by the impulse to actualize.
Reality returns to its former pristine state
Free of corruption, innocence never lost,
The untarnished luster reflected everywhere
Everything exquisitely clear and bright
Shining in the golden sunlight.
Has the body now changed?
Or has it never remained the same?

Turned Back Into Earth:

Stepping into infinite space
Beyond the edge of the universe,
Into the inconceivable realm beyond the sense gates
Where no one has tread before
The fearless stride . . .

Steps back into myself—
All the way out is all the way in.

Stepping out and stepping in—
In-stepping stepping out actually—
Step-by-step; each step never before taken
On a path with no destination.
Each sensational stride so familiar, yet so strange,
My misunderstanding so obvious now.
Every step into emptiness, it turns out
Opens up a complete brand new universe.

Inside out now. coming
Mysteriously out from the heart central to me—
Where have I been hidden all this time—so well deceived?
Deep inside, underneath my fraudulent self—
(Manipulating everything for a little attention):
From that secret place nectar rises
Bursting forth in endless blossoms
From a within beyond reach

The Philosopher’s Stone:

The despised holy thing—all along it wasn’t hidden,
Spat out by everyone
The remedy feared as the poison.
All along just me
The tiniest, inconsequential thing
The mini-me at the heart
Abandoned so long ago
Steps forward to be enthroned
The king that turns everything touched
Back to Gold.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Moon's Dreams

The moon dreams
On its course
Across the unending night:
The moon dreams
Your dreams
Until the dream
Is real.

The moon’s dreaming
The shadowy contours
Of your life;
The moon’s beams
The dark night
Of your soul.

Billions of years now
Since the big bang
Of this kalpa,
With eons of entropy
Between us and the source,
The tectonic forces of the One and the many
Have been rubbing together since the start
Forming a massive range of obstacles.

The heat from that initial moment
Dispersed, we now find ourselves
Clinging, to a fragile balance
On an inconsequential planet
The third orbit around a minor fireball
Itself revolving
At a slow pace
On an outward arm
Of a mediocre galaxy
Billions of light years
Away from the center.

Only in the last blink
Of a galactic eye
Have we begun to sprout
From an unfathomable gestation period,
And we have barely taken root
In the ground of our being.

The path home gets steeper, with more switchbacks
As the peaks rise from this elemental clash.
And at such an altitude, the light of the cosmic sun
Has trouble melting away
The frozen sediment
Settled over the original ground.
Given the perpetuity
Of this ancient,
Chilling truth
Only a little fluid
Is released during each thaw.
Our shallow roots,
Unstable in the sparse soil
Of this godforsaken region
Add just a thin ring of growth each season.

Never before seen in the light of day
Phantasmic forms appear in the dark
Like crop circles in a formless field of possibility
The proving ground for evolving strains:
The gravitational pull of the moon
Draws out our precious awareness
Into the nether regions
Where no one has yet to look—culminating
In the next generation of the species
A neverending drama of succeeding acts
A distended dispersal of what had previously been collected
Galloping towards an unremarkable finale—
Such is the fulfillment of the many.

But to flow with the tectonic tempo of unity
Requires a backwards step
Back through the heart of our sun
Sequentially backwards through cosmic events
A devolution through prior stages of being.

You need to swallow the whole moon
Reduce its far-flung orbit
To the very center of your being
Wax and wane in accordance with conditions
And make its dreams your reality.
Take in its full weight,
Accept the gravity of all past deeds,
Even those by creatures with webbed feet and fangs,
When your bio-plasma was barely cellular
And your soul was formed of a more rarefied awareness.

This dark night of the soul
Culminates in a dense magnetic core
Composed of alchemical elements
Congealed by agents of the moon.
A singular emptiness
Like the black hole at the heart of each galaxy
Draws everything back to one:
An otherwordly cosmic vacuum
Filling the bowels of intergalactic wormholes
Connecting your very being with all space and time.

Darkly illuminated
The whole body invisibly lit up with no remainder
The branching streams flow out into the empty expanse, unseen:
No blooming, no culmination, no moments, nothing more—
And yet, even still, the countless stars appear
In every twinkling reflection
Of your deep-set eyes.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

First Human Interaction

The world collapsing again
Into a dark cloud
One undifferentiated critical mass
Permeates the clarity
And suddenly the habit is pulverized, finally and forever
Hidden no more
The world blooms vividly
And the phenomena of the world
Speaks a new language
Displaying itself from a new angle
Mysteriously shrouded before.

It was an inside job
How else could the thief gain access
Without the guardian of the gate
Providing the blueprints
He’d drawn up over all those years?
The entire structure
Foundation and all
Dismantled in a moment
With the precision
Of demolition experts.

In the first human interaction
Trembling with uncertainty
A momentary Bodhisattva
Offers perfect assistance
Providing for each desire of the heart.

Some would say,
It was just good customer service:
Experienced ones guiding those still looking.
But I know better:
This seamless transaction
Had no precedent.
The entire universe

At the Rave

Gyrating bodies whirling
Twirling to the rhythmic force.
Liquid lights splashing
Rainbow colors over flesh.
Sonic depth charges sounding
Reverberating through the core.

From out of the belly of Russia
Contorting wildly like a yogini gone mad,
Yanna, Goddess of shadows
Exhibits her bewitching skill.

Lured into the heart of the frenzy
Wild wanton desires take over.
Flesh and bone unbridled, deposing
Mechanical subjection to reason.

The smoke obscures
The fire consumes
The chaos overwhelms
The descent is complete.

Melting the Ground of Being

The ground frozen for so long
The souls of my feet finally thawing;
Many years before, the frigid venture
Zapped all the warmth from my being.
Putting my spirit foot down today
The corporeal soil flexes in response
An emissary flies in from the other side once again
As the finch returns to find its nest still perched above the door
So happy, this spring, it calls out in joy!