aparagraha, the poem inspired after losing our place in the 2017 Sonoma fires, has been included in the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s installation “From Fire, Love Rises: Stories Shared from the Artist Community.” Sponsor, radio station, KSVY 91.3 will also feature the poets reading their work. The museum show begins September 29th and features 30 artists and poets who created art about their experience of the fires. Show ends January 6th. I will be there on Saturday, September 29th from 6 to 8 p.m. The poem is below.

aparigraha is a sanskrit word expressing non-possessiveness, non-grasping or non-greediness. it is the opposite of the desire for possessions. our beloved cinque terre, our retreat in sonoma, has burned to the ground. this poem was born from that experience. 

shiva came through this place
smoke signals foretold

Destroyer
wiper of slates

Destroyer, you hit your mark
smeared your body with our ashes

crumbled our city
of material dreams, security illusions.

that which you have reduced to settled piles
disintegrates my grasp of worldly form

with one fierce sweep you’ve left me clinging
my fist clenching

nothing but material ash

oh shiva, open my eyes sealed by
beholding the “Plan”

my hands wail, they pound futile rage,
but all that is left is suffocating ash, a strangle of fear.

run! shiva has swept through here.
run for your life. run until you collapse in the horror stilled by the dissolution
and stand in it, melting like ice in fire

stand in the loss, in the center of it all, in the calm eye of the hurricane
release my false grip

travel through shiva’s eyes where destruction offers a path, that if taken
shows the soul beyond the pointless grasp, false security

aparagraha

shiva, destroyer
cut the cords to my grasp of that which is not my soul

leave only the cinders of what never belonged to me
force my hand open to lay on my heart
embrace eternal heart beat

let what has been taken
blow away in the winds

leaving me standing with palms open
on shiva’s purified ground.

Heart

i just want
to have the sweet nest of your tender arm
wrapped against my cheek

then, i can know i’m safe
i can melt in your love
and all my love
can wrap its long tendrils around you…
my love would squeeze
and pulse
and express…
it would give and give

let me
rest against your sweet inhale
feel your breath on my brow
igniting my third eye
then
i can float in the wave
of our mutual dream…our love tending to each other

oh, let me once more engage
in a sweet song of relief before i leave this plane
let me release in love dear mother god,
and Love and Be Loved
once again

without reserve
without back story
with abandon
gazing into the ocean
of your receiving eyes

and dive
in the waterfall
of our love.

the time for mourning passes

the horizon sets orange
and the sky turns to ash

sun is setting on the burned behind
the ways before don’t seem to work
on this new puzzle, well timed

waving goodbye to familiar
it is gone
whispering hello to foreign
telling myself, i don’t have to pretend to be strong

let the pattern take shape
find in it, my place

the broken chips, releasing old ties
beg to welcome
the new sunrise…

for my duchess on the wedding day of her son (I wrote this a few years ago and just realized I never published it!)

hold tight
you’re still the girl
who was
before your life as mom

caress her face
she’s the grace
who picked her music bright
call of the wild
took on a life

your blue eyes
put some stars aside
baby in your nest
rocked through little one’s tides
ocean cool to fireside

hold her hand today
my sister’s hand
as i watch her
let loose her fingers
embrace this bold day

big wings, he spreads them
we gaze his dactyl flight
sky to call
him from your palm
brings your hand to future light

hold to your breast
endless mother gold
son of your heart
your wings will always enfold
cherishing the nest of family three
forever relishing
the Mother you will always be

today was a lifetime in a day

hard edges scraped my sides

reminded me
i’m not alone

pain is with me

like a hot sun, it burned my heart
which bled
and softened it, even when i thought i had nothing left to soften

left me wonderless
limp

like Samuel Beckett
i can’t go on, i will go on

and i do
i did

in one day

anger the street bystander
hopelessness the corner beggar

i can’t give myself to them

i go with the scrapes
embrace the hard edges
i cry out even so

the ache that won’t go away
the terror
that he will become only a memory

how can anyone we love turn into only a memory?

and i am here
today
for no reason i can see

and in the same day, i swim in soft currants of love
miracles, even
and i ask myself, where is your gratitude?

until, all in the same day, i again break against razor’s edge
and i forget what the question is
i let it slice me
tear me apart
i can’t try anymore

i am your victim, Life
i am your lifetime in a day

through me you feel it all
from sublime grace
to groaning angst

i am apparently your bucket
your receptacle

the body of water open inside
splashing droplets

droplets sparkling in a day
that dare never
ever
to risk their purpose
by asking why

i know the rip

and the tide

the gut of the whale,

it reduces

it drives you down
as if you could disappear in the belly of grief

but you are the force…your reach is the cause

that frees me from
the dark of the whale

your presence that stretches that beast’s mouth open
tosses me out of his black belly

into sunlight and ground.

and now i stand at the shore

in patience

for i have some idea where you are
deep in the belly of that wail

so here i will wait
and i will call in the tones
sing the love notes

to coax that whale to release you

and in divine timing

when the monster is done with you

sunlight will find you again
leading your feet to fertile ground.

fall into your grief, your strife, your weakness, my child

fall into my arms in a heap…

only then, when you are so vulnerable

can i awaken in you the consolation

the wisdom

the strength

that has been planted in you all along.

So be not afraid of your weakness, my child,

nor your tears — fall into it — use it to fall into Me (your Greatest You).

i am waiting. i am always here. bring your vulnerability to Me.

for only when you are feeling hopeless

is there an opening

for you to anchor

into your deepest power.

Art by Carmen Leon

for Claude & Betty Ganaye’s 60th Anniversary

One serendipitous day a blaze started with two sparks

a Lady wrestler, a mother with a mind of her own

Met her match

A French maverick, a lover of jazz, a dancer

What happens when two bright lights come together to make a bright, illuminating One?

The world serenades their synergy

The lover’s moon brightens their way

And a fire starts to ignite a hearth,
a hearth that will burn for lifetimes to come.

They grew the colors of a family, Colleen and Bill

Cultivated rainbows of businesses and myriad endeavors

And always along the way, Singing their mantra of eccentricity, individuality but most of all, big hearted love

moving out and out, wherever they went their loving hearth grew

attracting hearts like fireflys to light … a flock of admirers trailing them along the way

For these two are collectors of love.
their hearth collects a flock
they have invited many to stand in their warmth

They have shown the light for many to see their way

The hearth has been home to so many, their love, a blanket of comfort and encouragement to those they have touched so easily

This loving hearth of love that burns so bright

It lights our world and we are crazy fireflys enchanted by their flame!

At this hearth, we have danced and cheered, we have sung and we have celebrated

a hearth that has loved so many
has filled us all with their magical flame

they have brought us into their home, sat us down with a glass of wine and showed us

the meaning of Love.

So, to Claude & Betty, Your Hearth burns bright, thank you for sharing. We are all better people because of you.

Let’s now throw back a cup of cheer…

Claude & Betty’s 60th Anniversary is here!

 

there’s any number of things to grieve

so much loss

so much love

so many misunderstandings

and songs that will never be sung again.

death

as a rebirth of some kind

so much crying to deepen the laughter

so many things to tear up about

anniversaries lost without the other, for example

i am here and you are there

and here i am

with any number of things

to grieve

but today, i’ll just pick one.

 

 

this suspension bridge offering a crossing…

it allures

it sways

it may cross you over

but makes no promises

suspension bridge

may leave you hanging

suspended over the rush of your life

as you watch it flow below

the river of your life before

out of reach–history now, rushing forward to…

unknown, i can’t see

i’m navigating this bridge

too determined to turn back

dizzy going forward

seeking rhythm with the sway

of this delicate passage

an offering of No Guarantees

just an uneasy tightrope

a place with a view

calling me away

 

 

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