Thank you for the pain, Love

This pain you gave me
as you left I’ll take
as a parting gift,
I’ll cherish it, nurture it,
and grow it in my heart
until I am strong again,
stronger than I was,
until my depth as a man
through this pain is expanded,
until I can, at last,
give the pain of losing you
to the world again
as a gift of love,
becoming a better man
than the one I was.
In this way I remain faithful
to the love we shared,
in this way I remain faithful
to your heart of unbound love,
in this way I release you from me
and give you back to the world, as love…

The Mystery of Your Ways

By the jasmine tree,
under the moon at dawn
I am waiting for you,
your silence since long
arrived before you
but only now
have I begun to hear
the whisper of your voice,
your silence since long
announced your presence
but only now
am I beginning to feel
the freshness of your breath,
and as I walk away at last,
as I walk away
into the rising day
a strange power carries me on
almost like a wave,
imperceptible, unexplainable,
asking me to let go,
to trust and surrender
to the mystery of your ways.

On the Cusp of Spring

Her falling dress
a breath of fog and dew
lacing the forest,
naked she then wades
the blue water of dawn,
in the kiss of her skin
the morning sun rising.

In countless streamlets
the fire of her fragrance
replenishes my inkwell,
out of the hardness of stone
coaxing my will to rise
and face the world again,
shape the world anew
out of the depth
of my love and passion,
the maturity of my manhood,
the rejuvenating vigor of her presence
flowering in my heart,
pervading my being
with the light of eternity.

الله في جسدها

لفح عطرها
لم يبق من قلبي
الا وهج نار متقدة
على مذبح العشق

وها نار حبها
في شراييني تمددت
حتى لم يبق مني
الا تأوه الأزهار
مع انبلاج الفجر

الريح تأتي
والريح تذهب
وأنا ههنا أحترق
في ماء عطرها

أضلعي ودمائي وحياتي
عني في حبها ذابت
ذوبان الصلاة
في فم الخمر

الله في جسدها
وجسدها في الله
في ضوءها عرش الوجود
ومصدر الخلق

A Promise Fulfilled

The old faith,
that most beautiful
legacy of youth,
came back to me,
and again
there was joy in my heart,
again, inside,
dawn hushed white
and the sky breathed out,
and in the silence
I heard a voice
like a wave
coming over me,
coming out from me,
in the silence
I heard a voice
telling me to live my life
free of care,
that in the darkest
and most isolated corner
I am seen,
I am living in reciprocity
with life in its entirety,
telling me to unfold
my own myth,
be who I am
by embracing my becoming.

The old faith
came back to me
and again
I found my face,
a flower among flowers
blooming silently,
a star among stars
shining silently,
again I found my face
and there was joy in my heart,
a fulfilling of the promise
that love once made to me.

From the Soul of the Philosopher and Poet

What are you searching for?
For a reason, for a way to believe,
For a ruse to trick reason
And reach the realm of faith and certainty
While remaining under his good grace.

What are you willing to pay?
I am willing to sacrifice reason itself,
Only reason and my sense of honesty
Do not allow this weakness and betrayal to prevail,
So I remain caught in the middle,
Cut in half in no man’s land,
And as a result I feel myself
Poor, impoverished, and lacking a center,
As if empty or hollow,
Glancing back and unable to go back,
Looking high but unable to fly upwards,
So I pay my life and time as a result
And linger begging for a crumb of bread,
I whose inheritance and right
Is the banquet of heaven itself.

All the way to the end

When I am not with you
I grow morose
and no longer recognize myself.

But there was that night
that I discovered a hole in my heart,
and leapt into it.

The hole was deep and dark
and it felt as though
all the pain and emptiness
that tore through me
came rushing out of it.

I was afraid,
shivering to my bones,
and I stayed there for a long time
wondering if I should return or not
until I finally gathered my strength and jumped in,
and it was as if I was blind my whole life.

My eyes were opened
as if for the first time
and I realized that I was blind,
for I saw you everywhere
and wherever I went
I carried you with me.

I discovered that
when it comes to you
blood and bones and heart
are not fit enough metaphors
to describe your depth,
even the womb
that birthed time and the stars
is not deep enough
to give an intuition of your depth.

Whatever I will say about you
will not sound reasonable.
I am often amazed by it
let alone someone else.

Yet there you are
smiling at me and my foolishness,
at my trying to write a poem about you
and being clumsy at it.

I smile back and tell you
that my poetry is my way
of giving my life to over you,
celebrating a little of your beauty,
but you say that my life
is not mine for the giving,
that it has been forfeited long ago.

Now I sit before the setting sun
as the trees lose their leaves
and wonder –
what is a heartbeat without you?
Can a heartbeat be
without you at its source?
What is life if not a silken weave
in your hair?
What is life if not a dewdrop
rolling down your skin,
shaking as you walk
and fly and dance
and shaking us all with you,
shattering our world
in the unfolding of your beauty?

Now I understand
why love was so long denied to me
and why I had to beg and cry
for endless nights
and feel a pain so deep
and an isolation so harrowing.

You were there
and I had to live it and feel it
with a heart as open as can be.

Now I understand
and bless you
and kiss your hand,
and show for gratitude
my entire life,
the way it has been lived
and the way it will be.
A flower in your garden
all the way to the end.

A Poet’s Muse

She took her clothes off,
seated herself by the window
as the cascading moonlight
washed over her body,
then placed her fingers atop her breasts,
looked into my eyes,
and asked me to write her poetry.

My blood became ink that night
as my shivering fingertips
coursed to infinity
every nook and curve of her body,
and that night lasted
longer than I could remember,
stretched farther back
beyond my own conception,
and further than the dark tremors
of my own stony grave.

A poet is as great as is his muse. By glorifying his muse he himself is glorified. And to his muse he gives his whole life even to the point of annihilation and death.

Into The Dark

Into the dark we go,
in the sacred house of darkness
totally submerged
totally muted
we pray
‘Oh darkness, whole and holy,
with your dark liquid
fill our bones,
bless us as your altar
and upon the stone of our ribs
break your sacred stone,
burn us into you
oh holy mother,
ever so cruel,
ever so merciful,
and through the grace
of your unfathomable womb
again kiss life into our souls,
hold up to us your mirror
of dark water
and let us drown in the revelation
of the fire of which we are born,
the fire that is the face of our face,
our womb, our core.
We depart now, holy mother,
but only with the promise of return,
for as the day emerges out of night
only to return again
so we shall come back to you
and bless you
for your darkness and your pain,
bless you for birthing us
again and again
and countless times unto eternity,
each time as embodiments
imperfectly perfect
pulsating with the energy of love.’

Inspired by my friend Allison Marie.

Growing Older – Growing Younger

I was never young,
I always felt myself to be an old man
trapped in a young man’s body,
I always saw my hair gray
when it was pitch black,
I always felt the lines of old age
crisscrossing my young face,
and I always felt myself awkward and out of tune
in places and with people
with whom I should’ve been most at ease.

Then how is it that now
as I grow older,
how is it that now
as my hair begins to whiten
and as my face and body
begin to change
I feel my spirit growing younger,
bustling with more energy and clarity
with each new day?

What strange fruit have I eaten
in my wanderings through the garden
of the spirit as I held your hand
O philosophy?
What strange garden have I cultivated
that I am now standing on my own head?
Growing youthful as I grow older
in an inverse order —
ah the uncanny feeling!
how strange! how beautiful!
and how right it feels!
as if a god has taken my body for his lodging
and has taken my body for a spin
on the pathways of life and love,
knocking on the doors
of the broken and the beautiful,
the difficult and the tempting,
teasing and challenging me
and throwing me out and into the cauldron of fire
and with each footstep
binding me to heed
the deep call of eternity.

The Turn

Unable to find you
out in the world
I turned inward
to the source
of incompletion and ache
and found that my heart
in its reckless longing
was erecting itself
as a temple
with your light for its pillars,
with your love
an unshakable fountain of joy
revolving in its center.

I turned inward
but then, marvelous inversion!
your light flowed out
and etched itself
into the fiber of the world.

Where are you now?
A fluid motion
moving all around,
a moving ocean
without edges or shores
hovering nimbus
over the entire creation,
sweeping it in its onrush
to the center of the soul.

Who are you now?
All the names
that ever went down in history
and all the names
that fell out,
forgotten and unknown,
you are the source of naming itself,
and the hover of silence
in the secret heart of dawn.

Free Verse # 359 (again and again)

The rays of dawn
slide through the clouds;
inside my ribs
an empty nest
aches and shivers
with a handful
of burning ash,
the smoldering remnants
of a poem
consumed by longing.

~

Place your lips on mine
and whisper
your heartbeats,
these grains of incense
amid your ribs burning
in the fire of forever,
that fated fire bound
to merge us one.

~

Again and again
tight against its bud
the flower of my heart
folds its petals.

Again and again
your touch flings me open,
deeper in the realization
of the reality of love.

~

Where are you
Photographer unknown

Who are you,
you whose breath
has always whispered
like a dawn in my heart?

Where are you,
you whose heart beats in me
deeper than the voice of life?

~

Night gazing in
through the window –
on the table
a book of poetry
and a burning candle –
somewhere in the deep
the voice of love.

~

Heart decimated
by the pain of absence.

Heart becoming
for longing the oil
sustaining the candle
of the deeper heart.

Bringing me Home

You live in me
as that which gives the diamond
its sheen,
as the radiance inside
the rays of sunlight,
as the secret unfolding
in the blue hush of dawn.

You live in me
but how
it cannot be said,
and as these metaphors
try to utter your how
my heart implodes
with a spaciousness
the entire universe
cannot begin to fill.

You live in me
in a way I cannot reason
or explain,
in a way I can only fathom
by opening up to you
and drinking the beauty and the pain
of my surrender.

You live in me
and through your living
I realize how everything in you
is an eternal beginning,
that life is a flowering spring
even in the midst of winter and death,
even in the throes of shattering of loss.

Long ago
your absence whispered in my ear
and my heart
became an altar of longing
burning with the oil
of your secret:
in you everything is completed,
in you the circle is full.

So abandon me
and let the pain of your abandonment
cut deepest into my skin,
for that is how you push the seed in me
through the soil of your garden,
awakening me to your light
and bringing me home.

Letter, February 21, 2016

You are not a person; you are the place I can never leave. Loving you is awakening in myself your eternal presence, and realizing how, from birth to death, I am submerged inside of you. I feel you pulse in me as though you were the root nurturing my soul, wedding me into a poem of belonging celebrating you as the effervescence of all there is. Seeking you is but a pigment of the imagination, an illusion of the soul, for you are here, now, always and forever, this lived moment, this translucent veil through which I see and am seen, this dynamic, invisible medium eternally at work as it shapes and reshapes life in the bosom of existence. Now the wave breaks, and its froth scatters on the shore of silence. Now your breath becomes ink and blood and fire, and my veins the flower blooming on your skin.

Love’s Inverse Economy

“What I am giving to the world
and not what the world is taking from me,”
ah, that this thought might in me
become rule and law,
a star radiating
from the shadowy deeps of my being,
consuming all in one fiery cataclysm
of a giving that scatters,
for only the richest give
without thought to what the world may take,
only the richest give
and are all the richer for it.

Here, love’s inverse economy,
that as one gives one grows
so long as one’s giving
outflows from one’s truest depth,
so long as one’s giving
comes from a vulnerable place,
from a heart that’s open to the world
and affirming itself through that opening,
affirming existence entire
even to the point of agony and tears,
even to the point of heartbreak and loss,
for love desires itself through love
wherever its feet may lead,
and love knows each tear is a seedling
in which womb trembles
a sky filled with stars.