What Chopin wanted most
was to die
in George Sand arms,
on his deathbed
all he got
Was a nosegay of violets
She left at his door
When her daughter
turned her away–
People can be such shits.
He wrote a friend on his deathbed, “She promised me I would die in her arms.”
There is a moment before the sound the Great Om,
Before Siva turned on one foot
Before Krishna was blue and Tara green,
Before the making of Lucifer, the heavenly war
The gravity of heaven and the drifting fire of hell
Before the holy breath blew into Man
Before Adam’s dream of Eve
Before Cain lost his mind and the daughters of Cain
And the flood, before an angel spoke to Hagar
And Moses saw a home of honey, fire and blood
Before David hurled a stone
Before Isaiah spoke a word
Before Buddha under the Bodhi-tree
The slaughter of the innocent
The cry of the desert in a voice crying in the desert
Before the sorrow of Mary
Before a nail cut the hand of the Anointed
Before the wonder of Magdalene at the tomb
Before tongues of fire
Before the first stone struck Stephen
Before stigmata in Assisi
Before Allah save infant girls
In a message of mercy from Mohammed
Before Gandhi felt the heat of a gun
And the death of Martin gave an undying dream
There is a moment
Before the memory of time
Offered like sunlight filtered through trees falls at your feet
It is like sound
Or light surrounding the body
A lilting melody of light
Before evil or good were ideas, that when you hear
Clears the past of pain
Reconciles history to love
And the One you felt did not exist
Is with you saying
“I have always loved you and always will.”
It is the still point at the center,
That moment you truly are, that moment is now
What begins from the first day?
The world goes slowly white,
Not black and white: black
Is all colors, but white is empty.
Even the greatest go, they
Cannot change or come back–
In Japan they do not wear black
When someone dies, but white.
The greatest stand alone to sing
The time, a poem, their life, a fact.
Cover Photo by Rayn Roberts
I am the misconceived unconnected son of an ordinary woman who baked as many cakes as your Mom, loved me as much. My father went to war, saved the nation, came back shell shocked with medals and memories he cannot tell. Something went wrong with me. It was not the boyish pranks, soap on your windows, Halloween T P on your house or car. I am evil behind a mask, the guy who breaks into your house, microwaves your cat, leaves a note, “I just had to see.” I feel no remorse, it’s all good fun. I’m the unknown gunman of the drive by shooting, hitching a freeway, waiting with a rifle, dropping a cinder block from an overpass… Tense, clean-cut, overly polite, the All-American type at the 7/11. I pack a 38, take a bus to Nashville and murder six people in the mall for the thrill of it, the fun, the fame. I am the unexplained American dream gone nightmare destined for the black print of the newspaper — The brute in us all, the reason you bolt your door at night.
*Cover Photo by Gwyn Henry
You’re better to believe what we tell the children: God loves all
Satan’s to blame for the evil in the world, the horror of war.
You’re better if you just think it, think the heart of humanity
The soul of the nation is one, indivisible under Mr. Donald J.
Oh say can’t you see something eatin’ away at the heart-land
Like an amoeba eatin’ the brain, a crow peckin’ the liver of liberty?
Chipping away inside, death has a bone to pick with us all.
We let hate and bloodshed go, over and over, but never have we
Quite committed to memory how we do it—our books rust on shelves
Our art rots on walls, television keeps us distracted with football
Our laws help check, but there is no remedy for reality– violence
Erupts at any turn, with or without imams, rabbis, priests
A merciful God, Almighty Wall Street—
There’s no getting away from that unless we remember
How to love one another, send the cops and soldiers home for good
Lay down our views, our arms, and live in perfect peace—
Believe it’s possible and you’re better than me, pushin’ seventy
Kickin’ the tires of a heavenly car, never seen nothin’ like it so far.
Religions are a balm to a wounded heart
but an insult to sound intelligence.
They provide peace and connection
while kicking us in the head,
So because we need to connect for peace
and we like being kicked around,
We’d do well to study and get use to them.
Nothing you were to think, feel, know, remains intact
The givens all gone, the body unravels
The soul does not exist: where spirit seemed to breathe
A great hole deepens, a sea of liquid sound spills in
Pure as God’s voice, moonlight-shoals and starry reefs
In vacancies of time too wide to navigate, the soul
A supreme fiction, a lost frame in an old film
Lightens out of being, a dream in pure color, sensation
Glittering the last hour, the lives that lived you
And left you to wonder, completely gone, directions
Collapse in light, light in all from all
Nothing to hold you, what you are dissolves in awe
A dreadful wonder of knowing all and nothing at all
But the jewel in the lotus, this, this moment.