Pele’s Last Dance

When she awoke

She could barely contain herself.

Thrusting forward

Grasping, stretching,

Reaching, crawling

Onward, onward, onward

For weeks then months

Until she reached the sea.

This is mine, she said.

And this

And this

And this.

Reclaiming it all

And all the while

People pleading: Stop,

Not this too.

But she continued

Destroying and creating

Burning and birthing

Giving and taking

Exhausting herself with contradictions

And leaving behind both sacrifices and offerings,

One in the same.

The ghosts of market street

Blanket-wearing
Sallow-faced
Eyes sunken
Mouths agape

Not quite alive
And barely awake
Between worlds living
In dreams escape

To another time
A different life
Greener pastures
Higher self

Cardboard prayers
Signs to God
Help wanted
From the crowd

Brothers begging
Heads in hands
Shoeless feet
Empty cans

Someone’s child
Who’s lost his way
Far from home
Unwanted stray

Come to rest
Upon these streets
In building entrances
On sewer grates

What life is this
That you now lead
What keeps you here
Why don’t you leave

What lessons do you
Wish to learn
What bridges are there
Left to burn

Or are you teaching us
To be
More open-hearted
Less filled with greed

Teachers, magi,
Holy ghosts
Perhaps it’s you
Who we need most.

The night we made the moon disappear

The night we made the moon disappear, O Best Beloved,

morning gently caressed us awake, like a freshwater lake lapping

in humble supplication at the corroded legs of a crooked dock

or a mossy stone wall separating water from land (but just barely).

On the afternoon of the night we made the moon disappear, we walked

down to the water and into a cave where the waves echoed

like thunder that’s too close (but we weren’t afraid).

When we got home, we dressed like we were at the beach and laid

on the carpet in patches of sunlight like happy, overfed cats or vacationers

sunbathing for proof.

The evening of the night we made the moon disappear there was music

and laughter (there’s always music and laughter).

Food was ritualistically prepared and carefully,

gratefully devoured.

The night we made the moon disappear we were deep

in ceremony. It would have been difficult to say where each of us began

and ended, separated only by the boundaries

of our physical forms (but just barely).

(Why are we still so shocked by our ability to make magic, Best Beloved?

We’ve only been doing it for the past 35 years,

and yet…)

The night we made the moon disappear it hung

like a prized painting above a mantelpiece,

something of unknown origin or value passed down for generations

simply because it had been so dear to a loved one once.

The night we made the moon disappear, it was lit like the room:

just barely; like a half-collapsed jack-o-lantern grinning

defiantly against a rainy autumn sky.

It flickered for a while, as if a candle responding to the breath

of our whispers. As if to say “Yes, you’re on to something, keep going.”

And we heard and we did keep going,

until we extinguished the flame from the sky and rekindled it

in the hearth of our awareness.

That is where it lives now, the moon magic:

in us and between us, and all around us, Best Beloved.

It is the secret of all secrets and the seed of all things.

It is love.

And it hangs above the mantelpieces of our fiery hearts,

inextinguishable and perfectly full

of light.

Discernment

Here’s a thought that holds all the terror that doubt, envy, and other

shadow feelings create and thrive on —

and it also holds all the terrifying power of your boundless heart,

the heart which you hide in a glass case (the one that says break ONLY

in case of emergencies), behind steel walls (to protect the case

that houses the heart), underneath a concrete basement floor

(which you build stories upon stories upon), all in an attempt

to prevent the inevitability that you will, at some point in your life,

feel pain.

And it works. But in doing so you numb the heart,

the source of all your aliveness, depriving it of the blood supply

that connects it to the soul, which is an artery to the collective body

of divine consciousness.

The thought is this:

Everything you’ve said yes to (and everything you’ve said no to,

for that matter) has led you to this very moment. 

Yes to the giant leap (no small step for any man, woman, or child) to move

across the country without any sort of safety net. No to the complacency

that will set in when you live in a place that dims

your light.

No to the corporate job that sucked the fire out of your soul, and yes

to the one that charged it with compassion and purpose

and unconditional love.

Yes to putting yourself and your needs first. No to those who disrespect you

or mock your way of life or criticize the aspects of you that shine

and radiate your true essence.

No to the distractions that rot your brain and your body simultaneously

and disguise themselves as common fun. Yes to new experiences

with perfect strangers who turn out to be mirror images

of your higher self.

Yes to the journey that would become a slow and buoyant moonwalk

into the depths of yourself.

Yes to the hard circumstances that grow wisdom.

Yes to self-love.

Yes to courage.

Yes to grace.

Yes to all the possibilities — including everything that can go wrong

(and acknowledging — and accepting — that some of it will).

Yes anyway.

Yes, yes.

YES!

Yes to this moment which leads to the next.

Yes to trusting that in doing so, you will be held and protected and everything

will (eventually) be as it should.

And yes to the deep knowing that everything

already is.

Independence Day

I wake up slowly and gently, the first day in three weeks I’m not on a schedule. I’d traveled home to see family, to Iceland and the UK for work, and then my brother came to visit for a week.

Work has been hectic in the midst of all the travel. Mid-year reviews, an org redesign, end-of-the-month expense reports, and several other initiatives that require days blocked with meetings (which means evenings blocked with the actual work). I worked for at least an hour every day I was “off” this week.

I am exhausted.

But today. Today I sip tea and go through the photos I took, selecting the best ones to send to my brother. I eat breakfast and leave the dishes in the sink. I listen to the last episode of a serial podcast while I shower and put away the laundry, slowly.

I read. I put on a record. I stare out the window and think about our phone conversation last night. How I didn’t know what to answer when you asked what I would tell you if I could, if my Libra nature didn’t preclude me from speaking my mind, revealing how I actually feel, instead of buttoning up and swallowing those thoughts like pills so as to not rock the boat or upset anyone.

I’m not sure what you wanted to hear or what you expected me to say. I dodged the question at first, but eventually made my way back to it, lobbing a softer, only half-serious answer across the line: “Well, the next time we have lunch, you could find a place ahead of time, instead of making me decide after coming off a three-hour bus ride.” You laughed, perhaps a bit relieved, and agreed that’s a fair ask.

I told you that you made the right move and things are as they are meant to be (everything in its right place). I told you I’m proud of you (I am), that you were a good companion (you were). And that I believe (I truly do) everything will work out, however it works out.

But that’s not the whole truth.

The whole truth is that you work too much, and I wish you had put even a fraction of that effort or thought into our relationship. You talk about your ex an unhealthy amount. Your tendency towards attachment is causing you needless suffering. That you’re the best partner I’ve had in recent history but, like all the others, you’re a taker. And I have an affinity for you, but I do not love you and I cannot fix you.

The whole truth, one that you probably don’t really want to know, is that there is no loneliness. There’s no longing, no lacking, no emptiness. In the space I feel expansion. A filling — a fullness — a radiating. An unfurling. In the absence there is silence, yes. But in that silence there is resounding wisdom.

What I didn’t say is that I’m comfortable with letting die that which is meant to die. That it’s taken a bunch of tries, but I’m figuring it out, slowly and in my way. I’m noticing my patterns and taking heed, finally. That my body is getting stronger by the day, and so is my voice. That with or without you, I am whole.

And in the solace of my independence, slowly, gently, I am dancing.