Pray for U.S.

We are gathered here today
For one purpose
To remember this sacred union
We call home

This is the Indivisible Church of America
One Nation under God- or beyond God, for you atheists out there
We speak to and for our Founding Fathers 
Who wanted Liberty and Justice for All
(the white people)

Let our sermon begin-

I don’t like to get political,
but in times like these
If you don’t want to hear truth
Feel free to get up and leave

What’s right and wrong in this country 
Has never been easy fare
But Americans learn best with the smell of
Gunpowder in the air

We like it hot and loud
Quick and greasy,
Fast and easy
Slick and sleazy
Smoking while its breezy
Feeling wheezy 
Another round 
Pleasey please just please me

You might say, “No sir, not I”
Then buy the next version
Next excursion 
Next debt-worthy burden
We like to hurry,
Scurry
Protest when it’s pretty
Stand up when the ground gets shitty
Go shopping during a
Mall riot
Get skinny with a
Fad diet
Better stay quiet when they
Push around the poor
Of course you want more,
We all want more,
Don’t worry bout the kids, 
They’re used to the gore

Our nation’s not built on hard work n dreams
These states are stitched together with war at the seams
We live in a heaven
Fumigated with biological weapons
The natives couldn’t really fight back
And Europeans thought
This was God’s plan on track

Murder and hatred are the sacrifices
From which our peace is born
We fetishize death
Blame both sides
Silence opposition 
Have dessert before dinner 
Can’t even take time off to mourn

Police are killed, call it chaos
Blacks are killed, call them trash
Whites are killed, call it racist
Muslims killed “in combat”
Women die, call it weakness
Men die, call it war
Queers are murdered, only silence
As bodies fall to the floor
Terrorist or lone wolf, who cares anymore? 
We enter wars on a lark
Whistling patriotic tunes
Our battlegrounds are parks
And vice versa

This new president of our great alliance,
Isn’t groundbreaking or new,
He’s the spawn of generations
Of lies coming unglued
Of voices being unheard
Of hate left unchecked
The cruel truth at the top of vicious corporate ladders
stretching our little paychecks 

When you think this sermon is over,
Take a look on high
Do you see that heavenly light,
Or a nuclear flare in the sky?
If you don’t see anything, you’re still right,
Alternative facts are strange
Today they shine the light 
On whoever burns down the stage 

The American dream never lived for most
And yet we all watch it die
If we don’t commune together
If we don’t speak up for what’s right 
Our river of freedom will run dry
Let us pray.

Death’s Kindness

Destruction is inevitable
Data corrupts in the end
Knowledge becomes blindness
Confidence eventually bends
Life is never easy
When death is ever close,
Tides of time break over us,
We fight the gentle stroke

Bow down for,
Breathe in deep,
The pleasure of Death’s kindness

Lift your face
Spit at Death,
The treasure of Life’s violence

Wake, Quake, Sleep

Beholden

Sometimes, I feel too deeply and fall too quickly. 
Usually, I wish I could relax, focus, be myself. 
Mostly, I write instead. 
I repeat your words in my voice, but the sounds aren’t as sweet when I say them.
I wish I could live in your moment. 
I wish that hour on the beach might last forever. 
I wish I could see myself without you.
I wish I didn’t love the rhyme like I do. 
Your advice isn’t wrong- it’s just wrong for me, maybe.  
Love is not a heart drawn in the sand.
Love is not dirty talk while he makes breakfast.
Love is not a beer for the most beautiful person in the room. 
Love is honesty. Love is a shared perspective. Love is complicated. We are complicated by love. 
Love openly, I preach, but what comes after? 
Knowing right from wrong is easy- in the most serious and difficult moments, we all know the righteous path.
But that doesn’t mean I know what to do about us.
Understanding takes time and resources. 
Loving takes perseverance and friendship. 
Perhaps you felt our friendship. Perhaps you felt some kind of love.
Perhaps I felt the same as you, but perhaps not.
Does it matter? You are someone else’s.
You have to think about him first, and I respect your commitment. 
The only think you asked of me was to enjoy our moment. Don’t have expectations. Let go of my suffering. 
But I can’t let go of you, and that is suffering.
I choose to feel this
To suffer means to associate you with what cannot be, a fate without future.
This is painful. This is loss. This is temporary.
I will always remember you, but it scares me that I might forget the way your warm hand felt around mine.
I’m not scared for long. There words still glow with the fire of our first night together.
Sitting close on the beach, meeting eyes, a quick ride in the car sitting on your lap-
Who knew such pleasures were so singular
Yet the longing so constant
I hear your voice echoing through the crowded halls of my mind,
You say- Freedom is yours, let go, deafen yourself…
Why would I not separate us instead? Are you worth a sacrificed sense?
Of course not.
What kind of party would if be if we could only grope through darkness.
Oh, you say you I sent an invite…
Must be a glitch, a doubted doubt, a third thought- just my secretary asleep at the wheel again.
Don’t trust a temp agency! 
No, sorry.
We both know that’s not right. Of course you’re invited, it says so right here on my list. 

No need to lie to you.
Truly, my overthinking is my fault-
But these are simple choices I would make endlessly for even one more chance to taste your lips, smell your body in the sun, see that smile of abundant kindness and hear the love in your voice. 
Even if only because you pity my loneliness, I’d hold your hand again.
Even if only because I can’t see the harm, my hand is always open to yours. 
As long as you remember all this- you are always welcome, sweet beholden.

Mallow

You are something else
My spirit awakens at the smell of your body
From physical to eternal, I could only comfort you
The way you help others be themselves
Unhindered love is impossible
But I would be tethered to you
If the possibility is alive, I will find it
I would listen to you sigh and moan and hum to the beat of our drum, our bodies, our love
Forever, if you believe in that sort of thing
The physical distance doesn’t hurt now
Commitment means less too
We don’t need promises to keep memories
Memories change anyway
We don’t need each other any more
But how I long to be with you, for you, under you, inside you
You’re inside of me too
It’s not a sex joke
Maybe it is
I like being silly with you
I like letting my guard down
Dropping the forced grimace for deep felt smiles
You provoke me into true feeling
Such a gentle challenge from a soul so peaceful and divine
How could I refuse any hand or sword or torch or stone or rose you offer me?
I’ll gladly take every bit, every drop, every scrap, every second
Not greedily,
If there is no more for me, if you cannot offer any time or skin or food or laughter or even a glance,
I will accept our time has passed
That we have become truly adult, rigid and old
What could win over supple youth?
But it that comes to pass,
I will look into your eyes once more before we part,
As I always have
I will stare as long as I can stand to lose myself in that island sky,
Then I will sail away
Though I will pray to the winds
That they lead me back to you
By chance, choice or fate- I care not
For you, I will sail
From dawn til dusk
Again and again
A journey divine
Meant to be lost
For you

Mirrors

You are beautiful / You are pitiful
humble / arrogant 
powerful / destructive
kind / violent
You are here / You are gone.

Beautiful mirror:
It is present
it is precious
it is mine.

It’s not who I’m defending,
I’m just trying to unwind.
The audience is fooled,
enraptured, engaged
But the actors are enraged.
They know you are deciding
Who is ready for the stage
Where reflections dance with light,
By rhythms of the heart
The goodness, kindness, empathy
and culture we’re a part of 

Apart from?
Shared understanding 
Aye there’s rub

Lunar Eclipse 2017

I usually feel strong on the full moon- creativity flows, friendships blossom, and the tide turns for me. I was born under the waxing moon at 98%. My mother’s womb seemed to wait for the swelling of all earthly tides, sweating and heaving through the night until I arrived. Born naturally by birth canal, I was ten days late and nine pounds. My Grandma said I looked like a cinder block- all body and no neck, and this comment did not please my great grandmother one bit.

The lunar eclipse is strange for a moon baby like me. I feel my mask of power and heavenly alignment forcible removed as the planet blocks the sun from reflecting upon the moon’s face. The moon was once a part of our planet, a part of us, but she has drawn herself away to dance with earth and play with the sun. The earth rarely gets between moon and her oppositional lover, but when it does, the feminine energy in me rages to be free.

I went to the drum circle tonight, alone. But I don’t want to sit with all of the proud bald men banging their drums- it’s not my place. I am a man, yes, but masculine power is, antithetical as it may seem, dark and brutal. Historically, I do not get along with male teachers. Men feel justified when they are loud, when they don’t recycle, when they tell offensive jokes. I feel much more confident berating or correcting my male friends, as our society so often lets them and their cruelty slide by unnamed. But for my feminine and female friends I am much more patient, and I see those relationships as holy, spiritual, and true much more quickly and easily. This is a consequence of my upbringing, certainly- a grandmother, a mother, a sister, four aunts, three girl cousins. Grampa was their too, and I remember his bald head turning bright red at the mention of a panty, a bra, or a period.

I remember sitting outside with Grampa and sister one night- it was a lunar eclipse then, I’m certain. He drove us out back to a little dirt lot behind the trailer one cool desert night. When the dust settled, we laid on the hood of the car together and stared into the starry sky to watch the moon disappear. This memory carries tears- this is one of my final moments with Grampa before his heart attack.

Grampa tried to tell us where the moonlight went, what it meant for the moon’s light to turn from yellow to orange to red. We listened closely- we loved learning from his gentle voice with that gentle drawl. The words he used, the way he hugged us, how his eyes glistened in the starlight may seem far away now- but the eclipse will always remind me where I’m from. We felt the strange darkness together, and Grampa’s love helped us understand it. I’m a man, this is true, but I want to be a man like he was- patient, steadfast, and strong for his family in even the darkest hours.

A total solar eclipse follows in two weeks- a holy day for me. A few hours where the sun bows to the moon for the first time in 500 years. That will be an eclipse of power and celebration. The new job will be in full swing. I will live recognized as a writer and teacher. I will be free to sing and join hands with my tribe in midday, when usually we hide from the sunlight and pray for night. On that day, I will take time to remember Grandma, who is still with us. I’m going to call her right now and remind her how wonderful her husband was to me and sister. That’s the right thing to do with the remarkable darkness of the lunar eclipse, I think.

Marked: Needles (Prologue)

Long ago, the ocean receded, leaving an empty desert behind. Needing water, humankind moved with the sea, following her to a new shore. There the Seti people built a temple to their shared mother, the ocean. Inside the temple they placed an hourglass to count the phases of the moon, telling forever how much time had passed since the great drought dried their homes to dust. The priestesses of this water temple prayed day and night until the first storms came, rumbling over the waves. New life began to grow in the desert, but the fiery sun burned hot into the sand, threatening new crops and old insects alike. So a new temple was built, one with a grand mirror raised to face the sun, a surface that might reflect the power of fire back at its father. As the mirror wore down in the heat, men gathered metals at this place and shined them day and night, praying to forever harness the sun for power and justice. Still the desert rebuked the Seti tribesmen, sending huge clouds of sand to destroy their coastal villages. This time, both men and women ventured out into the desert and built shrines far and wide. These shrines were built for the holiest of the Seti to pray within, to keep the storms at bay, and to protect travelers attempting the perilous trek across the dunes.

These three tribes of water, fire, and sand have worked together for many generations, thwarting the desert’s wish to grind them to dust. The ink of the Seti has flowed through these diverse ways of life, putting the needle to different purposes as needed by each tribe. But in every Seti temple, the needle of the cactus is used to begin the marking. In an old parable told by the followers of all three tribes, a child asks, “Why a cactus needle?”

The Seti sage replies, “The cactus is born of water, lives under fire, and is grown in the sand. Needles grow in the heat until they are sharp. They must be hard and unbending in order to cut cleanly. The piercing of the needle leaves nothing in its wake but emptiness, until water washes into the wound. The water of the body heals and repairs within the skin as it works to mend the gulf left by the needle. All life lives to bridge the gaps. What better way to remember the connection between us all than the cactus? Thriving under the sun, he becomes razor sharp to protect himself- defense against the scavengers of the desert. But inside the cactus flows the sweet water of life, growing vibrant flowers for her own purposes. Even the needles, so rigid and set, rely on water’s creative mastery over the sand.  The cactus reminds us: Water runs within, needles are tempered without, and uniting the two is endless sand.”

The following is a translation of a Seti poem inscribed on the Great Gate, an immense stone monument built at the mountainside entrance to the Eastern Deserts:

My marks are weapons,
Keeping strangers at bay,
Soldered iron bars planted deep,
My ink will always stay

Subversive, sublime
Ink lives beyond time
But absolute freedom is an infinite lie
The canvas will always die,
Wither away,
Tethers broken,
Beauty in sway,
Is immortality the only reason to pray?
Hope for transcendence
Wish that death would come with amendments
What remains once we’re gone?
-Only ink and tattered flesh-
But these artifacts are meaningless
Unless we remember,
Unless we feel pain,
Unless we call the needle by its one true name
-I, Me, Individuality-

A needle’s scar is doubly designed
To preserve what’s within
By keeping the rest outside.
Broken cells unleash friendly kin,
Who whisper about where I’ve been
Lines in the sand do two things in tandem:
Invite people in and ban them.
Marks welcome us in
By crossing us out
Power in certainty
Erasure (creation) of doubt

In the end, few marks will remain:
Those that bear no weight,
Place no blame,
Carry no hate,
Yet hold pain all the same
If you think a mark is forever, remember this:
The needle is sharp,
The ink is deep,
But all skin is marked when we finally sleep.

Strangers

I hear strangers
Shouting
Win or die
Destiny or fly
On the sill
Of a window
Compound eyes
Without fear
Stare into
The stranger’s masquerade
They sway with
Infinite possibility
A singular ability
To be free
A graceful technique
Unbeknownst to me
So I listen to the THEM chant :

‘We are mortal
Mortals die
Die last, live first
Life, death, nothing
Nothing at all
All is endless
Endless is infinite
All is infinite
We are infinite’

I wonder
Can I be both dead and infinite?
They answer:
Do the deaf know a lover’s voice?
Does a child sense the just choice?
Why reveal the dancer’s lie
When underneath is another disguise
So close your eyes and listen to
Parables and paradoxes
Dead words groping
Change felt in endings
Old gravity caught between moving bodies
Never to meet again
Until they are churned
Into the same dust
Taken by wind
Running cool over wet fingertips
Feel which direction we fall
All of us together
Hand in hand
We pray, save, run away from
From widespread arms
Reaching through darkness
Why keep running?
So I turn and shout:
“Swaddle me, sweet stranger”
And spiny fingers of uncertainty
Grab hold
Forcing me to look ahead
Into the eyes of the old

Mary is 80, from Long Island,
Grocery shopping without her dentures
The best part of her day is the search for good food
Taking her time to talk to me out of the blue
She tells me her husband was a tropical fruit dealer
He spoke fluent Spanish, she never understood a lick
15 years after his death
She still misses him
5 minutes later she leans in to tell me
She hasn’t seen her brother in years
Her kids are spread all over the country
She wants her grandkids to visit
She reminds me of my Grandma, another Mary
Family marries strangers
So quickly

As I say goodbye to Mary in the dairy aisle,
She says, “They should clone people like you.”
Flattering, but weird
Maybe she’s one of THEM?
Testing me to see if I am ready to join THEM.
Hints about DNA replication services offered by THEM
Just for being polite, a human rarity, I guess

This is the future and Mary gets it,
I ask her, “Are you one of THEM?”
We laugh together.
She tells me I’m bright,
Something about my eyes
I ask where to sign up so that we get cloned together
She winks at me

I don’t know if I’ll see Mary from Long Island again
But I like to believe
She’s always out there
Speaking with strangers
Seeing who is ready to become one of THEM

I know this is true
Even as I lie
I know I live
Even as I die
We are strangers,
Ever stranger,
But not alone

Legendary

Do you know the Legend of Zelda?
From the Nintendo games.
You may think Link
Simply kills an ugly beast,
Saves the princess
Goes home, gets laid
Raises his sword skyward and flies away
Listen!
There’s more to say.
Listen!
Some of us don’t like girls that way
Listen!
To a fairy, Zelda is a sister in distress
So let’s finish this misogyny mess.

I have traveled all the way back from Hyrule
With stories and treasure just for you
When I awoke in that world, an old sage said,
“It’s dangerous to go alone, take this”
He put in my hands a sword of light
Heaven’s weapon, evil’s blight
But the blade’s true power had been lost,
I would travel over mountains of fire and frost
To see her shine again

My quest began in a forest of faeries
Where a giant tree spoke my name
The Kokiri of this wood never age
But I am not like them, my youth would fade,
To keep his eternal children free
The great tree asked one task of me
To save them from a poison older than time
I would have to kill the spider inside
But the Deku tree would not survive

Across the fields where a giant owl flew
The princess heard of my bravery true
So I snuck into the castle of Hyrule
Where I heard a sacred song
A lullaby of a royal family gone
That might put evil back to sleep
There a fearsome warrior warned,
“The flow of time is always cruel”
Evil seeps through cracks in ancient mirrors
Hoping to destroy and undo
Every timeless love

To save her kingdom,
Zelda became Sheik
A truth-seeking ninja who kept her face hidden from me
The princess gave away her destiny
To ensure that I found mine
Sheik told me then,
“From a childish mind grows noble ambition,
Young love will become deep affection,
And those who do not know the danger of wielding power
Will be ruled by it”
Courage is nothing without wisdom.

In our world, the Triforce is not real
No arrows of light or unbreakable shields
We live in a time of evil unsealed
The moon is falling
Time is running out
We’ve been met with a terrible fate, haven’t we?

Evil lives in the masks we refuse to remove
“Under your mask, is that your true face?”
“If you do the right thing, does it really make everyone happy?
“Those people, do they think of you as a friend?”
Total destruction, Majora agrees,
Comes with the cries of lonely fairies taken by the breeze

Listen!
Evil may never die, but have faith-
Unchecked power is its own demise
So, “believe in your strengths”
Awaken that wind of change
With a breath of the wild
Play your ocarina, or take mine
Listen!
You too are a hero of time

“When there is a meeting, a parting is sure to follow.
But that parting need not last forever.”
Listen!
This legend need not last forever.

Peace

After a decision is made, do not doubt.
As you wait for the end, do not shake or sweat.
When you grieve, bury your regrets.
If it’s sinking, find a life boat, save what you love, then enjoy the rippling waves-
But not too much; no one likes a proud sadist.
Be gentle around a wound, but do not coddle, hunch, or limp for too long.
If you must, then these words won’t change what is done, of course.
Still, remember:
Trust who you were.
Change who you are.
Become that dearly needed peace.