Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Splendor Of Everything

 

“The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a fantastic move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over in joy and bursting out in Laughter

And saying, ‘I surrender.’

Whereas you, my dear,
I’m afraid you still think

You have a thousand serious moves.”

—  Hafiz, Daniel Linskey

 

 

We listen to Hafiz

and drink from Love

as ink pours from your pen

spilling transgressive ghazals

on my body

and soul, unfolding

odes of silence and

resurrection.

 

***

 

I rise with the sun

and walk in the hills,

the trees’ limbs

surrender themselves

to unbound blue,

so I surrender my arms

to the sky.  I lift my arms,

tree limbs become

my arms, their song

my song, their dance,

my dance.  I surrender,

twirling and circling;

in this sanctuary,

I am a dervish dancer,

branches, trunks, leaves

circle my spinning:

loosing ourselves to

ourselves, trees

and self, one in

another.

 

Laughter

rises from the earth,

convulsing in rapture;

I’m engulfed in delight.

I laugh in earth,

trees, sun, and sky,

together we spin,

spin, spin in laughter,

moment after ineffable moment:

the Beloved winks his eye

and laughs, lifts me

into the blue expanse,

and then tenderly tosses me into

 

the splendor of

everything.

 

***

Laughing,

we surrender

to laughter.  We

listen to Hafiz then

we burn his chessboard,

calling on the fire

that doesn’t consume.

In radiance its flames transfigure

a checkered playing field

into an acorn, and from

a sublimely rigged game

rises an oak sapling.

You reach for my hand,

my fingers squeeze yours:

together in stillness

we watch it mature.

 

We climb a grassy knoll;

our oak shades the hill,

an ancient expanse

of root, trunk, branch, and leaf.

In the ground

near its base we find

a knife without blade;

we etch our names in oak bark,

the names we have worn before,

name by name, we cover memory

with naming.  My arms

slip around your neck,

your arms slip

around my back;

we dance, circling

our ten thousand names,

drinking from Love,

a million seasons pass:

a dervish for two,

ecstasy in one.

 

With our every turn

the Beloved laughs louder,

black eyes filled with the night’s stars,

teeth shining with the moon,

the Beloved surrounds us in laughter;

we spin, spinning

as one, under oak,

stars, moon, laughter

until ecstasy’s circles

surrender to silence.

 

The Beloved laughs, rolls

us into a ball, breathes

on our round silent joy,

then again tosses us

to the ground.  We fall,

fall from stars and moon, fall

from laughter, fall onto a new

chess board; we forget fire, acorn,

sapling, oak; forget our dance around

ten thousand names.

 

The Beloved winks, tossing his head

in ecstatic abandon.  We rise

once more, wearing new names,

that we will carve into oak,

with the knife without blade,

when Laughter again remembers

 

the splendor

of everything.

 

 

 

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Conversation With A Friend

“Our Savior is our true Mother in whom we are endlessly born and out of whom we shall never come.”  —  Julian of Norwich

 

Today a friend told me, “we need to get you married.”

I hear this often from friends, in various ways, that the right one will come along, that my life will be better with a partner to make me whole, nuptials marking something extraordinary that I’m missing out on.

“You deserve someone special,” is a wonderful sentiment, but detached from more compelling realities.

I already have someone special: myself.  Any other relationship echoes my primary relationship, of my self to Love.  If Love is my first relationship, everything else comes from the primary relationship, in the most delightful and unexpected ways, because Love is creative, dynamic, and evolving.

Love infinitely expands, nuptials need not be included.

My friend means well, concerned that I am moving yet again, and he believes that marriage would give me “security.”

But I am always surprised by the claim that I’ll be happier and safer married: there are no guarantees.

I am safe in Love, not marriage.

***

I decided this past year that I was a nun in a past life, and my life as a sex worker entailed the same calling.  I am serious in this claim, believing that the echoes of our past lives stick to our behaviors in this lifetime, in subtle ways.

In medieval times, nuns were the only women with the luxury of an education, and they had more autonomy than any other woman of their time.  The first English language book written by a woman was Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love (did you catch her first name).  Not only was it probably the first book in English written by a woman, it was rather heretical in its quiet mysticism and emphasis on God’s goodness.  Julian wasn’t taken to task for heresy, according to some scholars, because she was a cloistered anchoress, and not a threat to church authority.  Her gentle theology dovetails with our great mystical traditions in its luminosity and outpouring of Love, and its refusal to subject God to our egocentric infantilism of condemnation, judgement, hell, violence, etc.

In what some would call a prison of monastic seclusion, she was certainly the freest woman of her era, and her influence and respect have grown over the centuries.

Education.  Autonomy.  Love of Self.  Selfless service.  These I believe I previously lived, and these I have sought in this life.  Ergo, from nun to sex worker.  Because what most people don’t realize is the degree of selfless service that goes on in most working class sex work, stereotypes and morality slinging hyperbole to the contrary.  Pleasure is a catalyst to the soul, sometimes a temporary insanity of hormones or repression or psychic pain or a gazillion other impulses working themselves out, if one knows how to read the narratives and behavior.   Of course, one need not know how to read them, being available for another is enough.

Like a nun, much of what I have done involves listening, and then listening through.  As sex workers often live on the fringes, they safely hold secrets, they are the invisible secular psychic dumping ground of culture’s hatreds, biases, class divisions, and a host of other repressions.  Specifically, phone work is often like a confessional, myself being a secular confessor and psychotherapist of desire.

Every story has stories, traces, clues: nonjudgement mandatory.

Just like a nun.  In fact, more so.

***

My life is an adventure.  I wouldn’t trade myself or the wisdom I’ve gained for anyone’s version of how they think Love, spirituality, sex, or morality ought to be; and I wouldn’t marry someone who didn’t serve my Life’s greater purpose, my soul’s yearning for Love and its creative fulfillment: it’s the difference between knowing one’s deep Safety and hanging onto an illusion of security.

And, as I write, it occurs to me this impulse is also about the call to art and her many redemptions, the freedom of spirit to express itself in ways that four walls can never contain, and may, in fact, encumber when those four walls are shared with the wrong person.  Julian of Norwich had four very small walls to her anchorhold, but they enlarged into a grand magnitude because she shared those walls with and in Love, and Love alone.

I appreciate my friend’s concern, but to me packing up and moving again is part of the journey’s joy.  I know that I am being led where I need to be for the next part of the gig.

I believe the dictum is to serve something larger than one’s ego if one wants to live on the landscape of peace and freedom.

Marriage may or may not be part of creating that landscape, but it’s not a given to security.

I have Love.  I’m fine with moving again.

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The Wonder of Radishes

 

Tomatoes burgeon;

July heat is the reason for

stems heavy with blooms,

excessive flower clusters

waiting to fruit.

 

Broccoli rabe overflows

a terra cotta planter;

yellow blossoms pour

over its edges.

In a pot beside it,

arugula drips

with tiny white flowers;

over in the corner,

the grand creeping cucumbers

shoot out leaves larger

than two hand spans

from thick fuzzy stems,

almost overnight.

 

Friends and neighbors

told me I didn’t

properly plant my seeds;

seems I sowed too many

in my green enthusiasm.

Wearing again their

good intentions, they now warn,

“don’t let everything go to seed,

you won’t be able to eat

what you have over planted.”

 

I smile and say nothing;

I’ve no desire to consume

these buckets of flowering green.

At least not now. I’m content

to watch nature unfold,

as she will.  I watch her exuberance

in making seeds from flowers,

and she’s none the worse for it.

 

In the front yard,

I seeded a standing planter,

four feet off the ground.  It’s a garden misfit,

without apparent rhyme or reason in

the order of things.  From its bed,

the radishes have grown over four feet.

Their long, slender stems now rise like

monuments; nearly eight feet

off the ground, they tower over

tomatoes, rabe, arugula, cucumber,

in flowering pink profusion.

 

The overgrown bulbs

bulge from the soil; they show

their round red roots in shameless

exhibitionism, while their flowering

pink tops wave above.  I never knew that radishes

bloomed delicate pink-magenta flowers

which attract white butterflies; I never imagined dainty

lepidoptera playfully dancing around

fat bellied monuments that sing

red-purple love songs to diaphanous

winged creatures.

 

Perhaps next year

I will harvest radishes

and rabe and arugula; perhaps next year,

I will see something to eat,

something whose beauty

is folded into an even greater beauty.

This year I’m happy

to watch radishes in

 

wonder.

 

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The Dance

 

In a night sky
lit with Dixie Cup
stars that pour haiku
on the earth
under my feet,
I see our candles
burn bright,
lights to each
other.

You’ve twirled
me before
under twinkling
disposable paper
that spills
counted syllables
from which
fly Monarchs
toward an
invisible sun —
ten thousand
times ten
thousand times
I’ve spun
in your arms.

This time
we ride
a motorcycle
without helmets,
as I hold on tight,
and complain
about split ends,
and in the club
we visit
the band plays
swing jazz,
our fingers
entwined during
the spin; only
the place
and time
and syllables
differ.

I smile
at you
(and you
smile back);
my eyes
pour into
your eyes
(your eyes
pour into
mine); my
lips press
into your
heart (your
heart presses
into my
lips); my
words fold
into your
your words,
(your words
fold into
mine), in
love’s infinite
folding and
unfolding.

I laugh
in remembrance;
for we are as
you prophesied
when your soul
recognized mine,
and from some
forgotten place
I recalled
your voice’s
timeless echo:

together again,
as ten thousand
times ten thousand
times before,
we’ve brought
stars, syllables
and the dance
into Being.

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A Creature Beyond Time

 

I’ve never been one

to line up ducks in a row

and see how the world falls

in a row of ducks,

never been able to watch

as each duck joined

with other ducks

to take flight in an

accomplished life.

 

My ducks are

creatures of ephemeral

iridescent rubber,

they float on invisible waterways:

one floats south,

one north, one east, one west,

their original ducky meanings

invariably elude me.

Mesmerized, I watch

their luminous colors dance

under a pale yellow sun,

as they drift into a

horizon where sky

and water

merge into one.

 

I recognize

time’s a tyrant:

a pompous aggrandizer

who makes ducks in a row

and calendars

and clocks seem

obligatory and

inescapable.

 

In hubris,

I  turn away,

forsaking

a reality

that dissolves

into nothingness

with a breath.

 

I am a creature

beyond time;

I give myself to

the sun,

the moon,

the stars:

I’ve yielded to

iridescent stillness

 

and the horizon.

 

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