Frozen Soldiers

October 28, 2014 § 1 Comment

 A row of albums at attention across the shelf.

Automatic paintings of life lived.


Pin that butterfly, a moment in Maroon Bells,

Captured and detained, prisoners of grasping love.


Seamless sojourns,

Set pieces, aching in their perfect ruin.


Smile, come on.

No, the sun is in their face.

Oh, that’s a good one.


When mom left, a scavenger hunt.

Faithless scribblings from the distant son,

Knicky knacky detritus,

Even the crumpled tableau of that long dead boy.

All to the dumpster.


Frozen soldiers guarding punctuated images.

Waiting for the ruthless strangers

To render their release.


The Crime No One Can Abet

October 27, 2014 § 12 Comments

Empty page.

Enemy territory.


Ferocious solitude.


Really, why?

Go be busy.

Live in that zone of frantic illusions.


Still you sit.

And still you wait.


Just open the vein, he said.

Easy enough.

Until intention strangles her creation.


Mesmerizing mocking cursor.

Blink, blink.

Tick, tock.

The pulse of your palsy.


Sitting on the fault line between stillness and surrender.


Hustling the game only one can play.


Performing the crime that no one can abet.

The Hunter’s Gaze

October 25, 2014 § 2 Comments

Soaring above me.

Hurtling down airy corridors.

He sees, as in a sped up movie.


I stand in the field beneath,

fixed, rooted.

Gravity’s glue.


Then to perch, imperial.

A hunter’s gaze,

lacerating the flesh.


Who to be,

What to become,

The next move,

Terrible mysteries.


As he launches for the climb,

Prelude to the kill,

I take his eyes.


The world now beneath me,

So many small, distant things.


There below, I see him,

Narrow and alone.

Jealous eyes upward.

Prey to his affliction,

father to son.

Begin Again

March 11, 2014 § 24 Comments

What you don’t have, what you didn’t do, what you did do, what you broke, what you hurt, what you lost, what you gained.

All the pain, all the joy, all the longing, all the intimacy, all the fear and the worry, the cold and the warmth, the isolation and connection.

That angry exchange, that exquisite feeling, that ride down the mountain, that moment of sorrow.

Every single thing.  Each past moment.

All of that- done and gone.

We sometimes dream of the power to go back; we imagine that we might change what we have done or failed to do.  Make things right.

But to have such power would be our greatest curse.  Just adding cascading, infinite layers of second-guessing and regret.

The inescapable reality- and our great gift- is that each and every moment that passes- with all its pain or joy- is now over and gone.

And thus we are blessed to begin again.



December 31, 2013 § 17 Comments

Just before dawn the black night lingers.  The light from within transforms my windows into a set of hazy mirrors.

The last day of the year.   An ending that promises a beginning.  Resolutions to make the new year different from the old.

All a crippling illusion.

Resolutions are our pretense that we shall soon bring forth change. Shuttling between imaginations of the old and the new, judgments of the bad and the good.  Living for the shimmering portent of a change that never comes.

If we say that we resolve to live differently in the coming year, we are already lost.  Such resolution is existence deferred.

Our life is here and now.  Each precious and unique moment.

I lift my head and in the time it has taken to write these words, the dawn’s glimmer reveals the natural world beyond the still mirroring windows.  I see fresh snow blanketing the ground and dusting the bushes.   Tree trunks etched against a gray sky.

This is all there is- yet more than enough.


The Clock Isn’t Ticking

July 6, 2012 § 15 Comments

Conventional notions of time management suggest that we can carve up the future into discrete packages and then use those packets of time wisely.  We are told- you must be efficient in your use of time.  After all, your personal allocation of time is finite and the clock is ticking.

But this conception of time actually understates its precious quality.   Time has no existence for us apart from this very moment.  Right now we can act and choose.  That is all we have.  No tomorrow, no next week.

So how then do we think about time and its use- on a practical level?

Years ago I went through a period where most days I spent hours playing a simple computer game called Minesweeper.   I got very good at that game.  I don’t know what compelled me to use my time in that way, perhaps a reaction to a writing block, not sure.

You could say that I wasted all those hours, time ill spent, time lost to me forever.  But perhaps it was time well spent.  Those Minesweeper hours might have been a sort of therapy or respite to calm my busy, anxious mind.

Embracing the Zen conception of time, you would skip all that- all the harsh judgments, as well as all the convenient rationalizations.  You would not waste a single moment looking backward to judge the quality or utility of the time you spent playing Minesweeper or doing whatever.  That time is gone.  Looking backward is pointless.  Judging ourselves is corrosive.

We will plan, we will make our appointments, we will think about tomorrow, of course.  But in the doing, in the living of life, time truly has no existence apart from this moment.  If we stay centered in the present moment as consistently as we can, we will use each moment as well as we can.  That’s it.

In other words, the clock isn’t ticking because there is no clock, really.  Just now, that’s all.

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