304–Bird Music

here the morning sounds are
garbage trucks mixed with
birds squawking or tweeting
according to their individual
birdness my birdness squawks
a lot but there are mornings
so sweet in communion with
you my song must rival the
sweetest bird’s they have
taught me to sing in all these
seemingly god-forsaken places
where in reality you perform
your deepest music suburbs
were made for machines and
asphalt listening beyond sound
i hear skimming over
the roads a hum of love
and light unknown to the
marvelous sea
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How Do I Know

The point of practice is to avoid fooling yourself.
—Zen saying

It is not that I am in love.
It’s just that the aspen leaves really do
look like ten thousand suns hung

on the limbs of every tree,
and the air really does smell sweet,
not floral, but a deeper sweetness

that comes as things grow old.
And the wind really does caress
the skin as if it’s a tenderest hand.

And the smile on my face is even wider
inside where no one can see. All
the small mouths on each cell of my body

are praising today—though I am
caught up in the same tangle
of shoulds and to dos and musts

as I was yesterday and the day before.
And I know the leaves will fall. They
are falling even now. It’s not

that I am in love, though that is true.
The day simply is a miracle, opening
like a gate, like a hand, like a mind.

303-Addressing the State of Affairs

i address the empty room
there are so many possibilities
i begin, we could just power down
get tribal again and dance a lot
the crowd smiles condescendingly
so i go on or we could let go of greed
and attach ourselves to the Beloved
in each other give ourselves and our
goods away leaving no need for all
that energy to protect our possessions
again i see the rolling eyes hear the
impatient sighs so i change tactics
or….you could get rich by just opening’
your mind to think in terms of physics
really see how everything holds so much
joy and abundance that we could pool
our resources and start companies that
would save the world
just before i said save the world i noticed
a few people sitting up and listening but
i lost them with that line so now i know i have
to come up with something fabulous or
it’s over so i close my mouth, walk outside
take the hand of that gorgeous pomegranate
tree that is gloriously growing in the front
yard and begin to dance and sing and that’s
the only time anyone joins in

Rumi Goes to Kindergarten

And when Miss Lackey says, “Children,
this is so sad, someone
left the lid off of the marker,

and we know how valuable they are,”
Rumi raises his hand and says,
“September is a time for death,

do you think death is a bad thing?”
And Miss Lackey tips her head
in an inquisitive way, as she does,

and then kneels down close to him.
“Did you do it?” Miss Lackey asks Rumi.
“Did you leave the lid off the black pen?”

He smiles. “Your task is not to seek
for who has done what, rather to find
all the walls you have built around the way

you think things should be.”
Miss Lackey gives him a lopsided smile.
“Rumi, do you mean me?”

She sends the rest of the kids to recess.
Meanwhile Rumi sits in his chair.
“You’re a funny one Rumi,”

Miss Lackey says. “I’m a fool,”
he says, jumps on the table
and starts to spin. “Five more minutes,”

says Miss Lackey. And Rumi grins.

302–Poet Communion

really don’t mind not being
a poet’s poet these days
when i attended a rare reading
here in the southern half of
the california coastline a couple
of days ago, i did not miss the
fawning fans the crack of a poetic
word joke still the communion of
poets is a loss i won’t soon forget
here in my wasteland that knows
so little of the companionship
of poets