Listening for Secrets

Oh world you are so

much with us


bangs on so many

doors the famous

and our loved ones

scaring us with

their sucides

assaulted by

the men in office

and offices

bought and sold


we ruin our beloved earth

abuse rides on buses

dances unafraid

in our places of work and worship

many believe they

are righteous

are we ourselves able

to hear truth through

the racing car engines

and clattering keyboards


We lie in bed


an inner voice

instructs us to be quiet

listening more peaceful

than the urge to

correct the world

with these words


i hear my own whisper

in the wind of some

unchanging wisdom

long for a clear path

but wait without a map

my companions sometimes

find me, some are always

true and in the listen they

teach me… my words then

become answered prayer


who calls us in the thunder

who names us in battle

who gives this tiny voice

who lives and dies beside us

who are we here standing

deep in the muck and rock

who can we claim as ours

who but this mess of humans

surrounded by our whales and trees

moved so easily by Secret Wisdom

Listening Listening Hearing



Sweeter Than Honey

for James Tipton who was the first headliner of Sparrows, Colorado’s Perfomance Poetry Festival who is already sorely missed.

Even poetry has
no words for this death
your soul rising above
the 14th floor where
i sit sleepless in Denver
your spirit has always risen
beyond all borders now
drenches my sorrow bones

how you came to SPARROWS 
FIRST featured performer
suggesting that you share
the stage with Rosemerry
a younger songbird who
would become most precious to me

you brought me honey in jars and
on your tongue
you understood and could sing
what my Brazilian heart only hoped
was true
even Isabel Allende recognized
an alphabet that came straight
from your fire belly unadulterated
by your genius with words

we poets fell in love the the 
complete rotund of your bellied
body like the pied piper you
led us to our wish to open
our zippers and let the costumes
fall onto the floor
so that naked we could dance with you

that you changed everything is true
though I lost you to the mountains of Mexico
long before I was ready and we called
you back with the enticments we could muster
very briefly but my body remembers the
thrill of your own poetry trilling again on your tongue

still this is another emptiness
one that can only be filled 
with the words you left us
written on the bark of other poets'skin
not a eulogy...a prayer
tearful gratitude for the small 
pieces of your grand old being
we have tasted and become drunk
on...your delicious honey

OverMy Head

a creature said
to fly close to God
this bald black bird
of prey or pray i've
seen twice in that
many days just soared over my 
head as clear as the
sky but much closer

something in me jumps
up i notice everything
for some seconds the
cardinal red in the tree
his mate's orange beak
how my eyes work in ways
i don't comprehend
even my blood clotted head
fresh from a cuncussive fall
on the ice of Maine parking lots
is working beyond what we call brain

the wind is like a whisper
today not cold but last night i heard her
speaking softly
into my sleeplessness 
in the dark i am always searching for
my source aware but not concisous enough
i go deeper

my mother's ancient snore 
my sister's need of a kiss
Marty who twice has done my
taxes for free giving of her
stout amazing gifts zipping through
what would have taken so much
time for me calling back money to the account
that so drastically needs it I'm thinking:
now that is God stepping into the library
at Norway, Maine typing, sending, being divine
today She is teaching me this:
there are so many ways to love this world

Reminder: We Came From the Stars

i chant the names
of my children and my
children's children 
not so much a beget
of ancestry  a litany of love 
even more an opening 
to a Universe made of music
where there is only one choir
all of us angels today i am
mostly silent listening the
symphony beyond my song i 
chime in an occasional note
of harmony transforming from
this disquise of mortality into
divine reality a cosmic longing
rests always in the recesses of
my existence telling me of so much
more so much better than this grim
television show where everybody dies
and i am left to mourn believing the
insanity of humanity except now
listening i know i see with the one
eye the one mind the one love

moses of my own soul

i went to Boston yesterday
my wife loves the city the
beauty of buildings crafted
back when there was craft

boats bounce on the water
next to high rise hotels
no one I know can afford
cold wind as harsh as hell

we spend $70.00 of the little
we have left to survive here
no jobs in sight the low wages
laugh at our need to live

i wake before dawn fear riding
the wings of what brought me here
wondering again at my teneacious
insistence that i am here for a reason

part of me is done, ready for whatever
dimension is next undone by the harsh
nightmarescape of what this culture has
become i make the coffee grateful for it's heat

rural Maine has such harsh beauty i cannot
close my zipper to what surrounds me
i chase another possiblity read the offerings
on hoping to give what i have gathered in a lifetime

one application after another with no response
no one here in this land wants an old woman
to work for them youth is the idol of our idle
time, but depression is not a place to live, nor a way to die

i look around for some sign to keep me going
i hear...stand still and see the salvation of the Lord
wonder where that comes from and find Moses and Israel
with the Eqyptian army behind them waiting for the parting of the red sea

i hold out my tired arms without even a stick to say i am
somebody, a moses of my own soul, waiting with the army
of bill collectors on my tail, laughing that there is a sea
of unknown wilderness in front of me and the glass ceilings of

a life spent used up trying to stand for something i have like
Moses killed the wrong task masters and run from the world 
i don't know why i had to come back here pushed by a voice i
heard in a burning bush my shoes off my heart breaking

quaking with fear i am ready for the plagues, the future
my rucksack packed everything else has been given away
one last stand knowing i am not meant to enter the promised
land, only to know that my children's children will live there

i make a path for them with my tired arms held high
waiting for the impossible knowing it will happen
sure that i am here for a reason tired but not
done yet ready for a new kind of battle a drowned army a people free

A Vision of Change

early evening of fall just barely
chilly night holds all that will
ever be held in place for me again
as i am splattered across the milky way i
want to sparkle like the star i traveled
here from, want to light up the night sky
with my splendid demise a small big bang a collision
of stars their substance unknown, form ever changed

at the Asian restaurant my fortune speaks
of new opportunities endings and beginnings
holding hands in their walk across the Universe
these two seeming opposites entwined in my
fragile body, or am i really a body of light
chasing again the forever donkey's carrot where
i still seek a better world a loving habitat 
stepping outside the convention where the
speaches have been the same since they were invented
traditon as boring as the old man who sits in front
of his television, his only vision as blind as 
his cultural teaching that told him he was useless

for no known reason before he opens his old scripture 
the page falls open to words so astonishing he reads on
your old men will dream dreams he remembers
something about Spirit, turns off the broken TV
and goes to sleep awaking in his dream he is surrounded
by dancing crowds dreaming his dream it's like
a vision one he had fifty years ago when his kids
were young In the morning he carries his coffee outside
looks up for the first time in years his neck stiff
and cranky and then just as the sun comes into full
view he begins to dance.