hush and hum

the poem is a



you write all alone

in your closet.


it fights



it demands

a blessing


from the



inside time’s

attenuated tip,


you wrestle

with the


wooden chest

of your heart:


all the



the hush

and hum,


the red



the perfect



deeper still,

you move


through the

electric blue


darkness, the

great lost-ness,


a tiny sign of life

hunting another.


you see the

silver sparks;


they brush up

against you—


but you cannot

feel them.


you are here

but not here.


you remember

your father saying


every thing is

going to be okay


with his ragged

breath and big


chemo eyes.

even then,


on the edge

of death,


he was full of

hills and hopes.


now, the

big banyan


and creeks and

deer and wolves


tell you: it is time

to move into your


own life. it is time

to stop inhabiting


family history,

family religion,


family memory.

put whiskey in


your coffee and go

out into the world.


















dust has nothing to fear

i’m on a long journey, and

i don’t know the way.


the dust under my feet

has nothing to fear;


it’s been here before,

but it has a lot to say—


to the fingers, to the

rib-cage, to this feast, to


the miles walked across

this beach: once you are


thus reduced, you can only

transform into some thing


new—a diamond, a sand-

storm, a brilliant planet.


take every thing that is

happening, every thing you


feel, every thing you keep

silent, every thing you shout—


and kneel: turn it,

churn it into art.


it is the only way in,

and the only way out.



o ye of little faith,

o ye of tiny bank account,

o ye of large heart,

o ye of many worries,


o ye of few true friends,

o ye of precious child,

o ye of perpetual exhaustion,

o ye of strong passions:


if you have but the faith of a mustard seed—

yet even a half, a quarter, an eighth—


you shall be seen and heard; you shall be

provided for; you shall inherit the mountain.

the opposite of trauma


on this pilgrimage, i take direction from

an old blind woman:


she knows the bones of the city

from the times before it was a city.


we climb and watch the clouds

accumulate, swirl across the

sky face like a sensate clock,


bear witness

with our bodies

as they open in wordless


prayer: motion, rhythm,

breath — the things men run from.


we come home and place slips

of spiral paper into bead boxes:


let go of the worry chain.


call forth the abundance

of our human inheritance.


words, bodies, clouds

Dear God, thank you for this day.


Prayers often begin with these words.

I heard these words in my parents’

prayers all the days of my childhood.


And now, I say them in my good-night

prayers with my child, often after the

day is breathed and lived and done.


The words have become such habit

that I don’t stop to think about the

meaning of them; the heaviness and light:


This day; this. here. now.


It didn’t have to happen, this day. At the

very least, it didn’t have to happen to me.


And yet, here it is.


What am I going to do with it?

What am I not going to do?

With whom will I do/not do these things?


Is it really a matter of doing, or can

I just be here in this brand new day?


And the thank you prayer-part?  A deep

gratefulness for another set of full breaths,

heart pumps, visions, touches, sound bites.


The human body is a mystery-marvel. On the

outside, it is aging along with the rest of the

world; on the inside, it is aging more quietly.


At the very core, it is a living raging eternal star cloud

just waiting to be joined with other star clouds.