Desert

Standard

Nothing endures.
Even bone sculptures become howling
and dust. Oceans hold eons-old pirate gold

but no one mines the treasures of arid seas
until the rains come. Till husks from holds
break open, flint and swords, blood and flesh,

rusty plugs and oar-locks. Until bundles of hooks
on snapped lines reach for soil and light.
Coyotes cowered while gopher preachers

bucketed out flooded pulpits. All we needed
was salt-smell and hope, a molecule or two
of what binds sand and light.

……………………………….We missed
one thing, just, from becoming a prairie
………………………………………………..full of life.

L’amour

Standard

It’s as if, swimming upstream, I carried with me
not just his bushy eyebrows and yellow toenails,
but a belt and pair of crooked spectacles, cock-

eyed view of the world. Raised too sophisticated
to give voice to his dogs and hoses, the martinis
and subtle winks he aped from Bogart movies.

His urge to hop a plane and escape, fantasy
without responsibility, family, to create anew
in stories, unburdened by more than pulp

L’amour. My conception molten like metal
cooling into an impression. No matter what
my edge reflects, the bank’s a bowl of stones.

On Want

Standard

I have tried to write this essay several times. I have failed using flowery language, academic speak, spiritual overtones, and psycho-babble. But it never came out the way I wanted. And that is the point of it. Want.

Want is a disease, a psychosis. It is an error of the mind and of the body. It is the flaw in how many of us live. We obsess over what we want for years. We make great art based on our want. It is the barrier to enjoyment and happiness. And not just in big ways.

It is easy to still pine for the person you wanted to kiss when you were sixteen. That small wish may hover inside your mind like a micro-tumor, but it is probably benign. What hurts us more is the want of the moment.

You are sitting in a long line of cars wanting a light to turn green. It turns and only one car gets through. And you want it to be different. The person you share your life with cannot read your mind, cannot do, seemingly, anything right, and you want them to be different.

Want distances you from this moment. It allows you to hide inside another, imaginary, more ideal reality. It suggests you should hold this life up against that ideal one and compare the two, a pageant which this moment will always lose. I want to be taller, want shorter, want skinnier, want stronger.

But let’s separate want from action. There is a moment not yet lived that you can choose into. The future must be shaped, and we can use it to reach towards an ideal. We can work for change. But that is not want, that is taking action.

I am lying in bed, in the middle of the night. I wake with my mouth open and bone-dry. I can ease myself out of bed, walk to the sink and have a glass of water. In the morning I can purchase a humidifier. Next month I can move to a coast or a rainforest.

Or I can sit here in want, hating this arid moment, imagining my imaginary ease. The distance in time between a felt need and the action to answer that need is want. And it is killing us. Every moment in want is a moment wasted, a moment of this life, right here, now, gone.

Each moment is far bigger than you can inhabit, larger than you can imagine. If you envision now throughout the whole globe, and know you could live on almost any inch of that, you start to see now. If you imagine how tiny the earth is to the universe, you start to sense the size of now.

Each moment offers you something to hate, something to love, something to act on, something to want. Worse than loving or hating, wanting means you do not inhabit this moment. It steals here and now from you. It makes our conscious life fly by us, miniscule and quick.

I want to exercise more, compared to exercising. I want to forgive someone, compared to actively forgiving. I want to write is worse than awful writing. I want to focus on my family. I want to eat better. I want to let go. I want to feel love. I want to live, before I want to die.

In little ways and big we are handing over this, here, now, to our imagination. Not for the sake of a deeper contemplative life, but simply to fill a compost heap with moments, one that rots as soon as it hits the here-air. We are wasting our lives in wanting, trashing this opportunity at being.

Three Christmases

Standard

In the story of the Christ child, today is not the day to think about what happens at the end of the book, but at the beginning. A child is born surrounded by love and prophecy and mysticism. Look around you today and seek that which appears to be the tiniest, the most weak, the most frail, the most powerless. There is glory and grace there, and potential.

In the story of the Christmas star, a light is laid out which points to greatness and divinity. Set your goals today, find that tiny prick of unreachable light and head towards it, across desert and mountain, across time and space. The light left that place thousands of years ago and finds you now, walk towards it (no, actually, run).

In the story of the Christmas tree, the life in nature is brought inside and decorated. Go now and find that life. Get outside today, away from plastic and wrapping, away from bells and whistles. Go out and commune with that which is alive, even in the darkest part of the year. Look out your windows, visit your neighbors. There are trees somewhere nearby. They love and miss you. Decorate them with your love.

Merry Christmas. I love you.

Thom

A Bird In Hand

Standard

Memory littered with lust from our twenties
when the right beverage could spark
a conversation, neck rub
to relieve tension,

an understanding of struggle. Then,
beyond our ego and separation, we knew
someone was waiting
at a table, sent there

by forces greater, having an innocuous latte,
shaking sugar packets, fidgeting with a zipper,
hoping to be known, to get laid,
for life to change.