© 2018 by Medicinal Poetry

 

 

 

 

The path to presence. 

Different, every time.

Time as a spiral, not a line.

The true way never looks the same

Because open eyes are always changing.

Wisdom is born of the silent spring,

the fertile darkness that lives below our knowing,

that begets our awakening,

and opens to our remembering.

Ancestral light, the substance of our wings

though they look like muscle and bone;

and, however caged, some part of us 

still remembers these hearts where meant to sing us home.

 

The truth is, I am afraid of my shadow.

And though all the teachers say it contains a gift,

that the birthplace of my fecundity is the ugliest part of me,

I want only to look away from it, to numb, to hide it, to hide from it.

I want the well-lit path. 

So I flee towards the Sun,

the fanfare and exultation,

seeking triumphant exclamation

on a road sparkling clean like my brightest meditations,

in a quest for transcendence;

retracing the steps that have brought me thus far,

centered me before,

but I turn and the shadow is still right there,

stitched to my heels.

The path to presence 

is different every time.

There is so much further to go 

than only light

we must balance above with below.

 

Pilgrim, there is no one road to follow, 

the road is made by walking

over stone and bone,

is made by breathing 

beyond everything you’ve ever known,

and home is an ever-shifting location.

You may taste the sweet nectar for a moment

but then the flower dies,

and you’d best learn to see the beauty in compost.

This path is understood for only an instant

sunlight caught in the hand through a prism

a rainbow bridge to absolute nowness.

This path found in the effusive glee

of a child’s first spinning dance in a summer meadow,

in the feel of my lover’s lips upon my brow,

in the silence before every sound.

The path is different every time,

because it leads to a place that can never be known,

and only in the seeking

can we ever be found.

 

{{{Listen to Niema speak this on soundcloud}}}

 

 

little by little

 

this growth that begins and ends with me.

Dynamic tapestry,

threaded stitch by stitch,

inch by inch.

I am made of a million miniature choices,

microscopic voices

in the chorus of the song of learning.

 

Grand leaps are important

soul’s dark nights most relevant

and sometimes a whole lifetime

comes into perspective in an instant.

But evolution is primarily a journey of persistence,

taken one step at a time.

It may seem interminable

the wait for full freedom unbearable

from the outside imperceptible:

wisdom blends and bubbles like slowly-rising bread,

each breath another woven thread.

Rarely do we leap tall wounds in a single bound

or unbind ourselves in a single prayer.

little by little,

tortoise, not hare

hearing the way,

we get there by learning

there is nowhere to go

only this next curious moment.

The pattern made by what falls through

the careful construction 

delineating false from true

as simply as red from blue

some spaces inside, some out

some realms hell,

some heaven

yet all the same sand.

Freehand  

 

     measuring pigment and silica

in proper proportion,

the perfection of straight lines,

born of decades of practice,

all the possible precision

of a truly focused mind.

Hours tap, tap, tapping a single image,

bright mandala a few feet wide,

sometimes years carefully offered 

to this immaculate collection of particles

telling one part of the divine story.

When it’s complete,

every grain in its place,

the breath and prayer of each monk arranged

as so much color and imagery:

a brush of sleeve,

a rush of eager wind,

and it is gone,

never to be seen in such way again.

 

Offerings made not for the glory of human eyes.

Not for consumption and rapturous cries

of the hungry hordes.

Not to fill the emptiness,

Nor ease the longing.

Knowledge never to be known,

seeds held in futures sown,

ephemeral, ineffable,

a fleeting fragrance, dance of effulgence,

to intimate and celebrate humanity’s greatest, wisest enemy: 

impermanence.

 

How, after years of creation, 

refinement, prayed for alignment, gracious inspiration,

to say “my life, my art, my identity,

is as complete as it can be,”

and let it go completely,

to take up new colors and a new form?

To hold so lightly something given such attention,

sweat and blood and tears to come this far

the grieving of each lost star,

and everything between the original wish,

and now.

How to say “I am not anything I have ever made, I am akin to the Maker:

I have but one slate in this life.”

And wipe it clean.

 

To stop running from impermanence, 

doggedly tapping a mark upon the world,

clinging to the false hope of meaning

the potential fulfillment of longing.

Building a castle of sand,

when no matter how we try,

the tide will rise

the leaves will fall

and only a spiral 

of compressed colored carbon

will remain.

Why make an enemy

of the inevitable end of all striving,

when it could be our best inspiring?

 

Pride and yearning notwithstanding,

beyond my desire to give nourishment and meaning

perhaps I can learn from those monks.

Offer my art to the tempestuous ocean,

to the wild quiet of bubbling mountain streams,

and let it be carried away:

Grains of sand melting into nothingness

dissolving on the water’s surface,

until all is lost, and found, and fallen through.

 

 

Listen to the demo track of this here 

waiting for you to be what follows

when the lump in my throat dissolves.

When I finally check off everything on my to-do list,

for you to be 

there with hand outstretched,

inviting me on an adventure.

Wishing that your presence 

on my contacts list,

the last words we sent across the web

still visible,

frozen in time like your pixelated smile,

meant that I need only push a button

and wait for your response.

 

The ache of emptiness is its vastness.

the unquenchable yearning for it to be filled by something remembered,

something treasured.

Feeling the value

of what cannot be held.

Finding the fullness

hidden in every breath,

wisdom whispering at the edges,

like the echo of your laugh.

Abiding in the patient expectancy

of a life beholden

to cycles and seasons,

comings and leavings,

birthings and dyings,

I cannot help but look for you

when the spin stops

and my eyes turn to sky.

when my heart wonders who to call

to remind me of what is true.

But as wind can only be seen

by the way it dances the trees,

you only appear

in the salty warmth of my cheeks,

my poignant smile of gratitude

my pen on paper, witnessing

the unburdening of a heart 

that is bereft, and full, and following,

dissolving,

offering to life through art.

This is that bliss.

Voices joined in adoration 

of the wealth of our becoming. 

A devotion born of the longing

that is the true answer to our incessant questioning.

Our calling to everything that is holy,

wholly, hole-y, holy,

within and around us.

We call to the Earth, 

that birthed us, stone and bone,

wood and blood. (Durga…)

We call to the air that carries the music to our ears,

that moves the trees so we may see how they dance. (Krishna…)

We call to the fire that is our passion, is our dying, is our flying. (Mahadeva…)

And we call to the waters,

the rains, the ocean, the river flowing from Síva’s wild hair,

giddy and grateful as children who have just learned what it means to drink. (Saraswati…)

We drink this in,

And though a thousand flagons of finest wine may never quench our thirst,

one true taste of the holy on our lips can set us free.

 

The mantra that protects our minds, 

protects us from our minds,

so we can remember

re-member, as in put back together,

remember who we truly are.

This is that bliss,

not a state we find by seeking,

but only those who seek shall find.

Only those who sing shall hear.

The sacred land,

the home of our true selves

is not a rarified museum only accessible to the pure and perfect.

Grants no pass to those who not yet been broken open by love.

What is sacred resides in the messy, fecund, spectacularly confusing garden of life.

Goddess lives in the soil between the thoughts, 

She is the yoga, the space that unifies everything.

Most of us have never seen 

the lands that birthed these particular words,

but we know them with our whole hearts.

We know them with the part of ourselves that remembers

that Goddess lives in the sound,

Goddess lives      in the sound.

And we can actually be attuned,

in. tune.

with all of life.

We are not lone carrion birds on desolate mountain crags.

Not barren islands in tempestuous seas.

We are instruments in the orchestra of life,

listening for the inherent frequency

of our innate divinity.

Tuning ourselves home

through the simplest, greatest vehicle: song.

This is that bliss.

finally the tears come like an orgasm,

breaking open the dam.

The next wave of grieving

gently relieving

all that has been heavy on my heart.

Melting the foggy numbness 

that hides agonizing hurt.

 

These days they seem the same,

the rush gush light blast of ultimate pleasure

overtaking everything,

and the warm salty overflow

as my eyes are washed clean by understanding.

Letting go,

surrendering,

a vastly humbling way 

of making love to the Mystery

that only passes through us

never to be owned,

never held in place.

We do not posses love

love possesses us,

if we allow, if we open enough.

It pulses through and around us 

like the eternal ocean,

always one, yet never the same.

 

I taste salt, 

and peer through the moistness

to realize that I am breathing 

with my whole body.

Releasing what I thought I wanted

gives me a moment of boundless majesty.

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