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 

I am that rock on the river bottom,

rendered rotund by countless days of rushing water.

 

I was not always smooth.

Once I had crags and crevices.

Gnarly places,

where things got stuck.

Debris of old lives

hiding in my skin.

Became more than I could bare,

carrying all the broken bits,

rubbing myself raw with my own roughness,

overwhelmed by my own heaviness.

No one was brave enough to risk the scratches and rendings

of holding my sharp edges.

So I fell to the bottom.

Where there was nothing but darkness and moistness.

Water, ceaselessly rushing over me.

Tumbling me just enough to reach all of my places,

but mostly just letting me be in it.

I lost track of time, shape, or anything else seemingly certain.

 

Vanity melted in the gently relentless reshaping.

Who knew I was so attached to my untouchability.

no more

no more

I am not identifiable by any obvious means,

indistinguishable from the other stones polished by patience. 

I am just that rock on the river bottom,

 

sitting at the ground of being as it all rushes by above me.

Curious enough to watch it go by, 

let it rouse me enough to travel a bit further downstream,

but mostly just let it be.

Though it will take more time than I care to count,

eventually, eventually,

there will be no more substance here.

Just as there are no longer edges on my cool grey skin,

there will be no leaves or logs or bits of bird's nests,

and there will be no stone.

Just the water, 

carrying it all away.

resting in the breath at the beginning of creation.

the precious petals still spiraled over center.

trusting in the lightless journey of incubation

and the wisdom of growth’s unfolding; beyond fear.

 

I have grown accustomed to being excellent at everything I do.

I have convinced myself that I must do it all alone.

A forgetting that evolution is ongoing,

and we have ever-shifting knowings

of what is true.

And that I am partially made of you.

Wanting the promised satisfaction of completion,

without accepting the necessity of uncertainty;

the fragmentation required for deeper integration.

The interdependence inherent in real power.

We revere the fully-bloomed flower,

adore its scent and beckoning openness.

But the mountaintop is only one moment of the trail.

The fragrance of forgiveness may draw us towards freedom,

but darkened woods and bottomless chasms

elicit many a vital despairing wail.

 

Baby birds, bits of primordial viscousness

sticking to their uncoordinated wings,

do not judge themselves for their undeveloped ability to sing.

Roses do not believe they will only be worthy of love when their petals unfurl.

And lion cubs roar with abandon, regardless of their obvious harmlessness.

Embrace unblossomedness.

How can you expect to be at your destination when you are still on the road?

Why collapse your life into someone else’s mold?
What if you stopped demanding perfection,

allowing life its own form of completion?

Put down the sledgehammer of should, 

shaming the sap out of your soul

Put down the chisel and awl,

and rest in ever-curious awe

at the beauty of your becoming:

the unplanable inevitability of your timeless blossoming.

 

This improvised medicinal poem about the nature of fear and totality was channeled during an event at Onedoorland Synergenius Stewdios in Portland, OR.

 

Listen to Truth's Shadow

 

 

 

 

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© 2018 by Medicinal Poetry