Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Marga"........Following Footprints in the Mythic Sand

Recently I lent the book "Women Who Run With The Wolves"  by Clarissa Pinkola Estes to a friend staying at my house.  As she was reading it, I was working on a little article called  "Spider Woman's Hands" for the Feminism and Religion Blog.  She returned the book to me, with the comment that I should re-read it myself, that it would help me to do so.  An hour or so later I picked it up, and opened the book at random, and read the text that my eyes immediately fell on.  Here's what it was (truly) :
"What are soul needs?  They lie in the two realms of nature and creativity.  In these realms lives Na'ashje`'ii Asdza`a`, Spider Woman, the Navajo creation Goddess who gives psychic protection to those who seek her.  She is in charge of teaching the soul both protection and the love of beauty." (page 196)
What are the odds, to open a book at random thusly?  I thought of the concept of Marga after I read that, the archetypal/mythic strands in the web that lead us on,  refresh our vision of  the links.  

The "Blog sphere" has been a continuing source of information and inspiration.  In 2011 I  received a fascinating correspondence from Robur D'Amour, who shared with me his insights about "Marga", having read some of my own posts on synchronicity. 

Marga is a term I had not run across before, a concept that resonates  with what I've fancifully called "conversations with the world". And to me, those conversation are founded upon a mythic language.

I was pleased that Robur  kindly gave me permission to reproduce rich information from his site. http://roburdamour.blogspot.com/2010/05/marga.html.  I have not heard from him in years, but remain grateful for his musings.

"'Marga' is a term that means following a path of signs or symbols that lead a person to their spiritual self. Marga is a bit like finding one's way through a labyrinth, by reading signs that are given to you by the unconscious."
Jung believed that what mattered in life, to him, was to find his spiritual identity. He believed that a person could do this by leading what he termed a 'symbolic life'. Jung wrote:
“when people feel they are living the symbolic life, that they are actors in the divine drama... That gives the only meaning to human life; everything else is banal and you can dismiss it. A career, producing of children, are all maya (illusion) compared to that one thing, that your life is meaningful.”
I think that this idea is the same thing that Joseph Campbell, who was a great admirer of Jung, refers to as 'marga'. It's a way of living, without following any particular creed or any rules worked out and written down by someone else, other than paying attention to what is presented to you by Fate, the Goddess, God, or the unconscious. In The Hero's Journey (p45) Campbell writes:
"Adolf Bastian, a German anthropologist, has meant a great deal to me with just this main idea. The common themes that come out of the collective unconscious he calls elementary ideas.... In India, in art criticism, the elementary ideas are called 'marga', the path. Marga is from a root word 'mrg', which refers to the footprints left by an animal, and you follow that animal. The animal you are trying to follow is your own spiritual self. And the path is indicated by mythological images. Follow the tracks of the animal and you will be led to the animal's home. Who is the animal? The animal is the human spirit. So, following the elementary ideas, you are led to your own deepest spiritual source."
 A snippet of that piece can be read on Google books: The Hero's Journey (Marga).  In practical terms, this means paying attention to what we see in the world around ourselves, and in particular to symbols presented to us, in dreams and the things we come across in our daily lives. The symbols we see around us are presented to us by - Fate, the Goddess, God, the unconscious, or whatever name you like to give to the thing that we cannot see, but what determines 'what happens next'. 

This is the entry for marga, from a Sanskrit dictionary. Following the links in a trail of symbols that are presented to us by the unconscious, amounts to finding one's way through a labyrinth, by reading the signs. Labyrinths and mazes were common features in Elizabethan gardens."

What was interesting to me particularly in this 2011 correspondance was a kind of synchronistic overlay ..... a "crossing of Margas".  He wrote that:
"The marga (path of symbols) that I seem to have been unwittingly following is a very curious one, the odd re-occurrence of names that have  served as footprints along the way  - names similar to "Marga" that represented been syncronistic touchstones.   I originally seemed to connect the word marga with Megara, a name that  was popularised as the heroine in a Disney version of Hercules. It's only a film for children, but Megara is a very vivid anima archetype.......Megara was originally a Greek word for a fissure in the ground used for sacred rites connected with beliefs about the underworld (the unconscious) and Persephone-Hecate."

This was quite amazing to me, as twenty years prior I found myself obsessed with writing the only short story/novel I've ever written.  The novel, The Song of Medusa, ......... an excerpt can be found here.  It was  inspired by Riane Eisler's Chalice and the Blade and a desire to envision the world of the Goddess, how it might have been in pre-history, and might manifest in today's world.  But in the course of the "flow" of the writing, an ancient fictional priestess emerged, a "Singer" who chanted, prophesized, and "spoke with the voice of the Earth" in trance  by going into sacred  caves and fissures.  I did not know at the time about the ways the Oracle of Delphi became entranced, only learning of this later.  And, the novel was developed around the Persephone/Hades myth.  

Twenty years later, via this correspondance, I learn about Megara.  It seems, once again, that in the course of opening to the creative process, we do indeed open to the collective mind.  

And the footprints in the sand, glimmering in the light of Marga,  can reveal themselves, leading us on.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy Beltaine!

Once again, the world is waking up and blooming and the power of love and fertility is running like blood and sap and electricity throughout all the land.  Twas a time when May Day, and the Rites of Spring, were looked forward to widely, and celebrated with the greatest of enthusiasm!  The tradition of the Rites of Spring (Beltane) and the Sacred Marriage go very far back indeed, and are found in ancient Sumaria in the union of Inanna and Dumuzi, and more recently, for millenia throughout Northern Europe and the British Isles.  It's rather extraordinary, if one thinks about it or even is aware of it, that this important celebration was removed from the calendar and culture by the Church, and replaced with "international workers day", or simply buried as much as possible in the compost of myth, co-option, and turning something joyful and fundamental to nature and the Goddess into something "evil".  Witness the famous "ride of Lady Godiva" which I wrote about a few years back.

There is a wonderful U.K. Blog, (below) from which I take the liberty of copying writings on Beltaine lore.  BLESSED BELTANE TO ALL!


The Beltane Festival

Beltane or Beltane is the Gaelic name for the festival that begins on April the 30th or Beltane's eve and continues on 1st May and is a celebration of purification and fertility. The name originates from the Celtic god, Bel - the 'bright one', and the Gaelic word 'teine' meaning fire, giving the name 'bealttainn', meaning 'bright fire'. Marking the beginning of the Summer season with the lighting of two great bon-fires on Beltane's eve signifies a time of purification and transition, these fires may be made of the nine sacred woods, Alder, Ash, Birch, Hawthorn, Hazel, Holly, Oak, Rowan and Willow.

Heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year, Beltane festivals were accompanied with ritual acts to protect the people from any harm by Otherworldly spirits.

Significantly, as the Goddess (Brigid) moves through her various phases, Beltane sees the womanly aspect of the Summer Goddess banish the Old Crone aspect of the Winter Goddess in readiness for the maternal time and the fruits of nature to follow.

As this is one of the magic turning points of the Sacred Seasons, the veil between worlds is thought to be especially thin, and as a result many of the Fairy Host, the Sidhe and the Tuatha De Danann may be seen crossing between the worlds.  Particularly, the Faery Queen is thought to travel about on this night and if you gaze too long on her enchanted beauty she may whisk you away to live in her Other realms outside of time for an eternity.  The Faery Queen also represents the May Queen, although in practice the honor is usually carried out by young women who are soon to be married.
For the May Day is the great day, 
Sung along the old straight track. 
And those who ancient lines did ley 
Will heed this song that calls them back.
........Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull.

The May Queen at Beltane

Along with her May King, mythically a Jack in The Green, the Green Man or Horned God, is to take part in the Great Rite and so Open the way for the Summer. This is the Sacred Marriage of the God and Goddess, often reenacted by a symbolic union during which the Athame (magical knife symbolizing male energy) is placed by the King of May into the Chalice (Sacred Cup symbolizing female energy) held by the Queen of the May.  For a more detailed account of how this ritual was enacted in earlier time, I refer the reader to Marrion Zimmer Bradley's moving account in her fiction The Mists of Avalon.

Following this union which serves to Open the way to the Summer Lands, festivities ensue, particularly that of dancing around the May Pole. The May Pole itself is a symbol of the union of the God and the Goddess, as the red ribbons represent the fertility of the Goddess, the white represent the fertility of the God. Men begin the weaving by dancing under the upheld ribbon of the first women facing them, accompanied by music, drums beating or chanting. The dancers move forward, stepping alternately over and under each person who’s dancing toward them. The dance continues until the Maypole is completely wrapped, then the ribbons are tied off and the wreath from the top is tossed to the earth to bring its gathered power into the ground.

Whilst such public festivals are not as widespread as they once were, famously at Padstow in Cornwall there still is held an annual 'Obby-Oss' day, which is believed to be one of the oldest survivng fertility rites in the United Kingdom.   St. Ives and Penzance in Cornwall are now also seeing a revival of similar public festivities.

Beltane Lore

During Medieval times, a man might also propose marriage by leaving a hawthorn branch at the door of his beloved on the first day of May. If the branch was allowed to remain at her door, it was a signal that the proposal was accepted. If it was replaced with a cauliflower, the proposal was turned down.

The Celtic Moon month of Hawthorn is the time for lovers to attend to matters of the heart, as the Celtic fire festival of Beltane heralds the start of summer.  Crosses of birch and rowan twigs were hung over doors on the May morning as a blessing and protection, and left until next May day.
The dew on the May day morning is believed to have a magical potency - wash your face and body in it and you will remain fair all year.

Going 'A-Maying' meant staying out all night to gather flowering hawthorn, watching the sunrise and making love in the woods, also known as a 'greenwood marriage'
Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight, Or he would call it a sin; But we have been out in the woods all night, A-conjuring Summer in! 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"O Successores Fortissimi Leonis" - Hildegard Von Bingham

Years ago  I performed a ritual invocation at Samhain with this haunting, visionary rendition of Hildegard Von Bingham's  "O Successores Fortissimi Leonis" by the group Vox, recorded in the early 1990's at my "Rites of Passage" Gallery in Berkeley, California.  The Invocatioin was done with 4 women in a circle, facing outward, turning the circle and with gestures of offering.  It was one of the most beautiful and powerful moments of my life.

I played the piece again today, and was delighted to find it had been uploaded on UTube.  Von Bingham's vision and prayers reach across the ages to touch us here.

Hildegard von Bingen.jpg
Illumination from the Liber Scivias 
showing Hildegard  receiving a vision
 and dictating to her scribe and secretary

"Hildegarde of Bingen, also known as St. Hildegard and the Sybil of the Rhine, was an enormously influential and spiritual woman, who paved the way for other women to succeed in a number of fields from theology to music. She was a mystic writer, who completed three books of her visions. During a time when members of the Catholic Church accorded women little respect, Hildegarde was consulted by bishops and consorted with the Pope, exerting influence over them.

She wrote on topics ranging from philosophy to natural healing with a critical expertise praised by both German advice-seekers and the highest-ranking figure in the Church, Pope Eugenius III. An esteemed advocate for scientific research, Hildegarde was one of the earliest promoters of the use of herbal medicine to treat ailments. She wrote several books on medicine, including Physica, circa 1150, which was primarily concerned with the use of herbs in medicinal treatment.
Hildegarde may be best known as a composer. 

Stemming from the traditional incantations of Church music, Hildegarde’s compositions took the form of a single chant-like, melodic line. These compositions are called antiphons and are a single line of music sung before and after a psalm. Hildegarde combined all of her music into a cycle called Symphonia Armonie Celestium Revelationum, circa 1151, orThe Symphony of the Harmony of the Heavenly Revelations, which reflects her belief that music was the highest praise to God.

Hildegarde herself created a drawing, or illumination, in her manuscript Scivias (Know the Ways), circa 1140–50, of her defining vision, in which the great span of the universe revealed itself to her in a trance as “round and shadowy…pointed at the top, like an egg…its outermost layer of a bright fire.”**

** "The Dinner Party" by Judy Chicago, Brooklyn Museum of Art   https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/dinner_party/place_settings/hildegarde_of_bingen

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Earth Day - "Green Hands"

I will sing of the well-founded Earth, mother of all, eldest of all beings.She feeds all creatures that are in the world, all that go upon the goodly land,all that are in the path of the seas, and all that fly; all these are fed of her store.
Homeric Hymn to Gaia

Earth Day, but truth be told, all days should be Earth Day, because our Mother Gaia is the greater life we live within, the greater life we have the privilege of being each a tiny part of.  

I found myself thinking about the many "Green Hands/Earth Hands" sculptures I've made over the years, an image that occurs over and over for me.  Rooted in the Earth, greening and flowering in our creativity and the works of our hands.  I guess, after all, each of them is a kind of blessing and a prayer.

“'What is life?' is a linguistic trap. To answer according to the rules of grammar, we must supply a noun, a thing. But life on Earth is more like a verb. It is a material process, surfing over matter like a slow wave. It is a controlled artistic chaos, a set of chemical reactions so staggeringly complex that more than 4 billion years ago it began a sojourn that now, in human form, composes love letters and uses silicon computers to calculate the temperature of matter at the birth of the universe.”

Lynn Margulis, Ph.D., collaborator with James Lovelock in the Gaia Hypothesis

“Psychologists have not begun to ponder the emotional toll of the loss of fellow life.  Nor have theologians  reckoned the spiritual impoverishment  that extinction brings. To forget what we had is to forget what we have lost.  And to forget what we have lost means never knowing what we had to begin with."
Mark Jerome Walters, The Nature Conservancy (1998)

"Wildness we might consider as the root of the authentic spontaneities of any being. It is that wellspring of creativity whence comes the instinctive activities that enable all living beings to obtain their food, to find shelter, to bring forth their young: to sing and dance and fly through the air and swim through the depths of the sea. This is the same inner tendency that evokes the insight of the poet, the skill of the artist and the power of the shaman."
Thomas Berry

"This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings."
Joanna Macy

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sherry Glasser takes on Mother Earth

 Upcoming Oh My Goddess! Show Poster Will Load Here!

 If you have never encountered Sherry Glasser and her personification of Mother Earth ("So, ah, how exactly do you think you got here without a Mother?") here's a beginning!  Sherry is well known in Northern California, and this performance of Oh My Goddess was presented at  Fort Bragg Town Hall, for the Ocean Protection Coalition Save The Whales Event in May of 2010.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Afghan Women's Writing Project & New Documentary

Join Us for an AWWP Benefit Screening of Acclaimed Documentary FRAME BY FRAME in Tucson, Arizona on April 9th!

Writing began for me as an escape from my burqa,

 an escape from my most painful moments. – Pari

Last week I attended a benefit screening of FRAME BY FRAME, a new film by Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli.  It was such a moving and well made film, that deeply revealed the courage of four Afghani photo journalists, one a woman, another an artist who won a Pulitzer prize.  It tell so poignantly not only the story of these artists, dedicated to telling the stories of those who cannot speak, very often at danger to their own lives, but also the healing vitality of the arts in the face of repression and tyranny.  I highly recommend this film, and highly recommend checking out and supporting if one can the organization it was screened for, the AFGHAN WOMEN'S WRITING PROJECT.  

I went to high school in Afghanistan, as my father worked for USAID, in the days before the deposition of the King, good days of prosperity and modernization  for that war torn country.  It is hard for us, especially for women, to imagine what has happened there under the tyranny of the Taliban - the Afghan Women's Writing Project is an Internet based group of volunteer teachers and networkers who assist women in the country to share and develop their writings - to tell their stories through poetry and fiction. For many of these women it is a vital lifeline, and their words are beautiful and heart-rending.


Photo by Lorenzo Tomada

Live Today

What if I die tomorrow?
Nothing is so easy.
I don’t live in yesterday
because it is gone.
I don’t live in the future
because it is not here yet.
It will come, whether I am alive or not 
I live today. It is the moment!
Live today,
Not the regrets of yesterday,
Not the worries of tomorrow…
Enjoy the moment,
The smile, the tea, the food,
The dance, the song, the walk
Enjoy the love and existence.
Live in today
Forget yesterday and tomorrow.
They are gone or not here yet. 
By Raha

"When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, taking a photo was a crime. After the regime fell from power in 2001, a fledgling free press emerged and a photography revolution was born. Now, as foreign troops and media withdraw, Afghanistan is left to stand on its own, and so are its journalists. Set in a modern Afghanistan bursting with color and character, FRAME BY FRAME follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape—reframing Afghanistan for the world, and for themselves. Through cinema vérité, intimate interviews, powerful photojournalism, and never-before-seen archival footage shot in secret during the Taliban regime, the film connects audiences with four humans in the pursuit of the truth."
“A piercing, poignant and—as befits its subject—beautifully composed exploration of the challenges and responsIbilities faced by photojournalists in Afghanistan’s post-Taliban free press.” –Variety


Last December, my family held a graduation party for me and my siblings. Alia and I had graduated high school and my elder sister, Gullafroz, and my elder brother, Arif, graduated from university.
At the end of the party, as I was serving tea to everyone, my auntie called me to talk. She began, “Look you are graduated now, for example, you learned everything and you are smart now.” She said “for example” to make fun of me. Every time my auntie came to our home, she always said school was not a good option and advised my sisters and me to get married rather than go to school.
I was searching for my sisters from the corner of my eye; they were at a side of the room talking to each other. They smiled back and rolled their eyes—meaning they had already heard the lecture.
“When I was your age,” she said, coming close to look straight into my eyes as if she was telling the world’s biggest secret, “I was married and had a child. My in-laws were so happy to have me as their son’s bride. You have to marry soon because you are young and quick. I was young once too, and I could finish my house chores faster than anyone else.”
I said to myself, “I can do math faster than those house chores.”
She continued talking about her early life. But I was not listening. My mind was on a memory from Kandahar.
After I finished third grade at school in Kabul, my father found a job in Kandahar and the whole family had to move there. It was mid-December when we arrived. We had to live in a small apartment with two tiny square rooms and a square yard. A tiny bathroom was on one side and it shared a wall with the kitchen, which only had room for one person to cook while standing.
There was a girls’ school about three blocks away from our home, which my sisters and I attended. I really liked my school. I wore a long black dress down to my knees and black pants that I pulled high so that my ankles could be seen. My ankles were whiter than those of the Pashtun girls I saw. I really wanted them to see my ankles. I thought they would be jealous of my white feet; instead they looked at us as if looking at something dirty. And of course, we had to wear the white headscarves. Gulafroz was covered in black from head to toe since she was older. I ironed my uniform every night before going to sleep and polished my black sandals.
One summer morning, I got dressed and took my pink umbrella to shield my head from the sun although it was only 6:30 a.m. and the sun had not risen yet. When my sisters and I arrived in front of the school gate, there were two men standing there. They looked like tall, long birds with wide eyes. To see them, I had to raise my head high and move my umbrella to the side. They were frowning.
One of them asked, “Almond-eyed people, where are you going?” The other one spoke in a Pashto accent. I could not understand all the things he said, but I understood this: “Go back. School is closed. Go back home. Never again, no female school.” The two men exchanged some words in Pashtu and then burst out laughing.
One of the men was dressed in a dark brown pirhan tumban, the traditional dress for men. He had dark eyes, a steadfast gaze, and thick eyebrows. He looked down at me and frowned so that his thick eyebrows almost came together.
He shrieked at me, “I said go home, stupid Hazaras!”
“I want to go to my school,” I said.
They stepped forward and pushed the three of us to the ground. Our black uniforms filled with dust. They shouted and told us to go home and never come back again.
We were scared and ran back home. Two weeks passed but still the school was locked. My sisters and I were so depressed being at home that my father started taking us with him to the hospital where he was working twice a week.
One day it was too hot to play outside so I sat in the waiting room observing the patients and the doctors doing their work. A Korean doctor entered the room. She wore a white coat and she looked fascinating to me. For a moment, I saw myself instead of that woman. The desire to be proud of myself and make my father proud of me rushed into my heart and cut it so deep that I had to leave the room.
I sat outside in the harsh sunlight and cried. There was something I was longing for and it was hurting me. A woman, Khala Majan, who was cleaning the hospital, came to me. She asked, “What on earth caused my child to cry this innocently?”
“I want to go to school.” I said. When I said this out loud I realized all I wanted was to be able to return to school in my black uniform and carry my pink umbrella above my head.
Khala sat down beside me and wiped my tears. “You want to go to school? Then go,” she said. “Why you are crying? Your tears won’t change anything. Remember your dreams won’t come to you; you have to walk to them. And to walk to your dreams you need feet and eyes. If your faith in going to school is still strong, then nothing on earth can prevent you from going.”
Then Khala suggested I attend a school that was three miles away from the hospital, about a two-hour walk from our home. After three days of begging, my father finally agreed to let us go. After six weeks of no school, we began walking to our new school.
We had to walk about three to four hours to get to school and home again. It was a very long way but it was fun for us. So we would not get lost we remembered the shops along the way: a music store that played Indian classic music, a vegetable store with all my favorite fruits, a mosque painted white with a door we always kissed as our mother told us to do and finally, a bookstore. I liked to stand outside this bookstore to look at the books they put out on display.
I recognized that bad won over good when two men pointed their guns to my father’s forehead and shouted to him to get out of Kandahar because he worked with foreigners. I do not blame those men. If we put pens and pencils in empty hands of men and make them busy with writing about the beauty of their life, then murderers and enemies of peace won’t have the chance to put guns in their hands and teach them to point their guns toward us.
Today I am happy that I have continued school and finished high school. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we had not returned to school, although the answer is simple: we would believe all the things our auntie said to us. Gulafroz would get married, then me and then Alia. We would miss the future we dreamed of. We would not work in the office we dreamed about. I would never get the house with the library in it that I want. I would miss the woman I wanted to become.
By Arifa, age 17
This piece has also been published by Women’s eNews. Photo by Global Partnership for Education.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Book of Shadows and Grace (Pt. 2)

My second offering for National Poetry Month, and also the Tucson Poetry Festival, which is going on this weekend.  Looking back to poems I re-discovered in my files, poems some 30 years old.  You can learn a lot about the threads that have woven your life together by reading very old poetry you once wrote.

I think I've always  been a part of that wave of women and men who have been dedicated to bringing the Divine Feminine back into the world, to "restoring the Balance".  And I have always sensed what Clarissa Estes called "the Wild Woman archetype" (and "the Dangerous Old Woman") just under the surface of the various repressions, trivializations, and enslavements I've seen or experienced as a female being in this world.  A force  that bubbles up from the ground like melting permafrost, like a call in the moonlit night, echoing from within the darkened woods,  "Amazons" ran like the sap of maple trees  in the early  spring of 1982 when I was living in the woods of Vermont, like hearing  an ancient voice.  "Veils" I remember writing around that time as well.  And "Cocoons"  is so old........I think I wrote it in 1976 or so, shortly after hearing of the death of Tim Buckley.

Amazons I.

At the bottom of this cup
sweet illusions coagulate 
tacky residue

so be it.
I spin tea leaves
place the Tarot
consult the oracle
to receive the same answer:
there is no exit.

All my dreams are steel now,  
and of brier
an arm raised, sun burnt,
with a gleam of metal
edges sharp,
the forge.

At the bottom  of this cup
my secret Amazon waits

for the full moon of Artemis
for the hunt.

Amazons II.

Take me with you, sister
let me ride the pale Pegasus,
the moon is humming
the time has come

See the way,  open at last
incandescent as the stars
and the words they form
above our heads.

A woman waits in  black oak tree
with a shining face

Only she can know my heart

Amazons III

It is not my fault
that you came here,
blundering through the woods
with the subtlety of a lame bear

did you think the moon belonged  to you?
did you think you could trespass in this country
disregarding the boundary markers
with your clumsy spear and your wooden arrows
your goatskin bladder of sour wine
your huge faith in your  importance?

We are calling on powers you have no right to.

This is no circle of insipid muses
gently urging you to smiling inquiry.

One breasted women are not gentle.
Our scars are for remembrance.

It is not my fault you hang there,
pinned to a beech tree.
You still do not understand your danger.

You have never been able 
to see the teeth
sharp and white
beneath the smile.

Amazons IV.

At the river's edge
I set my armor down
laid down my sword and bow
untied my hair

this I did for you.

I approached you resting
lying in the grass
at the river's edge
your body brown
graceful as a tree

you waited for me.
I approached you with desire

O my enemy


Veils can be as sheer
as gossamer, as ectoplasm 
the cloak of stars so fine 
you might touch what lies beneath
so transparent you might see eyes
almond, or round, 
under such a veil.

Some are more solid.
Some are colored like lead.
Some are shrouds.
Some are not fabric, but cement.
Some are given armaments
conforming somewhat to the figure
these are set gradually to harden.
Some are tombs for the heart.


(for Tim Buckley)

6 years ago
I slept under a lemon tree
in Ojai watching the fall of pollen
yellow and orange,
on our hands, our hair
I saw patterns in the water
that spoke a private language.

I am pollen
I know the life 
of lemon trees
the water runs in me
I am of no substance
I encompass the length of the ocean.

What I most cherished
has fallen from my hands.
I have no hands.
Fortune, ambition and chance
are trails of smoke
behind me.

I have left the pain of slow decay
to become something less than light.