GROWING YOUNGER WHILE GROWING OLDER

While still young, we become anxious to grow older
Modeling ourselves on nearby adults who seem successful –
Eventually, however, we become older ourselves – inside and out.

But this turns out to be not right!

Later on in our lives, some of us begin a struggle
To become free of our earlier-developed “mature” selves
While an even smaller number manage to actually accomplish it –
By becoming “children” again.

Growing older, at some point we find the need to start over – reversing direction –
Spiritually – getting younger year by year –
Until we achieve the stage Jesus might look over at us –
(Now, perhaps, grandfathers and grandmothers)
And say: “Let the little children come unto me.”

BOOKS ARE MY FRIENDS (For Laurel)

Books are my friends –
Accompanied by them I’ll never get bored
And if at times I get a bit “down,” a passing title will soon pick me up.

Books surround me with the most thoughtful people who ever lived –
Crowding around in my study
Their intrinsic seriousness and brilliance lifts my room sky high
Ready for long-distance visits to a future “me.”

If a book is empty and brings me down – I quickly put it down
And pick up another.

People without books remind me of deserts without water –
A mechanical kind of survival –
“Clank, clank, clank.”

Books are the sea we swim in
So as to relax by distant shores.

Books are magic pills we swallow
In order to change into someone else.

Books are dreams we can make real
By spending time inside them.

Books will make you an entirely new and different person
If you’re open to opening them.

ALWAYS FRESH

“I go back to where everything is nothing.”
                                                      Rumi

Along with Rumi, I want nothing – except freedom
And perhaps a friend to point the way to God for me
In place of all the religious “professionals” lining the way to nowhere
And flatterers complimenting us on things we already know.

I want nothing
And the freedom that goes along with it –
I also want a God who still desires being God
Along with a quotidian material world whirring into and out of existence.

I want a freedom that’s fully paid for –
And a love that arrives “out of the blue.”

Speaking of “blue,” I want a lot more of that
Skies, oceans, robins’ eggs, and Van Gogh blues –
Along with the spectacular “yellows” I’d never seen before visiting Musée d’Orsay.

Nothing is absolutely the beginning of everything –
Nothing is a midnight diner – cars streaming by –
Nothing is music discerned through an almost-waking dream.

Nothing is a God who doesn’t need to be acknowledged as “God” –
Since God’s perpetually fresh!

NOT THE PICTURE BUT THE REAL BEING

Where is Jesus in this ancient religion called “Christianity?”
Certainly not in a silver medal hanging around one’s neck
Requiring people to nod when passing.

Jesus is not anybody who needs to be worshipped
Since, today, Jesus is you – and nobody else.

If you do decide to “become” him –
Open the doors of your soul and say, “please come in.” 

Jesus is not the world religion created by Paul and institutionalized by Constantine
At which all the good seats have already been taken –
Hypocrites being the first to rush in
Pretending, unconvincingly, like modern-day Evangelicals to be Jesus’ best friends.

When someone decided (who was that who decided?)
To merge the Roman Empire into the name and spirit of Jesus –
He (Jesus) quickly left by a side door – and has never been seen again.

Curators plaster museum walls with pictures of him
Framed with gold and precious jewels –
But Jesus, himself, is back out on the street – searching for God
All over again.

Birds see him
Cats turn their heads when passing
But only crazy people are willing to unembarrassedly acknowledge him in public –
When they see
Not the common-accepted picture – but the real human being!

WE DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT WORDS FOR GOD

We don’t have the right words for God
Since we no longer believe in a “God” who’s given up on being God –
We need the right words so that everyone can start believing again –
We’ll also need a few bright new metaphors for “love”
As well as an entirely fresh vocabulary for “God’s Kingdom on Earth.”

The problem with words is that they eventually become “stale”
Expressing past understandings of things
That are now no longer understandable. 

Who can believe in a “God” who’s mostly a cliché –
And who many fail to take seriously anymore?

Let’s throw over the old words
And start over
In order to fall in love with God again –
Preferably speechlessly.

Let the words for “love of God”
Be expressed primarily by sparkling eyes
As if falling in love for the first time!

ATTITUDE

                                                “They really enjoy the hate!”
                                                 A new student voter

He says nothing rational
This unloving unlovable mud creature
He lies like diarrhea
So what’s the attraction?

Some say it’s “attitude” –
Denying they agree with him on everything
They applaud the “performance.”

All these people traveling off the cliff together
Enjoying the hate –
Taking a deep cathartic plunge into an exhilaration of loathing.

TURNING AROUND IN A DRASTIC MANNER

In America, God, the real god, dies every minute –
Killed from opposing directions –
First, by those believing they no longer need God
Because they’re so smart and ambitious –
And, second, by those who worship an older, passé God
Who, since he’s obviously no longer as effective for them, get furious –
And want (and actually try) to pull down the temple on their own heads.

The first are Ivy Leaguers
The second small town Evangelicals.

America traditionally has been an open-hearted kind of place –
And Ivy Leaguers and small-town Evangelicals agree about this
But they’ve been looking in opposite directions – and for now can’t see one another –
And, presently, don’t even want to!

Our Founders designed an America open to the skies –
A free land where people could be themselves –
But freedom, alone, can’t do everything.

Americans also have to be inspired collectively to acquire the best human qualities –
While expressing a spirit of openness in their lives –
Along with an authentic concern for the “beaten down.”

America does make mistakes – really big mistakes –
But, usually, eventually, turns around after admitting them.


Yes, America can turn around – sometimes, even in a drastic manner!

POINTING TO THE GOD YOU ARE (for Ruth)

Beauty is usually seen
But can come in other ways too.

If at first nothing much appears very beautiful
Take a second look –
And, perhaps, even a third.

It’s only when you’re relaxing hard
That true beauty starts coming through.

Sometimes, beauty is just an accident –
You weren’t meant to see it coming
But, suddenly, beauty appears out of darkness
Or light – depending upon your location at a given moment.

Sometimes, beauty comes rushing through another person
Who points –
There –
And God suddenly bowls you over.

Mainly, beauty comes secretly
Between spiritual friends –
Do you have a spiritual friend
And do they ever point out God out to you?
A God you can’t see
Because they’re pointing at the God you are?

THE NECESSITY OF BECOMING GOD

God offers us a life to become as much like God
As a human being possibly can –
But it’s up to us whether or not to follow up this offer.

God doesn’t allow this to animals much less to inanimate objects –
God whispers only to human beings –
However, if you do decide to remain primarily an animal or an object
Betraying your life’s true mission –
You’ll have forgotten everything God whispered to you at birth –
And leave behind everything you were ever intended to be.

God insists: “I gave you imagination and a mind unlimited as the myriad stars
And the capacity to love equal to that of a first-time mother.”

God reminds us: “At birth, you were provided with the gift of infinite potential
And the ability to move everything forward – towards me.”

God says: “Why did you take even an instant
To obsess about your “self”?
“Who are you if not on the way to becoming a fair reflection of me?”
Who are you to waste yourself
Simply accreting materials to a “false self” –
And failing to add more “God” into the world?”

“Who are you to waste the gift of your unique ability – over time –
To turn yourself into Me?”

GAINING ENOUGH SUBSTANCE TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT GOD

The common and usual “self” expands by sticking “things” onto its body –
As well as manipulating other people into its lower orbit –
While rolling and trolling around in egoistic sweet desires.

This kind of “self,” however, sometimes disconnects from itself –
Like a space capsule unlocking from a mother ship
Into a self open to enjoying everybody and everything
With the freedom to be objective and to tell “the whole truth” –
Because there’s no longer any false self remaining.

A self that’s left its false self behind becomes a “true self” –
Free to think God’s thoughts,
Love like God,
And tell the truth like God –

That’s not to say, however, that these experiences can’t end up being a bit “shallow.”

The first step, however, is to gain spiritual freedom –
The second requires a lot of hard work – (because God is not a lightweight) –
Even 10 years of sustained and persistent work
Might only get us as far as being a decent human being –
Even after exercising the freedom of God.

People courageous enough to look God straight in the face
Sometimes still come to realize that working spiritually for most of their lives
Might not add enough weight
To gain the attention of a single person
Desiring to know something about the “real” God.