LIVING WITHOUT SPIRIT IS, IN ESSENCE, AN EARLY FORM OF DEATH

Who’s measuring the quantity and quality of spiritual energy
Remaining in the good ol’ US of A?
Who knows why our society’s life force, except for anger,
Has gotten dialed down so dim?

Living without spirit resembles being dead, doesn’t it?
Because ignoring the “light” means we’ll have to live out our lives in the dark –
In other words, lacking spiritual radiance, we’ll have lost the best of our humanity.

Babies intuit this – in spite of their lack of language –
Of course, later on, they’ll forget everything
After placing their little heads inside big adult egos.

Yet, among the rest of us, there still remains a deep hunger for reality
Or, to put it more simply, for “God” –
That is, for achieving the meaning hidden behind quotidian walls of meaninglessness.

Unfortunately, the word “God” is no longer much in use today –
Since the thrilling warmth and life traditionally associated with that term
Has steadily been removed from our everyday lives.

Nevertheless, for myself, I intend to keep on saying “God”
Because I know God’s there
Despite the surrounding fogbank of media and academic incomprehension.

I regret, however, that I’m unable to convey more of the reality of God in my own writing
Including my belief that God’s coming again
Perhaps, as a young South American girl –
So, when that happens, I expect
All the nihilistic deniers’ mouths to fly open
With awe!

BEAUTY (for Mary)

Isn’t it true that capitalism has been the death of beauty
Since as soon as anyone tries to buy beauty –
It crumbles, turns to dust, and slips out of one’s grasp.

Beauty must always be a gift, acquired solely through thoughts of love –
The kind of gift you hold onto until the end –
First, in your room, then in your chest of jewels,
And, finally, clasped in your dying hand.

This gift is one of pure joy, made solely for you.

A great deal of thought, patience, and passion went into this gift –
No one else in the world has anything like it.
It’s the first and last thought of an invisible American poet
Who nobody knows the name of.

Beauty is a spiritual light that makes the eyes shine –
Beauty is falling in love by accident – that is, “out of the blue” –
Beauty is holy lovemaking that, one night, created you, you, you!

Dear heart, only one,
You’re my beautiful true life-partner!

HEART OF GOD

My grandson, Jules, was recently born
Knowing a good part of what I’d like to know
The moment I die.

And that is – a moment of purity, serenity, and composure –
Before, one day in the future, hopefully, flowering into ecstatic joy.

From the moment of birth – God’s gift of first in-breath –
To the moment of death – God’s gift of final exhalation
Is usually a long and eventful road.

I myself would like to end up with Jules’ ability to gaze out at the world
With such unknowing “wonder” –
In fact, at the end, I’d like to achieve that same look –
Accompanied, of course, with a conscious compassion for the entire world.

I’d like to understand what Jules experienced as truth at his birth –
And then end up achieving a mature ability to love.

Jules, someday I’d like to be able to “see” as clearly as you did on day one –
While, over my lifetime, developing a heart as big as the entire world –
Perhaps even paralleling, in my own small way, God’s own infinite heart.

Yes, I want to go out as clear-eyed as this newborn baby arrived –
While, over time, diligently developing a heart of God.

“DEATH”

Is death like stepping off a cliff –
And falling forever?

Is death the loosening up of our atoms
And then returning them to the ground,
To the air, or even into deep water?

Is death a matter of disappearing to one’s self –
And then, shortly after, to others as well?

Is death memory
Gone irrevocably bad?

Is death the end or beginning
Of life beyond life?

Is death a gift taken back –
The kind of negative surprise we’ll slowly learn to accept as we age?

Is death a truth no one can bear –
Or a self-love that can disappear overnight?

Is death a fairy tale –
Told once too many times?

THE CAROUSEL

If you don’t believe in God –
Believe in Nature.
And if you don’t believe in Nature –
Believe in the Works of Man.
And if you don’t believe in the Works of Man –
Don’t worry, the next thing’s gonna come ‘round anyway!

If you don’t believe in dancing angels –
Then look up and enjoy the birds,
And if not them – have a good night’s sleep –
Wake up refreshed –
And something will touch you without your even having to try.

The world we experience on a daily basis is like a shadow inside a closed hand –
And that hand is a broken walnut
The wind’s been blowing through –
A wind that, like a breeze of death, is able to knock anything over.

So, instead of that, think of life as a carousel –
Gorgeously spinning round
Playing children’s songs, decorated with colored lights –
And carrying splendid wooden horses moving up and down.

This is what it means to be a child again – living in the present –
And, perhaps, even to be an old man like myself – right now!

DEATH CREATES BEAUTY

Death creates “beauty” since we’re unable to fully appreciate beauty
Without acknowledging the backdrop of death –
Especially when it’s shining through.

Death creates “love” because we won’t achieve our inherent capacity to love deeply
Without becoming aware of the curtain that’s about to fall –
When love, literally, “explodes” into our consciousness.

Death creates “life” because ordinary quotidian life doesn’t appear fully real to us –
So, unconsciously, when we start becoming aware of this –
Death sticks its ugly head through our window –
And “wakes us up” –
Forcing us to become totally alive!

In sum, so long as we refuse to acknowledge death,
We won’t have the ability to “see” ourselves –
Or much else for that matter.

Terror and the void are birthplaces of extraordinary “beauty,” “love,” and “life” –
So, shouldn’t we be a little more grateful for their existence?

GOD IS NOT PERFECT

God is not “perfect”
Just as nothing alive is perfect.

The only true perfection is death –
Anything alive cannot be perfect, by definition, because life’s constantly changing.

Think about nature, is any of it ever “perfect”?

Jesus was never perfect so long as he was alive –
He only achieved theological “perfection” after his death.

Thinking about achieving “perfection” will only make you unhappy –
Why would you want to be unhappy?

The interior “judge” you’ve been trying to satisfy by perfection is a dead spirit –
Why would you want to be dead?

Be as imperfect as you really are –
“Alive” –
And as happy as you can be!

Perhaps even “joyful” –
If you’re not afraid of leaping into reality –

A reality filled with life.

GOD’S BIG REALITY DREAM

The best way to “know” God
Is to attempt to understand, as much as possible, everything in the universe
And then, one day, set that all aside
For “love” –
A path of “knowing” through “unknowing.”

You can make infinite lists
Of everything God is “like”
And then throw them all into the trash
Because everything you just listed is not anything like God.

It’s more accurate to say God is like “nothing”
Or that no thing (or idea) is like God.

God is eternally in motion from nothing to something –
And back again –
In fact, God might be described as having a universal “heart pulse” –
Alternating between life and death; existence and non-existence –
With a more-than-human – yet infinitely beautiful – “face.”

One day, God decided to settle down in the ecstatic realm of “reality” –
Making our own lives appear to be tiny pieces
Of God’s “Big Reality Dream.”

ALL THE TIME

Even if you put on an official “coat” of religion,
You probably still won’t achieve what God truly wants –
However, if you courageously open your heart – even a bit –
You’ll quickly find yourself being flooded with loving spirit.

Actually, “God” isn’t God at all –
Because God doesn’t have a name
And disappears whenever we are attempting to use one.

God sometimes may be found out in open fields or beneath gently rustling trees –
You can’t actually see or hear God then,
But, during such times, it is possible to gain a sense of God’s airy touch.

More often, though, God is found in hardship and suffering –
You won’t hear or see God then either,
But, if it’s important to you, you’ll be able to feel God’s presence.

God is known most completely by us
At birth
And death.

The rest of our lives should be just the same –
Yes, God should be that close – all the time.

FINDING GOD IN AMERICA

Where can God be found, now, in America?

Certainly not in suburban shopping malls –
Or, out there, stuck in a traffic jam –
And never, ever on cable TV – that’s for sure!

What about in the Friday Night prayers of h.s. football coaches?
Or as reflected in the back-lit jowls of Southern Baptist preachers?

No, I don’t think so.

Since we live in a democratic country,
Might there not be virtually millions of so-called “American Gods” –
Or are they all just egos search-lighting the empty night skies?

We do have a “National Religion” though – a Judeo-Christian composite one –
But it’s been used, largely, to justify wars and our greatest historical crimes.

If, however, we’re unable to find God here in America – at all –
Then we probably won’t be able to find any meaning either –
And, if we can’t find meaning,
We’ll probably end up lost out in the dusty fields of a digital world.

Even though we always faithfully celebrate our birthdays,
Unfortunately, we never take time to reflect on our fast-approaching deathday –
Because, patriotically, we refuse to recognize its existence.

If, however, you can’t think about death,
You’ll probably never encounter God either,
Because, after all, that’s where “the God we know” originally came from –

Life always comes out of non-life,
Doesn’t it?