SEMI-FULFILLED POTENTIALS

Pretty much my whole adult life

I’ve been more or less semi-retired

A full-time undergraduate and grad

Student and the poverty and the freedom

Writing and performing music

Writing and researching papers and theses

Bipolar disorder’s attenuated capacities

Avolition and crippled will to persevere

Those week-ends asleep in bed—

The weekend through: Friday till Monday morning

Those lost weekends

A post-doctoral funk and bad jobs

Part-time teaching and poverty

Writing and publishing a book and journal articles

Music and poetry and bad jobs

A good job preaching, a calling, and full-time pay

Recording a CD of my originals and poetry and newspaper bylines

Volunteer positions and committees and seminar presentations

All for joy and no pay

Pretty much semi-retired and all of it

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WE TWO

Blasting tailpipe deafening cacophony

While pleasant sunset walking evening

Chatting hand-holding pleasant sun setting

Street noise sidewalk dirt dusty swirling twilight

In pleasant breeze sun clear sky heat

Ice-cream outdoors sitting watching groups couples

Passing by dogs chatting standing individuals

Passing setting sun breeze time

We two

LANGUAGE AND TRUTH

Your first written impulse isn’t always

The truth

And so revisions

Paring away distracting words

Imprecise words

Replacing the vague with

Clarity

Sculpting truth

A FRIENDSHIP OF

A deepening friendship of

An old acquaintance

Memories of

When we were both starting out

Life

When we were young

Shared memories of

Us starting out

Time apart, away

Much time

Our separate ways

Separate successes, accomplishments

Lives

Renewing

Friendship

Shared memories of

Our home town

Our early life

New memories of

Us in your home city

Doing the town

Visit

New memories of

Experiences, knowledge, collaborations

New friendship of

An old acquaintance

WAYS OF LIVING

To feed the mind

Learning, culture, travel

To make a living

Getting by, job, family

To idle time away

Drugs, parties, bars

To follow trends

Fitness, cars, clothes

To aspire for ideals

Accomplishment, mastery, virtue

The human condition

Sanctity, sin, struggle

Ways of language

Expression, communication, sign

GOOD LOVE

You know me in my higher aspirations

And when I’m in a trying, troubling mood

In either you maintain loving relations

For which I feel eternal gratitude

 

The love we know and our fidelity,

The good life our love creates together

Gives us each a place of stability

In a world of inconsistent weather

 

I am pledged to you and you to me

In joy, in trials, and in confidence

We’ll be together to eternity

And live the timeless now as lovers and as friends

SUNYATA

(for Philip)

We live our lives life in a delicate

Balance between chaos and peace.

Each short-lived, the one the other will implicate.

The ancients wanted neither–sought release.

 

An empty chair in the middle of

A grassy yard, reflecting bright sunlight.

I set it there.  But hesitated when I saw it.

Where is the self that seeks to know despite

The onslaught of experience, who seeks to understand it?

Who tries to grasp ahold of love?

 

The ancients reasoned “no-self” sidesteps Karma;

And David sees Jehovah as a rock;

And other systems turn from social Maya:

Prestige, respectability sneering mock.

 

Paul in prison and Christ a capitol criminal?

Christ in prison and Paul an evangel?

Who draws the lines, who forms the frame?

Living shatters all our images–nothing stays the same.

 

“Because everything changes, all is nothing.”

But I, I sit in the chair, on the lawn.

I hear the many birds singing.

I remember the tree tops’ hue at dawn.

I see the leaves flicker, the limbs’ easy swaying.

 

We trace the lines and leave them drawn.

And we are left with the chair, on the lawn.

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