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Give Me Music

“An’, as [music] blowed an’ blowed,
I often looked up at the sky
an’ assed meself the question–
what is the stars,
what is the stars?”
Juno and the Paycock
Sean O’Casey

Our sacred choir
prepares a new anthem
which, in summary, goes:

I have the deep soul blues today,
so Give Me Music.

This troubles me
because Music erupts from within,
more primal than a commodity to be delivered
upon command.

What is wrapped and presented from outside
we may hear only as voices with rhythm
and harmony
and unresolved dissonance–
but all these together
are not yet our enchanting music muse
fully investing
infesting
musing through us.

Choral inside voiced music,
resonate through all four voices,
sharing our deep-rooted muse,
blues soul longing to speak and dance
music of the stars,

To come home again
where we have always shared soul belonged
inducing peace.

Sacred choirs
do not usually demand of matriarchal Earth,
Give Me Music!

More likely we invite experience
of more resilient inside dancing muses
healing like anciently redundant starlight.

I feel angst in soulful mourning
that cannot be healed through commanding
Give Me Music
or anything else, for that matter.

But, loss does invite deeper experience of resonance
and small bits of creatively digestible resolving dissonance
to feel better
about absence of remembering

What is our starlight soul
but well-sung dance
enlightening solidarity?

If we are asking Earth
to heal us with the Muse of starlight mystery,
then, indeed,
Give Us Music’s full harvest
blowed an’ blowed.

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Broken Planting Oaken Tree

We have tree traditions,
still accessible in diverse backward
and forward
reforesting cultures,
of planting a commemorative tree
when a great and portentous series of loving events
comes to its untimely rest.

Recently
my middle son’s lifetime friend
decided it was time to travel with the starlight
and so he left us heartbroken,
trying to be happy for him,
and sad without him,
to become OK with his decision
that he had uncovered enough sadness
despair
depression.
His final vote was cast
and no one else was invited
to participate in his great transitional selection.

So, my son and I
will go into our messy forest
also known as the back lot,
where former residents have dumped asphalt roofing shingles,
and buried an entire breaking down garage.

If we were to dig deeper than necessary
we would probably find other mislaid treasures.
Shattered glass bottles and hearts
and open rusted food and toxic feeling cans,
and plastic of all dismembering colors
and ugly unshapely shards of angst,
but this day
we will dig only as deep as we must.

We will first visit a handful of oak babies
sprouting up under bushes in the side yard
and among poison ivy on the north side
so my son can choose which of these
will become Greg’s oak tree of new life
not beyond
yet still after suicidal death.

We will prepare this sapling’s new home,
digging a deep and wide welcoming hole
among back lot brambles of our thoughts and feelings,
then clear away potential choking vines and voices
now covering a clearing
surrounding trees have left
just right enough for a growing Greg
Large shade tree
to hug my son’s grandchildren,
and their Greg the OakTree loving children.

Then we will uproot our chosen new life tree
with reverence
and baptize her future MotherTree roots
of sacred fertility,
and as we sprinkle holy compost
to shade her vulnerable transparency to shaded light,
we will sing our allegiance to gratitude
for each life created through Father Sun,
nourished with Mother Earth,
sadly smiled with sacred GrandMother Moon,
sprinkling sounds of thanks
for each day
of each life
this oak tree,
as Greg,
will continue bringing us.

We will read and look and listen as Jesus taught
it is ungrateful sacrilege to remain angry
about not having received more grace
than we could have earned with more generosity of time,
when we could choose instead
to give thanks for each day shared with us
doing the best we can,
to give care as we would continue to receive.

Our love for Greg
grows through this oak tree’s future shade,
and west wind protection
for all our future days of thanksgiving
and suffering lost loss,
security for our children’s
healthy and happier children
knowing
remembering
feeling
sensing
this canopy grown Greg
still choosing flight
with starlight nights.

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Death Sentences

Death leaves a sacred hole
where once lived a whole relationship
with both potential future
and a now more cherished past

Still seen
and heard
and smelled,
tasted and felt, sensed
and incensed
through an echoing hole of darkly bitter loss.

I would be a hypocrite
and a liar
if I were to condemn
our sons and their cherished friends
for cowardice
or craziness
for choosing to end their lives.

When government sanctioned taking of life
goes on and on and on
we call this the cost of just wars
or a death penalty
rather than a life forfeit.
Yet it is the living
who repay this price.

It could be more honest
to call these deliberate extractions
a death investment
and perpetual re-investment
of a culture not yet sure of how radically vulnerable
compassionate life could
and should
become.

Death investment repeated as long as politically expedient,
and also personally poignant
whether self or other inflicted
or something in-between.

I do not grieve his loss of future
but my own

For to grieve my own lost future,
all we might have yet become together,
is honest,
and holy

While to grieve his lost future
is to dishonor his choice
and his compulsion
to part ways
when life felt too dishonest
to bear another traumatic day.

To be born
before or after
or beside and aside one’s right-felt time
and nurturing place
is already loss of future
sent through messages past
as love grows too thin and faded
lust for life descends too jaded,
loss of faith
for hope
arising futures now lost.

I would not dishonor,
too easily dismiss,
suicidal loss of life
as complete insanity
as if I could claim,
with full integrity,
that inhumane and too-patriarchal living losses
are not shy of full-grown sanity.

As this day closes,
this time and place
in tears of loss
without fanfare,
without deadly sentences
much less farewells,
I yet lack courage
of my own despair
about our future of continuing death investment
as measured by my own limits
for tolerating inane insanity,
vitriolic violence,
absurd abuse
of calling deliberate death investments a penalty
as if any life were something reasonably erased
through ultimatum fines
for having had an unfortunate birth day.

This death leaves a sacred hole
where once lived a whole relationship
of futures cast together
now gently placed
apart.

What did he see
that I have not yet felt
strongly enough
to choose to never see again?

This question changes those left behind
for the rest of our haunted days and nights.

Why him,
and not yet me,
not yet us?

 

In honored memory of Greg, lived Large, yet much too short, measures of suicide and other death investments.

 

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Seeking Mature Leaders

When I am searching for a healthy leader,
a wise teacher,
a mature mentor,
I look for someone who knows from experience
when a family member dies
a cherished part of her or himself
also is lifetime lost.

I look more for someone
who at least might feel,
even for a short moment,
that s/he would prefer
it had been her or himself.

Why does this matter?
Because without this maturity of extended family identity,
security,
love,
adolescent and even childish issues evoke ego-mania
rather than wiser and slower and steadier eco-passion
with other human natures
as with other EarthTribe cellular health natures.

Cells whose purpose becomes reduced to self-thrival
grow leaders of cancerous pathology.
Cells whose purpose remains to reproduce
their full contribution to organic families,
their extended forests of life,
their ecological eco-root systems,
are those mentors
my healthy wealth most needs
and craves
and would gladly step-aside from my personal agenda
to listen to
and learn
what remains of our synergetic purpose,
regenerative meaning.

I would be more drawn to a parent
who would say
My son broke the law
because I asked him to,
and he trusted me to not ask him to do
or not do
anything that would become a problem for him.

I would steer away from someone
who would say
My son did it on his own qualitative initiative
and never said a word to me about it,
but I respect him anyway.

And,
by the way,
those corporations that fell apart
while I was CEO,
well they did that all on their own
right after I drew my final paycheck
and quarterly return on my short-term investment.

I would not nominate such a person
for public office,
or even any private office,
for s/he does not know the wisdom of a healthy cell,
s/he has not felt the crippling loss of a wise mentor,
and is thereby her/himself exposed to monoculturing cannibalistic tendencies
of self and other exploitation,
eating our young;
not strong CEO maturity
because not a strong mentor of future compassionate CEOs.

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Summer of ’67

My canopy of early summer sounds
in 1967
was as intimate as adolescent knowledge
might ever become.

My sixteenth summer
sweetly smiled with driver’s permit,
my first job,
economic promise while the Beach Boys
and the Beatles sang a rainbow
of boy band diversity,
sang stories of straight white male revolutions,
evolutions of June firefly evenings
resounding bullfrog and cricket background vocals
on our family farm,
where good Christian Republicans
longed for good old Eisenhower years
when Father was wise
and always knew best,
and Vietnam was no more than an acrid draft
of wasted social
financial
political
environmental
nutritional capital,
not yet fully present.

This summer of 1967
was when I knew both anguish of embodied defeat,
hopelessly homosexual,
an yet poignancy of emerging mystical wonder
about what this could mean
fifty years from now.

I could not help fantasizing
how Paul and Art
might not only sing,
but dance, in poignant harmonies.

And,
as much as I laughed and loved and longed
to hear Stevie Wonder wondering
and Otis Redding wanting,
Marvin Gaye worshiping,
I so wished they could sound even better
with me.

Joni Mitchell
and Joan Baez
and Judy Collins,
like John Lennon,
were compelled to write and speak and sing
songs of love as freedom
growing transcendent
yet deeply fertile
Aquarian promise.

A promise bombed out
by uncivil wars
bound by fear of egocentered failure.
Fear our parents,
and half of my junior year classmates,
found compelling enough to throw away dollars
to build and buy
and transport
and explode bombs and bullets and boys,
nearly oblivious to hundreds of thousands of innocent men
and mothers
and children wiped out
by a mere strategic choice
to cover partisan ass
as the biggest baddest bully
on Earth’s shrinking block.

I didn’t blame him,
but when I called James Taylor
to rescue the Johnson and Nixon White Houses,
he did not come,
as promised,
to rescue me,
to remind us about our friend and family connections
across cosmic time
and Earth’s regenerate space.
A great ballad was just not enough.

In June of ’67
I was singing both “I Believe”
and “Love is Blue”
with equally honest passion
and thriving off a translucent vulnerable cover song
between these two impossibly incommensurable positions,
surrounded by straight evangelical predators,
sniffing for pinko faggot weakness.

I was so guilty
yet so in love with rightness
and ripeness
of my generation’s possibilities
for revolutionary integrity,
drawing together economic health
with political wealth
in some new golden ruling age
of relentlessly cooperative incorporation
and association
and ownership
and self-governance.

In this early summer of 1967
Martin and Bobby still walked with us
and one still dreamed he might see
someone who looked and thought and felt like him
as President one day
and the other I dreamed would become President
while I was still a high school junior.

So much devastation and disappointment followed.
It took at least a decade
and hundreds of thousands of human lives
treated like conscripted fodder
for nationalistic hubris of false pride
to arrive at the very treaty
our Vietnamese opponents had originally demanded.
And long before anyone from the U.S.
had been drafted and killed
for this offensive cause
of nationalistic non-defense.

Other health care and defense abuses
and losses
followed.
Neglect of women’s health.
Pedagogical loss of children’s deep ecological listening opportunities
to nondually co-arise with Earth’s polyphonic voices,
resources of multiculturing nutrition.

Yet I have these summer of ’67 memories
when,
for one diastatic season,
my revolutionary age on planet Earth
stood between despair of guilt
for what and whom I could never become
and celebrating hope for joy
of what we might yet reweave
timelessly singing and dancing
chanting and drumming
revolutioning and evolutioning together.

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Succeeding Days

How old was I
when each succeeding year
each successive year
became each falling year,
each failing year?

How old was I
when each year fell away
as did each month and week and day,
both succeeding less
and failing more
resigned to fade out play?

How old is just right maturity
of days falling off
away?

My calendar begins with clearly given rebirth dates,
succeeds toward organic dusk conclusions
on a day and week and month
within a year not yet quite fully numbered
and yet already fading toward some numeric memory
for those who remain succeeding
more than failing
through days and nights of fears
and faith
our wins outweigh these latticed losses.

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Untimely Silence

Most folks I loved
died when I was in my thirties.
Not just people,
but our San Francisco bohemian mecca lifestyle,
our 365 days and nights celebration
turned into an epidemic of waiting
and watching
and mourning our losses,
wondering about possibilities of survival.

What could remain for us,
for me,
for this place?
What could become my purpose
our purpose
for any lonely future of diaspora survivors?

My closest friend,
a happily married matriarch
with two adolescent children,
died of breast cancer
when I was in my early forties.

Perhaps this was my final straw.
I have not reconstructed any friendships since.

This reminds me of my maternal grandfather,
who lived into his eighties
but as his quantity of years continued
his quality of celebrated convivial life shrank
through loss of two wives
and all their friends,
his generation of neighbors,
and then his hearing.

He told me
not long before he passed
he was not sure
if his loss of hearing was a curse
or a blessing,
prohibiting him from cultivating renewing friendships
only to be lost yet again.

My own hearing is not perfect
yet I seem unwilling to listen
for any more friends,
loved ones I could no better afford to lose
than those already gone.

Yet still I wonder
about therapeutic reasons for my survival.
As fertile celebrations fade to dusty memory,
my capacity to comprehend why I still breathe,
yet my generation of intentional families has long passed,
shrunk to incomprehensible mystery
as did my revered grandfather’s hearing.

The best I can hear,
through this epidemic distance,
I rescued by adoption
then by love
four hurt children
no one else wanted,
and each continues teaching me how to love hims and her,
when I listen well,
in their distinctive needy ways and broken means.

Yet even here
with these final four
I night sweat in guilty worry
about how they could best thrive
when I can, at last,
no longer hear them,
nor they me.

Most folks I loved
died when I was young,
leaving me to wonder
severed prospects for survival.

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