Risking Love

I knew I was getting old
when I no longer always got up
from the floor
on my first try.

I remember I am old
because I no longer assume
I will always get up
off my contemplative couch
on my first try.

To choose life
on the first through last try
may be as simple
and as complex
as to not choose death,

To choose to trust enough to take
one more,
perhaps final,

To choose life
also includes risking love,
another gasp toward compassion,
even a shaky clasp on forgiveness,
indigenously wise mercy,
relentless curiosity,
ancient hope,

However fragile
insufficient for more grand standing
than one more bold inhale
of Earth’s organic sufficiency

It feels as wrong
to define my mourning self
by my failures to love us
on my worst arising days

I feel aright
to creatively redefine our meaning
with unearned compassions for riding along
on Earth’s most grace-filled

My daily liturgical experience
rises and lies
each day and night
recycling in-between
sufficiency of one last grateful inhale
predicting one more first graceful gift

exiting and entering
small sufficiencies
empowering love’s enlightening
curious co-arising wealth
of loving healthy passions.


Roots of Worship

My roots of Creator worship
are fed and watered
by Creation appreciation
and curiosity

Whether this might also be true
and sometimes disappointingly false
for you

A resonantly sacred
sometimes prophetic

With a resilient
health developing
ecosystemic mind

For whom my tricky part,
or one of many
as I recall…

Furtive sidewind glances
to my youthful left

Where he sat
in his magnificent
thick stacked darkness,

My closet worship thing
is impossible to come out
with perfect timing
with someone I am powerfully,
intoxicatingly, enraptured by
and preferably not without

Yet have no hope or intention
of ever being naked
or even transparent,
and certainly not vulnerable,
within his sight and hearing.

If said out loud,
then unveiled too soon
to not cause unwanted predative
seductive concerns.

If not said too soon
then inevitably disclosed too late
to retain resonant
and resilient trust

No hidden agendas,
no closet colonizing cases,
no aging platonic relationships
continuing to work
and play better
in just right silence
of unseen
untouched emotions
without attaching motions

Back through roots of Creator worship
fed and watered
by Creation appreciation
and thick stacked curiosity.


Embedded SpringTimes

Perhaps we all secretly long
to be embedded in perpetual spring time.

My most entertaining pre-pubescent memories
of spring’s most sacred times,
when occasionally left
to my own leisurely adventurous pursuits
outside for further natural/spiritual embedded nest

Include a warm and sunny afternoon
unfolding on Saturday’s mid-western stage,
going to a pond
waiting on the edge of wild
lying on my belly
with my nose nearly touching

Her still surface waters
watching spiders
walk over Her
polliwog organic submarines
going somewhere fins
propelling, with me,
into our Saturday afternoon
nutritional adventures
embedded in feeding FlowSource
well-being entertainments.

Another spring Saturday,
perhaps closer to full pubescent
FlowSource entertaining feelings,

I ran far back into the RoundField
where I knew a solitary MotherTree,
like me,
busy getting dressed up
in Her fulling spring leaves
while I unbusily removed all my clothes
and climbed Her
full body hugging Her trunk,
embracing and thanking each sturdy
warm-used limb
all my forceful way to Her most sacred top

To look and feel together
across this green alfalfa field
with all surrounding trees
a deeply fertile ocean forest
green-radiant slumbering mysteriously back at us,
this happy solitary FlowSource
MotherTree and ResourceMe
unseen WinWin feeling together triumphantly
becoming Be

Indigenously embedding entertainments,
Memories much richer and deeper and older
yet naked and wider and younger
than anything I ever heard or saw mid-winter
coming from inside black and white TV.


Good Journeys

I have heard many moms repeat
“You never stop being a parent.”

Sadly, I don’t see or hear that quite so much from the dads,
although I know of remarkably nurturing exceptions.

I thought of this as my impossibly young,
yet oldest son,
nearly twenty-two,
stopped by for an early birthday present, cash,
before heading out in his car
with a fellow rap artist friend
on their way from this Atlantic coast
to that San Francisco Bay.

D.B. never drove away to college,
or flew off on a great summer excursion,
or even went off to a technical school,
nor the military.

He did try to make Job Corp fit.
But, two suicides
and one stabbing on his dorm floor
and he decided not to return
after Holiday vacation that year.

He has been the last driver of not just one,
but two, of my totaled cars.
The second crash he walked away from
was when a drunk young white male
hit him head on
in the middle of a gorgeous New England sun-bright June
as he was coming home from his first,
and last,
out of home employment
busing tables in a casino diner.

D.B. was approaching the end of his three month probation period
when they let him go,
primarily for his ADHD challenges
with getting to work on time
with all the pieces of his uniform
clean and intact.
But, he also had trouble showing up
ready to set aside the dramas of his personal-political life,
which often feels like a race
and age
and gender profiled
and marginal
and commodified life.
It was hard to stay focused;
to be there when he was there.

Tomorrow D.B. and his friend since high school days
will see a slice of these continental States
from coast to coast and back again
for the first time.

I am ravenously happy for him.
I wish I could have given him wings,
some outrageous pile of cash.
My heart stops
when I notice how he is so vulnerable
too often despairing and perhaps even terrified
more about himself
than intimidated by a hostile world closing him out.

Closing ranks
on all the ways his particular black life will not matter
in Earth’s vast history.
Not significant enough to be sure if it could become possible,
or even safe,
to love himself,
to allow himself a long and warm regard,
as I embrace him.

I don’t know if I could finish being a child
without becoming an everyday
relentlessly caring and nurturing parent.
I can think of nothing so binding both feet to Earth
yet so free flying impossible to control.

For many reasons,
whether despite or because of my single gay male identity,
I chose the second class Mommy Track
instead of going for the Ph.D.
And not just the Mommy Track;
I adopted only the older broken kids
who would never safely drive or hold a job,
or would never talk or walk,
or would never thoroughly clean off her own poop,
or sleep through the nightmare night,
or would not feel safe outside our home,
stalking the boundaries of life while high school friends head on and out
to colleges and new friends
while he struggles to tolerate two classes each semester
at a nearby community college.

It feels good to know I am needed
but frightening to realize I cannot retire from this parenting profession
except through my own growing incapacity.

These four charges of mine
remind me we are each such a precious gift
for each other.
I have never regretted my more generous choices
rather than less magnanimous.
Not necessarily because the return on investment has always been better for my kids,
but because those were the moments standing out most clearly
in my column for Fully Living,
rather than continuing to draw out a stingy half-life,
under invested in our shared future regenerators.

I hope D.B. and friend have the time of their young lives
as I have had mine,
and even better,
even better.

It is so much easier,
and comforting,
to have old and happy memories
when we have had both young and generously happy times,
reasons to smile
and greet each fleeting dawn.


Innocent Intentions

When I looked across our front lawn and garden,
listened to robins and crows
cawing warm June breezes,
I was then innocent of knowing
this would become our threatened birthright
and evolve our time to hear
climatic warming winds still blown
across warm June front lawns,
organic gardens nourishing mind eye memory,
flourishing yet fading fragile rememory
of when I began discovering, Why me?
Why now?
Why here?
When will this mutual rescue life begin,
and why did we ever think messiahs could
or should
or would
or would not
end soon enough for rescued lives fulfilled,
replete creation stories
with warm clovered lawns
surrounded by chattering echoing forests,
tree gardens
singing and breathing therapeutic care,
blowing Agape’s polypathic winds of courage
to remember our Original Intent.


Who I Am

by Spencer Dillenbeck, my son, age 19

A chunk of clay settling into its mold
A painting yet to dry
A matching hand I cannot hold
A block of cheese before its mold
But even I do not know why
The answer is unknown to me
A rock on the cliff I cannot reach
A phantom I can’t see

I am
An amalgamation of the things that have shaped me
But nothing really seems to…
stay together?
feel… right?
It all feels so…
The clay has yet to finish molding
But the mold refuses to hold

A painting yet to dry
A matching hand I cannot hold
A block of cheese before its mold
But even I do not know why
The answer is unknown to me
A rock on the cliff I cannot reach
A phantom I can’t see

I am
A story written by hands that feel foreign
They’re mine, these hands
The story is mine
It’s all… nonfiction
But the ink’s invisible to me
The pictures don’t match the words
Because they aren’t there
But when I watch others take my hands
and paint what I can’t see
It all feels right and natural
It all makes sense to me

A matching hand I cannot hold
A block of cheese before its mold
But even I do not know why
The answer is unknown to me
A rock on the cliff I cannot reach
A phantom I can’t see

I am
But perhaps I should explain
I trust those I care for
those I love
And I feel obligated to
They’ve given oh so much to me
It’s the least I can do
But once they put the mirror up
And look into my eyes
I am the only one who cries
I am the only one who sees
I can’t let myself stay this way
Too many things I want to change
But it all feels so strange
I can’t take this hand
I can’t take this chance
So many ways to alter my stance
But I feel locked into this trance
In which I glance
into the abyss
And the abyss glances back
I have to look away
I can’t look at this
I can’t look like this
I can’t act like this
I can’t be

A block of cheese before its mold
But even I do not know why
The answer is unknown to me
A rock on the cliff I cannot reach
A phantom I can’t see

I am
I don’t see what people see in me
I’m not special
or talented
or smart
or cool
or trendy
or fashionable
I’m not that finely aged jazz you see on the top shelf
That’s the good stuff
That’s what people think is best
Nobody touches it because they don’t want it to go away
They want it to stay
But I’m left deformed and in pieces
Not because people keep eating me
If that were it, there’d be more me to go around
But, really
I don’t want me
I just give myself away
Piece by piece
Bit by bit
Until nothing’s left
That’s what I think is best

But even I do not know why
The answer is unknown to me
A rock on the cliff I cannot reach
A phantom I can’t see

I am
I am…
I am who I am?
There’s too much I hate
So much to change
Not enough to evaluate
Nothing to see
Not even my glasses give me the sight I need
My eyes just aren’t able to focus
But everyone else has great eyes
Eyes I can use to see me
If I let them like me
change me
evaluate me
see me
Then I can understand
They can tell me

With all of this in mind, I’m sure
That you can see
That you can tell me
What I need to hear
Make it nice and clear
I’ve waited more than long enough
for this point in time
This fortune of mine
Look into my eyes and show me the truth
Tell me what you see in me
Be my special little sleuth
The only one who can deduce
This mystery of my history
is YOU



Written in response to my poem, “Who Are You?”



Yin Then Yang Then Back Again

Life concaved inside

Convexing beauty

Harmonious in as out




Bigenderive mindfulness




Graced Ecoyeast regenerating




Diametric binomial meta-versed


Peaceful stasis

Faithful diastolic succulence

Positive purposed Original Intent


Gratitude for Other

Hope for  EcoOther balancing identity

Faith in Other as confluent NotEcoSelf,

sparks Love for Self as EarthTribing.


Original graced incarnating within

Robust compassioned love without

Mindful polycultured compost

of PermaCulturing Design.


ReGenerating = copredicating prehensile predicament

Globally Coincident Comprehensiving