“Write about God and this love,”
but of what do I write?
I softly protest.
What is the color
of Her absence?
what is the scent
of His breathlessness.
She is the weight of the path
pressed into the “soul” of my feet
taken by the hand,
led toward the heart
no sooner does She appear,
than I am left waiting,
wanting to depart
on the spiraling rise
of that which is beyond the horizon
of our earthbound reasoning.
I’ve burned my lips
speaking Your ninety-nine names,
just to recoil to the well of my heart to sip
Your cool waters, and soothe the searing pain;
In my quest to quench this thirst
I sweat tears into the soil
as I dig beneath the earth
yet ’tis tears which make the waters…
the waters for which I search.
This is my toil.
This is why You came.
This is what drives me,
this is what explains.
This is the desire to fall in love again.
Is it the heat or is it the fire?
To whom does this quest pertain,
do I seek Her shade in the heat of the moment,
or search His bellows to fan the consuming flame?
What leads me toward Your secrets?
Is it the eloquence of my questions
uttered in my sleep,
or the promise of Your answers
beyond my woken reach?
are tricks of dreams.
Awakened to God’s whisper,
this is what I hear.
In the morning shadows of tiny hours,
’tis Her gentle nudge
that pushes me
from the lofty tower
of the mind,
and I fall
to the depths of my soul
dissolved in the source of Her blessed call.
We cannot return to the precipice
after we’ve leapt from the edge of the cliff,
entrusting our fate to gravity,
We hurl toward the hollows
may we surrender all our fractured religions
along the way
to the Master of one Religiosity.
Let us be mad as we fall into this;
pray, go softly as we land
growing wings for flight
through the abyss.
Oh, the power of a metaphor
is the latitude in a voice
heard with a diversity of meaning
poetry is among the longitudes of choice.
In this crazy tavern,
the truth is painted by the tongue
and heard in the colors of our ears.
Poetry pours the wine that slakes
but we are drunk on confusion
not the fermented grape.
There’s a key in our heart
to the lock which protects it
we wait for a turn, a tumble
the rhythmic click.
Writing of God and love is the realization
that the truth of beauty
is the beauty of truth,
only unlocked by those
captured within their own heart’s creation.
Live poetry. Beauty is what is carelessly spilled over the top of a drunkards wine cup. Not in gluttony or want, but rather appreciation. A sated appreciation of those who can appreciate thirst. Beauty is the mess we leave in our excitement, it is the distraction to a colorless canvas.
In the time of our ripening the Divine Designer saw a pail blue sky before any knew blue, and the invisible wind that tears the eye… He saw the snow before it fell, your art before its conception – Al-Bari, Al Musawwir, Al-Khaliq.
He has made our mouths into windows, our fears into walls. He has turned our gaze into doilies, our love paisley and has lain stepping stones of amethyst polished thin by the soles of our own shuffling feet. With a mere kiss, we create windows to see, with an all seeing kiss, we are shown blinding light. And so, each work of art is a shielding of the eyes, a warm breeze through a cool shadow, a black pepper edged silhouette on a multi-hued horizon of apple, tangerine, pomegranate, saffron, and turmeric.
His design work does not begin before nor after the brush is dragged; He is the steadiness throughout the stroke; can your hands, dear artist, feel the warm cupping of His? You are the mundane canvas painted on the Divine canvas – you are the receiver of your own compassion – there are two layers to every painting, yours in as many colors as you are prepared to discover, His in all colors that have ever existed or shall. Your frame is a frame within His.
Yes, this is live poetry; this is the irretrievable release of a sweet perfume. Our hearts are non-forsaking canvases – they resist none of what we offer, they do not turn-away mistakes. The carpenter is remembrance, the architecture is prayer of forgiveness; not for what is done, but how it’s done.
So many layers, so many strokes of the brush, not one made with malice or envy or lust. You have mixed clay and water and painted walls, then windows, and then stepped through and for every side of a window and wall, there is another apart from you. The “unpainter friend,” the one who uses opaque acrylics to unpaint empty walls into murals and then into these, windows. You have made hearts into portals through which all to see from either side of, or beneath the threshold. You have unpainted away hopelessness.
Through the phosphorous window of a writer I go in, and through the door of the painter I come out… each click, a heaping spoon eased through wanting lips. A thirsting brush, a parched canvas. We nourish ourselves not on desire, but on what desire brings… this is how we know… we do not miss what we cannot have, we miss what we are given.
Wave the hand of consciousness
to reveal what lies beneath the mist of thinking.
That realm of obscurity,
where faith is a wick;
knowledge, its wax; and the Beloved,
the igniting breath.
We read the words and seek their meaning,
like waist deep anglers on silent morning ponds,
hawks orbit high above the prairie floor.
They see the meaning beneath the water’s surface,
slender secrets hiding in grass blades.
Those who see, see.
Awaiting this. With each trudging thought,
the moment was released gently to the wind
and softly on the farthest forming wave.
And every dawn thereafter he patiently waits
for the return, never knowing
which of the endless waves might deliver.
And each day at dusk
she waits serenely for arrival
in the rustling of the forest canopy
not knowing that somewhere
in the verdant everywhere,
could be this one
Of all the eyes I’ve gazed into,
each pair was a lens that converged
the same single light from so far within them;
In my squinting quest,
they must have thought me mad.
But is was only in Your eyes
that I beheld the reflection of my own depth.
This was how I knew.
I imagined You
in her breath,
in his hand clasped on my shoulder.
What You saw as my loving eyes upon another,
was only a request
to show me Your face,
show me Your face again.
In the silent strike of her haunting hours
she slowly stirs, wakes, and sways
from a drunken fog
to awoken dreaming
He beckons across a midnight lake
“Come beloved, wash the confusion
from your heart…”
I wrestle in the skin of intimate thoughts
as if to fulfill something so carnal and desirous,
’tis just the journey toward a long sohbet.
I do not like this absence,
if even a brief breath
in the suffocating density.
But what do I deserve in partings stead?
Of what presence am I worthy?
I’ve turned to some unseen and unheard relief
in the direction of the Divine and
the Divine turns me right back to me.
Part II – The Talk
Ah, to talk
and forget our feet
and the path we walk
and the sound of earth
crunching below the soles of our shoes.
To strip the mind of formulations
and gears and clinks
of cogs and to just eschew
all but this deep listening
in floating sounds that resemble words
and sentences that, like music, slip
through the lingering pauses of quiet lips.
To recite with wild gestures and
where birds listen, then
in chorus join.
To release, to understand
and so doing,
realize our existence.
Part III – The Walk
To amble and never stop
for long enough
to know where we are
to get lost and leave little time
to return home before darkness.
And that feeling we find
of “My God what have we done,”
and to feel fear for wandering too far
only to realize then
the comfort of having this friend
by our side; one whose hand
never lets go,
who pulls when we hesitate and
grips tighter when in doubt.
This on a fall day with you.
We walk and talk, I am
with you, even when without.