The amaltas* grove is wintering Bare branches raised in quiet prayer The trees in meditation Their copse a little haven From the chill that’s spreading everywhere They sit together in the grove Yet solitude wraps each one In arms soothing, slumbersome And there resting they will remain Until the earth wakens them again
The fallen leaves have long since ceased To sit lightly on the ground They have sunk into their beds Laid down their tawny-russet heads Hidden away, they will not be found The trees remain skeletal, upright Waiting for spring to arrive But until then they will not sing Stirring songs of vital things For now the grove is wintering
Something deep inside of me Keens for this state of rest To step out of life’s lusty choir For a while to quietly retire From her spring-loaded behest I want to hide, to lie low Take each hour nice and slow Hibernate in my little den Until I can smile at life again Like the grove I will be wintering.
* Amaltas: the Indian Laburnum/ Golden Shower tree
If I could live another life with you I’d talk of a few more things More palpably, more honestly with you Of things that gnawed At my mind; at the way my gut wrenched Balling up inside, or even when The pit of my belly dissolved In a fluttering crush of butterflies I’d speak of love light-footed and pure The kind that knocks you to the floor And the next instant pins shimmering wings On your tingling spine so you can fly High high, breath-catchingly high!
I’d talk of heartbreaks too That shred the organs into little bits Where the pain ripples in screaming peals Your thoughts marking time with the cacophony Where you stumble on your own feet Where you want to just lie down and feel Nothing for a while I’d share secrets that I have held deep inside Now frozen, frigid, petrified Mute scars of speechless agonies Never named, never identified
I’d also tell you that I loved My quiet, my solitude When it was just me in my room Or just you and me Sipping tea In the lounge, watching tv And then I’d tell you about the things That would make my tone-deaf heart sing A constant humming underneath Beneath the sheath of my skin Of peace that was soothing, softening Of flame-bright hope and quiet joy
I’d talk to you Of beginnings and of endings too Some tragic some tender Of sometimes going under But always re-surfacing, I would Talk of spirituality, the ethereal kind That makes the hair stand on end The kind that quickens your breath That makes life and even death A fleeting, splendorous enterprise A mystical trip with no finish line
And when your time here or mine Was drawing to a close Together we would Strum those notes One last time Of all the things that we’d talked about And all the times that we had spent And then I’d have held your hand in mine We would have laughed and cried And laughed again Because nothing would have been left Unsaid at the end.
There’s a face in the shadows Downcast, serene A quiet glow drapes The rest of her As she sits cross-legged On the floor She holds the cosmos in her prayerful hands I want to see the face so full of quiet grace I want to understand Where the woman gets Her stillness from I tilt my head to see More clearly And then two shimmering orbs Rise from under their lidded veils I hold my breath I’m no longer Watching from the outside in I float I glide out of the place I’m light as a feather I rise up there’s no tether To time and space To anything I have ever known I float on And I drop The sharp edged angst that I had held In my chest and in my head And it falls Away from me I stretch out my arms As I rise and rise Into the infinity Of those glimmering eyes Through twin portals To my paradise.
I sit with my tea The silence sits with me Deafeningly Piercing my eardrums With its wordless cacophony
It has made its forever home In the lounge where I now sit alone It’s been there a while Years of rooting itself in place The air, the space Is soundless, still Like the world in night’s numbing vigil I look around for something Anything to cut through the dead air Its atoms conspiring With the silence that sits everywhere
And then I see it, a little plume Floating, dancing in the room From my mug As the tea steams up Severing the bond of silence and air The desolate, deflated, joyless pair Their essence once filled With people now gone The moist vapor wafts in Reaching into spaces Where images, reminiscences Lie inert, forsaken Loosening, thawing, warming them
I take a sip of my tea I feel my spine tingle Familiarly As I’m wrapped in the arms Of rekindled memories.
The thing with moments Is that they never stay Ethereal, chimerical They alight and fly away They come upon us On gossamer whispery wings Or rush with such force That you’re left reeling The breath knocked out of you And then they’re gone Or they cloak you silently So imperceptibly Like the lengthening shadows Of eventide That you realize That they were there Only after they have quietly Etherised into yesterday’s dawn
The thing with moments Is that they never last Always on nimble feet They are fleeting pin pricks On your skin A quick rush of warmth within The lungs for a moment collapsing A vanishing scene The stuff of dreams Always receding But not before leaving Their forever tattoos In reds, yellows and blues A kiss, a hug, a bruise Eternal imprints on the heart Emotional ink Permanent, piercing Sunk deeply in By the wraiths and ghosts Of moments past.
My thoughts sometimes Become like rebellious kids They dart about my head Swarm into my hippocampus Making me sweat I race after them Calling to them But they don’t heed me They’re chimerical beings Elves and pixies and aliens Coins and marbles and peeling paint A stubbed toe, a tired saint A fierce cupid on a fountain Rose bushes that run riot And then I just lose sight Of them at all I hear the silence Numbing, thrumming, sometimes strumming Through my brain
Then I see them again They’re out on the streets They’ve run free, leaving me behind They’ve escaped the prison of my mind I watch them from afar Tumbling around Laughing, skipping, rumbling around Moaning, groaning, fumbling around Far away from me I’m featherlight now I float above them Like I’m dead The leaden weight of life Has dropped I watch it tumble with my thoughts Rumble, tumble, sometimes stumble In its frantic vitality
I’m timeless, sadless, gladless now E m p t y I float away In a silent conspiracy Of air and nothingness.
There’s someone you see who can use your help Above and beyond the 2.5 percent That has been made obligatory on you By forces of faith, of habit now too Don’t think twice because you have done Your duty as prescribed by the One Go ahead, give some extra, don’t hesitate Don’t hesitate. Heaven can wait
You’re going on your blessed Hajj number two You’ve been good, devout and true But the farmer working in your fields He needs a liver transplant critically He looks to you for a helping hand Should you divert funds from your pilgrimage plans? You’re caught up in a quandary of faith Don’t hesitate. Heaven can wait
The colony that you pass everyday The one with the shanties, a riot of grey It’s residents are different, they don’t share your beliefs But you’ve spoken to some, you’re aware of their dreams Should you give of your blessed prestige To those who believe in a separate deity? God’s benevolence does not discriminate Don’t hesitate. Heaven can wait
When you feel pulled in directions unique That speak to your heart abundantly But seem to lie in realms that are On the twilit edges of well trodden paths Still your cacophonous heart, and listen To the flow of lifeblood in your veins Let it take you up the streams it creates Don’t hesitate. That’s where heaven waits.