freedom

~a short meditation on flight, three~

When you see birds flying in the sky, does your heart not also soar? 

love is

love is deeper
than the deepest ocean
which, in the end
has a bottom
a finite place of rest

and love is brighter even
than the brightest and most brilliant star
which, although still visible
billions and billions of light years away
will twinkle out 
some day

love is more beautiful
than even the most beautiful red rose
which, held too tightly
pierces the heart
thorns sharp and steep 
searing

love    is    love
which, has no end
no void
and no restraint
love is 
infinite
boundless
and like birds flying into the wild blue sky
free
 

we are all angels

~a short meditation on flight, two~

Who does not dream about flying? 
Although our actual physical bodies are essentially tethered to this earth, it seems that flight is somehow intrinsic to our souls. Somehow, I really do know what it is to fly, in this human body… I can feel it in my bones, and on the surface of my skin caressed by wind—my entire being buoyed by its light power. Soaring. 

Do you? Too, like me, know flight?
Does your heart lift, with the first rays of sunrise—taking you out beyond the horizons? When the birds circle overhead, can you meet them up there in the blue sky—seeing eye to eye, and the dancing tree tops below? As the soft pads of your bare feet sink into earth, gently with each step on the path, are you not also drawn upwards and a little closer to those not so distant cloud bottoms? And at night when the stars twinkle so invitingly, do you dance there too among all the glitter? Gloriously?

Maybe we are all angels, after all? 
We’re just walking this earth awhile—for the grand adventure of it all… for dreaming dreams, for the thrill and for the mania, for sleeping and awakening, for creating something beautiful or fantastic and then reveling in it too… But above all, maybe we are here for love—simply, to love and to be loved. Love.

the sky beneath your feet

~a short meditation on flight~

the sky beneath your feet

gravity moves in two directions, and
falling into earth has its own 
fleeting 
transcendence
the sky is not always overhead, but
when we do
fly up and skywards
we push down first, and then
suspend

in a heartbeat
we are birds, soaring everywhere there is space
and into the strong arms of wind we go
twirling swirling tumbling
landing
just when, the ground rises

it is a love affair with light
it is surrender and a prayer
and dreams surfacing into day
it is the sky beneath your feet

Source

Who can tell me, what is the source of love? 
Not the whos nor whats which we love, not our dreams nor passions. But like rain from the clouds, rivers from the high mountains, song from morning birds, from where does love come?

Like this body made up of trillions of cells, and cells made up of biomolecules, and biomolecules made up of… ah, um, let’s just skip right to the part where matter essentially breaks down into nothingness… where this body is nothing but empty space. 
And what of love? What are its elemental parts and particles? Like the body falling into a microverse of emptiness, into what space does love fall, eventually? Like trying to locate physical origins of consciousness itself, trying to locate the same for love may very well be futile—an endeavor best left to the poets among us. 
(It is apparent, yes, that science is not my forte!) But surely, there are no grand laws of physics, quantum physics, or other physics for that matter, which can tell us how love arises into our hearts and minds, and bursts so brightly, into our souls. 

So let the poet in me humbly suggest a theory. 
Love, like light, comes from the sun. Yes, that’s right. All those millions and gazillions of stars out there? They are actually love-generating furnaces! 
It makes sense does it not? Physical matter breaks down into emptiness, so we are actually bodies of empty space being filled with light. Or is light only a result of a collision of particles and waves between the sun and our vastly empty bodies? I think that light too, like love, cannot truly be contained in the mind. 
These uncontainables, and these apparent immaterials… are like wind which can only be seen in the swirl of desert sand. Or water, in the long and slow curves of canyon walls. Sound, in the reverberation of strings. 
And love, seen in the light of a smile or felt in a remembered birthday, arises in the betweenness of things. In relationship. A mother and child. A butterfly and an irresistible flower. Shimmering rainbows of water and light in the sky. A spider and her web. Love is light. Like how we come to see the sun—in the collision of particles and waves. A reverberation felt in the deep space of the heart. 

In the photo above, do you not see the heart shining out from the sun? I offer you this, my empirical evidence that the source of love is indeed, the sun.
So the next time you gaze up into the starry night sky, perhaps you will feel the overwhelming presence of love shining everywhere there… And your heart, your one precious heart, flooded with light.

wild flower

today i found my heart
in the spirit of a wild flower 
wrapped around
this love
this singular and this sweet love 
delicately
and yet, and yet, and yet
and yet ever so 
inextricably 
 

What love courses through every fiber, cell, and mitochondria of your body?
What is the one precious love you hold on to?

sunrise in the land of the forgotten

On my path two white feathers nestled together like lovers—one bloodstained and the other not—give me pause. What unseen shadow is trying to come into light? Searching and searching and searching for something, weights seem to pull me down beneath busy surface waves, but my flashlight finds nothing to shine on. Like the great wall of China running beyond horizons east and west, the veil is endless and the sun refuses to rise, in this land of the forgotten. 

Like the dark side of the moon, mystery is for earthbound dwellers only. How might i drift to the other side? Might it be a perilous voyage, or pleasant? But shadows only exist in the light, disappearing as they do, into the darkness. How to find them there? Futile, is it not? Chasing shadows in the dark!

It seems i must, rather, coax them into the light. Not into the full glare of noontime, but into the gentle and warm glow at dusk—the between times in which worlds come together. Holding hands, light and dark dance together and shadows are set free to spin and to twirl without worry, without blame. 

Here, on this light red ribbon between earth and sky, the forgotten might surface softly into the welcoming arms of the soul. Into a love-lit world and shed its amnesia quietly into the sea.

But dreams crashed by despair, innocents violated, curses cast by exes, love gone astray and betrayed, bodies beaten and bloodied… these shadows are not light. Their exile into the land of the forgotten might often be the one thousand armed goddess of mercy shedding tears. Without release, without respite, they are like ominous clouds haunting the horizons, bound to erupt into fire storms and broken river banks.

ash

repressed memories 
explode
like stale fireworks past their expiration date
up into a void and blanked out space
the embers fall, slowly
drifting down
through this bitter smoke-filled sky
and choking, i shed my body
like skin in the aftermath of exposure
to flames
let the ash float
twinkle out and extinguish
in an ocean of darkness
and finally, i shall rest in peace
on a soft seabed of amnesia

The seabed is not so soft after all. Rocky, dark, cold, unforgiving, and lonely. Grave diggers will find no jewels here, no chest full of treasures. Where is my heart? It seems to have scattered somewhere—singed and scorched—in the smoke filled skies. 

Where is the way out? Where is that red lifeline, umbilical cord like, to the round curvature of mother earth? Can i surface from these depths and cry loudly into the pink light of dawn, my love and my light—memories intact? My heart, intact? And my soul, free?

Somewhere in the darkness i hear a heartbeat and a whisper: 
Look, look my love, over here.
The sun, all crimson for you,
ties this light red ribbon tenderly 
around your heart. 
Hold my hand and we’ll fly, 
spinning and twirling together now
up into the sun
dancing 
into a beautiful 
beautiful new 
day.

in touch with the world

When a poet brainstorms, writing somewhat stream of consciousness for an essay, it turns into an essay-poem or a poem-essay! What genre is this?! It is, a meditation on touch. 

in touch with the world 

touch, is the fundamental sense
the connective tissue between inner and outer worlds
bringing the faraway full moon into spectacular view
and the sweet sound of a loved one singing
straight into the heart
waves and particles crashing and colliding
connecting
childhood memories to the smell
of chocolate chip cookies baking, and 
fourth of July sparklers burning, bright

like the sea to coral reefs, or 
the sky to rainbows 
touch is the universe materialized 
made sensate and knowable, tangible 
to the heart and mind alike
to fingers, toes, and taste buds

the abyss
is touch deprivation
soundless, sightless, without taste or smell
senseless
love itself
an unknowable abstract intangible
void

in touch with the world
we are caressed by the flight of butterfly wings
the dance of sunlight
the soft fragrance of roses
the song of the ocean 
the sugar of honey

in touch with the world
our hearts are moved 
by kind words and thoughtful gestures
by the bravery and boldness
to connect
to other hearts

in touch with the world
with your hand on my heart
mine on yours
together 
we are healed

in touch with the world
together 
with one another
we discover our selves
beautiful
holy
 

dancing for the dead

Dancing for the dead is not macabre.
Dancing for the dead, we celebrate continuity, community, and life itself. 

In Japan, Obon is a traditional celebration in which the ancestors are remembered and honored. Family altars are cleaned and special offerings are placed in front of photos of the departed. Those living in far away cities return to their hometowns and to their families. Indeed, it is said that our ancestors too, return to our homes during Obon. For the living, there are gatherings at local festivals with music, folk dances, and stalls selling food and games. Bon-odori, folk dances performed during Obon, are usually done in a circle and the movements are simple and repetitive so that everyone can enjoy dancing together. In the commemoration of “the dead”, we join together as a community and culture—vibrant and sustained.

The stars do not cease to exist during the day simply because we cannot see them. Likewise, the souls of those who have come before us do not suddenly cease to exist at the end of their days. Rather, death is like night—a passage of time between skies full of light. And like the stars, our ancestors dance among us.

do not be afraid

do not be afraid
in the quiet blanket of nighttime 
do not be afraid
dreams come alive and 
love shines in candlelit cascades of whispers 
and caresses
it is darkness which makes the stars visible
guiding us home 
unveiled and holy
do not be afraid
to cross deserts windswept wildflower fields seas and 
mountain rains
the open blue of day welcomes you
warm outstretched and
just around golden pink corners

(photo taken six years ago at an Obon festival)

may peace prevail

After atrocity, the only thing that makes any sense is peace. Survivors of the August 6, 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima have spent their lives dedicated to the abolishment of nuclear weapons, to educating succeeding generations about the horrors of war, to peace movements around the world. We do not hear of survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945) advocating a retaliation against the U.S. “Never Again” is the widespread mantra among survivors of atrocities worldwide: the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, the Nanjing massacre, to name a few. 

Likewise, on a more individual level, the expression, “I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy” is used by those who have endured some form of extreme pain or hardship. It could be surviving an excruciating illness or a traumatic act of violence. Having experienced something so painful, the natural human response is compassion. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. We don’t go about scheming how to inflict similar suffering upon others simply because we’ve suffered ourselves. On the contrary, we seek to prevent similar experiences of suffering. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, March For Our Lives, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, to name a few. 

The only thing that makes any sense, is peace. 

Many women, and #MeToo, have survived some form of domestic violence. Over my dead body, would I wish anyone the same experience—including the very man who committed the violence, including any perpetrator of violence, including, everyone. It never occurred to me to try to make the one who assaulted me suffer in some way. To respect my boundaries, my choices, my freedom—yes, to be held accountable—yes; but to inflict harm upon him—never. It simply is not worth it. What we do to others, we do to ourselves. 

The only thing that makes sense is peace. 

So what propels some of us to commit acts of violence? The answer ultimately is fear—its irrationality and ignorance. No wise sage ever, said, “Let’s bomb the @#¥%&! out of those weird people!” 

For comfort, fear seeks control; for control, fear hordes power. The power and brilliance of the sun, hijacked and desecrated, by the hands of men gone mad. In a single blinding flash at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, a fifteen meter per second firestorm in the thousands of degrees celsius ripped through Hiroshima incinerating some one hundred and forty thousand lives. Three days later on August 9, at 11:02 a.m., repeat.
Why? Why, why… why… how…..   

After atrocity, the only thing that makes any sense is peace.

Americans were scared of the “Japs”, and the Japanese were scared of the “foriegn devils”. In wartime, humans cease to be humane, seeing in one another only danger, forces of evil, and one’s own demise. Fear raises its monstrous head and slaughters everyone—indiscriminately. Everyone, every single one of us. 

My American grandfather, in WWII frenzy, derided those Japs, his future family and his own descendants—his cute granddaughters who giggled in delight when sitting in his chair anticipating being lifted out by their doting grandfather who never tired of playing the same game.

Children, in their innocence, are wiser.

ONE

Look into my eyes,
and you will see a shadow of Hiroshima.
You will see a dark room, illuminated by its single stream of
WHITE light
flowing from the humming projector as it reels GREY, WHITE, BLACK 
images onto a screen.
You will see ten silent rows of seated people,
formless figures in the darkness.
And you will hear the rusty recording,
as it comments on BLACK, WHITE, GREY
images thrown onto the cold square screen:

Atomic bomb “Little Boy” explodes at 8:15 a.m. August 6, 1945… Epicenter reaches several million degrees centigrade… ground temperature reaches 3,000 – 4,000 degrees centigrade… thirteen square kilometers completely destroyed… three hour firestorm with velocity of 15 meters per second… over one hundred and forty thousand deaths caused by “Little Boy”… 
(etcetera, etcetera, etcetera) 

b u t
the ears of a small girl have forgotten sound
listening only to naked terror run over the screen
h e l l 
Her eyes stare wide open in innocence tainted with blood, 
as the screen throws daggers into her eyes. 
Daggers of broken, burnt and twisted bodies lay strewn across an old wooden floor.

LOOK! 

s i l e n c e

Pale white light reflects from the screen
softly illuminates her tired eyes, her confusion, her small clenched fists. 
She tries with one fist, to grasp that “Little Boy” that Daddy’s country dropped, and she tries with the other fist, to grasp that firestorm that burned in Mommy’s country.
But a life of six short years knew only how to reach 
One hand to hold her mother’s
One hand to hold her father’s.

After atrocity, the only thing that makes any sense is peace.
The only thing that ever makes any sense, is peace.

Reclaim your innocence, like my grandfather did. 
Chose love. 
Be peace. 
Peace, is a verb.
Peace.

May peace prevail on earth.
May peace prevail.

hope

purified, clear light
everywhere in darkness shines
music for the deaf
vision for eyes wanting sight
and for my heart, the road home
(waka poem: 5-7-5-7-7)

What is hope, other than a beacon of clear light in the darkness? Wind behind sails crossing unknown seas. The moon in a sky of desolation. And, a heartbeat in the chamber of silence and stillness.

When we struggle, when we fall and despair, are utterly broken and feel lost, hope is the very thing that sees us through. 

How does hope come to you—in your darkness? What is your moon, and from where do the winds blow? What sound causes your heart to beat?

Even if we cannot see it, hope is that eternally rising sun on the eastern horizon—bringing with it, daylight into the night. Whether we like it or not, are ready or not, whether we open our eyes—or not… hope rises, again and again. For sometimes there is a certain comfort in the blanket of darkness, in being unseen and seeing not. We would rather evade, than wake up to our own hearts’ desires and truth. 

But hope, in its benevolence and persistence, will inevitably pierce that shell of illusive security and cast all shadows into the light. So go ahead already—shine. It is your birthright, and your destiny.