Attention, oh attention

Oh, you shine

Onto trees and rivers
Birds and bears

Mind, oh mind 
Don't you believe
The dancing men
Up there on the stage
For some are charlatans
But some speak truth

Question mark
Oh, question mark
You are the one 
Who moves the spotlight
To and fro
Wince to wither
Earth to moon

I was brought up
Thinking that
"How do we get to the moon?"
Was a perfectly good question

Until I heard a man from Harlem say: 

"What's up there on the Moon? Nothing
Going there is groovy 
For certain people
But not the black man in America"

"How can we make life on earth better?"
Seems like a better question,

Attention, oh attention
Oh, you shine

Will you light up
Our delusions
Or our truths?

Attention, oh attention
I move you
And you 
Move me

I pray to you,
I love you,
So much

Gratitude Operating System

Did I create colors?
Did I create water?
Did I create healing for my cut?
Did I create the glass cup
On my coffee table?
Did I create the couch I sit on?
Did I create this room?
Did I create the hum of cars 
Outside my window?
Did I create the ability to hear them?

The small self
Grasps but can’t create
Any of the basic things
He takes for granted
He’s a go-getter
A problem solver
Rolling always into the future
But he doesn’t stop
To appreciate what he has
Right now
With an open, grateful heart
Once the small self is silent 
For a minute
The gratitude operating system
Can turn on

Infection Reflection

A week, a week, it’s been a week
A week since I fell
Into the pit 
Where I couldn’t
Or dream
Or laugh 
But it wasn’t bad
I have to say

The comforts were astounding
Sheets and TV
Tea and sweets
As my poor throat took a pounding

It got to the point of fading out
And so I did the math
A doctor was worth it
The pills were great
And soon
I saw a ladder

Wobbly step
By wobbly step
I slowly climbed 
Out of the pit

And now,
After a week
The energy 
Is starting to flow back
Maybe I can go here 
Or there
Explore this
Or explore that

But what lesson should I take with me
From that pit
Where I had sat?

It takes work, I see now
To scream 
And cry
To get upset
Work I couldn’t do 
In the pit
It was just
Much too hot

The thing that was good 
About the pit
Was not having to worry much
About who’s right
About who’s wrong
About who’s to blame
About the world
All that stuff takes energy
Energy I did not have

In the pit 
There was no gym or cooking left
No self-sufficiency
I needed help
I needed care
The mental chatter died right down
The voices and the crowd
The neutrophils needed time to work
Infections can be loud

Trees don’t want your money

Manhattan is a place
Where the main thing to do
Is spend money
But at some point you realize
That you’ve got
Enough pants
You shop and you shop
And you shop and you shop
And you reach a point
When you look in your closet
And think to yourself:

“I’ve got enough pants” 
And shirts and gadgets too

And at that point
The advertising 
Starts to slide off of you 
Like oil on teflon
And you leave Manhattan 
For the forest

You hang out with the trees
The trees
That don’t want your money

feel the wind

there are times 
when the world 
seems to pull you
this way and that
when you swallow the struggle
and you pull on yourself

in these times
sit, sit, sit
with your hands on the keys
be be be

don't rearrange your furniture
don't clean your damn room
don't use this half hour

just sit here and enjoy
the folds of the day

the fog lifts from the morning
the wind comes in
the world is alive
with sounds

feel the folds 
in your face

yes, this is a note to self

A smoothie of fingers

"Trust in the universe" or
"Trust in your gut" or
A spiritual teaching is like
A finger pointing at the moon
Not the moon itself
Is it my job, then
To gather all the fingers
As many as possible
Into my basket
To come home, and make
A smoothie?
Gory, yes
But just imagine
It's strawberry!
It strikes me that this is
What I've been doing
More or less
The diligent student from high school
Is still around
Trying to get all the points
On the test
The moon
Is closer than you think
I say to myself today
To not forget it
For I went there yesterday
I didn't need anything to be different
I was my own
Perfect company
The most effective pointers
Are the simplest
You just need one
Or zero
It's the moon you're after
Not a smoothie of fingers

(I read this poem on this podcast)

A conversation with a parking lot

A kayak is a translator
Between a human and a river
That lets the two
Have a conversation
Skis let us
Converse with a mountain
And surfboards
With the waves
I never thought
I'd have
A conversation
With a parking lot
Never thought I'd become
A connoisseur
Of different flavors of pavement
Fresh asphalt is butter
So smooth
But a courser grain
Is fun too
The whirring, vibration
Stays in my feet
Even after I stop rolling
Who knew that parking lots can speak?
I know I'm not supposed to 
Think this way:
"The universe will provide for you
If you follow your heart" 
"Everything happens for a reason"
I know "The Secret" is out of style
In intellectual circles
But I can't help think
That my waking up at 5am this morning
And not being able to get back to sleep
Was the universe's way
Of helping me
Put some miles on this brand new skateboard
First in a parking lot
And then, gloriously
Down an empty main street
Morning, keep the streets empty, for me
I sing in my head
And board goes flying
Towards a friendly car
That stops
Mid road
"Automatic model" the driver exclaims
As he looks at the rolling board
I appreciate
The good vibes he sends me
The sun streams through the fog
Near Syracuse University
I roll back home
And the universe sends me 
Some hate mail:
A man with 2 huge dogs
Says that the skateboard sound on the pavement
Disturbs them
"Go ahead," he says
"After you," I say 
Out of politeness
He growls at me and crosses the street
Shaking his head
For some reason, pissed
Suddenly all the good vibes are sucked out of me
And the neurons that evolved to keep me socially safe
Kick in
I shrink and tighten 
After I settle myself
I can still think back to the sensation
Of rolling, rolling
The vibration in my feet
The parallax of buildings
Seeing the same street with new eyes
Thank you skateboard
I love you
You showed me, this morning
That life can bring excitement
That joy can be found
In the parts of life
I previously prejudged
Thank you, skateboard
For showing me 
How to have a conversation
With a parking lot