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The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.





The Dance

I have sent you my invitation,
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don’t jump up and shout, “Yes, this is what I want! Let’s do it!”
Just stand up quietly and dance with me.

Show me how you follow your deepest desires,
spiraling down into the ache within the ache,
and I will show you how I reach inward and open outward
to feel the kiss of the Mystery, sweet lips on my own, every day.

Don’t tell me you want to hold the whole world in your heart.
Show me how you turn away from making another wrong without abandoning yourself when you are hurt and afraid of being unloved.

Tell me a story of who you are,
and see who I am in the stories I live.
And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice.

Don’t tell me how wonderful things will be . . . some day.
Show me you can risk being completely at peace,
truly okay with the way things are right now in this moment,
and again in the next and the next and the next. . .

I have heard enough warrior stories of heroic daring.
Tell me how you crumble when you hit the wall,
the place you cannot go beyond by the strength of your own will.
What carries you to the other side of that wall, to the fragile beauty of your own humanness?

And after we have shown each other how we have set and kept the clear, healthy boundaries that help us live side by side with each other, let us risk remembering that we never stop silently loving
those we once loved out loud.

Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance,
the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart.
And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again.

Show me how you take care of business
without letting business determine who you are.
When the children are fed but still the voices within and around us shout that soul’s desires have too high a price,
let us remind each other that it is never about the money.

Show me how you offer to your people and the world
the stories and the songs
you want our children’s children to remember.
And I will show you how I struggle not to change the world,
but to love it.

Sit beside me in long moments of shared solitude,
knowing both our absolute aloneness and our undeniable belonging.
Dance with me in the silence and in the sound of small daily words,
holding neither against me at the end of the day.

And when the sound of all the declarations of our sincerest
intentions has died away on the wind,
dance with me in the infinite pause before the next great inhale
of the breath that is breathing us all into being,
not filling the emptiness from the outside or from within.

Don’t say, “Yes!”
Just take my hand and dance with me.








The Call

I have heard it all my life,
A voice calling a name I recognized as my own.
Sometimes it comes as a soft-bellied whisper.
Sometimes it holds an edge of urgency.
But always it says: Wake up my love. You are walking asleep.
There's no safety in that!
Remember what you are and let this knowing
take you home to the Beloved with every breath.
Hold tenderly who you are and let a deeper knowing
colour the shape of your humanness.
There is no where to go. What you are looking for is right here.
Open the fist clenched in wanting and see what you already hold in your hand.
There is no waiting for something to happen,
no point in the future to get to.
All you have ever longed for is here in this moment, right now.
You are wearing yourself out with all this searching.
Come home and rest.
How much longer can you live like this?
Your hungry spirit is gaunt, your heart stumbles. All this trying.
Give it up!
Let yourself be one of the God-mad,
faithful only to the Beauty you are.
Let the Lover pull you to your feet and hold you close,
dancing even when fear urges you to sit this one out.
Remember- there is one word you are here to say with your whole being.
When it finds you, give your life to it. Don't be tight-lipped and stingy.
Spend yourself completely on the saying.
Be one word in this great love poem we are writing together.







Fierce Longing

There are moments
when making love
when a door
to something else
opens.
I am never prepared.
There is no preparation
for the way it takes me
and leaves me.
Sometimes it is brought
by a movement of tenderness:
soft lips that brush my forehead
and murmur my name
as the fire burns through
me making
my hips rise
and my blood moan.
Sometimes it is brought
by a moment of great courage:
eyes that dare to meet
and hold mine as the flood
of silky amber honey
takes us both over the edge.
And sometimes
it is brought
by the sting of what is not
and the memory of
tenderness and courage
that has been.
And when that moment
catches me
and tosses me
I am helpless.
The words spill
unbidden
into the night:
"I want ... I want ... I want..."
Unfinished
they leave me
dangling
suspended over the chasm
of my own bottomless
desire.
Reaching
aching
grasping
for that fleeting something
I glimpsed
or imagined
just beyond.
Gone before
I could name it.
The breath catches
a strangled sob
tears me
opens me
and I fall back
eyes wide and
dazed
on damp pillows
my face
wet with tears.
And his eyes
stare
bewildered
frightened by the fierceness
of my longing.









Perpetual Present

I try to memorize him
with the soft pads of my fingertips.
Closing my eyes
and slowly tracing
the cheekbone's rise and gleam
the moist, fragile skin around the eye
the jawbone
square, angled, tight
roughened by the days relentless growth.
I will my heart into my fingertips
and move them through the soft curling
hair on the broad chest
rising and falling
rising and falling over the heart.
My hand moves down the hard belly
And I find
I cannot remember,
in every detail,
the line of his face
I touched only a moment ago.
It has already begun to fade.
And I had wanted to hold it forever.
He strokes my arm
runs his broad fingers
down the naked curve of my back
over the smoothness of my thigh
draped across him.
Is he trying to memorize me also?
We cannot hang on to this moment
Even knowing it is the last moment.
Life pulls us
like a great tidal wave
sweeping us forward
dragging us into the perpetual present.
Our memories of this moment
will change and be shaped
by new desires and disappointments.
And I will forget I knew even this.







Oatmeal

It's hard not to think of you
as I stand at the stove stirring oatmeal
looking out over the lake.
The morning sun touches the water
rippled by the warm breeze.
My sons' voices drift to me,
earnest conversation as they do last night's
supper dishes at the picnic table
under the cedars.
Finally learned how to make your own oatmeal,
after countless mornings of waiting
for me to do it.
And I did.
Hard to understand why a man
who can make a multi-million dollar deal
can't read those four lines of instructions
on the oatmeal bag.
Sometimes
when the breeze blows hot
and I float
dozing on the air mattress
drifting across the bay
I catch the sound of your laughter
booming out across the water
mixed with the shouts and battle cries of the boys,
all of you in a deadly water fight.
And I raise my head to catch the sound...
and it's gone
like a ghost shimmering in the heat waves off the sand.
And the tightness in the centre of my body
aches like I have been kicked
and lost my breath
and may never get it back.
But there is nothing to be done
so I move my head
over the edge of the mattress
to float in the crystal, cold water.
My hair
a bronze mass of tendrils
drifts around me
and I let the hot tears
stream from the corners of my eyes
into the lake's icy depths
without a sound.
I want to make oatmeal one morning
and not ache in the centre of my body.









The Moment Before

I want to touch
the sharp taste
of the moment in between
the second just before
the place where
the breath catches
in anticipation.
It's the scent of heat held in the air
between two mouths
reaching for each other, hungry.
The shine of moisture on slightly parted lips
just before
it melts into
the wetness of the other.
It is the skin that tingles
waiting
fine hairs at attention
reaching
aching.
It is the places that have not yet been touched
but know they will be.
It is the smooth, quivering paleness
of the inner thigh
as the outer is stroked and kneaded.
The muscles of the abdomen tightening
the back arching slightly
begging
come here
quickly
slowly.
There, in that moment
do not take your eyes from mine.
I am here
awake
1 am
reaching
to be
met.
Do not touch me and keep your soul
out of your fingertips.
Die into me
or do not come into me at all.
Ever after is in this moment
happily or not.
Sacrifice the daydream.
Dare to hold the desire
for a great love.
Be with me.







Sacrifice

I want to write about sacrifice.
About the Death willingly received for Love.
About the one hung on the tree.
Long ago, in a time before ours
when the dream fragmented
and the worlds of the people and spirit
careened out of balance
the people knew
something precious had to be offered
to restore the dance.
So one who was gifted
a leader
one filled with beauty
would offer to hang
and die
on the summertree.
It had to be done willingly
an act of love
remaining conscious
as the sun and the moon made their journeys
three times.
Bearing the aloneness
and the pain
of limbs stretched out of their sockets
of muscles torn
of hunger and thirst
never surrendering to the beckoning darkness.
And sometimes,
but not often,
The Lord of the Forest
or the Red Goddess of the Moon
would spare the one on the tree.
But it was not expected.
This is the time of my summertree.
I am hung.
I choose this willingly
for love of my own soul
for love of life.
But ...
it is hard.
My heart feels stretched
between settling for
and hoping for.
I cannot end the tension by choosing
the ruthless cutting away,
the fast clean death of the sword.
Nor can I sink languidly beneath the waters
like Ophelia.
I am still awake
and the pain scars through me.
I breathe
and wait.
I will not pray for release
only for courage
and compassion








Night Tears

There is a crying
that happens at night
that does not come
while the light is with us.
There are things that cannot
be evaded
once the sun goes down.
Small nocturnal creatures
with sharp white teeth
silently gnaw at the edges of
belly and heart
when the darkness descends
and the void inside
grows larger.
It can split you open.
And the bone
in the centre of your chest
aches
like the cracked wishing bone
from the turkey breast.
And if we are strong enough
to be weak enough
we are given a wound
that never heals.
It is the gift
that keeps the heart open.



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