Friday, February 25, 2011


San Clemente, CA

God is surely closer
than these ancient Chinese characters.
It takes years to smooth the ash like peanut butter
to a still, untroubled surface.
It takes lifetimes to memorize
all the buddhas names.
One can see inside the smoke
a sitting figure in the ebony chair.
The lady of benevolence - Maitreya and Lady Mary to name a few
incarnations - will walk out of the picture
to help you learn to shape your treasures with your hands
but her image is so striking, you hardly need her to.
A voice outside of human form speaks ancient Chinese words
only a sincere heart can understand.
Heaven through the altar
brings certain, joyous smiles.
Gift oranges are laid there
and they can heal us.

The grace of ritual, the side from which to bow,
the order that the candles must be lit, and with which

The Gods must take off their shoes
and wait outside,
for in this pavilion,
the pantheon of worshipers
connect in love and peace
through time and space,
find faith they'll find the answers
to the riddles elders laid:
sin, error, fear,
the narrow path of right,
of duty and propriety
- to hope one day to know
the stillness that is smaller
than a molecule.
These climbers of the inaccessible mountain,
the cultivators of its fog,
who share like gum the sweetest leaves
of the rare trees in the sky.
Every sip of tea
is almost like transcendence
and soon we'll be prepared
to embrace the turning moments
without mistaken lifetimes
that compel our staining touch.

Meanwhile, the sun has turned to purple
and covered up the sky
and rolling pearls of surf bring in electric blue
on the beach's mirror shards.
The shapes of all one can want or conceive
wash up and dissolve in the flow:
strange beings, mad blossoms, sacred herbs...

The men and women disguised in white
scatter lilies and chant for dragons.
Heaven's heart refuses
to stop pumping.