Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Best Broken I

Online communities give joy
For those like me
Introverted.
With asperger's.

Hard to reach out
Hard to get help
From people real
Too hard.

Online, people
With love in their hearts
Like Susi
Like Jessika

Save me.
Keep me alive.
Let me know I matter.
Best broken I can do.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Beginner's Mind

In Target I saw a woman
With a tiny grandchild
Pulling her along, a wagon.

We exchanged pleasantries
We each went on our ways
Me to checkout and she to leave.

Done I left and saw her then
Her granddaughter had wanted
To ride the escalators again.

Suddenly I remembered days
When the escalator's gentle lift and fall
Would fill my stomach with butterflies.

Is it gone or do our adult minds
Tune the sensation out
Along with all quotidian kind?

Strive to have beginner's mind
You'll see and feel the truth
That adults leave behind.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Skater Art Lesson

Skater coming down the hill
City hall dome gleaming
Early morning no traffic
Excitement.
Freedom.
I am in love with edgy skaters.

Here she comes.
Dreads?  No.
Piercings? No.
Ink?  No.

Pretty Asian girl
Well coiffed
Nice mani
Great clothes
Excitement.
Freedom.
Carving with mad skill and joy through the air.

I come face to face with preconception.
I thought skaters should be - in my little box.
Uncomfortable.
That's what art sometimes does.
It makes you uncomfortable.
It makes you face your preconceptions.

Art is everywhere.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Compassionate Barista

She didn't really know me
And didn't know how much
Everything sucks in my life,

But the off duty Barista
Waiting for her shift to start
Said hi, and asked if I were OK

(Does it show?) And said she
Was there if I needed to talk.
What a great human being.

I didn't tell her about the cutting
Or about the darkling thoughts
I just felt better. And then I wrote a poem.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Done fallen apart

How did it come to this?
I thought that before I died
I might deal with that childhood trauma.
Maybe get happy.

Who knew that touching it was going to be like
Getting scalding water thrown across
My poor innocent psyche.  So much pain.
Went from kind of messed up to suicidal, BAM!

Today at Walgreens getting my increased dose
Of Welbutrin on the third try, don't ask,
I'm waiting and looking at the bandages and thinking
Oh, butterflys and wound closure strips

Might come in handy if I cut a little deeper than
I have been.  Cut a little deeper than I have been.
What?  I don't want to be someone who thinks like that.
Walking home down Larkin I cried and cried on the public street.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

There's Help

I saw Cammie tonight at Carl's
She wanted rescue from an abusive
Man, real or imaginary, I don't know.
She leaned in and rubbed her breast against me
So I would know what the reward for rescue would be.

Oh, Cammie.  You're so cute, but
I can not be one of the endless strings of heartless
Men that take advantage of your willingness.
You break my heart.  You break my heart.
I think you won't be rescued this month.

I told you that you deserve respect.
I gave you a hug  without groping you.
I don't know what else to do.
I wish I was a program of rescue but
I don't know if it's what you believe

You deserve respect, love, to guard the
Integrity of your body.  Oh, I can't keep
Thinking about you, my heart is in tatters.
Good luck little Cammie, Good luck,
There's real help out there if you believe just a little.

SF Angel

Randy walks San Francisco streets
Day and night for endless hours
A beanie with wings attached
Fixed firmly atop his head.

He says he's Viking
And an angel too
And he walks through the city
To make it safe for you.

He told me about a UFO
That lived under the bay
That was going to come out and
Do something to us someday.

A sign in the window of an Irish
Pub he decoded to know
A cannon of sound was the only
Way to defeat that dreaded UFO

So a kid in a shelter leant him a phone
To get Randy Savage on line
To tell him to scramble US jets
With sonic cannons so fine

And up they went and got that UFO
And all of us were saved that day
It doesn't matter if we knew it or not
No thanks required is what Randy would say.

But I say thanks and you should too
If you are walking about the city and him see
If in the Haight he might fly for you
If you ask politely.


Zen Non-Attachment to Stuff

Things are a burden
Owning you while being owned
Let go and be free.

Zen

Clinging to ego
Only leads to suffering
Let go certainty

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stillness and Stillness

At fifteen I tried to meditate
Finding the stillness was as hard
As trying to balance atop a
Greased glass ball atop
A sheet of greased glass.

Later finding the stillness
Wasn't required.
It was always waiting
Like a comforting nest that
I could drop into at will.

Now forty-five years later
There's another change
The stillness no longer contains
In quiet comfort and joy, no
I drop through into infinity.

Hidden Beauty

Jessica hiding
Face tattoo covers complete
Tenderness inside

Sunday, April 20, 2014

joe's in the afternoon

A simple black dress
Knee length,
Ballet slippers
Breezy San Francisco hill.

I watch from an outside table at Joe's
Leavenworth and Sutter.

Such complexity
The turns and twists and flips
Grab attention
Grab attention

Next to me two men and a woman
Score the world with the sound of
French improvised like jazz.

Artists, self-concious or assured
Stream by.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Are you good enough for me?

I don't know what good enough for someone is.
Do I decide if I'm good enough for someone, or are they
Supposed to decide if I'm good enough for them?

Am I supposed to decide if they're good enough
For me or do they decide that?  Is it good like kind?
Is it good enough like settling?  I guess that's good enough.

Is it ok if I like them a lot and they're funny but I don't
Think that they're good?  They might be naughty.
Is that ok?  Should I send them home?  My home?

This subject is complex and weird.  Am I supposed
To judge them?  Is it like Miss America?  Will there
Be a talent section and a swimsuit section? Several judges?

What if I misjudge and I think that they're good enough
But no.  They are not good enough for me.  Do I pay
A penalty?  Do I go to a penal institution? Does my penis?

My goodness.  All this judging is just too much for me.

Therapeutic Goal

Telling therapist
My goal is to stay alive
Humiliating

Sooth

If you don't understand
That hurtin' can help
Why you trying to
Tell me what to do?

I hurt myself. So what?
A little scratch - a cut
Makes pain unbearable
Back the fuck off - just a bit.

So if that don't make
No sense to you at all
Then you don't understand
What I'm going through.

So just shut up trying to
Tell me what I gotta do to heal.
You don't know nuthin!
You don't feel my pain.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crack Head Girl

She crouches perfect
Contained
Herself
About her spot on the sidewalk

Near the gutter
By a sign post
Quite quite small
Claimed it her's

It's beautiful the way
It has captured her attention
She's unaware of we who pass
Such perfect focus

Someone's mid-west daughter
Missing and alone
Far from high-school lessons
Intent on a different curriculum

Whenever I pass it's always the same
Focused laser intense
On pretty pretty glass pipe
Is it clean?  Is it ready?

Sometimes staring
As at a lover
Intently at the pipe
Holding it with careful trembling hands

The lighter applied just so just so
Don't waste!  Don't waste!
It is such a precious thing
Her lover, her only friend, the poison

Fumes fly up the pipe.
Disappear in the girl.
I love you crack-head girl.
Good luck. Good luck.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm so subversive - Yo soy tan subversivo

She's probably forty but acts like four
All downtown security throws her out
From every fast food library hotel coffee-shop
Place with a restroom or place to bum because
She stinks, she steals, she begs, she runs.

Hits and run.  Food off the counter, runs from
Security, runs from the judgment, runs from the pain.

A security guard wanted to tell me not to buy her
A vanilla shake.
A security guard wanted to tell me not to buy her
A vanilla shake.
A security guard wanted to tell me not to buy her
A vanilla shake.
I bought her the vanilla shake.
That's my thing.  I'm poor, but I can't live
With myself, if I don't share of my excess
With those who have less.
I won't go hungry because of the shake.

I'm a Catholic boy.
It's what Jesus wants.
Feed my sheep.

I told him that - in Spanish.

Soy  católico.
Es lo que quiere el Señor Jesuchristo.
Apacienta mis ovejas.

He went away.
He came back to tell me that he's a Christian.
Yo soy cristiano.
Good.  ¡Que bueno!.  I nod and smile.

He came back again to tell me that he has to do
What his boss wants him to do.
Tengo que hacer lo que quiere mi jefe.
I understand.  A man needs to be a good employee.
Entiendo. Un hombre necesita ser un empleado buen.

Well, well, well.  ¡Que interesante!
I think I awakened a conscience.
I helped a man see a human being not a problem.

Maybe the anger won't be on his face next time he sees her.
Maybe he'll do what his boss wants but with compassion.

Good deed done for today.
I've always liked that security guard.
Maybe I fed him too.

I'm so subversive.
Yo soy tan subversivo.

Any mistakes in Spanish are mine.  I'm not fluent, barely conversational.  I can make myself understood most of the time though.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Monkey Image of God

You say that bad things
Means there's no God(ess)
Or perhaps that (s)he's cruel

That implies that we are
The important measure
That the universe revolves
Around the human race.

But we just showed up
In the last second of the cosmos
And likely will be gone
Before discernible
From statistical noise.

Why would you think
That an infinite God(ess)
Should share human values
Or that you could understand
Infinity
At all.

The Monkey Equation

I think it strange
Or maybe not
That two of the
Least useful things for
Survival of humans day to day -
Science and Art are so important
To us monkeys.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Are You Kidding?

You act so innocent
As if you hadn't
Done the thing that you did.

And now I'm supposed
To regret even the thought
Of saying that I had been hurt.

Are you kidding?
Do you think me so innocent?
In my family you would be an amateur.

Passive aggression came in
With my mother's milk,
And I gave it up before you were born.

If you want me
To take you seriously
You'll have to straighten up.

Get real
Stop manipulating
And then maybe we can talk.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tenderloin Morning

The morning dawns on Tenderloin
The dope man changes shift
The previous evening's celebrants
Lay comatose or drift

Along the streets, they're seemingly
Lost or lost their rocks¹
And stumble on quite wearily
A beautiful little flock

The morning shift of functioners²
Make rapid buys and think
Themselves the better than the ones
Who stumble on the brink

The bars are selling morning drinks
To stiffen those who go
Off to work in the city's jobs
Along the city's roads

And here and there you see the kids
Walking off to school
I breathe and smile and go my way
The day has dawned anew.

¹ lost their rocks has two meanings here, first, it's a common sight to see crack cocaine addicts desperate and craving drifting along the sidewalks looking down in the hope that someone dropped a rock.  Some tell me they've actually found them.  In any case they're often willing to put random finds in their crack pipe and fire it up in hope.  Second, of course, lost their rocks can mean insane.  There's a lot of that too.  Many are doubly represented since substance abuse is very high among the mentally ill.  We Tenderloin denizens are the people thrown away.
² Functional addicts, those who can keep a job for now.  Some manage to stay in this phase for a long time, some not so long.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Inspiration Fails

At times I think that it is hard
To be inspired on a daily basis
Doing a poem on every single day
Is like being off to the races

So if this poem seems less than some
You're right.
Happy Poetry Month;)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Four Brahma Viharas

To grow up unwanted and unloved and untouched
Is scarring.  You despise your existence.
You don't know why you had to be born.
You believe that you are a burden on the world.
Your core is hurt hurt hurt on top of devastating pain.

That's hard to get past.
That's hard to take.
That's hard to overcome.
That's hard hard hard.

There are people in the world with compassion
People with such heart, such beauty inside
That they choose, they must, to live their life
In such a way that heals us unwanted.

That's hard to accomplish.
That's a labor of love.
That's a recipe for poverty.
That's so incredible I cry.

I know some of these people.  They teach.
They believe.  They adjust your head, move
It just so so that your asana is closer by a tiny
Bit today than it was yesterday.

That's a practice of Metta, loving kindness.
That's a practice of Karuna, compassion.
That's a practice of Mudita, sympathetic joy.
That's a practice of Upekkha, equanimity.

What they do is important and transforming.
What they teach gives you and me a path.
But the true power that they have comes just
From their existing in the world in integrity.

That's transforming the world.
And me.

Inspired by my yoga teacher Cathi today, but I know a lot of people that choose lives of integrity, truth, love, and compassion, finding their success in transforming the world instead of in wealth.  We are all lucky they exist in the world, and they are inspiring me to be like them.  Maybe they were once like me.




Monday, April 7, 2014

Overwhelmed by Grace

Your beautiful heart is shining out of your face
Shadowed by sadness, touched by sorrow
That's overwhelmed by an overarching grace.

All of the years of sorrow, years of joy,
The anger at abuse and betrayal bent you, though
Still, your beautiful heart is shining out of your face

Betrayal by one that should have kept you safe
Inspired hatred that could have been your crippling blow
But was overwhelmed by an overarching grace

Dissolved as you protected one who should have, in your place
Protected you, but they too had been brought so low
And your beautiful heart is shining out of your face

It's hard to understand, I don't think in your place
Most could have healed and loved and endured to grow
Overwhelmed by an overarching grace.

But still that pain is there, and it still makes you restless,
Still your heart is scarred.  But we all want you to know
Your beautiful heart is shining out of your face
Overwhelmed by an overarching grace.

Loosely inspired by Susi Q who told me to write a poem with the first line in it, but dedicated to millions and millions of people who turn suffering, abuse, hatred, and betrayal into a refiner's fire that forges a golden heart.  It's sad that this poem could fit so many.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tenderness Lost

She walks and looks down at the ground
She's keeping safe with her little frown
Her ear buds in say she can't hear
It's sad she lives in so much fear
That walking in this beautiful city
Her heart might be hurt by her natural pity

Friday, April 4, 2014

Stay Away!


Oh!  That one is huge
I have to let him know
To stay away from my
One.
Stay away!
Stay away!
Stay away!
Oh, it comes
It feels safer behind
My One's legs, but
Stay away!
Stay away!
Stay away!
Oh!  The One lifted me.
It thanks me
I saved it.
I shiver in joy.

He don't mean nuthin

He don't mean nothin
It's just the alcohol
He gets abusive
I know he loves me

I'm gettin sober
But it's real hard
He wants me to smoke
Crack with him

He say I think I'm sumpin
He think I'm a drag
He's trying to get sober
He don't mean nuthin

He's on a run now
He'll end up in the hospital
That's what he do
He don't mean nothin

He gets all mean
It came to puttin hands on
No, I put hands on him
He don't mean nuthin

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tenderloin First of Month

It's like a dance of pain
Drugs passing hand to hand
Hey, chiva, chiva, roxys, roxys¹
Pretty names for Shiva things

Just a hint of a glance
'cross a block sets a deal
People spending rent
Maybe getting robbed - maybe

People passed out
On the sidewalk right
Where they fell FACE
Planting BAM! into the concrete

Needles
  in the gutters
   in front of schools
    pass arm to hand
     hang out of passed out arms  Man!

Drinkers so wasted
They fall off the sidewalks
Fall off the sidewalks!
Where'd that wall come from?  Adorable

It gets crazy when people get their checks

¹Chiva is a low grade brownish red heroin from Mexico, it means goat in Spanish.  Not as good as black tar or china white. Roxies are roxycodone, a fast acting form of oxycodone in small blue pills, but sometimes also oxycontin or oxycodone all synthetic opiates.

Alone

Nose pressed to window
Excruciating longing
Like the seventh grade

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Be Careful - Don't Die

A Zen Center Priest told me
To run at my pain directly
Just as an ancient reincarnated
Child monk ran at a vicious dog
And tamed it.

What if he's wrong?
What if my pain is toxic?
What if my pain kills me?

My psychiatrist told me
To stalk my pain carefully
Just as an experienced hunter
Stalks a dangerous cat -
With exquisite care.

What if she's wrong?
What if I take years
And never get better?

My heart tells me
To be careful
That being gentle is
IMPORTANT
I don't want to be suicidal again.

What if I'm wrong?
What if my fear
Keeps me from healing?

I listen to them all.
Mostly my heart.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Poetry as Oppression

The thought of a month of poetry has turned
This morning from the

    Joyful Anticipation

of yesterday, to the

    Crushed Oppressive Dread

of today.

Oh yes.  I remember now.  I remember my life-
long victim's plea to be loved.  Look at me!
Look what I can do!  Now you will see!
Love me.

It always leads to failure,
It always leads to despair,
To a frozen inability to perform,
And a sad paralyzing depressive dread,
That brings the terrifying life-denying prediction to life.

But, but, but, but I know it will be different.
I know I don't have to, I might not, oh, why
did I say I would do it.

Everyone will see.

Everyone will know.

Oh no.