Poem – What makes The Dalai Lama Lovable

His posture

From so many years

Holding his robe with one hand

Is odd.
His gait

Also.
One’s own body

Aches

Witnessing

The sloping

Shoulders

& Angled

Neck; 
One hopes

He

Attends

Yoga class

Or does Yoga

On his own

As part

Of prayer.
He smiles

As he bows

To Everything:

Accepting

The heavy

Burdens

Of

This earth; 
It’s

Toxic

Evils

& Prolific

Insults.
Even so,

He sleeps

Through

The night

Like a child

Because

Thank goodness

That is something

Else

Daylong

Meditation

Ass ures.
You could cry

Yourself to sleep

On his behalf

& He

Has done that

Too.
Life

Has been

A great

Endless

Tearing away

For

Him.
From

Mother, Father, Siblings, Country, Home.

And yet

Clearly

His mother

Loved him; 

His brother & sister

Too:

Even his

Not so constant father,

Who

When Tenzin was

A boy

Shared

With him

Delicious

Scraps

Of

Succulent

Pork.
He laughs

Telling this

Story

Over half a century

Later

&

To who knows

How many

Puzzled

Vegetarians:

About

The way he sat

Behind

His father’s chair

Like a dog,

Relishing

Each juicy

Greasy

Bite.
Whenever I see

The Dalai Lama

My first impulse

Is to laugh

I am so happy

To

Lay eyes

On

One

So effortlessly

Beautiful.
That balding head

That holds

A shine; 

Those wire framed

Glasses

That might

Have come

From

Anywhere.
His look of having given

All he has.
He is my teacher; 

Just staying alive.
Other teachers

I have had

Resemble him

In some way; 
They too

Were

&

Are

Smart

And Humble; 

Fascinated

By Science & things like

Time,

Eternity,

Cause & Effect; 

The Evolution

Of the Soul.
A soul

That

Might

Or might not

Exist.
They too

See all of us

-Banker, murderer, gardener, thief –

When they look

Out across

The world:
But that is not all

They see.
They see our suffering; 

Our striving

To find

The right path; 

The one with heart

We may only

Have heard

About.
The Dalai Lama is Cool

A modern word

For

“Divine”

Because he wants

Only

Our collective

Health

& Happiness.
That’s it! 
What makes

Him

Lovable

Is

His holiness. 

Poem – What it Feels Like

As if I’ve swallowed
A watermelon

And

Sidestepping

My digestive tract

It has lodged

In my heart.

There it lies

Green

& whole

with a luscious

red

heart of its own

daring me

to cut. 

Poem – Turning Madness into Flowers

If my sorrow were deeper
I’d be, along with you, under

the ocean’s floor; 

but today I learn that the oil

that pools beneath the ocean floor

is essence

residue

remains

of all our

relations

all

our ancestors who have died and turned to oil

without our witness

eons ago.

We’ve always belonged to them.

Speaking for you, hanging, weeping, over the water’s edge

as well as for myself.

It is our grief

heavy, relentless,

trudging

us, however resistant,

to the decaying and rotten

bottom of things:

our grief bringing

us home. 

Poem – To Change the World Enough 

To change the world enough
you must cease to be afraid
of the poor.

We experience your fear as the least pardonable of

humiliations; in the past

it has sent us scurrying off

daunted and ashamed

into the shadows.

Now,

the world ending

the only one all of us have known

we seek the same

fresh light

you do:

the same high place

and ample table.

The poor always believe

there is room enough

for all of us; 

the very rich never seem to have heard

of this.

In us there is wisdom of how to share

loaves and fishes

however few; 

we do this everyday.

Learn from us,

we ask you.

We enter now

the dreaded location

of Earth’s reckoning; 

no longer far

off

or hidden in books

that claim to disclose

revelations; 

it is here.

We must walk together without fear.

There is no path without us 

Poem – You want to Grow Old Like the Carters

Let other leadersRetire

To play golf

& write

Memoirs

About bombing

Villages

They’ve never seen.
Growing old

Presents a peril

They may not

Expect.
It is to lose

One’s soul

In trivia

& irrelevance

The nerve

Endings

Blunted

By the constant

Pressure

Of moral

Indifference.
Growing old

A curse:

Not even

Generally speaking

Able

To relate

To whoever

Shares
Your house. Not the mansion

You inhabit

On the

Lovely stolen hill

Above the sea

Or the interior one:

The darkened

Desolate

Shack.
You want to grow old

Like

The Carters; 

Curing blindness

&

Building houses

For

The Poor; 
Making friends of those

Who believe

They must fight.
You want to grow old

Like

The Carters

Holding hands

With someone

You love

&

Riding bicycles

Leisurely

Where the ground

Is well known

& perfectly

Flat.
You want to find

And keep to the path

Laid down

Inside you

Such a long time

Ago.
You want to grow old

Like

The Carters:

Serene. Eyes

Twinkling

To be accused

Of

Not getting

It right.
Upfront, upright.

Speaking what to you is true.
A person rich in Mothers.

Beloved.
And:

Honoring what is black

In you. 

Poem – Word Reaches Us 

Word reaches us
that you are sleeping, sleeping.
Dismayed
we have turned to the sea.
We encounter among others
walking there
a sense of what we have lost:
the broad expanse of humanity’s
sensitivity to the oneness of itself.
Gabrielle,
while you sleep, resting your nimble
brain, we think of walking with you
in the valley
of the shadow of death; holding
you up.
We hope you can feel our grief;
our sorrow vast
like the ocean that draws us.
We know in this moment you teach us many things:
how all across the world
there is no one who deserves this fate.
We know we must bleach and sterilize our
tongues,
brighten with understanding
all our dark thoughts.
Sister, whom I never met
except in this pain that has so
wounded you
thank you for reminding us
through your suffering
and your suspenseful sleep
that we must change. 

Poem – A Picture Story for the Curious 

I get to meditate

in a chair! 

Or against the wall

with my legs

stretched out! 

(Or even in bed!) 
I get to see

maybe half

of what I’m looking at! 

(This changes everything!) 
I get to dance

like the tipsy old men

I adored

when I was an infant! 

(They never dropped me!) 
I get to spend time with myself 

whenever I want! 

I get to ride a bicycle

with tall

handlebars! 

(My posture improves!) 
I get to give up

learning to sail! 

I get to know

I will never speak

German! 
I get to snuggle all

morning

with my snuggler

of choice:

counting the hours

by how many times

we get up

to pee! 
I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 

I get to eat chocolate

with my salad.

Or even as a first course! 

I get to forget! 

I get to paint

with colors

I mix myself! 

Colors

I’ve never seen

before.
I get to sleep

with my dog

& pray never to outlive

my cat! 

I get to play

music

without reading

a note! 
I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 

I get to sleep

in a

hammock

under the same

stars

wherever I am! 

I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 
I get to laugh

at all the things

I don’t know

& cannot

find! 
I get to greet

people I don’t remember

as if I know them

very well.

After all, how different

can they be? 
I get to grow

my entire

garden

in a few

pots! 

I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 
I get to see

& feel

the suffering

of the whole

world

& to take

a nap

when I feel

like it

anyway! 
I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 
I get to feel

more love

than I ever thought

existed! 

Everything appears to be made

of the stuff! 
I feel this

especially for You! Though I may not remember

exactly which You

you are! 

How cool is this! 

Still, I get to spend time with myself

whenever I want! 

And that is just a taste

as the old people used to say

down in Georgia

when I was a child

of what you get

for getting old.
Reminding us, as they witnessed our curiosity about them, that no matter the losses, there’s something fabulous going on at every stage of Life, something to let go of, maybe, but for darn sure, something to get!