Himalayan Morning



My desert feelings can’t remember the flat line of their own horizons

and my valleys of shadow recall nothing

the darkness ever said to them.

I awake to an inexplicable altitude

and the music of the last voice I heard

before I woke up

echoing off vertical feelings that cover me

like the sunshine after it has lifted mist.

“Going up?”

The answer surrounds me, like the smell of coffee.

I yawn and stretch into the passing shapes of clouds

that seem to know just where they are going.

My peaks are everywhere.

At the end of a day’s climb

I stand upon the ridge of all that I have ever known.

The air is thin and bright.

I breathe as deeply as I can,

only to exhale in surprise.

A harmony beyond the sky has filled the deepest,

the everest part of me

and no matter where I look

I know the melody will go on forever

if only this afternoon

I can remember to memorize the tune.

Again last night I was certain that I never could

but tomorrow, once more, I believe I shall

remember one more note at least and this:

No matter what happens next

every note of the melody remembers every note of me,

even those that I have never heard,

the ones I must believe in enough to discover for myself

and then sing to my deserts and my valleys.



Words For A Summer Solstice




My long and desperate sleep is over.

No more subterranean dreams about constellations.

Darkness slowly unravels and the stars see me shining

as if the sky is carefully untying its ribbons and bows

to stand naked and present beside me.

Everything has been turned inside out.

I open my eyes to speak.

I open my mouth to see.

I am neither worm nor angel:

just me,

stretching toward a higher place inside me and beginning to rise

on a breeze that feels like a hurricane holding its breath.

Anything could happen next.

All or nothing.

I am a fluttering brushstroke of seasons,

a water-colored apostrophe in search of the sentence,

or just one word,

to explain

how I got these stained-glass wings

and why I feel the pattern of your

fingerprints dusted all over them.

The one thing I do know is this:

Your touch is the only way I fly.

Love’s Skin Grows Over The Bones Of A Broken Soul


“Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

By Ken Woodley


On the midnight panes of my shattered places

dirt had been carelessly shoveled.

An afterthought.

Words spoken beneath clouds that had never stopped looking like monsters

were filled with ashes and dust.

Then even they left,

leaving only silence behind.

Until God spoke.

With lips, tongue, eyes and everything

God could think of.

God knelt and smoothed the dirt of my grave,

making little rows for the seeds

that God began to plant,

explaining what was inside them.

No more tears.

Just rain.

And God didn’t keep me waiting.

Something green grew up through the soil.

Other colors followed the skyward urge.

God lifted my broken landscape from the gravity

surrounding places so empty they had been left

unguarded by those who had broken the reflection

I’d been born with.

Weightlessly sang the flickers of light

until all of their pieces fit my voice

and I tasted the first rays of sunrise from God’s tongue

upon my lips,

swallowing without regret.

I wore only the light

God shone from within me,

luminous and laughing joy

at this surrender of my fragments

to the oneness of becoming

something more than I

—more than anyone but God—

ever imagined:


The Sound Of One Heart Beating


Sometimes the whole world seems to speak a foreign language that I do not understand.
Times when the whole world makes no sense at all.
Weapons are targeted.
Hearts are shut down.
Voices are raised.
Meaning is lost.
Darkness seems to be in control of every light switch.
I wander like a stranger in a strange land full of wandering strangers also lost in the senseless cacophony of struggles for supremacy and domination.
At those times all of the world’s words are closed to me.
There is no dictionary. No definition to explain it all. No meaning to anything. Just noise, noise, noise.
But no sounds that I want to hear.
All around me divisions are multiplying everywhere.
And everyone seems certain that God is fighting on their side.
Self-centeredly assured that God is in their front rank with a holy bayonet bared, God charging ahead to spare no one on the “other side” of the political, racial, idealogical, religious, social, cultural, sexual, economic—any—divide.
Forgetting, all the while, that every one of those divides is man-made, not heaven-sent.
Sometimes I imagine I am standing in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago in the days before Pentecost, understanding nothing at all.
I am surrounded by Parthians, Medes and Elamites, by residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and visitors from Rome.
But … then something happens.
Suddenly, the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus plays a note.
Just one note.
A note of such wonder that I don’t need to understand every word, or any word, that is being spoken.
Everything is being said—everything that truly matters—by the melody of that one note.
The borderless Holy Spirit opening all of our ears, all of our minds, all of our hearts with one true note so wondrous that it can somehow play a one-note melody inside us.
If we’d only listen.
If we’d only sing along.
Dividing every division until there is nothing left at all.
Nothing left at all but us—the harmony that God has been praying would one day fill the world.
But too often the hardest thing for a human being to do is open their heart and feel what God feels toward the people of this world.
Open their mouth and speak what God would say to the people of this world.
Open their mind and understand what God understands about the people of this world.
I’ve kept my own heart closed, refused God my tongue, and shut my mind often enough to know that’s true. And so I also know this:
A note of beauty needs no explanation, no dictionary, no interpreter.
It only needs us to understand and accept that God has planted the seed of that one-true note in all of us.
Without exception.
The world would make total sense—the sound of one heart beating—if we’d only let it.