don’t take down the art asking to be seen [poem]

i don’t know where to put it, or him
this is his space, too, and i need to be respectful

not everyone should see the sulking frothing form of woman, bleeding
on walls and screens, on her face, smell of cannabis and tulsi smoke and death, asking

art asks
to be seen

so then how to do it
to cut the skin and drip it out
while also being a mother, a lover, a friend
this is his space, too, and i need to be respectful

not everyone needs to look at the choking chastised woman, without a bra
in her home just walking waltzing doing freedom flying birth and life, just asking

art asks
to be seen

so then let her be in art
create space on the inner side
grow rise never contract in the face of fear
new ways of thinking are required if we are to expand

not everyone need know language of the beings being without name or reason
cosmic worlds can speak in silent colors rhythms rhyme and guttural sounds, just asking

art asks
to be seen

i do know where to put it, or her
because this is my space, too, and i need to be respectful

you can forget the words– artist you yogi you writer you–once you’ve gotten the meaning [ram dass poetic teaching]

(ram dass said chuang tzu said)

the rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit.
once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare.
words exists because of meaning.
once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words

where can i find a man who has forgotten words so i can have word with him?
you don’t have to try or even to listen
we just have to be together and it will happen

thanks to ram dass and youtube and for 2020 for all of this that was and is to come

you are enlightened, said guruji, i tossed it back from the shore [poem]

the swans and eagles visited
when i lobbed your firestone
into indian lake
took a second time, god tests me
i listen to my voice
more than his

baptised by my own free will
in that indian lake
if ganga wouldn’t take me
by golly, maybe kitch-iti-kippi
the icy freshwater spring can kill

unsure if the second choice was just
or if ’twas first, that did bring it back

which rhythm, songbird, shall you sing
you dove in after the second rock
fan of leaping, living for the taking

and poof!, that is that, small splash

in throwing him the second time
a gift of bluestone, green, from black
when i looked upon the shore, still there, offering love

i’m making a new choice this time
not gold, not black something, pure

there’s an unknown majesty in allowing right to be
just what it offers, balance, joy, safe and security
with trust and giving and getting and growing

and we shall see how many
years will pass by, before you come again

love is love [poetic teaching]

what is it, you say
(baba ram dass), about


when we’re in the presence
our hearts experience joy and expansion, which
and within experiencing it, we’e free to be

and so, you say
(baba ram dass)

THE HEART will lead your authentic
EXPANSION if we allow it to
SEEK ITSELF over and over and over
AGAIN SEEKING, finding itself

so then, you say
(baba ram dass)

in the presence of
our SELF is experiencing its SELF

so then, you say
(baba ram dass)

(baba ram dass) two things, maybe three


2) Know the LOVE is also YOU and ENDLESS and INFINITE and is is what is, so just RELAX

3) Don’t attach LOVE to an object or experience. Once it has been felt, ever, really felt between people, animals, places, situations, EVER, it is ALWAYS a part of YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS. BE GRATEFUL FOR THE LOVE AND let it go with GRACE. Period.

who is baba ram dass [in gratitude]

i am an unworthy phony who has moments of holiness, he said

i am not a holy being
who now
and then

imagine a wheel
hub in the center

now and then through
intense trauma
and sadhana, or the love of a guru, or something

moments of liberation
you go
ahhh you see who you are and it’s

all beautiful and then you’re off balance and
i oughta meditate

then the weight has flipped and then you’re off balance and
i oughta stop meditating and do the dishes

you don’t have to go to india
your teachings will be right here
and then he disappeared.

in gratitude to he that is ram dass, rest in forever liberation and light.
gratitude to you, ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram ram.

golden cosmic wisdom water cannot pour from empty cups. tibet, i see you. [poem]

silenced and still
upon the plateau
can you imagine what it’s like? just. beings. just. being.
vessels of golden cosmic wisdom water
ready to enlighten

        who can pour from an empty cup?

man wants just the taking, of the taking of the man
not leaving lone magnificence, righteous rights
wisdom is free for all, and within
just beings. just. being.

        who can pour from an empty cup?

without place to fill their jugs
without sacred drops to drink, and
without free flowing rivers to reach the rest of the world

silence and still
upon the plateau
can you imagine what it’s like?
just. beings. just. being.
vessels of golden cosmic wisdom water
ready to enlighten

        who can pour from an empty cup?
        acceptance, equanimity, somehow patience comes
        tibet, i see you. mercy, please offer us water. we have thirst.
man, give us back our water wells, our rivers, truths, source.
WE ARE READY but man wants just the taking, of the taking of the man
not leaving lone magnificence, righteous rights wisdom is free for all

and within

silent and still
upon the plateau
can you imagine what it’s like? [poetic teaching]

(krishna says in the og bg)
he who teaches those who do not want to hear
is performing an immoral act
                but you couldn’t anyway

it is only at the point that you ask the question
that you can hear the answer

it is only at the point when it begins to dawn on you that maybe
all the methods you had available to you thus far
aren’t going to be enough

all we can do at this point is to
share our journeys with one another (thanks, ram ram dass)

as the heart opens
again, if they surrender

vairagya letting go
the karmic eventual non-attachment
the most sincerest of seekers, or life experiencers, will feel

        as the heart opens
        again, if they surrender

all paths lead to the same place
you can get some of the dynamics of method
other pilgrims walking the true path without a path to follow
only the heart opening
watch in wonder

        as the heart opens
        again, if they surrender

silent break ups with boy friends suck [poem]

        did you realize
        you’d broken up?

paint pours, you contour his
cheeks, white pink flesh, two moles
best friend, he was, he was
for many, years ago

and the others?
alan beaver the blonde twins, best friends
trusted them, with your hurt
left you wild, with your hurt
        more than anyone

what about forrest?
friend, heart smart, strong, vata as fuck
        where is he?

        no one, there
        the mat, breath in, breath out
        he was, they were, smoke

come back, guys
sorry, pussy ‘tween my legs
i’m down to hang
like i always was

        more to give than goodies
        i’ll keep my crazies down

the big, deep, spring [poem]

for twenty-five new dawns
i propose a mid-day drive
something to look forward to

the big, deep, spring
not far from where i lay my head
beside gray-brown heavy curls
of my now toddler son

we went on a drive today
it snow and was the first time since it stopped, not that long ago
today it arrive, arrived, and arrived

the cops were there
       that was unexpected, and terrifying

babe wished to go home
before i’d wished anything
fight flight or freeze
never been my style with badged officials
i ask why not a raft ride
        that was unexpected, and terrifying

spotted brown, lake, brook trout
chunk of dishwater hair floating
jesus christ what the fuck
        that was unexpected, and terrifying

an only parent, with a son
and a 12-year-old golden witness
no one else, no jury
        that was unexpected, and terrifying

big swing push, biggest swing push
loaded up the car and crew
pulled out in a line of three

two cherokees, two and a half indians
enough support to get moving
i drove west, they split off

five miles from our place, a rental
cozy covid safe haven in the north, home.
car off. cries out

never have i ever been so close to
losing someone
like that
        that was unexpected, and terrifying

Opium in a baggy at the tea stahl [poem]

Black tar, she enjoyed this kind
in high school, rolled small balls
smoked in a marijuana joint
sometimes fired on its own

where in the world did
midwestern teenagers get this
poppy product adored by the Rajasthani man
tar-stained teeth, no shame

offers it to the American
mother in a navy a-line skirt sitting beside
chubby toddler in his tan and black fedora

it was always her favorite drug
pretending not to love it
she remembered the high well
smooth, relaxed, easy

for 16 years whenever asked
which she preferred best
last time she tried it, was a child

two men sat on a bench, cornered
across, in the cement block tea stahl near the fort first gate
pale blue button downs neatly pressed
brown skin, just a few shades darker than
their milky tea in slender glasses

government workers, kind dumb simple eyes
on the plastic baggy of opium held open to
the mother, eyes wide yet smaller than her own

she watched them watch her
the son, the baggy, chocolate inside
the mother clenches her jaw, purses her lips
hostage status in the exchange

Take opium? He asked, smirk and gentle smile
slides the black tar
his finger and the dime-sized dollop
oozing, My life is clean now
I heard her say, did you hear

he pressed resin on a pink tongue
skin scraped against sharp teeth below.
winding the baggy round itself, returned to a pocket
reached for water before the son, half liter
down his throat, just like that
he crossed his legs above the knee

now, a swallow of chai
held the glass with charisma, confidence
strange sexiness in the dark, this man

son banged a red litchi juice carton on the table
demanding attention from the audience, watching

name is Garfur, he told her, relative of
the politician who owns her hotel
last name Khan of the muslim warrior clan, three
daughters, one son, worked in camels before now
tuk tuk driver

life is good
opium cigarettes marijuana chai
easy life

who knows what my future brings
I heard her say, did you hear

now, this isn’t for me

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India // spring 2019
edited for form November 2020

You bowed to me [poem]

how many days have you walked into my room,
rice on a tray, dal, quiet as a mouse
careful not to wake my sleeping son
while seeing my mess, some shame
an american queen, closet concubine, waiting for the work to be
done at a desert hotel with
a pool

today for lunch I demanded plain spaghetti
        just boil it and bring it here! I heard myself yell at the phone

why did i speak like this?

disgusted with undercooked beans, abundance
of sunflower and rice bran oil, and salt

tonight for dinner I requested fancy dal not on your menu
one prepared special for entitled tourists like me
        dal makhani, it’s possible? I ask
        sab kuch milega, you say

when you brought it to me, my robe
closed tight around my chest, lights low, I opened my door, my world,
you entered, placed the tray on the table, silent

        you rose, met my gaze, pressed your palms in
        anjali mudra, opening your heart

my breath left me
        thank you, thank you, I said
        who am I to be so proud?
        I meant it

The same, questions of your father [poem]

        the boys in the temple today
        spoke down to me, questioned
        again, about your father

eyes, pure white, open and embracing
circles of brown round black, still believing these are
more beautiful than any anyone has seen

        I regret what I told them
        you will have children. never leave your sons, I say
        please do not do what some of your real fathers did, I think

I turned my back and walked away from
my choices, the surprise and hypocrisy and beliefs
your parents, my parents, just products of lifetimes

        I hope the questions stop
        It’s not the Indian way, they say
        abortions, preferred. you think, they think, silent

your father, being human being, a man
tender boy made in mountains, naive, frightened
existence we created, they created, were created, are created

        truth, still a mystery to me
        father will love him, he is his son, they say
        it’s too dangerous to try, you say, they stay silent

nearly two years have passed. I am not the same
surely neither are you alone, in the secret of fatherhood
missing, or dead. to us you seem the same

        I hope the questions stop

Holi, part three [poem]

fuuuuuuuck you, spirit speaker
the mind turned off you say, and still
bedroom photo wall with you and Ferrari and female form and framed
achievement from European schools
next to Buddha, and boddhisatva
        do you see?
        do you see the what the fuck, the #horriblebeautyofitall?
your mother, your wife
caring for me as I craved to care for you
judging me, curious, cynical with pity, and seeing

my son cried after eating soap in your shower
as I rinsed green paint from my hair
head back in the cool water stream
bliss came for a moment, in the scream

i wonder if your wife poisoned me
in stress, and surrender, i soften my already lightening hands
hand over my child to your queen
just as I gave my heart to you, with longing, loss, and
a silent plea for help

there you are dancing, drinking, again,
with the salon curtains closed
        you prance into the parlor
        showing me your smile, I smile
        your skin, barney purple paint on brown
your wife, laughs in her ownership
your mother, hands you a shirt

the hours pass, I sleep beneath photos of your father
your grandfather, next to my son, with neither
you sleep in a walk-in closet
is this the norm, for you, for us, I dream, we wake

you sit in a circle of men, cousins
these men eating sugar, drinking chai
talking of choosing a wife for the youngest god amongst you

        isn’t that just too sweet…
        you joke, should we choose a wife for your son
        why not? I laugh. Can you hear my hatred
        and jealousy within this idea?

bearing uncomfort no longer
feeling alone in india for the first time
here, many months of settling, rising
strong, I flee drooling son on my knee, rooftop offers space to breathe

        empath, i am breathing
        neon parakeets in trees
        pigeons on the pillar, a pair
        i watch them mate for the first time
        so open, fast
        then pause for two minutes alone to fluff feathers
        take care of themselves, become bigger

I retreat and again busy my time with your wife
your friends new wife, pregnant, covers her face
when you walk in the room
you, patriarch, who lost your wallet in your celebrations
and left me hanging with the women, behind the curtain

        I ask to leave, immediately you find your keys
        perhaps also seeing a way out, or finally seeing me out
        comfort in the exit, alone at my side

I have that repeating thought from days long since known to me
’ll never fit in, ever, maybe never, here, maybe nowhere
Numb and silent, and still there is relief

On the back of your bike, my son sandwiched between our pelvises
Feverish head under curls, his hat and shoes lost on this day
You search for speech, more seconds with me
        I pass up the doctor, the diapers
        Your hint at dinner
        Too much, all too much, I’ve had enough

past the laxmi temple, you swerve
near the shiva temple, you stop outside our home

whiskey in your eyes, I try to meet you, but cannot
you look at my son, unable to meet me, i cannot

        love you, and still
        i see myself stronger in solidarity
        knowing that you, gurujj
        are also not enlightened as much
        no, moreso not, than me

I hold my son and turn my back and walk away

       i’m in the home you gave to me

in the waking body [poems]

It’s true what they say
About holding back
Or letting go

You never really know
Which is best
So you try both

Nature’s way
You begin at birth
And re-find…
     if you’re lucky.

The other, created
Taught to and at you
Scared souls…
     there’s freedom.


Hearts don’t actually explode
From emotion
Overwhelmed inside the all-consuming force
of their feeling.

Just as throats don’t actually close
They constrict
Requiring, equipping both their burn
and their burden.

Eyes though, they do decide on change
They surrender
Knowing no alternate way of freeing and exploring,
their fear and their love.


Get your ground
     let it go
          leap into your adventure

It’s only now,
     trust truth om
          no backup plans required

Adapt and flow
     move when you’re moved
          let life evolve through you


Placing bets
On the head
Or the heart

Life’s gamble
     It’s your call.
Both likely win
     In the end.

But which game
Is more fun
to play?

– robin 12/23/18