The Bouquet of the Last Direction


The Bouquet of the Last Direction

--dedicated to the artistry and sonic medicine of Calexico


When the soul becomes unburdened

it's like a new saddle on a fresh horse.


Suddenly the trail feels right again,

and the strong horizon line in front of you as you turn

becomes its own form of soothing medicine.


Something of the sting and burn of the old poison may linger

but having crossed over from the Shadowlands into new open territory,

one can almost pick up the scent of blooming flowers within.


You start to notice all the things you hadn't been

all because you'd been so bound up

with the echoes of losses and hauntings.


You know you're ready when ghosts start chanting from the edge of your life:

Traveler! Good Traveler!

Your 'Crying for a Vision' Time is over.

Time to re-inhabit the Human World!


Then, the simplest of the ten thousand things

start to reach out to you to welcome you home again.

The Morningstar.

The blue sky with its utter completeness.

The serrated clouds coming over the rising pine-covered hills.

Even the food tastes better in the Land of the Great Eastern Sun.


You may find the wandering wild animal of your heart

is somehow more free to travel back through time… pick back up with sources of beauty and power you had put down.


And maybe, just maybe,

you’ll see yourself now

through your childhood eyes

and you’ll stand forgiven and realize

the magic you had then never left you;

you just forgot how to listen.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /

sound: Calexico





On the mountain everything becomes clear.


Who and where the true allies always were.

How you were right all along

about staying close to the gentle,

and the gentle-hearted.


How the time-tested methods don't betray.

How silence is a healer.


How the old maps provide a year of unburdening,


every time.


How that tightening below your shoulder blade

is a true barometer

for when someone only sees you

as a way to get their fix.


Before the mountain, the foothills.


The old Zen way speaks of mountains walking;

how they do that are foothills rising.

Stretching toward vistas.

even the foothills are the minds of buddhas-to-be.


Before foothills, the forest.


Standing sentinels welcome you.

As you step in, their swaying is an embrace like no other.


The forest has a strange way

of pulling other people's hooks out of you. 

You can almost hear them drop at your feet

like clanging swords or harpoons.

Then, the lungs fill with sweet air

and you know you've arrived in a realm

beyond the reach of hungry ghosts, sorcerers, Soul-Eaters.


Before the forest, the river.


Her sweet song puts the mind at ease.

She quiets the senseless chatter

one absorbs from the Grasping World like a thick tar.


Herons mindfully walk the shoreline.

Trout jump.

The heart leaps.

Grasshoppers click-click-click away with caution.

Dragonflies click-click-click closer

as if to tempt you with entrance into the dream world.


Before the river, the path.


Each step an in-breath,

an out-breath,

accepting a standing invitation.

Ambling along, welcoming the animal in you to loosen tight tendons,

a joining-up happens with something unseen you realize your soul has been missing.


Path to river

river to forest

forest to foothills

foothills to mountain...


as you make your way to the summit,

the pure breeze initiating you,

you comprehend why the ancient apex

is seen the world over as a shrine of renewal.










This is what it means to 'come back to your true body'.

This is what it means 'to cross over the bridge of the self'.

This is what it means to 'become the mountain'.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /



sound: Robert Rich / Alio Die, Fissures, Hearts of Space







Halcón Escucha (Hawk Listening)


Halcón Escucha (Hawk Listening)

As with all poems at Pure Land Poetry, this one is optimized for viewing on desktop computer (i.e. not mobile devices, phones, or iPads). Click the white-triangle for sound... These are not poems. These are movies for the moving pictures of the mind.

Pure womb of darkness.

Two sparks flash, then a third.

A fourth spark fills the darkness with sudden sun-like brightness.


Five candles are lit and placed into lanterns -- one for the center, one in each of the corners.

Above -- a lattice of vines form a roof.


Just beyond the open-air lantern-lit platform -- an orchestra of night sounds.

A low rumbling growl -- not menacing; more like a purr of satisfaction.

A jaguar rubs a smooth dark shoulder against rough tree bark.

I think to myself: Thank goodness. He sounds well-fed.


Hanging beneath bell-shaped leaves, tree frogs chant in both worlds.

A hand appears in front of me holding an earthen cup with symbols I don't recognize.

I take it and look up into a face that seems ancient yet ever-young.

The same hand then flaps like a wing; motions to me to imbibe.

Beberse todo, beberse todo. Drink up, drink up.


A cloud of tobacco smoke fills the air above my head

as bunches of leaves, feathers, dried seed pods

tap my back, my chest, my crown, my limbs.

The singing begins.

All lanterns are extinguished.

I lean back onto the woven mat and settle-in to my "dreaming station."


Body sprawled out, I feel utterly alone against the cloak of night.

Am I even human, or just a small bug turned on his back on the floor of the jungle?


The face of every one I've ever loved pass in front of my mind's eye.

There have been so many -- each a story of joy, sadness, friendship, disappointment.

A deep breath fills me as if something other than me is now doing the breathing.

I hear prayers and songs being uttered. I get lost in them.


I think of my parents: Have I been a good son?

I think of friends: Have I been good to each one?

I think of my job: Am I doing anything worthwhile?

I think of my apartment: Will it turn out to be my cocoon or my coffin?

I think of my late teacher: I wish we could take a walk in the desert again.

I think of different lovers: Why couldn't we find what we were looking for in the other?


I raise my hands in front of my face.

I no longer have skin or bones.

I am nothing but a tightly-bound collection of luminous strands, slowly loosening, separating.

All but one fall to the woven mat beneath me. 

A single flowing strand moves outward into the jungle and carries me along.

The only thing I am sure of is that my heart is still beating, and that...


I am the jungle.

I've never not been the jungle.

I am the stars.

I've never not been the stars.

I see a man fishing.

I have never not been a man.

I see a woman collecting water.

I have never not been a woman.

I see a child chasing a dragonfly.

I have never not been a child.

I have never not been a dragonfly.

I have never not been a river, a jaguar, a frog calling the rain.


The single luminous thread that appears to be 'me'

is pulled from deep in the jungle valley into the high hills above.

Suddenly I am in a new body -- brown feathers fluttering in the wind.

Eyes sharp and clear -- the whole world vibrant again.


I hear a voice say:

Withdraw all investments from illusion.

The doorway beyond the heart's suffering is open.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /

sound: Vine, Bark & Spore, Steve Roach & Jorge Reyes



Blue Star Kachina's Strange Cosmic Theatre


Blue Star Kachina's Strange Cosmic Theatre

Sometimes the body moves through something and takes the soul along for the ride.

Sometimes the spirit lifts up and out-of-the-body -- goes on far away travels, leaving the body behind.

This 'Love Is Stronger Than Death' Curriculum has a high tuition.

I'm not sure what will be the case this evening.
Too much of the heavy-hearted world of man is on me --
matting and staining the feathers of my Mountain-Dreaming Cloak.

Time to splash cold water on the face
and head up to where I put down a season's worth of accumulated weight.

A pinch of Isleta tobacco to the Four Winds.
To Lady Night Lamp above -- a pour of moonlit saké for safe travels...

and I'm off.

Halfway down the road -- a lightning bolt passes through.

I hear a familiar voice say:

In the Fifth World, new rituals will remind us of our shared human bond

that don't involve tragedy, sacrifice, nightmares, or deceit.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /

sound: Ruven Nunez, The Holy Fountain


Singularly Unimpressed, Coyote Predicts the Fall of the Republic of Clowns


Singularly Unimpressed, Coyote Predicts the Fall of the Republic of Clowns

I was pulled awake from my blue agave dreaming

by a gust of cool air flowing through the screen.

At first, my skin - an independent animal-entity with its own preferences -

stirred suddenly as if to say: You have a visitor.

Then my mind kicked in, with all its strange ways of seeing-and-knowing, and said:

This is what renewal feels like if you seize it.


I didn't.


I drifted back into the depths

where all the ghosts, dancing ladies, and old gods gather around a central fire

to tell stories that break all the rules,

crack casting-molds,

and up-end everything with the tip of an ash.



Coyote puffed on his pipe, smiled, and said: "Don't worry. I got this."


I say all of this only to say...

We may be living in the Clown Republic right now,

being run by bozos and spiritual hobos,

but it's a house of cards fashioned on a turtle's back

and come the next good rain there's going to be a whole lot of shaking going on.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /



sound: Koichi Sugii

image: Newfoundland-American Arctic explorer Captain Robert Bartlett and local, 1933, Smithsonian. Photograph taken during Arctic expedition for the Invertebrate Zoology Department, Smithsonian 


Entered Fully, Grief Becomes Honey


Entered Fully, Grief Becomes Honey

Maybe yours is meant for a deep valley,

or perhaps it will be washed clean from your brow at the riverside.

It could be lifted from you by a human embrace

or an unexpected glance standing in line at a busy coffee shop.



with the mystery of the way the soul works,

it can be taken from you in the midst of a dream,

leaving you fresh and child-like with the arrival of morning

as if you didn't have to do a thing.


Mine is a hardscrabble road

that leads to the mountaintop

where I lift mine up

to all there is

the way I was taught.


But whoever you are, for goodness sake,

please listen to me when I say: 

Grief has to move.


Through you, and beyond you, grief seeks a release.

It isn't to be feared.

It is a rare golden dove with a temporary roost inside you,

all so it can carry

what you need to let go

into the heart of the sun.


Once you open and release,

and once it arrives into that fiery embrace,

your renewal is moments away.


But if you hold onto it,

grief becomes stored in your bones

and that will be your undoing.


Much of the world

is not what it could be

all because of people holding on to an ancient grief.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /

sound: Mountain Above, Mountain Below, from Watermusic, by Remco Helbers








Quantum Travel


Quantum Travel

Elbows on marble

smoke of añejo on the throat

two whirly-gig blondes, bright eyes blinking,

desperately try to get my attention.

I guess they don't realize I'm old enough to be their father.


The only thing on my mind is the soft blue smoke of the dark red hills;

soaking in the soft blue water, just up from Horsethief Canyon,

the last time I remember a smile on your face.

The stars were like jewels. So were your eyes.

We drank nigorizake like two crazy clouds that had broken out of prison.

I can't seem to put the memory down.


I pull myself back 'into the now' and watch the endless scurry around me.

Wandering eyes glancing

wanna-be princesses prancing

jaw-jutting male peacocks strutting

not realizing they're dining in the poison jungle.


I wander home in a trance, pondering:

What is the point of this chaos;

this fast-paced fetishism

this new floating world's religion of freneticism?


I close my eyes in this world and open them in another.

I cross paths with Hawkeye in spirit-form.

We're wandering through the canyons out from Bandelier,

somewhere between Sanchez and Hondo.

The Rio Grande is a stone's throw...and so we do.


We start skipping stones and talking about the journey of this life.

His regrets. Mine. Wounds. Time.

Two hawks circle above and I think to myself, 'What a perfect day.'


I turn and look my father in the face

and find myself thinking how young he looks for his age.

It occurs to me:

The weight of the heartbreaks we carry

is the only aging force there really is.

It's why we meet some people in their nineties

whose spirits are lighter than eiderdown

and some twenty-somethings who already seem old,

like they're carrying inhabited dungeons of banished travelers on the inside.


I awake.

It's the first day of autumn

and my first thought of the season

is the work of off-loading useless cargo.

The ground ahead is a mix of rocky and soft

and a bunch of added weight will do nothing

but sink wagons in deep ruts of mud and regret.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /


El Árbol del Mundo (The World Tree)


El Árbol del Mundo (The World Tree)


When I opened my eyes,

I knew I wasn't in a familiar place.


The light of a strange sun

gleamed down through greening branches.


Birds of every color rested there.

Lizards with skin like rainbows.

Snakes slept among the snake-like vines.

I was cautious but did not feel threatened.


A dark woman,

skin like red earth,

was dressed in a robe of white.


She sang a greeting to me

in a tongue I did not know;

shook rattles, dried leaves, smooth branches,

which soothed me.


She smiled and nodded.

I nodded in return.


As I gazed at all the creatures

taking refuge in that Great Tree,

she introduced one of them to me.


Skin black as night,

markings as blue and bright

as the sky in bright daylight,

the earth-dreaming lizard

nestled into the crook of my arm

like a long-lost relative.


I felt something

tightly-bound inside of me

give way;

a grief I didn't realize I carry day to day

from simply being here, in this way.


As I felt the pain ripple through me, 

I knew, then, it was not mine alone.

The Great Earth Body has a pain all Her own.


Then the woman's soft hands touched my face.

I thought to myself: I've never been touched this way.

She kissed my forehead

as a good mother does;

applied ointment to my eyes,

sang a song that stands outside of time.


The Tapestry of Life

frays with your every choice.


Man's endless conquest

of the Rare Blue Flower

will be Her end.


You have all fallen asleep again.


Wake up, children. Wake up. 


(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /








I arose today in the early dark --

felt my own animal-soul stirring


with it

the animal I had eaten days ago

stirring within me also.


A salmon

caught in open water

who’d been fighting current and tide

to make it once again

to where fresh water from the inland river

pours out like an apex of prayers

into the salt sea.


As I gazed out

at the rising light of the salmon-colored dawn

I saw

what every Salish hunter has known before me:


in such receiving - obligation

from such feasting - inheritance

through such bodily-merging - a direction-change to one's own swim-line.



every task with which I engage

I must honor the life-trajectory I took from him.


While crazy-sounding to busy white men's ears,

this listening intently to the body has taught me


we store stories

deep within our cells

that churn and course through us

then flow outward to the surface of the skin


and what we choose to feast on

or mindlessly take in

tips the great scales of our life

in ways we can't comprehend.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /

To explore more of the collaborative soundworld of Alio Die and Amelia Cuni, visit APSARAS.


Grandmother Light


Grandmother Light

Walk with me in the Grandmother Light.

It's here, on the edge of morning,

when the world of fierce running-after hasn't stirred awake yet.


Step into the breeze -- its embrace freeing, not constricting.

Take in the sight of the swaying branches.

Make note how the only sounds here

are your footsteps

your breathing

an owl chanting into the spruce wind darkness

a warbler invoking a dawn

that has yet to arrive from over the hillside.


If we allow ourselves time for a slow-down,

for the breath to wash through the body

like a gentle surf moving in and around

the hard rocks inside us


we're brought into close proximity

to the Indwelling Knowing

everyone seems to be yearning for these days.



in between breaths if we're lucky,

we have a true encounter.

Don't turn anything away.

Your fragility.

The things that keep you on edge.

The regrets still running wild inside you.

Your deepest of longings you haven't been willing to admit

because it could also mean you'll never see their fruition.

Memories of happenings

that tumbled you forward with gasps of delight.


When you open to the moving ecology within you

and feel the moment when the current shifts from distress to resolve,

it's a day you won't soon forget.

Veils are drawn back.

Fortresses crumble.

Membranes that separated

your dreaming and waking worlds

fall away.

This is how to meet the morning.

This is how to meet each other.

This is how to start a new day.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /

Explore the soundworlds of Second Nature, a collaborative ambient environment created by Steve Roach and Robert Logan.


Casa de Balam


Casa de Balam

The humid swell of cicadas

falls upon this soul's ears

as if friendly chatter coming from the next room.


This Layturday, a total surrender to them

for the full turning arc of the sun

with no return to the land of the waking

until a drifting beam of the moon.


Soon these dreaming companions in the pines will be gone

and nothing but thick clouds and frost will remain.

The gold crow of summer high above will fade

handing the season off to Dark Enigma again.


Somewhere in the midst of my late waking,

I hear a faint voice call up from the subterranean stone stairs --

a young inhabitant of the temple whose shape I was dreaming:


Lines on a map mean nothing, she says.

The land now isn't what it was.

From coastal plain to Quintana Roo: once a day's journey as the crow flies.

Whatever gets over-layed here with time and naming is surface chatter.

This will always be the House of the Jaguar of the Sun.

(c) 2017 / Pure Land Poetry / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) /

To learn more about the soundscape artistry of Robert Rich, visit: ROBERT RICH