After the Great Illness Passes

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After the Great Illness Passes

— a poem for those seeing these times clearly

There’ll come a time

when we sit together

and take deep breaths again.


There’ll come a time

when we aren’t bracing,

daily,

for the next onslaught.


There’ll come a time,

after the Great Illness passes,

when we remember who we really are.


Until then, don’t turn away.

Enter silence for long swaths of time if you need to.

But, don’t turn away.

Record with your Heart-Eye

for your children’s children

what is happening right now.


It has become politically-expedient

to don the Cloak of Cruelty again.

Every generation asks:

How did this happen on our watch?


Breathe!

I may be going blind,

and I may not be here to see it unfold,

but I have seen the future.

A Great Reclamation will unfurl.


People will move from room to room

as if moving through a great house.

The Revered Woman will be present.

Her soft-sturdy-groundedness is paramount.

Men of Esteem will play the role of Conscious Man again.


Crossing over each threshold,

acclimating to the Unseen Aether in each place,

every home will conjure purification

and the Great Spirit of Grief underneath it all.


Everyone will wash each other’s brow

and whisper: The fever has broken.



(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Cicada / Music of the Smoky Rainbow / Roy Mattson

image: World Between Lines / Patrick Hendry

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The Inner Caldera

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The Inner Caldera

last poem of the season — for many a fellow traveler

While the Root-Body wallows deep in shadow,

a few inches out from the skin

the Seeing-Body moves through the outer world.


Sublime

truthful

steeping

soaking

bending

cowering…

this is a time of fatigue

from absorbing all that isn’t being said.


Don’t underestimate the gravity of collective mind.

These are weighty times.

But, examine your footing.

What is behind such words as “imminent”?

What is being unstitched behind phrases like: “I am done pretending.”


The Seeing-Body knows there is nothing that is not energy.

The Knowing-Body sees everything is a matter of management.

What is your truest investment?

Remember the old instruction:

Resources are for re-Sourcing.

When is the last time you bathed in the tributaries of the heart?


So, here we are

looking at two pack horses in midstream.

The old ones say:

Transfer the load

— all of it —

from pretending to tending.

It is not too late.

What is your truest investment?


Body-mind and heart can align again.

We may have lost some years to tears and fears,

but the big sky country of the Inner Caldera remains.

Its open air and sweet breeze of renewal still waits.

What will it take

for us to give ourselves permission

to draw in that unrestricted breath of freedom?

What will it take for us to push through

as if we had just emerged from the womb

and entered this world anew?


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: The Unfolding / A Field of Night / Chequerboard

image: Valles Caldera, New Mexico


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Perennial

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Perennial

Having danced with the Fractal Switchblade, let me just say:

All of us

are traversing

the Bardo of Heartbreak.

>|<


Tonight, I want to talk about one layer of it.

For the first time in a long, long time, I have perspective again.

I have unstitched within myself one of the great traps of man.

First, let me diagnose the conundrum.

Then, I will describe how I got here.


>|<

Let us begin with the topic of ‘Men Being Men’.

I am not referring to those beings of true privilege —
albeit “poor” in materiality, those of great wealth of spirit

born into cultures whose ‘making-of-True Human Beings’ is still intact.

I am referring to the rest of us —

recipients breast-fed on fermented trauma

inheritors of the dispensation of weaponized religion

receivers of this soul-deadening culture

into which we were born.

Warped and distorted maps and mapmaking

of what it means to really be a man.

It is precisely

embedded within this paltry, half-lit version of humanity

from which I make this commentary.

>|<

Let us turn toward the topic of mortality.

See my skull bobbing atop my Zen walking staff!

I want to talk about the kind of death we don’t shy away from.

The one with which we do not pretend.

The one we don’t try to skip to the side of

through endless distraction.

The one we stare in the face, and embrace,

because we finally see…

Death is not an end.

It is

but a gate.


>|<

Now, I want to talk about the way older men

at a certain point in our walking

suddenly find

that the only way we feel ourselves bloom inside

is in the presence of a younger woman.

Ah ha!

Have I got your attention now, lads?

We don’t talk about this in this culture.

We only point fingers and shake our heads.

We don’t ask the questions that lead

to the great interiority of men.

We don’t ponder, for example,

that in their every private moment

they are relentlessly meditating

on how they didn’t “add up”

on how they haven’t felt loved

on how there are

mere nuggets of days left in their hand

and how the rest of them

are days and nights that have already faded into the background.

Left unconscious,

this tornado of blades

will tear everything up in its path.

>|<


But, it doesn’t start there.

This trance is a two-way street.

It happens like this.

In middle-age, many men turn away.

They focus on status and career

and fitting into the empty culture

that has been fed to us.


Meanwhile, like an exiled citizen,

women cease to feel truly seen

by the ones who pledged to be at their side ‘til the end.

After many a silent tear,

the older man eventually reaches out

and finds the-once-bright-flower

who brought life to his eye

has withered

and soured

and turned the ground barren.

In pain,

like a lost thirsty traveler

wandering for days in a desert,

the man is drawn to every mirage

every beam of sunlight on the rocks

any bright flower that throws the life-giving light

back to the heart of his eye.

>|<

There is only one antidote.

Seek out

the wild man

in love with ALL of life

on the inside.

>|<

I am of the Ikkyu School.

Each morning,

we quiet priests of pine and cicada

mountain and cloud

moon-drunk stupor

and the practice of Conjure-Fantasy, See-Through-Fantasy, Release-Fantasy,

bend low and kiss the Kannon-kissed Earth

and chant:

Joy in the midst of suffering is the mark of the Ikkyu School.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Kielo / Sylvi / Igneous Flame

image: Bombas Gen, Valencia, Spain / Sofia Bertomeu



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Only Falling Away

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Only Falling Away

She said I would know when I finally knew.

She said I would no longer speak once I had seen.

I assumed, then, it would be freeing;

not a nail in the coffin of thinking,

not a final turning-toward silence.

Like so many others first setting out,

I mistook the initial departing as foreshadowing —

of some kind of great impending arrival.

No.

No arrival.

No departure.

No terrain.

No more travels.

No more reaching.

Only falling away.


Speechless

like one who has crossed-over

come back

not allowed to stay —

there is only noticing,

with nothing left to say.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Noora / Sylvi / Igneous Flame

image: Sunrise in Paradise / Lucia Otero

1 Comment

Victorious Cloud Bodhisattvas

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Victorious Cloud Bodhisattvas

“The spirit is shaped on the anvil of time.” — doña Río

The storm’s gift comes

goes

leaves no trace;

permission to grieve

granted

from the rain on our face.

Strong winds and sun temper our skin.

With a slow single breath,

Thunderbolt Mind flows back in.

Mount up, riders!

Mount up!

The protectors of Anraku are gathering.

While the Dark Lords shape this pained and Heavy World,

the liberating lotus-wisdom continues to swirl.


O Victorious Cloud Bodhisattvas!

We have already won the battle!

We have already won the fight!

Even if we perish on spears today,

we ride upon steeds of light.

We ride upon the Steeds of Light.


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Apprenticing to the Steam

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Apprenticing to the Steam

If you apprentice yourself
to the steam surrounding Zen master Cicada,
I have to warn you:

Through the long reverberating waves
and short-pulsing bursts of his teaching
something will be installed within you.

A hot glowing coal of knowledge
that slowly burns out
everything superfluous
from inside of you.

In the end, you’ll be empty
immovable
idle —
cicada song
human heartbeat
one.

You can’t make plans anymore
look for an angle
pine after old loves
or would-be ones.

Ego’s factory and distribution center
has a sign out front that reads:
Closed for Business.

You’ve become a ghost, prematurely,
in a world quickly on its own way to dying.

Now, there is only watching the years trot by
waiting for the body to catch up
with the inevitable —
which Cicada Mind
is already most intimate.


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This Passing Through

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This Passing Through

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” — C.G. Jung

It’s sad, really, how we don’t grow wise to this.

How we don’t grow wise in this.

How we don’t grow wise in love, and loving.

How we even rob ourselves and others

of a proper letting-go through our senselessness.


How, as people, couples, families, nations, people on either side of a divide,

we just can’t seem to maintain our mindfulness in the face of it;

how the old, unruly archetypes

in all their pain, mischief, messiness, and unrestrained glory

have to keep kicking up through the dust of human souls

just to remind us

by way of our ever-present mindlessness

what great harm we do

if we do not embrace our human fragility

and — duly informed by it — embrace the other.


Without that, we stumble.

Without that, we fall.

We fall down empty wells of memory, grabbing for roots that are no longer there.

Nothing prevents the tumble

or the harsh landing.

It happens every time.


The minute we settle in and say, “I know….!” —

here come the raven beaks hungry for our eyes.

Here come the wolf jaws biting into our hearts while we sleep.

We all wake up exhausted in these times

and wonder: “What the hell did we do last night?”

There will be no clues.


Only a sadness beyond our personal ones.

Only our rapid heartbeats

and our souls on the verge of tears.

The taste of salt from our eyes

having made its way to our tongues,

we fall speechless —

shocked we chose to follow the same road

that cut us all to ribbons the last time around.


And there,

in the quiet of the morning,

many a great and heavy thing will come to us,

and, privately, we will ask:

“How did we come to this, again?”


>|<


I hereby thank the Disheveled God of Holy Clowns

for continuing to kick my ass.

Thank you, to the Spirit of Ikkyu the Rambler,

for showing me the Way Through the Brambles —

to no longer feeling the call to pretend…

to no longer feeling the obligation to sit and abide at the same table as the strategically-hateful…

to no longer feeling the need to hold my tongue.

There is no preventing true Zen speech in the promised land.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Mycelia / Fissures / Robert Rich + Alio Die

image: Annie Spratt

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There Is Only One Woman

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There Is Only One Woman

There are no door prizes in this grand falling away.

There are no choice seats on a sinking ship.

Everything in the shadows will be revealed.

All disharmonants, exposed.

Any and every ‘thing’

we never wanted to look at

will be vomited up.

We’ll have to sit in it until we ‘get’ it.

It is the nature of decay and renewal.


McMansions, white picket fences

white picket wickedness

gated “communities”

gates erected between us

gates erected within —

none will be fortress enough.

There is no erecting walls or building fences in high wind.


There is only one woman.

At first, she points gently — her first respectful offering.

Then, she cuts deeply — her second.

She’ll do it with words, and wind —

the Blade of Time

the Scythe of the Seasons

losses.

She’ll wait you out until you frighten yourself;

until your childish, timeborne fantasies evaporate.

She’ll feed you and dine with you; drink you under the table.

She’ll scare and tenderize you with a single glance.

The litmus test of actual wakefulness

is whether or not we still cling to old conditioning —

the one caught up in possession, possessions, possessiveness.

There is only one woman, ever.

She cannot be possessed in her many forms and shapes.

She moves through the bazaar, gently.

She moves across the land, fiercely.

She will call you out; hollow you out.

She is your final embrace

and the one that receives you at the end.

The whole world is being turned

into a hollow bone to make way for Her.

It starts in the souls of women and men.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Triple Gem of Wisdom / All Our Ancestors / Tuu

image: NASA

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The World's Mendoza Lines: Whispers From The Upper World

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The World's Mendoza Lines: Whispers From The Upper World

Mendoza Line: derived from the name of baseball shortstop Mario Mendoza, who had an exceedingly poor batting average, the Mendoza line is the cutoff point representing the threshold of utter incompetence (when a player’s presence on a Major League team cannot be justified). The Mendoza line-as-concept can be applied to any realm — business, government, leadership, the paltry response of mainstream members of the GOP to the phenomenon of Trumpism and McConnellism (which will haunt the political party for decades to come), or the lackadaisical response of the global community to verified realities of the climate crisis and its impending impact upon sustainable civilization.


People talk intellectually about the Three Worlds.

They read Eliade or Harner or some other book

about “shamanism” and immediately cast their eyes

outward, downard, upward. The Three Worlds are within you.

The entry into them is within you. The challenges of these realms

are within you, from the issues of the lower chakras to the higher ones.

Your hang-ups and addictions, your moving

beyond the things that hook you, to your true sources of

energy and power for your life. They are within you.

You can’t really relate to The Three Worlds outside of you

until you’ve become a master of The Three Worlds within you.

This is the nature of the initiation that is before the entire planet.

The macro is within the micro. The micro within the macro.

— doña Río —


I. LOWER WORLD / LOWER CHAKRA

Face it.

We have a President who was shaped by a love-withholding Iron Maiden Mommy

and a KKK-loving, black-hating Daddy…

…and this, my friends, has led to a man

who views women as objects to be toyed with

and tossed aside,

and brown and black people

as expendable.

On busses, beyond what he thinks is within earshot,

he talks about “grabbing pussies”,

and forcing himself on women

because…”when you’re a star, they let you do it.

You can do anything.” [direct quote: 45th President of the United States]

Some of you elected this smarmy bastard as the President

and you’re using your Fake “Christianity”

as justification for keeping him in office,

as justification for his slow-killing of babies on the border.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.

I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.

I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

— Matthew 25:35

Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me,

and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven

belongs to such as these.”

— Matthew 19:14

Oh, how far you’ve drifted GOP,

oh, how far you’ve drifted Franklin Graham;

all of you — your Daddy’s Great Pretenders.

In the coming years,

you simply cannot imagine

the Hell you and your children will know.

II. MIDDLE WORLD

I don’t know how it is with householders.

Zen monks and nuns either.

I’m not even really sure about other hermits I know.

We so rarely cross paths.

We so rarely compare notes.

When we do manage to bend the line of time,

we sit under the lantern-bright moon

and lose ourselves in storied vats of wine.


I haven’t seen any cloud-omens today.

However, this much I know.

Though I know it is all coming,

I really don’t want to hear the words: I told you so.

It really doesn’t look good from here.

It’s why the real hermits in the mountains

have been saying the same thing for centuries,

over and over and over and over:

If you don’t learn to treat the Mother like a mother,

she will turn on you like an angry jilted lover.


III. UPPER WORLD

enantiodromia: originally coined by the Greek philosopher Stobaeus, it is a principle introduced in the West by C.G. Jung and refers to the tendency of psychic energy to swing to extremes until a new equilibrium is found. It is, in essence, a way of explaining how psychic forces in a person or nation transmogrifies into its shadow opposite before finding balance.

There are eyes upon us.

They are watching this strange shapeshifting.

They are taking notes.

They are writing a history that will go

into an invisible library far from here.

Though their penmanship is in the form

of neurons, cells, thoughts, and bones,

what they write down becomes the ebb and flow

of individual karma and collective fates.



(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Cave Dwellers / The Serpent’s Lair / Steve Roach + Byron Metcalf

image: “The Three Worlds” / Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM / Frank LaRue Owen

link source: The link above goes to a Soundcloud podcast entitled “Deep Adaptation” by Jem Bendell. I learned of it from a VICE article entitled The Climate Change Paper So Depressing It’s Sending People to Therapy

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Between Two Birds

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Between Two Birds

healing cannot begin until there is an accurate diagnosis

A lone mourning dove on a wire.

Her coos snap you back into the now.


You leave the grip of your grief for a moment

and a silver wash of light flows in.

It shimmers at the edge of the clouds

and on the tips of the leaves and branches around you.

An attention deeper than you can remember is suddenly present.


A swarm of ants emerging from a small hill at your feet catches your eye.

You think:

This whole planet is the Mother Hill.

We are but ants scurrying to and from our places.


We are but ants scurrying to and from our places.

The studious young woman in the mailroom.

The dishwasher heading to night class — and then to his second job.

A Mexican man faithfully mowing the lawns of the rich for his 14th year —

still unwelcome in this America we’ve allowed ourselves to become.


A cardinal the color of a blood-orange lights upon a branch.

A song explodes from his chest as if it is the last one he will ever sing.


You think:

How perfectly free he is.



We have such a long way to go

before this really is

the land of the free

and the home of the brave.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Two Birds / Ouka / Daigo Hanada

image: orange cardinal perching on branch / Randy Fath








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Space-Time Archaeology

2 Comments

Space-Time Archaeology

You aren’t fabricating it.

There is a process going on.

The process is both personal and collective.


The process is multigenerational and multidimensional.

Day to day, the process involves holding the tension

of the Earth Realm in your own body —

between joy and suffering,

seeing and turning away,

cocooning and showing up.


It involves your gut, your eyes, your mind, the stars,

and the deep root of Being.


Everyone is required to look into the mirror.


>|<

Those that came before us dwelled within three camps.

Those driven by fear, eeking out an existence.

We’ll call them Survivors.

Those driven by manifestation, exploration, shaping reality.

Let’s call them The Builders.


Then there are those who saw beyond;

saw beyond the illusions of fear and establishment,

who took on the deep practice of watching the process.


They are the person

and the people

who woke up to the Eyes Behind the Eyes.

They are The Observers.


>|<


For weeks, I have been drifting.

Our mariner-ancestors called it the doldrums.


No wind in the sails.

No direction.

Praying for any kind of breeze.

A former lover contacted me.

She’d had a dream of me.

Her message: The hour is late.

I step out into the night air.

All is silent.

The hour is late.

The hour is late.



(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Hyphae / Flora and Fauna / Roy Mattson

image: Ihor Malytskyi






2 Comments

Immovable Cloud

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Immovable Cloud

Some nights I have no choice.

The spinning cells of my body won’t let me sleep.

Following the instructions of the Ikkyū School,

I hold an involuntary night vigil

for this strained, pained, blood-stained world.


Find the thread of joy in the midst of suffering.

It is a good practice

but I always seem to end up

having a Zen tantrum these days.


O bodhisattva-warriors of times gone by,

couldn’t you have given us a bit more damn warning?


I suddenly think of that last image in Jim Harrison’s death poem —

a once-lush world — “God’s body” — wounded, hollowed out,

like an abandoned wasp nest;

his own lamentation about Termite Culture and The World of Red Dust.


For a second, I think of antidotes.

Maybe it’s time for me to go on a Buddhist retreat?

I laugh out loud at myself.

What the hell would they do with me?

I’m the Archie Bunker of Buddhism;

the Lucian Connally of Zen.

Cicadas in the pines

a northerly Gulf wind

agave lightning

all collaborate

and drive me naked into the steam of night.

I gaze down at my sun-baked feet

and know they are claustrophobic and angry at me.

They wanted to have wandered by now —

Shikoku

Mahabodhi

The Water Palace at Taman Soekasada Ujung


How could I possibly go on a “vacation”, anyway,

with all of this evil running the show?

How could I relax into the rhythm of the road

with the image of precious children crammed into cages?


I untie the binding cords of body-mind,

hoist the sails of this weather-beaten neurocircuitry,

and ride the wind.

I see myself tucking them all in,

praying that Kannon, the Mother of All Mothers, is with them.


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Plumaje del Viento (Plumage of the Wind)

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Plumaje del Viento (Plumage of the Wind)

Part of my spirit has wings.

It keeps splitting off from the rest of me

and gliding, undetected,

across the one border no one is talking about.


Below me — the River of Spirits.

I see souls making the crossing.

Some turn back.

They can’t seem to let go

of what they had on the one side.

The river mirrors moon, cloud, stars,

silver-blue feathers of a macaw.

The river divides the hustle-bustle world

from the quiet terrain

where the ones who have gone on

are watching from afar.

I see the silhouette of my own plumage.

>|<

Each day, I realize I feel more at home there.

Each night, I realize I am just visiting here.

Each month, on this side,

feels like another nail

driven into the coffin lid

of hopes and dreams

I won’t see.

I cross over as a macaw.

I return as a coyote

smuggling night-songs

into the Province of Tyrants and Termite People.


>|<

Sometimes I see my teacher over there.

She’s making tortillas pocked like the moon.

She sips mezcal and smiles.

She doesn’t talk anymore.

She says I don’t need it.

She simply transmits thought-pictures.

I either smile, laugh, or weep.

We still sit zazen as if we were two old Chinese men.

She transmits the image of a mountain

and with it, says:

Even in the strongest of storms,

this is an unshakable foundation.

>|<

She said if I’m going to stay here,

I need to start taking much better care of myself.

Sleep more.

Drink less.

Put away the smokes for good.

Maybe even love again one day.

She guffaws at my incredulous upturned eyebrow.

I’m suspicious about everything —

except for the part about more naps.

I told her after my last go-’round

my heart feels like an old lump of strained coal.

Either light it on fire,

or crush it until it turns into a diamond.

The Lover. The Hermit.

Either way is falling in love with the world.

Either way will break your heart.

>|<


Lately,

an ancestor has been showing up

on my way back across the divide.

Abuela Esperanza — from my mother’s mother’s line.

Al-Andalus. Cadiz. Longwater. Taysha. Tejas.

Crowned with a fedora,

wrapped in a poncho the color of sun-baked earth,

she hands me a care-package before I cross.

Hidden within loomed cloth —

a tin star, a milagro, a map.


Tuck this away

until after the eclipse.

Await further instructions.

I return with a craving for two things

so strong they nearly set my limbs into motion;

a spirited feast of spices and stories,

a need to travel like a tumbleweed.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: 7 Cielos Negros / Dharmaflamenco / Billy “Blanco” White

image: macaw, Costa Rica / Dan Hadfield

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Keep The Light : Here in Amerikkka

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Keep The Light : Here in Amerikkka

inspired by the individuals doing the most important work of these times, who are so rarely commended for doing so

—for Lady Padilla

— +++ —

“When fascism comes to America, it will be

wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

— James Waterman Wise —

I can remember a time as a fledgling child

when I thought of “The Church” as a righteous entity

— a body of loving believers

embodying the spirit of a loving Jesus —

who would stand up

with a unified voice

and serve

as a shield

against tyranny,

poverty,

barbarity.

Rare as it is, I’ve seen this Spirit of Serving.

Some nights, in the here and now, I cross paths with those

who actually do the work of The Good Shepherd.

These days, mostly, I think of “The Church”

as an air conditioned social club,

and I still sometimes chide myself

for my early misplaced naivete.

Still, the true Lantern-Bearers walk on.

The true Lantern-Bearers walk on.

I can remember a time as a fledgling child

when I thought of “America” as a wholesome entity

— a collection of uplifting, world-binding, world-healing principles

that would be held up

like a beacon of truth and justice and relief in a dark world;

that would fight against tyranny,

poverty,

barbarity,

and protect the fragile-hearted

who would come to our shores and borders

because they themselves had been drawn to the light.

Then, I learned its true history…our true history,

and my eyes fell open — wide-awake.

These days, mostly I think of this nation as a land of sleepwalkers and tyrants;

the sleepwalkers unaware that the light has been extinguished

in all the old lanterns by the “Not-See” Party…

…the tyrants willing to trade-in The Universal Root Principles

in an effort to make a nation in their forced image (the white singularity)

rather than all our image (our actual diversity).

You see, this nation defeated the Nazi Party.

My own grandfather trained bombardier pilots in WWII

some of whom rode the wind

to make sure that scourge was beaten back.

But here in “Amerikkka”,

we are all living under a different banner;

it’s the flag of the “Not-See” Party…toothbrush not included.

We’re all at it again — our Cyclical Curriculum of Dark Dreaming.

Jackboots are hitting the streets in Amerikkka —

slithering through barrios

as if Quetzcoatl had an evil twin.

We’re putting children in cages like chattel

while the wealthy-elite gather together

on the deck of another “Titanic” —

enjoying drinks and tunes,

quietly humming “Nearer My God to Thee”

with no clue what the words actually mean.

Still, the true Lantern-Bearers walk on.

The true Lantern-Bearers walk on.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Undercurrent 2 (Jesus Bombed a Baritone) / Undercurrents / Hammock

image: Families Belong Together March / Orange County, CA / Samantha Sophia

footnote: “Nearer My God to Thee” is purportedly the last tune played by the musicians on the Titanic before it sank.

*consider donating to: Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project and the ACLU.

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Constant Angel

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Constant Angel

I cannot speak for other poets.

I cannot know what moves them.

I cannot know what churns their luminous spears of truth across the vastness.

I cannot know if it is pain or union,

disappointment in man

or celebration.

I only know a ‘settling into’ occurs that is not a ‘settling for’.

I only know eyes cease being cast directly

and become tips of wings sweeping water.

I cannot speak for other poets.

I cannot know if they have found

the same home in solitude as I.

I only know

when we are done

— whether just for the evening,

or at the end of it all —

something unseen

has lassoed us

bound us together

corralled us

into a place where we become kin.

From there, I look out from eyes that have given up all seeking.

I see the constant angel who accompanies us.

It is to her

and you

that I pledge allegiance.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Distant Look / Forgotten Gods / Suspended Memories

image: feather / Javardh

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Nothing Has Changed

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Nothing Has Changed

I. The Top-Down Approach

A hermit of the mountain reached out to me.

The mad world had encroached on his quiet.


The irony:

He wanted a reminder

about the Grand Shape of Things

from this hermit down in the city.



I wish I had something bright to report, I said,

but nothing has changed.

Nothing has changed.

Everyone is still pretending...

pretending they aren’t strangers;

pretending that eyes aren’t being made blind

to the majesty all around us and within us

by the spiraling red dust of these times.


II. The Strange Air of Estrangements

A struggling brother reached out to me.

Estranged from his father, he wanted to hear

from another son who’d gone his own way,

who’d circled back around

and befriended his own father again another day.


Nothing has changed, I said.

The ancient rule of warriors still applies.

Sons still have to “kill” their fathers

so they’ll cease chasing after a blessing

their own fathers never got from theirs.

When sons and fathers

can finally sit at the same table

as brothers and dreamers,

then they can get down to business

with The Great Work they’re each meant to do.


III. No Shortcuts: The Tumbleweed Sutra

A former lover reached out to me.

The floor of the house of her life had collapsed.

In her own pained words, she felt “cast out to sea”.

She hoped to reorient to her life again

from the benefit of our long ago history.



Nothing has changed, I said.

If there’s a wound inside you,

you can’t take shortcuts

or drink or sleep your way around it.

You can only travel into it

and listen deeply

to what it needs to say to you.

Nothing has changed.


Romance is projection.

Two people, conjuring like sorcerers,

casting their illusions of the “ideal one”

onto the other, hoping for “completion”,

“belonging”.

If you’re awake to it, it’s all well and fine;

but best to belong to yourself, first,

find your own completion, second,

and then, perhaps, one day you can live

with your best friend.

Nothing has changed.


If there’s a lonesome hole behind your ribs,

you will never be able to fill it

through shopping

eating

winning awards.

Become a tumbleweed.

Roll on from all of that.


You can only fill the hole

with the soil of knowledge

and the sunlight of the Love-beyond-love.

Then, a garden will grow

whose harvest you can share with others.

This doesn’t usually occur

until after reaching a trail side sign

that reads:

mid-life.

Nothing has changed.


IV. Hoisting Sails

After all of this being reached out to,

I reached out to an old traveler myself.


I spoke of feeling the tide of life pulling back.

I spoke of feeling this body slowing down.

I spoke of entering a drift of time-aloneness-silence.

I asked, If I’m doing this now, what will my elder years hold?


The elder years aren’t for withering away, he said.

They’re for fashioning an invisible boat you will sail in one day.

A light and nimble vessel,

free of the barnacles of regret,

that will carry you across

the ocean of space and time.


The boat will need supplies:

an oar

a lantern for night-travel

for when clouds cover the stars

and you must consult your compass.

And the light in the lantern? I asked.


The hidden flame of heart-mind, the traveler said.

Nothing has changed.

Kindle it. Tend it. Follow its lead.

Look for it in other people’s eyes

in the smiles of people around a table

in your dreams.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: As the Weeks Passed / Intangible Imbrications / Andrew Lahiff

image: Chen YiChun



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Augur of the Curve

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Augur of the Curve

poems for headphones

Age of strain.

Ashes in people’s faces.

Ashes at people’s feet.

Souls chasing faces;

faces on currency.

Skin starved for touch.

Weathered hands rest

on levers of time, memory, sweat.

Click of hours come and go.

Bone dust of sleeping birds reconstitute.

Trepidatious creatures within

twitch

gather

stretch tendons —

move us all along

toward the augur of the curve.

Do you feel the road turning?

Do you feel time turning?

Do you feel your body

moving

in slow motion

as if your spirit

had already left the scene?

Somewhere,

beneath branches of prophecy,

the Hanging God

remembers the old language

reflected in the moonlit pool

all over again.

Within the orchard’s glow,

a child of the sun

hears the song of the sun.

A forgotten place

becomes a temple of the sun.

A child of the sun

through the song of the sun

becomes a priest of the sun.

A child of the sun

through the silent heat of the sun

becomes a priestess of the sun.

Someone remarks about familiar terrain;

how nice the breeze is tonight.

A lone traveler moves east along the strand.

Soft brown feet

leave tracks in cloud-white sand.

“Reincarnation”

— the kind that happens

multiple times within a given life —

is always preceded by departure.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: phenakistoscope / A Novel Sense of Calm / Massergy

image: warm sunrise on beach / Rachel Cook

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At A Glance

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At A Glance

Best read on desktop and listened to with headphones.

Sometimes, in order to go forward,
you must journey back awhile
to that place where you first lost yourself —

that place behind the mountains
where you found handfuls of flint and shells
left by others long ago
to remind you of The Long Body;

the one we all have
that stretches free-and-light
across all man-made demarcations.

Sometimes, in order to go forward,
you must journey back awhile
to that time outside of time
where you first found yourself —

that place in the desert
where you found painted shards,
- morning ochre and sunset blue -
left as offerings by others
to remind you of The Long View.

Like a veil falling from a jilted bride,
white buffalo clouds rolled in tonight.

Fire hissed all the way down past The Thunderbird’s roost.

Until now,
this Scribe of Invisible Movement
did not fully comprehend
the Language of the In-Between.

Tonight, however, they all spoke-up
and they said the same thing:

Everything opposite is mirrored within.
Nothing truly longed for goes away.
No dream, no path, that once truly sustained life ever passes away.

At any moment, in any place,
you too can be First Human Waking.
Real love is boundless.
Real truth can never be suppressed.
Real freedom is a tree no blade or poison can defeat.
Real elegance liberates.
False elegance enslaves.
Whole worlds can be freed or upturned
with a simple glance,…or a single phrase.



(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Nightshade / SoMa / Steve Roach + Robert Rich

image: Jean Wimmerlin

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