Wingless Angels

As the wind passes over the sea
we’re born on a flood of salt water
carried by the spirit.
We find ourselves and are lost,
lose ourselves and are found,
this mystery our brother,
the dark night our sister.
Coming alive, the dawn
announces a glory
trembling our hearts,
filling our lungs,
delighted in our
coming and going
like wingless angels.
We are shooting stars,
comets far from home,
blazing with our tail
of tears and joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Wingless Angels” with music by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings

 

 


Radio Giza

I tune into your station
on the wireless radio,
hearing your voice
within the static.
The old rhymes
and sing-song melodies
distorted by the sounds
of Humpty Dumpty
and the Forest Witch.
I remember harmonies –
boys on a street-corner,
girls in the nuns’ choir,
sounds of Christmas eve
and the stories we’d tell.
I could turn up the volume,
shout back over the confusion
but the smell of water
and sight of long-tailed birds
keeps me grounded,
tuned into what’s playing
beyond the uproar,
radio station Giza
and pirate broadcasts
from the high Andes.
The ancients knew,
the voices they heard
still clear and pristine.
Just turn the knob,
tweak your dial.
There’s music playing
that all the king’s men
will never hear.

 

 


photograph by Hana El Zohiry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading by author with music by Ahura

 


The Crossing

The call goes out
from high places
to lush valleys,
broad deserts
and tide rushing seas.
To fashion anew
from broken bones
and ash filled cauldrons,
from the sore tried hearts
and tender feelings
of so many who’ve
gone before.
This is our time,
perilous and difficult
as the Red Sea,
standing between
impassable waters
and the forces of night.
Fear not the voice rings out,
this is your day to live,
to find salvation.
Not to another world
of vain glory
and false promise
but this world
with all its imperfection,
crossing over now
to the green land
and jeweled city.
Steady your hearts
and let the peace
of the eternal flow
to open what lies
before you.
The crossing
is in your hands.

 

 

photograph by Joshua Earle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of The Crossing with music by Sting

 

 


Stand Fast

Sun glints on the broad sweeping sea,
the waters traveling in a strong tide
following the gravity of the moon.
On the earth’s surface
forces pull and people yield,
giving themselves to the urge
of the crowd, the stories
to believe and follow.
Like the old track of the moon
we’ve been trained in gravity,
in what will allow our weight
to be supported by the mass.
Shamans around the night fire,
prophets at the city gate,
warriors who know their inner hearts
and the priestesses denying vanity
know the trap and refuse
the pull of the herd.
Every truth will be found false,
every demand to follow will wither.
Ride on alone if you must,
seek the high ground
above the roaring tide,
the rock rooted deep
to the earth’s core.
Shine on like your brother sun,
humble like your sister moon.
These are the days of earthquake
and upheaval, and in these days
stand fast and be unmoved.

 

 

 

photograph by Sandy Brown Jensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading with music by Bob Dylan

 


In the Fiercest Night

The winds have laid down
after a black night howling.
I went out to the darkness
and the roaring winds calmed me.
The moon showed her face
behind racing clouds
and I was brightened by her light.
The sea pushed onto the rocks,
the sound of rushing waves
reaching deep into my heart
offering peace.
No need to remain defeated
despite how harsh
the troubles suffered.
Life will raise you up
if you speak your desire.
The dark night
and punishing wind
may frighten and roil
but that magical germ buried
deep in your bloodstream
signals your birthright
and in the fiercest night
your joy everlasting.

 

 


photograph by Edward Curtis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading with music from Indigenous

 


Room at Last

Peering into the future
there is the sea
with tide and wind
and sound of birds,
the cloud filled sky
full of light by day,
aglow at night.
There is the land
green and fruitful,
rising from spring
after long winter sleep
and there is the heart
empty of longing,
with room at last
for the silence of peace.

 

 


photograph by Terry Stoupa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Room at Last” with music by Los Angeles Master Chorale

 


Your Original Face

Not good enough
echoes through dreams,
lifetime after lifetime
trying to please,
to shape your self
to another’s standard
while the one in the mirror
remains mortal, imperfect
and near buried.
In the time you have now
offer a kind word,
supporting,
encouraging
the only life
you’ve ever had
and be the one
passed down
through ages,
eroded like stone
until all that’s left
is your original face.

 

 


Navajo Velvet by RC Gorman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Your Original Face” with music by Gary Courtland-Miles

 


Earth Walk

As birds wing over water
our souls travel this world
with tiny hearts beating,
fervent through
the rush of air
and scent of salt.
Propelled from within
through suffering
and mortal ache,
life hollows out
our urgent hunger
until reedlike
we give voice
to the music
of our earth walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Earth Walk” with music by Ry Cooder

 


The New Heaven

The old heaven and earth
are passing away
before our very eyes.
Anger and opinion of little use
as the ground slips beneath our feet
and the wide sea opens.
The words written long ago
about horsemen riding
and a great city falling
are now in present tense.
Hold together what you wish
of the crumbling structures
but be sure to look ahead,
to begin the work
of the new heaven.
Don’t scar it with old hatreds,
with all that hasn’t worked.
Remember to forget
and follow the trail
where life is leading.
Keep peace amidst the turmoil
and your crown in the chaos.
New life is coming
and into that new body
we are all being born.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “The New Heaven” with music by Secret Garden

 

 


While Night Slowly Gathered

Songbirds were singing
as light left the sky,
the day’s warmth lifted up
as the damp sea closed in
and I heard their different voices,
the songs they sang
back and forth between the trees.
Dark came on and they grew quiet,
setting up night camp
high in the green leaves.
The tide bottomed out,
clouds covered the sky
and swifts began to careen,
taking insects at dusk
while the music faded.
I don’t imagine the birds
were singing for me
yet I was glad
to hear their songs
while night slowly gathered.

 

 


photograph by Amariei Mihai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “While Night Slowly Gathered” with music by Norm Smookler