While Sleeping, A Haiku

there must be sunrise
the darkness has gone away
magic while I sleep

—Paul Causey


Dear Tishawne: 
how is your head? 
Has your skin thinned 
soft, like my mother’s did, years ago? 
Has your hair fainted? 
Do you float through air as the dust and ashes do?
Do the dogs now shrink from your touch? 
My mother said they sniff out poison, 
the infinite repeating rot that clutches at the haunches. 
They wait for The Victory or The Death.
Until then, they will not let you pet them. 
Have you touched a fuzzy dew-dropped blade of grass ? 
Do you find it curled up grey within the hour?  
My mother hated flowers during her poisoning. 
Their velvet petals smelled of metal, 
their color always withered at chemo-laden finger’s touch.
My mother suffered her houseguest for 2 years. 
Eventually, it departed.  
The chemo posted too many ragged eviction notices 
fluttering a muttering,  “It’s not her time to die, she must suffer life a little more.”  
Are you hungry? 
I have warmed you some miso. 
When you expel the congregation and the choir and all the angels and saints in heaven, 
when you are finally empty, drink in the time, the miso of silence.
There is nothing to do, but rest and get better.

Listen: I have found the rope and knotted it.
Here, take it. It is very thick. 
I weave seaman’s knots from lightning and sea brine tears.
The fraying burns all tiny hands that grab; 
except for yours, I hope 
this rope will pull you out of dark.
 Please, take this rope and climb. 
Or sit a while and swing gentle.
I am patient.
I will see you shine again a different way than you shine now, today. 

—Emily Romano

Another Day of Practice

i walked out on 
the edge of the Bay
in the street behind me the
horrible breathing of
a leaf blower

I come, searching for
silence but
can’t escape what is

three little brown ground squirrels feeding
in the grass don’t seem bothered maybe
their tiny ears can only hear their munching on
the grasses

what is the prison I 
am trying to escape? Why can’t things be different?
Where is my silence?

my teacher is speaking...
participate in whatever you hear, whatever
thoughts and feelings that arise
whatever the perception of this
very moment
don’t hope for things to get better!
it is only in this moment that
anything is real…

eight cyclists ride by
a group of men on a bench are talking
one of them sneezes,

—Bruce Linton


“a man feels the world with his work like a glove.” 
From Open and Closed Spaces by Tomas Trastromer

The sun shines through my window,
finds me sitting behind my desk
and ruffles work papers 
with tiny particles of dust, floating in the air,
because they are simply there.
Like me, they hang,
suspended on invisible fingers, only there 
when light touches the surface of a finite thing.
To be here, I must be seen.
I may be fully present, acutely here,
in my own skin, but if you cannot see me, hear me, 
feel, smell, or taste me, if you do not acknowledge me
in some way, I am not truly here.

So, when I become present in the moment,
I must also be mindful that without you,
I am nothing, but a part of the ever-present universe,
the Tao, the nothing and the every thing.
To be present means I must also receive you,
to accept you and acknowledge you,
for the sun shines on each of us,
makes us visible to the world.
To be present is to see, to understand, 
to hang in the air like tiny particles of dust
suspended by invisible fingers of light.

— Paul Causey


words spoken out loud
spoken to the universe
poems become a prayer

— Paul Causey


My mother looks at me and sees only my father 
Our noses that settle the same way
Our lips curling into identical smiles 
Which I suspect now only looks like gritting teeth 
To a snarl
She sees likeness in our addictions 
The likeliness that I too never find satisfaction with just one 
My hard working nature distorted to hell bent 
I can not fault her hurt 
While my brain knows it’s misdirected 
My heart still fries in my chest as her glare peers instead through me 
How can I not hate my reflection 

My father looks at me and sees only my mother 
Delicate hands that move to create where she said crafty he heard manipulate 
Feels unease that at any moment I will be gone with the next spark of inspiration 
Call it impulsive 
Nothing to tether me here 

The flight home takes me each time to the pit of my stomach
Preparing to show up as the worst parts of two people 
The love from the other tainting what little they have to give me so each warm embrace instead feels ice cold 
Uncomfortable bones clashing like dead branches Morse code messaging me in the middle of the night 

The signal is received on this end and it reads “a battery two parts negative, never to work, with the audacity to even try for functional. There is no charge. There is no spark”.

— Harmony Hagadorn

The Hand of God


— Kim Mosley 




t r a n s c e n d e n t 
  s k i e s 

          t  r  a  n  s  l  u  c  e  n  t 

l  i g  h  t  


— Ksenia Alessandra Petrova

When The Penny Drops

And still,
when the penny drops,
I’m startled to find
how little there is to know
about our quaint genesis of life,
about our birth-forged resolution in death,
about how little we think we need to know, 
engaged for days and weeks and months, 
intent on obfuscation,
assumed impervious with the distractions called youth.

As year after year after year
living our silkworm lives
aging continues a hunger for its due,
patient like a feral cat.
Wary that there is never enough.
Yet never never matters.

So questionably we only flirt 
with pivotal questions: 
like how am I to be seen?
Does water flowing, know it has depth and tides?
Who demands to know (and why) 
the degree of wet that makes water moist?

Now, unquestionably close to being inactive, 
we’re told (or maybe I’m finally learning):
Penetrate the doubt.
Take comfort that inquiry permits response, 
that response enriches inquiry.

and as these days to contemplate,
by default decrease,
I’m yearning for a legacy, 
a koan-bred presentiment  
that’s thankfully saying:
to be content, 
there is no need 
to ponder if trees consider 
what water means to fish.

And still, 
when all is said and done, 
there is only a grace of spaciousness,
always a fullness of intimacy.

— Ed Sancious

Reflection on my life as it is

How do I hold it all, my life 
Gently, tenderly, angrily, pityingly 
Knowing it hangs, like an ill assorted, loose fitted garment 
The weave and pattern 
Complex, changing, or running together 
Like a huge jigsaw puzzle Randomly tossed by life
Dense and dark in some places But always with light filtering through 
Put this way
I don’t even need to hold it
I don’t even have a big enough container 
Just my being present to each fragment of experience 
Allowing it to filter through my being 
Staying open to the fluency of shifts and changing interpretations 
Knowing clearly my time span is limitlessly limited 

—Jean Lopez

A Shared Path

Sometimes, if we share a path together,
we will come to know each other a little better.
Perhaps, if the path is difficult,
treacherous in its weavings,
it is enough to bring us together,
and maybe for a little while we can forget 
that our differences, our fears, separated us, kept us apart.
For a little while, we can be whole, secure, and at peace.

We all share this path called life.
Perhaps we are at different points along the trail,
but it is the same trail,
that, at once, can take us nowhere, 
or anywhere we need to go.

—Paul Causey

Faces of play.

    Caught on film, a tall and lean coyote and a short and chubby badger play hide and seek at the entrance to a tunnel built to safely take them, should they want to go, under a highway to the other side. The coyote jumps up and down, tempting the badger to come along. The badger teases the coyote, comes toward him, then back, tempted to stay. After a lot of back and forth — tempt, tease, tempt, tease — finally they go off into the dark of the tunnel together. I, the badger, am thinking, why bother? It’s so much easier to stay here, be alone.
    Not to have to hear that my friend is about to leave for a week in Cambria with her husband. Then, after a two-day camping trip along the ocean, two weeks in their second home in the Idyllwild mountains before flying to Europe for seven weeks — Italy, Spain, Portugal — from which she will begin her walk along the Camino de Santiago, when her husband will join her to celebrate, no matter how far she has been able to navigate the Camino. 
    How not to compare myself? How not to think that on September 15th, the day she returns (it is now July 27th), I will not have moved, still inside my thinking mind, traveling the same path over and over, wearing it down as I continue to ruminate over “where to live the rest of my life.” 
    Certainly a daunting task I have set for myself! How can I possibly know from here, from today, where Life will want to take me? Where Life will want us to be for our last ten … fifteen …twenty years. (In twenty years, I will be a hundred and three!)
    How can I know where Life will want us to be … tomorrow? 
    Let alone where I will have landed twenty minutes from now on this blank page — where my hand is moving across and back, across and back.
    How grateful I am to have this writing practice to remind me that all I can really know is now. The smile I can feel on my lips, new, not there before. The sound of this pen as it scratches across the page. The green tea at my side, its terra-cotta cup too hot to lift. Sure (am I sure?) that soon the cup will cool and I’ll be able to smell jasmine flowers, reminded that I have a tongue and cheeks with the power to taste, recognize the difference between jasmine tea and sencha. Hear the sounds of the plane overhead as they fade into the sounds of a passing car, the caw of a crow. The slight breeze as it tickles the wind chimes to sing outside my open door and I have ears to hear it. 
    I am traveling, too. 
    Laura is young. May I not envy her, her travels. Haven’t I had mine? Not the Camino, though there were years when I did contemplate walking it. But many times the magical island off the coast of Maine where I stood high above the ocean, nothing but Portugal somewhere out there. The little beach town in Mexico I have come to know and love. I could keep going and make a list of all the places I’ve been. But why? To convince myself that there’s no need to fret? To convince you that I’ve made good use of this life? That this is worth your continuing to read?
    Does this mean that at 83 my traveling life is over? Maybe. Maybe not. Though discovering what it means to be at-home — wherever I am — seems more and more like good preparation for dying.  
    Earlier today, I saw a Monarch butterfly busily traveling from tree to flower and back to tree. Dancing in the air with another Monarch joined by a simple white … is it a butterly? Some people call it a moth. I thought about the arduous journey the butterfly has already been on, just to arrive here. Most recently its work to break out of the hard, yellow- and black-spotted coat it had been growing in; only then to practice patience while its wings were drying so it could finally spread its wings and fly.
    I don’t know how long a butterfly can expect to live. What if the butterfly and I were the same? We’re born. We endure our growing pains, even enjoy some of them, learn the need for patience and, finally, having grown into our full colors, able to enjoy the wonders of freedom, the chance to fly, our work here completed, we die?
    What if why we are here, a question some of us ask ourselves, is no longer a mystery?  Simply a journey to come back home.

—Sara Bragin

life is but a dream

life is but a dream

but whose dream is it anyway
but if not, what then

—Paul Causey