driving along God’s belly
on the highway we shaved
through sacred tummy-hair
flowing within Spirit’s breath
blown along by the Divine

me? I’m just one of those
symbiotic microscopics
living on (in as) God’s bod
like a wriggly bacterium
or a fast flea on the move

watching all my fellow teeny
insectoid avatars motor by
always chasing a destination
but never anywhere apart
from where we need to be


and god placed a firmament between us
to separate you from me
and god saw that it was good

but the god who did this
was a wicked and tricky god
not the one we were hoping for

and it was not good
and we found ourselves

so now we’ve got this firmament
holding us forever apart
this solid abyss dividing our touch
insulating us from one another’s warmth

and the truth doctor says let it be
it is what it is and you can’t change it now

but i want my index finger to be a needle
to prick and pierce this heartless veil
to rip it end to end
so your cool light will shine on me
and my heat will thaw your frozen soil


i want to know
if you’re ok
i truly do

and besides that
i really want
you to be ok

but the truth is
i care more about
whether we’re ok

above all
our relationship
must be smooth

if we’re ok
i can put up
with your pain

(and as far
as i know
so can you)

if we’re ok
your suffering
is not mine

and i’d really
prefer to keep it
that way

tell me:
what is wrong
with that?


If I can’t live forever then
maybe I just want
to be preserved
precisely and indestructibly
in memory like stone.

Mental records that will endure
for time beyond reckoning –
beyond my reckoning, anyway.
That’s all I ask.

Except memory doesn’t work
like that.

It gets worn away, little by little,
eroded and distorted,
stretched thin and transparent,
until eventually
the matrix in which it’s preserved,
the body and mind
of the one who remembers,
dies too.

I can imagine that.
The death of everyone
who really knew me
is well within my reckoning.
So that’s not enough.

Perhaps I need to build something
that will last for generations:
a legacy.

Progeny worthy of my name.
A body of research or art.
A corporation,
or charity,
or cult.

My personal handmade fossil.
My own lovingly crafted tombstone.
My life’s work:
a regal marker for my grave.

Or could I possibly trust
that the impression
my life has made upon the universe
will be preserved somehow –
embraced in a way that matters,
without needing me to arrange it?

Preserved without
my own self-conscious carving,
my own self-centered craving.

Preserved without
my own self.


thanks for nothing
i mean

i’m grateful for emptiness
that is

thank god i realize that nothing exists
no that’s not right

i’m thankful for the occasional glimpse
of reality as it is:

each unique and glorious incarnation
whether breeze or comet
ancient tortoise or human child
empty of an independent self
yet held in perfect love
within the whole

yes that’s it
thanks for everything


this is not the first time
i’ve remembered believing

completely different things
yesterday than I do today

that time, like this time
was because of a disease

but that was my own malady
while this one belongs to us all

as i grabbed the supermarket’s
last two sad tomatoes

on my first day of staying home
i recalled ten years ago

looking out at the world
from inside my own head

and seeing it completely different
from half a day ago

my hypomanic brain was causing
me to believe things

with all my heart – things
about my life, things about my

marriage. but then thirteen hours
later i would realize

my brain chemistry
had shifted and i was me again

it was bizarre and terrifying
and then last week, in two

days, i went from planning
trips for work and fun

to believing with all my heart
that traveling would be insane

i went from looking forward
to all kinds of gatherings

to knowing with my entire being
that indefinite self-isolation

was the only thing that i
could look forward to, for now

twice in my life I’ve felt my deepest
convictions shift suddenly

once because i had gone crazy
and once because the world had


I’m not rootless
But I’ve picked up my roots
Several times
And buried them again
In new soil
(In renewed soul)

First I was an Episcopalian
Sort of
My grandfather’s influence
Made us occasional churchgoers
Until I was nine
And we stopped

Next I was secular
Maybe visiting church
On Easter Sunday
Deriving myth and meaning
From Star Wars
And Lord of the Rings

Even then I was a vagabond
In middle school
Attending my best friend’s
Southern Baptist youth group
And in college
Minoring in world religions

In my twenties
I discovered my bipolar disorder
And my therapist inspired me
To spend three years
As a committed practitioner
Of Tibetan Buddhism

Then I moved
And did not find a new sangha
I was a practicing “none” again
For about a year
Before Christmas with Baptists
Led me back to the Church

I found an Episcopal church
And became a convert
For the second time
Committed to ministry
And a very
Progressive gospel

But my priest
Turned me on to something
Called the Emerging Church
I found one
And it became my passion
For almost fifteen years

Not that I stopped wandering
During this time
Another long depression
Made me an atheist
And a committed one
Though I still “did church”

And a friend introduced me
To spiritual discernment
In the style of the Quakers
I found a Friends Meeting
And eventually became
A part-time Quaker

I re-committed
To Buddhist meditation
And daily silence
Eventually discovering
A teacher, and a class
That became a little sangha

Now my spirituality enfolds
Each of these journeys
Sacred and secular
Christian and Buddhist
Atheist and religious
Anglicans and Friends

I’m a naturalistic mystic
Half Buddhist
Half Christian
Half atheist
Spiritual and religious
Skeptical and scientific

Not rootless
But richly rooted
And variously fed
My soul drinks deeply
From each of these streams
And I am well nourished


(Or, “I know all about waiting.”)

When I was six
I saw the very first Star War
It wasn’t called A New Hope then
Yet one was born in me

When I was nine
The Empire struck back
And I came home from that film
Feeling wonderstruck

Then I was twelve
I witnessed the Jedi’s return
He came wielding a green saber
And a compelling maturity

I didn’t want it to end
But then there was nothing
For sixteen long years

When I was twenty eight
The phantom menace loomed
We lined up for hours in costume
And came out wondering why

When I was thirty one
An army of clones attacked
Bringing a flood of sameness
But not much Jar Jar, at least

When I was thirty four
The Sith had their revenge
It was disturbing, not compelling
I was ok if this was the end

And then there was nothing
For ten long years
At least on the big screen

When I was forty four
The Force re-awakened
And I said THIS is Star Wars
I had a new hope once again

When I was forty six
The last Jedi returned again
Earning both love and hate
But mostly love from me

Now I am forty eight
And I saw Skywalker rise
And it was glorious
And it was disappointing

I’ve been a refugee in this galaxy
For most of my life, and now
I’m glad the saga is at its end