Poems by Rashani

The Unbroken

There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
a shatteredness
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.

There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.

There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open to the place inside
which is unbreakable and whole,
while learning to sing.

This Trembling Heart

i did not wake up one day
and choose to love you
or decide
that my life would now
be focused
in your direction.

this trembling heart
like a magnetized needle
of a compass,
a splayed, obsidian lotus
in a sea of fire
simply returns again
and mysteriously again
to where your soul resides ,
to the breathing star dust
and tender flesh
which temporarily hold
the flowering river
of who you are.

Written on the way to a memorial service for an ex-lover

i’m a simple gopi fallen to her knees,
singing endless praises
like the wind
sings through the trees.

filled now with wonderment
distilling into grace,
i find traces of you everywhere
through your ever-present face.

only the flower dies.
its fragrance still remains
and the moon is always full,
even as it wanes.

i know love does to pain
what sunlight does to rain,
in the absence of doership
we’re reminded once again

that inherent in each cloud
is a rainbow not-yet-born,
the awakened state is present
even as we mourn.

so let the tears keep flowing
and trust whatever comes,
each moment is a banquet
of abundance, not of crumbs.

Excerpts from a Eulogy

You were a dove
descending from heaven,
your white wing was one with the moon.
I was an obsidian raven,
ascending from the under-world.
My wing was one
with the unknowable mystery.

You were drawn to light and lightness,
did not enter easily into conflict,
your house was filled with flowers.

I was drawn to the not-yet-conscious,
to the primordial beauty of mud
and swam with conflict
like underwater lightning,
a portal into deeper intimacy.

You filled my heart with flowers.
I brought to yours a quality of love
you had secretly dreamed of.
We met in the golden space
beyond darkness and light,
we touched through our unwavering
honesty “the gold,”
again and inexplicably again.

Through love’s invisible alchemy,
the wing of the moon
became the wing of the night
became the song
became the sangha
became the unknown echo of “This.”

Intrigued by your feral beauty
your elegance, tenderness,
directness and laughter
I surrendered into your love~
relinquishing
my arsenal of excuses
with a humble bow of gratitude.

…And today,
nearly thirteen years later,
I place a small, handmade box of ashes
of your once-vibrant body
on my altar.

(So caringly placed in a zip-lock bag,
wrapped in a lavender cloth.)

I feel you leaning into me still,
Beloved friend.
I feel the wingtips of your ageless soul
like never-ending branches
of a deeply-rooted tree
gazing into my window
from eternity’s threshold.
Your absence
has blossomed into
Presence.
I can still hear your laughter,
still feel you
lavishing me
with adoration

and kindness,
offering generously,
like you so often did,
your samurai editor’s
sword of truth and bluntness!

Yes, here you are~
still editing my poetry,
cutting out words here and there,
anything superfluous,
even as I write this eulogy…

A poem for Louis Korn, on the day of his cremation

His was not a saccharine, sentimental sweetness,
nor processed like white sugar.
Nor did it resemble the nature of soft, brown sugar.
Nor was his sweetness like molasses,
oozing the way it does,
somewhat voluptuously, as it drips slowly
from spoon to bowl.

Louis’ sweetness, neither liquid nor granular
although similar to dark, golden honey
blessed and blemished with drowned bees,
contained life and death
with the clarity of deathlessness,
which precedes
and goes far beyond time,
while holding the traceless tracks
of migrating birds
in a chemtrailed sky.

Louis’ love was like ripening sugar cane
or a fresh liliquoi
or hand-cut stevia leaves
steeping in hot tea.
His was a bittersweet compassion,
both fierce and tender,
pliable yet firm,
even a bit gritty at times.

Some might say
cursed and blessed
with a hugely empathic nature,
Louis experienced others’ suffering as his own,
which sometimes blinded him
from the wounds and needs
of those closest to him.

This kind of sweetness is rare
and unpretentious.
It takes on an often-misunderstood role
like the irritant in an oyster,
which, over time, produces a pearl,
without which, no pearl would exist.

This kind of great soul
originates from
and moves invisibly
through
the vast chambers of a broken-open heart,
illuminated by the same selflessness
as that of a crucified man
forsaken by his own perceptions
and human imperfections,
and finds us naked and defenseless,
breaking us open, kindly,
in the paradoxical moments
when there is only the night sky
riveted with stars,
a night moth clinging to a glass window
and the ineffable sound of a crying owl
latticed into the silent song of life
which sings unceasingly
through our very veins.

January, 2010

Oh, this garment of flesh,
a temporary crèche for our souls
as we polish the jewels
of awareness.

Beloved friend,
you came and you went
from this earth plane,
fearlessly dancing on the edges
of timelessness and time,
quietly poised
on the molten ledges
where sanity unfolds
into a multi-dimensional
spectrum.

And:
no one came and no one left.
A thousand faces appeared
and disappeared
through the filters of others’
perceptions and projections.
(A pickpocket in the presence
of Quan Yin will see only her pockets.)

Needles in your sweet, strong arms
the rush of heroin
giving you the temporary bliss
you so craved. Yes,
there are hundreds of ways
to kneel and kiss the sky.

Songs sang inside you
like ancient mantras
long-forgotten by many.

You blessed the world
with your stark honesty
and an undefended heart,
often misunderstood.

Jesus, they say, was hanged.
Other Christs, like you,
are crucified
by others’ madness
and contempt.

How perfect
that your body
was found
in a public bathroom.
It may as well have been
a shrine or church or an ashram.
You saw no differences,
only the indivisible Oneness
of all things.

You bore an invisible cross
with impeccable dignity,
crying out
most often in silence
only to be met with
benign indifference
(or was it malignant?)
and the judgments of those
addicted to self-righteousness—
hostages of their own ignorance.

One particular Buddha
sat beneath a Bodhi tree.
Other Buddhas, like you,
(in a sangha stigmatized
with its own scarlet letters,)
walk among asphalt
and concrete shadows
awakening to the same realizations—
seeking refuge nonetheless.
Some are held, others not, in mercy’s
bittersweet embrace.

To you, dear friend,
I bow in gratitude
for the gifts,
the many gifts you offered me.

And now?

Your loved ones
will decipher
or not
through the dark sepals
of their own anguish
the luminosity
you leave behind,
and are,
like brailled sonatas
in a star-filled sky.

Wu said to Wei

Wu said to Wei,
“There’s a natural
unfolding
a non-way of sorts
in which love
invisibly happens
through
(not to) us
without effort
or action
yet
with impeccable
precision
as finely focused
as a scalpel’s
incision
as purely
mysterious
as a cocoon’s dying
into a butterfly
or moth,
as deifying
and wondrously wild
as an impecunious mystic
remembering
the silk lining
on her clothen
robe
or winning the lottery
without having
bought a ticket.

love moves
ever-bloomingly
from silence into song
through song back
into silence,
sometimes fiercely
other times tenderly.
It has no preferences
IT simply knows
without knowing
the way moonlight
touches,
like a single tear
from shiva’s eye
it sees
the rudraksha beads
that wait
to be touched
by the devotee’s
loving fingers.”

“And,”
Wei reminded Wu,
“Once struck,
the singing bowl
simply sings
effortlessly
and unstoppably.
The vibration
of particles may cease
but since energy
like love
can not be created
or destroyed
it simply changes
into a different form.”

“So too,”
whispered the wind,
“the delicate scent
of ylang ylang
permeates the entire garden
and one small candle
can fill a darkened room,
‘doing nothing’
yet transmuting everything.”

Through love
we “do” without doing
there is nothing to do
and nothing not to do.
Not ‘doing’ something
and not ‘not doing’ anything,
love co-arises.

We can never know it
we can only BE it.

There’s an innocent
spontaneity, ancient
as a song line
in Gonwanaland,
moving inexorably
like ground water
beneath a barren desert.

Indisplaceable
like ether
the rapturous
spirals of love
hold
and permeate
all objects
and all beings.

Love is the greatest
euthanasia
for the conceptual mind.
In its mystery
we are destined to find
more than we ever imagined
and less than we ever feared.

here where the rivers meet

here where the rivers meet
mist gathers colder
than in a dream
earth and sky
the song and the cry
are wed and one
between
blurred contours
of mountain and cloud
the heart’s longing
endowed and deep
like prisms in the wind
when we scattered your ashes
the moon
a golden hawk bell
in talons of the dawn.

"There is only love. All else, repeating stories exhausting themselves."      - Rashani