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Most of these these poems arrived in a dream. That is to say, they don't come from me, but come through me. I'm learning what they mean. Some have a the beginnings of a meaning, for most the ‘meaning' is still in transition. They change like we change.Then change back again. -rb

Rise and Go
Winter morning dawning 1/29/98
White streaks through saffire skies
On high
Up and grateful I rise
To greet my life
Like the first present under the first tree
The wrinkly ribbon of illusion
This brightly colored wrap of duality
Gaily discarded to reveal
A gift that was never intended to be wrapped
Free as the wind
On my face outside the kitchen door
As we
Rise and go

Love and I
Together, in this moment and always
This moment
Between inspiration and expiration
Into the essence
Next to the flame that cools like ice and
Like fire
Wisdom taught only by a kiss from the morning breeze•

Looking For the Light



Once Upon a Time

There was a pink bunny rabbit named Perry. He lived in a dark hole in the garden. There was no light in Perry's home. It was dark. Real dark. Like, pitch black dark.
It was so dark that Perry hated to go home at night. He played all day running through the cabbage patch and the neighborhood garden of his pal Harold the Hamster. But when twighlight came, Perry got very sad because he knew he would soon have to go home and crawl into that dark, smelly, scary hole in the ground he called his home.
Harold said, "Perry why don't you get a flashlight and some track lighting at Orchard Supply! That would surely brighten things up a bit!"
Perry thought for a second and said, "That's a good idea, but I don't have electricity!" Harold thought awhile and then came up with an idea.
"Why don't we ask my kids Furry, Freda, and Fiona if they would like to play chase some night over at your house?" "That's great!" said Perry. "But why? How will the kids playing bring light into my hole?" "You'll see," said Harold.
So off they went to Perry's scary hole and Harold went in and started messing around with wires and stuff while Perry went to Orchard Supply and got some lighting and light bulbs and a few extension cords.
When the night time came everything was ready. Harold fixed up the cables and made a big round wheel that looked like a spinning cage. It went round and round and whistled when it turned. It was hooked up to a small electric motor and the wires came out of it and were attached to a transformer box and the box was attached to more cables and the extension cords and the cords were placed in the hole and Harold had plugged the lights and lamps into it.

Perry said, "This is all very nice but where is the light? How will I be able to see in my home? It's so dark there every night that I get scared and end up going outside to sleep with the carrots in the cabbage patch!"
Harold said, "Wait and see!"
That night something magical happened in Perry's Home.
Just about twilight, the Hampster Kids came over and started to play outside. All of a sudden Harold said, "Why don't you kids play inside on this new merry-go-round that Perry and I put up. The kids cried, "Yea!" and went inside and started to chase each other round and round on the big merry-go-round wheel.
All of a sudden the lights started to glow and the motor started to whine and the kids were so surprised that they ran even faster! The kids squealed with delight. The faster they ran, the brighter the lights glowed until the whole burrow was aglow!
The lights glowed brighter! Perry clapped his hands with glee and shouted, "Oh happy day! Let there be light!" Perry went in to his home and fixed things up while the kids ran around and made things nice and cozy. The more the kids ran, the brighter the light glowed!
Perry said, "I've never been so happy. My hole is finally a home. But what happens if the kids go away? What then? It'll be dark and dreary and there'll be no more light!

"I have an idea," said Fiona, breathlessly. "Why don't we all move over to your house and we'll all live together in the light!"

That's a great idea," said Perry. So together, Harold the Hampster, the kids, and Perry made a home together in the light."

And they loved each other very much. The darkness was banished and the light grew brighter every day.


One Kind Word

The whole world waits for one kind word
The whole world waits still none is heard
But kindness somehow is hidden there
Kindness is always hidden somewhere

Like hope that arrives on the slightest breeze
Can’t be denied and is never pleased
Like love, a thing which can’t be seen
But felt everywhere, if you know what I mean

The whole world waits for one kind word
The whole world waits still none is heard
But kindness, somehow is hidden there
Kindness is always hidden somewhere

Pass every face and struggle to see
The flicker of kindness and civility
If it’s not apparent, look harder still
You’ll see it there if you only will

To see it takes effort but worth the try
Only afterwards can we know why
Cherish kindness and generosity
By spending both extravagantly

The whole world waits for one kind word
The whole world waits still none is heard
But kindness somehow is hidden there
Kindness is always hidden somewhere

There You Are

Anytime that you get out of line
That’s the way they think you are
If you do a thing you never do
It’s because you’ve gone too far
Maybe find yourself reflecting
Without a lot to say

Don’t want to make snap judgements but hell,
He’s always been that way
Quick put lilacs on your blotter
Hibiscus in your hair.
You don’t give a fuck for flowers
Why are they really there?
Hundred buck front-row ticket
Impossible to pay more
There You Are
Chin-dragging drunk and retching
On the Convention Center floor
My first impression of you
is the one I think I’ll save
The next time that I see you
I’ll know how to behave•

On the Mesa

Moon over Super 8
Sunrise special
Eggs over uneasy
Under the overpass we go
Singing the Interstate blues
Call it karma or paying dues
Headed West
With another load of excess baggage

Put this trip down to special education
Love grasped but never held
So why this time the hesitation
I’m used to strolling straight into hell

Blue eyes lying in the rain
An old pattern fits again
Over before it starts
Two hearts in two parts
An open and shut case
Same scene a different place

A blow’s coming up
Lightning On the Mesa
I’ll take this heartache straight
No chaser

Saw Paul
Well she was just seventeen...

And brother, we knew what he meant
Joy and tears spilling and mixing in the aisles
Nobody was immune to it
So remarkable to behold
Bad hearts revived, stiff joints temporarily limbered
Asthma suspended, aisles littered with puffers
Shitty relationships restored
Selfishness on a 3 hour break
Focussed and self-aware people stupefied
Wonderment unbound

A show by a master showman who didn’t need to try so hard
It was music, yet it was more
It wasn’t nostalgia, yet it was
It was something ineffably more,
A Mystery Tour
It wasn’t even Him
And of course, it was

…and the way she looked was way beyond compare...

As if the lives he’d changed with his friends
Were still being changed, championed
Double Transformation or
Or as John would say, Double Fantasy, ours and his
There were no words, no feelings to add or take away
It was as if these people, mostly middle-aged
Had come full circle and we’re re-mem-ber-ing
Something they’d never lost, just set aside for a few minutes
The few minutes that went on too long
And, surprise, here it was, there it was, right where they left it
A few decades ago
Look no further
See with your ears and heart

...Oh, I’ll never dance with another...since I…

Everybody just turned 17
17 seconds ago
Tears streaming down new grandmothers’ faces
First loves
First heartaches
First betrayals
First kisses
Naked emotion spilling out of fully clothed adults
Behaving childishly, without shame
Shame never made it past the lobby

$60,000 of primal therapy in three yeah, yeah, yeahs
Lovers and spouses wondering, embarrassed, giddy
What’s going on here? Who is going on? About what?
About who?
What is this all about?

This old man flailing away with a silly grin up on the stage
Who is this guy to her?
She to him?
Where’d she go, anyway? Whose tears are these in her eyes?
Why is she temporarily inaccessible?
Whose love? Ours, hers, his?
Not for Tim Jenkins I hope. God, what a waste. Real loser, him.
Not like me.

When was that, anyway. Nineteen and …
Stupid pop song.

God, it’s catchy!
But I’m missing something. Something big I wasn’t invited to.
Why is she kissing me urgently as if I were him?
She’s having an affair with another man... a Beatle!
Deep in my heart. Get out!
What is this power and mystery?

Since I Saw Her Standing There...

Oh, she looked at me and I, I could see...

Damn you, Paul McCartney!
I felt that way for her not you and now she’s coming unglued!

That before too long, I’d fall in love with he-her...
Oh, I’ll never dance with another W0-0-0-0-0...

Yeah, well, just try it! No, you won’t dance with another, not ever!
Come down from there and I’ll prove to you just how much…

Since I Saw Her Standing There...
Oh I give up!!

No contest and still he
wouldn’t quit
Stole my girl’s heart from me while I mouthed the words to his song
Then started in next on me

Love was such an easy word to say
Now I need a place to hide away...

You and me both, brother…

Leave it to tomorrow to unpack my case, honey disconnect the phone…

Look there’s Jack Nicholson and Michael Douglas pounding air like they just got back from the USSR
Feels like I’m back from something, someplace I shouldn’t have left
We didn’t win the war
Turned out we were the enemy
I was the Walrus, not you
I didn’t get the raise
The future never opened up to our liking
She was untrue
Me first
The kids were everything to us
Then they were just hers
We drifted apart
I drifted away
She justified
I retaliated
I earned, she spent
She spent, I left

Left spent
We fought
I filed
Wasn’t fair
Never is

And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make...

You know he’s going to have to either put a sock in it
Or hold me up

Maybe if I just sit down and hold my head in my hands
Just for a minute. He’ll stop. He has to stop.
Don’t take me with you. Please, take me with you.
Jesus, here it comes, no prisoners

Na-na-na-na na-na-na-na na-na-na-na Hey Jude...
Motherfucker has no shame
Just perfect aim
Sobbing hysterically at Ddgr Stadium in 1965
Now here they are again, here we are, sobbing hysterically in 2002
Arms outstretched, pleading

Me used to be angry young man..
Me hiding my head in the sand...

Fucking great intro

And he’s the most perplexed of all
Look at him!
He doesn’t know the reason for this anymore than we do!

It’s just coming through him, not from him
He’s on the job and we’re in mystical suspension
25 years he says, no way.
More like 35 years ago today
Sargent Pepper taught the band to play
He’s channeling
We’re in full-flight catharsis
A tight fit

It’s got a back beat you can’t lose it, any old time you use it...

Is that the dead on truth or just a great tune?
If you have to ask you are deeply troubled.
Let it Be... Let It Be.. Let it Be... Let it Be...whsper words..

and it can only be one thing...

Gotta be Rock n’ Roll Music… any old time you use it
It’s gotta back beat… you can’t lose it… any old time you choose it
Gotta be Rock n’ Roll Music

If You Wanna Dance With Me…
If You Wanna Dance With Me...

Cha, cha, cha
DEC 1, 2002

The Blood Strangers
The alcoholic engineer
The sheltered Mother
The reticent chemist
The symptomatic musician
The deluded orphan
Cheerfully denying
The addled Matriarch
Slowly letting go
There’s another
Somewhere north
Altogether a fine family
Of strangers
Coming together slowly
Bound together by blood
And a tropical happenstance
On an island
In time
Where now?
Maybe nowhere
Maybe it’s enough
Just to acknowledge the disparity
Hope for a recipe
For a new dish of Love
See what comes out of the oven
Anyway we’re all hungry tonight
The children are in charge
Time their gavel
Chance, like before
Playing the crucial role
As always
The unwilling accomplice
Did someone decree
We must be friends?
Who put the love in
“Loved Ones”
Who put the dip
in the dip-da-dip-da-dip
Is a turkey that meaningful a bird?
How many miles of wrapping paper
Are needed
To spruce up a lineage for
The Holidays
It’s for the children you know
We’re the children
We’re all children
Flying through the wind and rain
Desperate to arrive
Anxious to leave
Comfortable in an uncomfortable sort of way
The Blood Strangers
Gather slowly
For the ritual
And hoping for a miracle
Begin To carve•

Shades of Grey
Truth is found in Shades of Grey
Truth is it’s always been that way
What we defend as a solid fact
Is opinion and can change at the drop of a hat

Tell me why are we so full of pride
Why is it a sin to change our mind
Why are we afraid to change and grow
So much we ‘know’ that we don’t know

Life’s for learning the poet said
And we keep on learning until we’re dead
Minds and hearts they open and close
Reasons for that, nobody knows

Life is to be lived somehow
Every moment savored now
And as we grope to find the way
The truth is found in Shades of Grey

When Was the Moment
When was the moment
When did I change
From the man you love and cherish
Into a grunting burden you couldn’t wait
To get out from under

When was the moment
Your love turned to fear
Intimacy became “intrusion”
A smile, a “boundry invasion”
A wink “harassment”
When did the line through your heart shift
A millimeter
Was it an unsynchronized heartbeat
Before or after mine

When was the moment
My fear became your fear
And yours mine
True hate?

When was the moment
Our hearts became imprisoned in our heads
Our compassion shanghied by neediness
Or has it always been that way
Two black holes with not enough light between them
To pierce the darkness
Two without faith enough for one

It’s better now
You have another slave
I another master
Hatred’s obsidian core
Melting in a shared forgiveness
Not yet spoken
Perhaps never to be spoken
To acted out, clumsily
Like two children at their first Cotillion
Wanting to please, scared to particpate
Stepping on each others toes
On eggshells in a room full of fear
In a world filled with love

When was the moment
Who cares
When IS the moment
We can smile over tea, again
Pass the sugar in silent, confident acknowledgement

Two Into One
What if my need to be understood
Is everyones need to be understood
And can only be understood 'in relation'
By one who 'understands'

But if one 'understands'
Himself but little
What 'understanding' can he impart
To one in search of understanding

Understanding myself, in relation to others
Is then, to know myself, see myself
And be more accepting of myself and others
It happens simultaneously
This tandem understanding
Being understood

For in seeing we are seen
In knowing we know
In being we are
In Thou we become I

Takes Two to Become One

Then What
Not what does one think
Or what does one feel
Or what does one say
Or what meaning can be gleaned from this monumental travesty
This screw up
This human mistake
This momentary lapse in good judgement

Thing is,
What comes next?
After assigning blame
Doing time
Paying fines
Punishing the offender and the victim too
After bringing to ‘Justice’
What is gained
Where is the retribution?
What is the retribution?
After revenge, how do the scales balance?
Where is the ‘meaning’ in revenge?
Tell me
Then what?

No, No, don’t change the Motherfucking subject
Don’t shrug
Don’t hang up
Don’t throw up your hands
Come back here, you started this
Tell me I really want to know
Then what?
I want to know then what?
Then f-ing what?

After condemnation and before forgiveness…what?
What does one do?
With how they feel?
How does evening the score reconcile our hearts
He killed so he must be killed
She betrayed my love so she must be cast away
He’s abusive cause he argued with me
When I said, my way or the Highway, like it or lump it
A bond is broken so we must break a bond
It’s like a stupid angry rule from nowhere meaning nothing
But it’s all we can do
And it’s all we’ve ever done
And it does not work

We all mess up, so
So true
Like Leland puts it,
"Nobody ever says, remember he or she is only human…"
After they pull somebody out of a burning building.

It’s only after you mess up that you hear that old saw
"We’re all fallible."
"We’re only human."
Why doesn’t it give solace?
It’s something nice to repeat on your way back to your cell
Something to muse about while you ‘pay your debt to society’
How much is that debt by the way?
Uh-huh, yeah, so?
I know. Tell me something I don’t know
Like what comes after that sentence.
Time’s up and…
And so?
We’re fallible and then what?
Come on!
I take responsibility for my feelings and my actions and..

Then what?

There’s no sunset in life to ride out into
The credits don’t roll
No one shouts out, "It’s a wrap!"
It’s not brought to you by Palmolive or Budwieser

We have to ‘move on’ but we can’t move on
Till we go back and confront
So why don’t you just ‘Let Go?"
But we can’t ‘Let Go’ till we let it in
We can push it down but it won’t stay down
We can ignore but it won’t be ignored
We can deny but it won’t be denied
We can medicate but the feelings are still there

There’s avoidance and there’s letting go.
They’re not the same thing but they masquerade as the same thing
For millions
There’s no bow to wrap up unfinished business in
It stays unfinished until we put down the Good Book
And do what it says
Put away Deepak and the Dalai Lama

And personally deal with it
One on one
Face to face
Heart to Heart
Lots of tears
The time for crying is now

The Jews are not going to forgive the Germans
Even though every single German is dead now
Even though they say they do and it sounds good in the Temple
The Horror is remembered and the unforgiveness relished daily
Parlayed it into some free real estate in somebody else’s sandbox
And are they happy? Not at night. Not in the wee hours.
Is there forgiveness in their hearts?
Seems not.
Maybe every now and then, individually
Certainly not collectively
The books by angry authors are crowded on suburban nightstands
Rocketing up the bestseller lists
Snapped up voraciously by the unforgiving
The well of anger will not be filled
With facts or opinion
How do you say Forgive but don’t Forget
When all it takes is an uninvited memory to start to remember
To remember… to not forgive
Too much emotional work
To remember is not a choice
To Forgive is
Hatred is a snap
Love takes work
Apologies wasted on stone walls
That don’t have to crack but should become unstable

Time heals
No it doesn’t
Ask anyone
It’s not up to someone else
Not the Warden or the Governor or the Executioner
They won’t do the work for us
Though we wish they would.
They should, we pay them for it.
Thank God the blood is on their hands not ours

Not ours
Not ours
Not ours
But we must do it.
We don’t want to do it.
We will NEVER do it!
It shouldn’t have to be done.
But there it is.
Somebody screwed you up. Their fault.
Not yours.
No, never you.
It’s always done to you never by you.
And you’ve got the scorecard and pencil to prove it.

Forgiveness will tire you out
Better not bother.
You will lose sleep
It will be the single, and I promise you this...
Hardest thing you’ve ever considered, let alone embarked upon

No net
Deep water
Far from shore
With sharks

You will hate it
You will hate yourself and others
Pretty soon not be able to tell the two apart
You will not want to go there
But you will go there. You must go there
Alone, without your congregation of True Believers and against your will

There will be tears
There might be bloodshed.
None of it will help
After ‘justice’ is served you will end up in a bar drinking alone

Till After Closing Time

There will be no solace only more Funerals
More praying to God for Mercy you don’t want to bestow
More sadness.
The Madness
There will be no blessings only accountability
There will be no Amazing Grace
Only an eye-for-an-eye
Till one ‘sees.’
Then what?
No, really tell me
Then what?
The conversation doesn’t stop here
Do not turn the page.
Don’t walk away.
Order another drink I dare you. You need it.
The poem is unfinished till you answer
Come on smarty pants!
Here’s the question you have no answer for
There is no answer for…
So answer me!
Then what?

2001 Santa Cruz
for Leland


Was Good
It was good when we met
But then after I got to know you
It was definitely good that we split up
My idea it was, I think,
At least, that’s as good as I remember it
Sort of
Anyway, it was a good idea then and I said it then
and I meant it then, damn it
But then
After awhile, after I got so lonely being without you
I thought, perhaps, it was good to reconnect with you
You know, just a tiny bit
Maybe call you and see if you might think it was good
To get together, I mean
No promises, just a small reaching out
But then, if you didn’t think it’d be good
Well, then it wouldn’t be
Good, I mean
And that’d be OK
I mean that would be good all by itself
Don’t you agree?
You see,
Come to think of it, I mean honestly
I don’t always know what’s good

Aptos 1997

Summer Afternoon
We played among the tall grasses
A noisy game of hide and seek
Splashed our feet in an icy creek

Then resting beside some reeds
Looked lazily to the sky
Puffy clouds drift by

Noted dragonfly’s inspections
And bumblebee’s selections
Of flowers sweet confections

Weary then of hours pretending
And since the day would soon be ending
We started home on rural byways

Squished warm dust between our toes
And watched the sunset’s brush transpose
Azure skies to shades of rose

Alice P. Begin 1980

The Pretty Colors
Whistling at fate
She arrives on her Mothers'arm
Blue skies
Blue eyes
Dancing to the music of the spheres
Lost in the moment
She spins around in wonder
Amazed at
The Pretty Colors
Sweet sounds
Senses soaking up the now
Teachers for us
The children
We lag behind
So slow to learn
So quick to judge
Hot blue afternoon
Teach me
To smile upward at you
To you
As you
It’s mystery time

April, 1997 for Julia

Yeah, but
There, I’ve told it
The way it happened, the way it was
The way it is now

But did they hear?
Never mind if they heard, did they feel?
Did they?
Did you?
Feel, how I felt?
Experience what I experienced?
Not the same but in your way?
In your time?
In your story?
Your story...like my story? Like ours?

"Oh yeah, sure," you say,
With that dreamy uncivil-like detachment one ‘puts on’ like
Emotional armour to protect oneself from…

"Yeah, but…"

Two short swords
The death of empathy
The darkness is in the but
The story, you argue, after all, was, is… mine
What’s yours is yours and what’s mine is…
Or is it?
How is it, that your experience, as different as night and day from mine
Produces an identification that blossoms into empathy
That transforms through suffering into interconnectedness
Best not to think too much about this
Sounds like a soul-trick you’re not falling for
At least not today
"Yeah, but…"
Yeah but …what?

"No one gets out and no one gets in,"
That was MY special secret promise
No one was supposed to know about
I built that silver cage in silence, alone
And now you say you built it too?
Eff You!
I’m more special than you.

No one was going to ever know my secret!
To make sure of that, I even hid it from myself
From "I"
Now you say you promised yourself the same lie?
That I betrayed myself is bad enough
To be common is pathetic

The glory of self-pity is that it’s so sincere
So exclusive

How dare you mirror my suffering?
I’ve earned my private dessert
I ate the sticky, colorless vegetables and cold brown animal fat
But I didn’t clean my plate
I sat there at the dinner table, willfully, from 6 p.m. till 9 p.m.
While the rest of the family watched Ed Sullivan
Fell asleep on the table with the napkin glued to my ear
Never got the dessert you promised
Eff You.
Don’t take my sweet treat away, now
With the vinegary realization of shared experience

I’m all alone in my self confirming misery
I’ve fashioned the one and only key to this
Cynical, clinical universe
To make up for the ice cream you promised
I can’t hear you knocking!
There is nothing!
No one else must know of my secret pain
And rob me of its magic power
For if they do, then

They’d have to understand how I feel
Really know
Hot, salty, heavy, heaving knowledge
Fist-balling, fetal knowing
You-can’t-possibly-know-how-it-feels knowing

To beg to die and to curse the weak-willed feeling of wanting to live
Both at the same time
You can’t possibly understand, you won't let that penetrate you
Now’s a perfect time to shout out
Yeah, but…
Go ahead
Either say it
Or else
Something terrible will happen
Or else, my key is just a skeleton key
And I’m forced alongside you neither in front or behind
Walking, stumbling, searching, groping, hating, loving
Spinning, singing, reaching, failing, staying

Revealed in tandem
My pain becomes yours
My joy, ours
My life then belongs to you
Remember you?
The same you as in "Eff You"
Yours to mine
My God and yours become One

I’ll do my very best not to let that happen
You’ll do your very best not to let it in
We’ll work at it with every ounce of our self-will

Here’s hoping
We fail
Aptos Oct 26, 2002


You Are a Star
You Are a Star
You are a Star
A mass of heat and energy
Ever changing
Being transformed
From something into something else
Insane, irrational, messy
Not "normal"
Not whole, not "not-whole"
Neither all dark or all light
Traveling fast
Full of mystery
Light and Love
Giving off sparks
Revered from afar
You are a Star
You are

Zepher Point/Aug 99




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