“Where Are You From?”

I can’t say.
Here, where I am now,
you see me, and I see you,
but no one sees
where I am from. I cannot see
myself here. I am not myself
here.

Who then, how then,
why, then, am I here?

Do you see the homeless man,
his hands shaking,
panhandling for change?
See him.
See that he and I
come from the same place.

Do you see the nameless wild-eyed cat
perched or trapped on the window sill,
certainly not in, and not quite out?
See her.
See that she and I
come from the same place.

I am not from here,
but I am here
to see
the man without a home,
to be
the cat without a name.

I come from the unknown
or from nowhere, or from somewhere
I’ll never know,
and I leave here as a great fool leaves,
I leave here like leaves of sage,
lit on fire to leave a circle
open, broken, only able to ache
its way whole.

I come from where I pass through
tomorrow,
where my lips pass from speech
to rapture.
Yesterday I walked like a camel.
Today my feet will not listen.
I have tried to walk in a straight line with them;
they can do nothing but whirl in circles.

I come from what I dance around,
what the wind and I create in our movement:
that’s what I’ve come to move into.
See how this creation creates the creator.

See, this body, it lives to leave,
so I’ve come here to move through here,
back to where I am from.
See me as I walk away,
moving forward, walking back.

See me as I pass the ones, so many,
who’ve forgotten where they come from,
that it is not here.
See each one.
See all these, and see me—
we come from the same place.

“Hard Hot Summer Blues”

Well, I’ve been walkin’ down the city street
July heat’s been makin’ me sweat
I’ve been walkin’ down the city street
July heat’s been makin’ me sweat
Tryin’ not to look at a single face
Every glance bears the hint of a threat

The hard heat of the sidewalk
It burns the soles of your shoes
Yeah, the hard heat of the city
It burns the soles of your shoes
And the hole in my soul man it’s burnin’
From these hard hot summer blues

Well, I’m walkin’ down the city street
Lookin’ for a place to dance
Well, I’m walkin’ in the merciless city
Just lookin’ for a place to dance
Longing for a mystic gypsy woman
To put me in a walking trance

The nights are torrid and lonesome
And the passion is never real
Nights so torrid and lonesome
And the passion never real
I’ve got a need to dance my way
Through these feelings as strong as steel

Walkin’ down the city street
Burnin’ the soles of my shoes
I’m walkin’ down the city street
Holes in the soles of my shoes
My soul is hungry, a hungry ghost
With these hard hot summer blues

“The Day The Music Ends”

I dance to move into the stillness,
To lose the thing that must be lost,
To choose to live, to thrust my self
To where trust counts for more than cost.

I caught something, I catch it each time
I dance in time to music that never ends.
Yet why when silence returns, do I fall apart?
Why when the body stops moving, does the heart
Fill with sorrow and grief, with the tragic jewels
That adorn the dances of sages and magic fools?

The heart fills with what always returns,
And until I am empty, will I always yearn?
In the silence of this movement, lend me a moment,
Turn to me, Lady of rhythmic serenity,
Lend me the key to see into your heart,
The gift that shatters what it later mends,
The soul still dancing when the music ends.

I dance to admit the gift, and to give it,
To give the thing that gripped is lost,
To live at last, be stripped of self,
Throw off that whip at any cost.

I held something, I hold it each time
I loosen my hold on what holds me under,
On thunder road I forget myself and stagger,
I trip over my feet, and a man with a dagger
Wakes me at sunrise on solsbury hill;
I look into his eyes as he goes in for the kill.

I have no things, and I have no home,
And until I find her, I will always roam
In this movement of silence, through the noise with the word:
I will write, and I will dance; my voice will be heard.
I will search for the key to see into her heart,
The gift that shatters what it later mends,
The soul still dancing when the music ends.

I dance to turn my sorrows inside out,
To earn the thing that has always been lost,
To learn how to move within my doubt,
Spin closer to the thing that has no cost.

I felt something, I feel it each time
The music takes my feet away from me.
I cannot say what it is that keeps touching me,
Or why I move like some demon is clutching me,
Or why when I return to the silence of my room,
I hurt like a man dragged by his hair into her tomb.

I will die someday, and who knows if these words will endure?
They may stay unread, unsung and obscure,
But the unsung can still sing, can still dance in their way,
So when the last hour strikes, on the day before decay,
I pray I have found the key to see into her heart,
I pray the gift that had shattered has healed, and transcends
And that the soul still dances the day the music ends.

Dying A Few Deaths; Terrorized By Dread; Selfishness and Unselfishness; Nothing More or Less Than Everything, Which Includes Nothing; The Fire That Burns and Burns but Remains Hidden

I can never hold in my hands what keeps me; I could never hold you at arms length or pull you up from sinking. Why should I have kept you afloat with the power that sinks me? To keep you singing I continued to sink, to keep my love for you I left you. To keep my love for this earth, I would sink into it; to keep my love for these birds I would go without sleep; to keep my love for sleep I would spurn it, but do I love this sleep that keeps me from waking? To keep my love for you I would spurn you, too; to keep on living I would die a few deaths; to keep my independence I would go without food or shelter; to keep loving you I would go through hatred.

As you go through you must remember I never said I was terrorized by the dread in your soul, could it equal the dread in my own? I never said I was reticent of your intensity, could it ever diminish my own?

And who is a boy and who is a man? Who still lives in an immature world, where he is at the center? Who is not at the center of an immature world? Though someone might claim to be out past selfishness on unselfish seas; but there he is, alone on the sea of unselfishness. And towards whom is he being unselfish? Is he being unselfish towards himself? Well, that sounds a lot like selfishness. When they tell me, ‘You cannot, but with our help you can,’ is that unselfishness? I believe that is the worst kind of selfishness. It is a selfishness wrapped up in false humility that belittles the individual, rather than a true humility that calmly knows the strengths and weaknesses of the individual self.

I do not quite have the calm soul that is needed in order to let stillness alone to do this writing. Stillness writes out of the chaos in me and I record its words. I wrote you a letter with all the fierceness of a lion and yet I am nothing more than a dove. I am nothing more or less than everything I am, which includes nothing, which includes the fierceness of the lion, which includes the meekness of the dove. I’ve been meek and hard like an oak, he sang.

I’ve seen the seasons come and go, and I’ve come with the seasons going on under me; I’ve come and then I’ve gone and so am like the seasons. I am like the moon crystallized into cold light; I am like the unknown cresting the horizon to remain unknown; I am like the young woman who stands at midnight in the crowded street and cannot find her lover; I am like the young boy holding hands with the girl at midnight on the empty street; I am like the book read and re-read but never understood; I am like the fire that burns and burns, but its embers still remain hidden under the ground; I am not always like you, and I do not always like me. I am like the man who needs reassurance that his soul still burns because he does not have faith in the soul for its own sake. Why should he need validation that the soul still burns? Because he is empty? Because his heart and mind are filled with the long burning of his soul?

I do not know, and I cannot say, what leaves my head when she passes my way. Please pass this way, I think I need you. Some days I’m strong, I don’t need anyone else. Other days I’m like a cabinet without any clothes. Other days I’d just like some gypsy to come around and give me a reason to dance.