“What Am I But What Longs To Be”

Is it you, the one
whose name rises softly to my lips,
who I am longing for?
You who are absent, while I am here.
If you were here with me, would I find
someone else to long for?

Today rain falls on the ground,
and from within my heart this longing rises,
like a river surging over its banks,
like an eagle soaring above its nest,
like a stone rolling from infinity to infinity.

Rain falls, stones roll, time moves on,
and all but this longing in me is still.
Yet: what am I
but what longs
to be?

Your name is like the gentle rhythm of rain,
falling, and my voice keeps speaking it,
though to speak it brings me pain.
Who are you, you who are
absent, whose name rises softly to my lips?
Are you the one I am longing for?

The rain comes down harder now,
not so gentle as before.
It is a day to love or to love
from a distance, which is to long.
No distance is far enough, no closeness is close
enough. There is no safety or rest or comfort

in distance, there is only this longing, this aching
unrest of being apart from, separated by
the river you once crossed to meet her.

“Emptiness”

Does nothing satisfy?
I begin the day already frustrated.
My first thought?
Whatever I do today will only leave me empty.
My second?
Nothing I do can give me what I need.
My third?
It is because I need that I stay frustrated.
Finally I ask myself:
What do I need?

I need to do something to relieve this emptiness.
If I do nothing, will this emptiness leave me?

No, whether I do something or nothing,
The emptiness remains.
It remains whether it is hidden or apparent.
Nothing relieves it.
Everything I do either hides it better or makes it clearer,
But nothing takes it away.

I cannot be relieved of it simply by leaving it behind.
What is there to leave behind?
It can’t be left behind because
It’s not even here.
It’s an absence,
One that I feel
More than I feel anyone else’s presence.
It’s a not-here
That makes me feel not-here
And everyone else seem not-there.

Would I need to be someone else to not feel it?
Is who I am formed from what I lack?

If I were not me,
Would I feel less not-here?
If I were not here,
Would I feel more like me?

If I am not even here,
What can my purpose be?
I can do nothing unless I am here,
But nothing I do can take away who I am,
And who I am is not separate from what is not-here.

Who I am is more than what is here,
But what I say means less than what I hear.
I speak of what is not-here,
But I listen for what is here.
I feel an absence,
But I listen for a presence.
What is present here is more than who I am,
It means more than what I feel,
But what can it mean if I can’t hear it?

What do I need?
I need to hear what is here;
I am frustrated when I feel only what is not.
Is there anything here
That can relieve me
Of what is not?
Is there anything not-here
That can help me
Perceive what is?

I begin the day already frustrated,
And I admit that I do not know why.
I also cannot say why
The not-here feeling always seems to linger here.

But here is the not-here.
I feel it now as I do most every day.
The not-here will be here whether I let it or not,
But this once I do not deny it or fight it.
I am here and so is the not-here.
I do nothing.
I can’t think of a single thing I could do
To take away what is not even here.

“Feel the Sound”

Was I once found?
Am I now lost?
I’ve heard for too long
of what has been lost.
Now I listen
for what can’t be found.

I do respect the thoughtfully worded phrase,
but how much more
do I respect the heartfully felt sound!

How can I feel this sound and be lost?

Listen for a moment.
See
if you can feel
the sound.
You might hear it more clearly
if you put
your ear
to the ground.

Did I once have?
Have I now lost?

What I have lost is precious to me,
more precious than what I have now.
To have is fine while it lasts,
but to have lost is to begin
re-finding,
redefining where your worth is,
realigning with your purpose.

This is how I redefine your words.
When you say you are close to a breakdown,
I hear ‘breakthrough.’
When you tell me you are in the middle of a crisis,
I hear ‘creative tension.’
When you feel hopeless of ever understanding,
I hear ‘recovering the mystery.’

But you do not need me to redefine your words,
or to remind you of your worth,
do you?

No.
But in case you’d like a reminder,
here:
When you look at me intensely and say nothing,
I hear ‘I am here,’
and I feel your distinct sound;
I let go of all I’ve lost,
and I embrace what can’t be found.

“Getting There from Here”

You can get there from here,
it is not so far away.
Though you might travel for many years,
lost and confused on lonely desert byways,
a fierce light in your eyes that shields you slightly from the depths of your own despair,
your tender heart struggling madly against going cold,
your face sheltered from the sweltering sun,
now cursing the day-world and your broken and beaten self,
now brought to tears by the full moon that guides you somewhere else.

What is it you are searching for, my nomadic companion?

You can get there from here,
it is not so far away.
Though you might take to the seas,
captain ships to far-off lands searching for some forgotten Eldorado,
in desperate pursuit of the intense and exotic,
lustful for anything that smacks of adventure,
blind to all you see that lacks novelty,
your voyages always getting longer, riskier, farther-flung.

What is it you are searching for, my seafaring companion?

You can get there from here,
it is not so far away.
Though you might work non-stop for many years,
spend a lifetime pulling your way to the top,
pulled by the allure of skyscrapers and penthouses,
taken up and away by elevators and escalators,
taken hold of by the image of your self glimpsed high above
blind to what holds your unseen self far beneath.

What is it you are searching for, my ambitious companion?

You can get there from here,
it is not so far away.
Though you might spend your life in pursuit of love,
urged on by impulses more powerful than you will admit,
seeking in physical union the dissolution of your separateness,
and a joyful reunion with and return to wholeness,
looking to the future to give you back what you had in the past,
looking for a lover to provide the missing piece you feel you lack.

What is it you are searching for, my love-hungry companion?

You can get there from here,
it is not so far away.
Though you might spend your life running from love,
avoiding life and its uncalled-for difficulties that you do not understand,
looking to move away from rather than toward,
seeking peace by escaping conflict,
keeping to yourself in your secured mind where others cannot hurt you,
fortifying yourself with knowledge others do not understand,
and refusing to let a single anguished plea seep out from your fragile soul.

What is it you are searching for, my elusive companion?

You can get there from here,
it is not so far away.
Though you might spend your life seeking to understand,
your pen moving furiously along the page,
your thoughts moving frantically along in your mind,
your need to express yourself forever growing,
your curiosity always aflame, your yearnings always unfulfilled,
always overlooking what is close by and drawn to what is afar,
what is over there, absent, ever elusive,
drawn to some invisible force just beyond the visible horizon that pulls you in and holds you still,
a force you might grasp for a second and try to hold onto,
a force that lets you go if you won’t let go.

What is it you are searching for, my scribbling companion?
You might find it,
and you might not,
but know that it is not so far away.

You can get there by being here.