My heart’s happiness is trapped in my chest

My heart’s happiness is trapped in my chest like a red-breasted bird whose vocal cords are shot. His dumb fate blocks him from singing out the songs of lament locked inside his throat, while numbing memories of the unrepeatable songs of praise he once sang as a chirping little one mock him mercilessly. The bird’s fixed idea of how impossibly filled with grace he used to be imprisons him in the silver cages of yearning. His magnetized mind takes flight from the muted now to the musical back then, and he feels no desire to come down. He feels the fire and the magic have forsaken him, and he aches to hear aloud the latent notes Time has pushed down to some hidden crevice of his being. He has gone deaf to the ever-present, everlasting Silence, which asks without force to inhabit him from the inside. Lord of bird and beast, let there be purpose and will to this creature’s suffering. Let him still rise and glide through the skies; let him still dive-bomb the earth; let him still play the role of high-flying bird, tied down though he is to the flights of his powerful reveries, left pining and unheard in his severed world of silence.

The Place Between Before and After

Who brought me to this vale
where I travel or travail?
Who said be, and a valley
appeared below to tempt me?

Lover, I notice you are weeping
as if through a heavy veil.
Why not take off your dark shawl
and reveal the real beauty of tears,
of joy seduced by sorrow?

Did you expect me to repress my joy
because you’ve expressed your sorrow?
Take me in your arms,
and together we can unite joy and sorrow.

Who fought me when I was still
and praised me as I began to struggle?
Who said do, when I could not be,
and do more, when I had no more left?

Lover, I notice you are laughing
as if through a light veil.
Why not take off your bright shawl
and reveal the real beauty of laughter,
of sorrow seduced by joy?

Did you expect me to repress my sorrow
because you’ve expressed your joy?
Take me in your arms,
and together we can unite joy and sorrow.

Who sought me when I was soft
and left me as I began to harden?
Who said die, when I could not hear,
and live, when I began to pay attention.

Lover, I notice you are,
but I have no words for what you are.
For what you are, I can only yearn.
I yearn to live with your love
in this unknown place
that has come between
before and after.

“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.

“Down The Road of Struggle and Desire”

I walk down the road of struggle and desire
Each morning I strain to rekindle the fire
I want too much; I want nothing at all
I want to climb and then watch myself fall

What could I give you that I can call my own?
The scientists make theories, nothing is known
I know I feel too much, that’s abundantly clear
Will I ever recover? Will I ever be here?

My mind and my love, they’re ten thousand miles away
My rucksack is packed, you and I know I can’t stay
Got nowhere to go, that’s never stopped me before
My soul is on fire, blazing the path to the door

Now the door is open, time to sing Whitman’s song
Afoot and light-hearted, no journey is too long
For these rugged feet and this restless heart
That seeks to go beyond what tears it apart

Everyone’s got their own life to live
Some people take, some people give
Taken me years to know I don’t know my own name
Life’s just fear and loathing when you’re possessed of no aim

So much stays in utero, hidden and indistinct
On the day when it surfaces you begin to go extinct
Your real self exists in the unfathomable deep
The truth rests in the unseen; the seen rests asleep

I weep on the surface, in the depths I rejoice
In speech I am silent, so my soul finds its voice
One day I’ll be old and decrepit, on the sands lost and alone
Seeking solace in the sea’s power, my hand gripping a stone

No matter my age, my yearning will not leave me
Lovers will leave, and friends will deceive me
This yearning will remain with me ‘till the end
If everyone else abandons me, on her I can depend

On the gentle sands of relentless time
I stand stranded, in what I’m told is my prime
Youth is unkind when you don’t know your own name
And life is suffering when you are possessed of no aim

As dusk collapses into starless night
Everyone goes out, seeking some light
I’m already gone, don’t look for me there
To go backward is sinful, to move on is my prayer

There’s an angel and a devil in every soul on earth
To discover the former requires rebirth
The devil may be strong, but the angel is always stronger
The devil’s at the fingertips, to find the other takes longer

Am I more alone, or do I feel my aloneness more acutely?
I will endure what I must, and I will endure it resolutely
I will find what eludes me in the cities and the towns
I will keep firm on the trail, my ears alert for all sounds

As I walk down the road of struggle and desire
This town is pitch-black, this house is on fire
I go out into the night, to remember my own name
I go out, never to return, I will blow this ember into flame

“The Whole”

One thousand feet above town,
too far away to hear the music and dancing of Saturday night,
there is almost complete silence,
save for the swaying of tall trees in the gentle breeze.
 
An unnamed sadness is present amidst the entertainment downtown,
while an unnamable joy is present here
in the silent night,
here where the moon’s light
shines through cobwebs and into cabins.
 
It is a good night to be alive
and to be awake.
 
I close my eyes and feel
both the unnamed sadness
and the silent, unnamable joy.
I feel the restless yearning of the drinkers and dancers downtown
as I watch the calm way the tall trees with immovable trunks sway.
 
Why be one or the other, either calm or restless?
I am restless and I am calm,
I sway like the trees and I dance like the wild,
I move with a vital force and I am immovable.
 
The calm, still being within respects the restless, seeking one,
and the restless one who seeks
respects the still one who accepts.
Neither demands to be sole inhabitant,
neither claims to encapsulate the soul.
Each needs the other in order
to be included in the whole.
 
The restless one yearns for the whole to be expressed
in one passionate movement,
one intuitive line,
while the still one looks on with an invisible glow,
blessed with knowledge beyond expression
and wisdom beyond time.
 
Above town and in town,
there is yearning and there is the yearned for,
there is stillness and there is restlessness,
there is underlying sadness and there is overarching joy.
 
I go out and look up at the sky.
Neither darkness nor light covers the whole stretch of sky.
There is the blackness of night and there is the light
from the moon and stars.
Each needs the other in order
to be included in the whole.