"Sith" and Six other Spiritual Poems
Updated: Mar 1, 2020
Even though he was my junior high school teacher
and I was his student
I considered him my friend.
When he invited my sister to his wedding
but not myself
I was crushed.
When I was tasked with picking her up
from the wedding reception
the pain, and betrayal, and injustice
were more than I could bear
and in my pubescent, eighteen-year-old,
high school, half baked brain
rage was my only coping mechanism.
I am happy I was not
a midichlorian-gifted, force user
for that evening could have turned me Sith.
Today’s Second poem:
They cared not for homosexuals
at his high school
and after members of the football team
found him making out with his boyfriend
they beat him bloody.
From his hospital bed
he learned of his suspension.
Over the phone
the principal explained this was due
to his fighting on school grounds.
“I did not fight.”
He explained through swollen lips,
“Are you suspending me for being assaulted?”
“I was not there,
I did not see what happened.”
countered the principal.
With great effort he explained,
“I am in this hospital
because you failed to create a safe environment
for the children entrusted to your care.
Perhaps the next principal will do a better job;
you, I shall see in court!”
“Today’s third poem:
As the two of us ate dinner
at an upscale Mexican restaurant
my heart felt heavy
and so I confided in my high school girlfriend
how I hated my stepfather.
Quicker than thought
she slapped me in the face;
the influence of the steady stream of soap operas
she wallowed in, all summer break.
She had witnessed step father’s
overbearing, and domineering,
and demeaning manner towards me;
was she too dazzled by his affluence to care?
She did not know
how he had sexually assaulted me;
how could she?
But she could have given me
the benefit of the doubt.
She could have,
but she did not.
That is not who she was back then.
I hope the years have been kind to her
and that she has since evolved.
Today’s fourth poem:
One of the many lies of patriarchy
is that it is only the ignorance
of occult metaphysical truths
that separate us, like a chasm,
But the tyranny of physical impulses
and intellectual story
that exacerbate all our stresses
can not be healed
by philosophical gymnastics
but only by the mastery of noticing
the twin strategies of Buddha;
low brow, but profoundly effective.
Let us NOT like sith
forever chase after
lost holocrons of arcane knowledge
but rather like Qui Gon Jinn
listen to the force’s
fresh whispers of wisdom
best suited for the needs
of the present moment.
Today’s fifth poem:
Live Aid aired the summer between
my first and second year of college.
I owned neither car, nor motorcycle
and relied upon bicycle for all transportation.
I do NOT remember what urgent need
prompted me to leave the sofa
but when I returned
I discovered that I had missed Led Zeppelin’s
Even today, thirty five years later,
the thought of that
makes me feel a little sick.
That was such a very difficult period
of my life
and the very great irony
was that I do NOT even like concerts;
I very much prefer studio recordings.
But something was at work in my life,
during that period.
Something huge, and massive,
and surprisingly subtle.
Something was divorcing me
from the world around me
separating me from the people I loved
and the dreams I cherished.
Something that had been in motion
for many years,
working secretly, and quietly
behind the scenes.
But now like a whale
breaching the ocean surface
something was at play
and seemed to be unzipping me
from the world around me,
against my wishes
and against my efforts.
It very much was
as if I was being extracted
from the life
I had intended for myself,
like a reluctant piece
upon an enormous chess board.
I am glad that I did not know
the decades that lay before me
and the great sea of fear, and sorrow,
and rage, and bewilderment, and abandonment,
and disappointment they had in store for me.
Now, as I sit in the pre-dawn hours
curled upon the couch
with my computer in my lap
the body I have spent a lifetime
training and feeding only the healthiest
and ethical foods I could conceive of,
is quite sickly, and disabled,
and hobbled, and weak.
Supported by disability,
as well as the generosity of two relatives,
and housed and fed
by a kind-hearted tantric partner
I find myself a Dzogchen Lama
dressed like one of Tibet’s
wild mountain yogi’s
with but a handful of gratis students.
By most metrics
this life could be considered
a bit of a train wreck.
But here is the irony:
I am happy.
My tragic past has been neither
rewritten nor forgotten
but I am no longer driven by survivor’s rage
like a tall ship
tossed in a violent storm.
I am happy.
I have surpassed my teachers,
the minions of patriarchy,
and have continued upon a much broader path
harkening to the whispers of the eithers
like the mystics: Lao Tzu, and Gautama,
and Saraha, and Prahe Vajra, and Chandrakirti,
and Chandragomin, and Mila, and Atisha,
and Jigme Lingpa, and Karma Chakme and Dudjom Lingpa,
and Patrul Rinpoche, and Dudjom Rinpoche
who have come before me.
And although I am disabled,
and poor, and have very few students
I find myself rich in intellectual realizations
and visceral masteries
of the spiritual path.
This is a life
than what I had imagined
in all my creative visualizations,
except for one.
In high school I awoke one morning
recalling a dream
where I was running.
I had been wearing tattered tights
and running in the morning,
my favorite time of day,
is a beautiful and unfamiliar bit of nature.
But what struck me most powerfully,
was during this run
the familiar pains,
of a lifetime of health challenges, were absent.
And in the dream
my heart sang
with peace, and joy, and contentment.
I awoke from the dream
as moved as I was puzzled.
Could this have been a metaphor
of the spiritual path
upon which I would sprint
or merely the fruit
of randomly firing neurons
and a belly full of food?
For as a teenager
I would often graze before the open refrigerator
like a greedy sarlacc in the sands of Tatooine.
Today’s sixth poem:
When preparing to take formal ordination
I was told to get my parent’s permission.
Father was dead of brain cancer
stepfather was dead of suicide
so I had only one parent to contact.
Mother responded, “Oh God,
do what you want,
I don’t care what you do!”
Ah, the advantages
of being disowned.
Today’s seventh and final poem:
One of the many lies of patriarchy
is that authority
that one is not a lama
unless an authority figure
says they are a lama.
On the other hand
one of the truths of matriarchy
is that we are defined
by what we do.
is a fully qualified lama?
One whose teaching and techniques
can evolve us
in less than a week
of twice daily practice.
Let us learn from these life examples:
Anakin was consumed by rage
by his frustrated attempts
to win the approval of the Jedi counsel;
whereas Qui Gon Jinn
was concerned with neither
the counsel’s approval nor condemnation
and sought only the guidance of the force.
May we, like Qui Gon Jinn
flow with the force
in tantric union
whose nudity reminds us
to be vulnerable in our mindfulness
who, being comprised of light reminds us
to let go as if all things were non-graspable,
whose beauty reminds us
of compassion’s transformative effect,
and whose sport in wild abandon
who functions as her Vaj-ra throne,
or, in other words, her tool,
reminds us of spontaneity.
Let us conclude
with a simple
call to action
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