Thursday, November 3

Moss and Death

Birkenau has moss. I love moss. and trees. I love trees.

Today I joined the Jewish religious service. I figured it would be good to try something different. It wasn't that different.

We chanted and prayed outside one of the crematoriums. We connected with the spirits of this land, the divine. And as we sang in tones - not words - I began to connect with the souls still here. We had a conversation and by the end some were following the light.

I asked them to join us and bring with them the wisdom of their lives, their deaths. I carried the tones of our desperation from our people here, the people here on this planet. I pleaded for them to guide show us the way to never all this again.

And now here I sit
under the aspen and oak asking them to show us the way towards liberation.

and just as this leaf falls next to one in partial decay, I notice the moss once again, sprouting forth

Wednesday, November 2

Eternal presence

And then the love

The shining heart busting free

A sense of opening, even in all their remains. There's hope. Dignity. Truth. Connection. Contact. And, yes, less fear of this

We all sat together reading the names of the dead. Here. There. Here. Now

Here I find a place of Eternal presence. It is here we find a burst of light on the Railroad Tracks of Auschwitz

I feel my heart open more between the snippets of sobbing and more between the silence of this place. here we sit. On top the selection site. On top the place people, humans, were told to either begin their life under the gestapo behind the razor wire, or finish the short walk towards their death. towards the gas chambers.

Tuesday, November 1

A Long Walk Through the Sauna of Birkenau

I'd now be stripped naked
standing upon concrete
freezing cold water streaming down my back

This, as my most cherished belongings are confiscated and sanitized of all their value
This, so they will be clean enough for Germans

And now a long hallway
more concrete
I see life outside dying on the trees
falling to the ground
fertilizing the earth

This as I have my own hair harshly taken from me
I can feel the blood drip onto my neck
As they carve into my skin, an uneven, messy tattoo begins to replace me

Naked now in all possible ways
stripped of anything familiar
we're herded like cattle
dripping wet into the next concrete room

Now here I'd sit
on the other side of the iron autoclave
just waiting for their black and white to cover my world

and wondering, where is my beloved?
He was weak and I noticed the thumb of the guard sending him off in another direction

12 hours have passed and after the freezing night, Sobbing tears and horse voice, my broken heart is terrified. I am alone.

It is from here that I begin my new life in a concentration camp.


These words were found resting in the sauna ground of a place called Birkenau:

"How can I sing when my world is laid to waste? How can I play with wrung hands? Where are my dead? Oh God, I seek them in every dunghill, in every heap of ash...oh tell me where you are."

It is here I see the future of faces destined as death

Monday, October 31

Halloween in Auschwitz

I couldn't tell if my chills were from the cold or the spirit of this place. The souls of the dead wandering this land. What these trees saw, empty of bark and leaves from their hunger...

As they turned off the lights in the gas chamber and I called out for Fleet. For comfort. I called out for the only person I knew. But I was not dying. We were not preparing for the Cyclon B.

Yes, we were stuffed in there, yes. No light and not knowing, but we weren't preparing for those tiny tin cans to be dropped in.

As we followed the setting sun, and walked out of those gates, beyond the double fenced, formally electrified barbed wire, I discovered a whole new perspective and appreciation for the thing we call life...

What Rose From the Ash of Oswiecim

Here we are...lining up waiting for the buses. I can't help but note how here we wait in a fashion similar to those who waited  for the trains to Auschwitz.

Halloween morning 8:22 AM 2011.

Train after train after train transporting humans. Imagine, your younger brother who wants to be just like you, your older sister who tells you your going to make an amazing dad, your favorite aunt who takes you and your friends to cool places, the uncle who bought you a football for your birthday, your tenderhearted grandmother, frail and old now - YOU.

As we drive towards the west, moving closer and closer towards the resting place of too many. A place of burning flesh. Pillows made out of human hair.

How could one know such things?

Every time the bus driver lets up his feet off the pedal, my heart drops a little in anticipation of our arrival.

They thought they were going to a new home. Little did they know that home would be a crematorium.

And just as we arrive at the Center for Peace and Dialogue, here to welcome us are the crows, drops of rain and moving passenger trains

Sunday, October 30

Chairs on a Square

I'm really not quite sure what to make of it all

Today was one of those days that start really early and end pretty late. One in which your gone all day long, touring the ghettos of a forgotten people. A unfathomable time.

16 of us sitting there in the low chairs on the Plac Bohaterow Getta Square of Krakow, wondering, waiting. We sat there unintentionally holding in our hearts, one of the first tenants the Zen Peacemaker teach: Bearing Witness. We had no idea that this square was a holding place for Jewish people on their way to concentration and extermination camps. We didn't know that these chairs were created by artists to symbolize their waiting for those trains to take them away.

We didn't know, just as they didn't know, what we were waiting on an explanation for. And when we finally found out, we felt our hearts drop a little deeper. And as we walked away, with a slower pace then before, deeper into the Jewish Ghetto, our minds could not comprehend how something like this could happen. How did this happen?!

Tomorrow we head to Auschwitz. It feels quite strange to say that. I feel a bit off to be making the conscious choice to head to such a place. Over a million people had their lives stolen from them at Auschwitz, over a million.

And here we go: tonight we sleep, tomorrow we drive.

Many say October 31st is the day of the year that the veil between the worlds is the thinnest. Bernie Glassman has us go for many reasons, but one of them is to be with the souls of those who are still there. I can't even begin to imagine what I'll feel tomorrow at this time.

I suppose this piece of writing is an ode to that tenant of Not Knowing...

Saturday, October 29

Opening to Basic Goodness

Last night I got the chance to listen to Fleet Maull give a talk titled "Beyond Cynicism: Personal and societal Meaning of Meditation."

I got to say, this whole concept of basic goodness is not one that comes easily to this conditioned mind of mine (as I'm sure is true for many of us with those same conditioned minds!) Yet, sitting there last night I saw something different. I saw something of possibility open. I saw that we, as humans, have the distinct ability to feel and that ability to feel allows us to open to all the beauty and pain in our lives. I heard that, just like me, even the most "hardened" of criminals can enjoy a setting a sun. I'm willing to bet there is not one human alive who does not enjoy a delicious meal. And after listening to Fleet speak about this universality of our experience as a human, I'm willing to sit with the possibility that not only us as individuals, but us all, as a collective, can and will create the world of basic goodness.

As the moments of our time at Auschwitz crawl closer to being, I am working to maintain a sense of Basic Goodness, even in the face of such horrors. Of genocide.

I'll leave you with some words of wisdom Fleet said to me on the way to Moran (the medium security prison we volunteer and teach mindfulness in).
I said to Fleet, "I'm not really sure I really believe in this whole basic goodness of society."  I wanted, so desperately, to believe in this and was looking for someone to convince my doubting mind. His response to me was "If we don't believe in the basic goodness of society, how will anyone else?"

That was a perfect answer. He is right. Basic Goodness has to start here at home.

Thursday, October 27

Baby Steps Towards Auschwitz

Its that kind of rain that finds the lenses on your glasses, but for some reason you don't take them off.

As we past exit 27 Downtown Pawtucket, I remember crossing those streets. One left turn and we're back on 95 North. Sometimes its a shock to see Mr. USA still kicking with his Red White and Blue. that's my hometown. Yep. Pawtucket, RI. And this is someone called 'me-on-my-way-past-the-fog-on-these-windows.' now, all just a memory left behind.

I see construction. And yes, there are many kinds - this one is related to taking something down to the level deeper then foundation and beginning again. Like in each and every moment that are our lives. Its just one simple detour after another. Life that is. And I'm learning this as we make our way towards Boston Logan Airport.

I'm not getting off the exit towards my childhood home. Or the exit towards my the place that held me during my time as a "wayward youth."
I'm not taking that exit towards Collette Vacations this time either, a place I sought refuge in as a young girl to get brochures and dream of other places.

Nope. This woman is on her way towards Poland. Awake. Towards Auschwitz. Open. Towards the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp that gassed and burned the bodies of just over a million human beings between the years of 1940-1945. 

I'm heading towards the place that was designated as the "Final solution of the Jewish question in Europe" with nothing else in my bag to read, but the words of viktor frankl in his 'Man's Search for Meaning.'

Sitting now in Boston Logan Airport waiting to depart to Munich, I'm holding the only things that I can: Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and Loving Action. Somehow, I'm trusting that these 3 tenants will be the only thing to trust as I take this plunge into a journey of a lifetime.

So then it begins...

Tuesday, October 11

Drums of Hope: Reflections on Metta Meditation from the Inside

As I sit here, listening simultaneously to Richard recite "May all beings be happy, May all beings be safe, May all beings be safe, May all beings be peaceful, May all beings be at ease..." and men in the next concrete room over sing and drum, I feel my body open - even in the midst of a room full of men, some of which have raped my sisters, some of which have killed my brothers, some of which have stolen from each other - and yet here I sit: open. Tears filling my eyes and hope filing my heart. Here we all are, in this moment, being kind to each other. Being kind to ourselves. Together. As one. Together as one under these florescent lights we're more whole. Together.

And as I walk past the shiny razor wire fence, I wonder to myself "Here, there, anywhere, is there really any other way?"

Monday, October 10

Waking Up From the American Dream

As I walked back into my place in providence, I was flooded with expectation of how to bring what i just saw, felt, tasted and touched back with me to the world I know here.

while joining the masses at occupy wallstreet in zuccotti park in downtown lower Manhattan, I had one question in mind "how do we keep this grassroots momentum moving?"

As i lay in the tub, bathing off the dirt and dust of the city, I realized I'm already doing it. I was simply doing it by being there. By being here. By being.

When i first got wind of the growing occupy wall street movement, I felt excitement for what this could mean. I began to feel something in my bones reawaken. Something that has been a bit afraid to surface since I began walking down the Buddhist path several years ago.

before i had a practice steeped and infused in this tradition of compassion and kindness, I was an angry activist. A very angry activist with a very specific agenda.

There I was, yelling at the Buddhist folk sitting and meditating "get off your asses, get up and do something." and by something, I meant "do something that really pisses off the 'them', stand up against the police state."

I was angry and I didn't know how to funnel my anger towards something healthy, towards something inclusive, towards something fertile.
The toxins of separation was the value system i nourished then.
In my world, i was either going to die or end up in prison for my beliefs.
not only that, but anyone who stood outside of those commitments were not 'real' activists, they were not truly committed to revolution.

flash forward three years, two cities and a stint at zen center later, and there you'd find me: meditating, in lower Manhattan at zuccotti park, with the same folks i would have been calling on, just a few short years before, to join us in our misdirected anger towards the police.
towards the state.
towards ourselves.

As i sat there, at occupy wall street, in front of an alter with the offerings of those who came before me, tears streaming down my face, goose bumps occupying my body like they long to do, i felt more productive than i ever had at any of the protests from my past.

as I bowed to the myriad deities sitting on that alter, moving into walking meditation as i made my way thru the crowds, i discovered that the American dream is not the only one one waking up.
I stumbled upon the truth that we don't need to smash burger king windows to dismantle the system of oppression.
I opened to that anger i felt in my past and saw it was simply an energy that longed for liberation.
i realized that emma goldman was right when she said “If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.”
i woke up to the notion that to occupy a place -
to infuse it with kindness, consideration and deep love for all -
is the place where liberation truly occurs
whether in our minds, or in our streets.
I saw that there really is no separation - That his story is connected to her story is connected to their story is connected to the whole. i realized there is no story...there is just this. and us.
I realized that 'occupy wallstreet' is a reflection of our ever expanding hearts, our ever deepening concern for all
...even that 1% we're calling on for accountability...

I realized that THIS is our movement. That THIS is our heart. That THIS is our time...

Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha: gone, gone, gone to the other shore, very well gone

Here's to our future...

...And our past

 And our present...

Saturday, September 24

A Dream with Troy Davis

In my dream last night I was driving towards the future
But all I could see was the mass exodus
of all those that came before me
and we were all heading out of a hell we had somehow collectively created

There were bodies being flung out of the window's of large trucks by faceless folk
and as I drove by them, I wondered if they cared
and if they didn't
I wondered how we became this way

I heard a voice cry "conditioning" as I confuted the past
and headed towards the tunnels ahead
the lights were the Boston kind of Williams tunnel kind of tunnel

Williams tunnel
Yellowing lights
dimly lit
almost like stars
almost like Troy
fading now into the most brilliant white light

As I got closer, the trucks began closing in on him
And those bumps in the roads
were more like bodies
The bumps in the road were bodies being wasted
being thrown out
like food scraps from last nights root vegetable stew
like Styrofoam 
like confusion

As I drove around them I began to realize they were not the opossums and squirrels we try to avoid when they are in the line of our tires
They were humans
and they were bagged up and thrown away
like troy
like the too many others before him

When I awaken
the clock says 2:23AM

I reach for my pillow
for comfort
and I reflect on the state of our world
our minds
and what we've collectively created

I wonder if he's at ease
I wonder if he's at peace
I wonder if he's safe now

as I pull my white down comforter back up towards my chin
and I lay on top these organic grey sheets
I ponder my level of comfort which leads me to wonder, what a ride like Troy, who had no choice but to take, felt like. I wonder what the ride out of hell does to a soul

As I ponder that and fall back into the land of dreams, I carry with me one phrase:

May you be free
May you be free
May you be free... 

May you be free Troy.
May you find peace.
And may we all find our collective way towards liberation so as to stop the madness we call suffering...

(Photo curtsey of

Wednesday, August 24

In My Dreams Arose Thee

There were Ponderosa's to greet me in the forests beyond time

There was love dispersed in clouds floating by with ease

There were wooden wheels stuck in stones
rains that came in the form of a flood
complete with 40 pound sand bags...
And oh yes, we ran. we ran as fast as we could under that flashing sky and pounding waves of thunder

There were yoga mats upon the gravel and some soaking. and sweating. and
climbing. and sitting

there were bells and gongs
frankincense incense and candles

There were moments of pure consciousness inter woven between the morning meals and platform bed ladders made of juniper pine and twine

There was some eye gazing
and net casting full of diamonds and pearls

There was hope
and in her fabric, an opening that bled into the sky

there was even copper nail polish that sparkled in the sun

there were breakfasts with espresso and high elevation. Some local beer and of course some smoke...some ritual too. and invocation of all that's true.

There was some hands upon a redwood growing towards the stars

There was lots of rain. lots of wisdom. lots of love. There were good friends and a slight heart break, a goodbye. A time to move thru the sands of time

oh new Mexico...i so dearly cherish you

Now here I lie
surrounded by stone grey sheets and walls in a room full of echo and pending fall
listening to the sirens now and motors run and myself think

perhaps its time for sleep.

But one more thing:

I adored the smell of high desert
I reveled in the earthy tastes of me
I loved to sit
I needed to sweat
I had to move
and move
and build.

for what else is there?

Thursday, August 18

What I miss...

Oh New Mexico....

I really miss this land, this energy, the people, the night sky, these profoundly strong mountains that glow during the sun setting.

I miss the minty green taste of Pinyon and juniper dancing through the air, the wafting soft scent of vanilla from the towering Ponderosa pine.

The practice here, all the black us Zennies like to wear.
I miss the open, the sense of home, a letting go of fear, the bountiful sense of life.

Gosh, there is so much I miss here.

Went for a hike today, touched the earth... picked up sparkly sand and smiled as a hawk flew overhead.

Life really does seem better at altitude somehow. I'm a believer. Its something about being closer to the cosmic world,
I think..

Tuesday, June 21

Solstice Mourning

Its a looming kind of sadness...

One, complete with a taste of bitter
like the kind olive leaf extract leaves in the back of my mouth
when I've got the shits for days on end
there's no sweet
no sweet

Its a longing of sorts

A longing for that kind of a relationship with a mother
that others seem to have
one where the child feels held. safe. alive. heard. cherished. loved.

There seems to be an inherent lack of trust an understanding there instead

What can I do?

Yes. In. Out. In again.

But those trees. And the nighttime summer breeze. And a brother stepping up, stepping in. Now they speak a language I seem to understand.

We called it summer solstice today. June 21st 2011. And I'm thinking I can stand here,  on this 3rd floor, and be heard, even if just for this one night, just this one bowl of cereal in time.

A brother comes. A brother calls. A brother gets it. And I get him. And for that, I feel held. safe. alive. heard. cherished. loved and THAT being me tremendous joy. Deep love. True admiration. Gratitude on this Solstice as I begin my march towards this final battle...this last demon. I won't let it take me down. No I will only rise...rise...rise with the Solstice as my witness and my brother by my side.

Monday, June 20

No Manure...No Magic

So what of existence? So what of coincidences?
Of loneliness and playing pretend?
But even with my therapist?
Can I show her the truth?
She's a reflection of my mind, yet I still want to hide.
Do I need to impress her too? What am I to do?

Somethingness. Nothingness.
No Difference...
Yet, are we really the same?

Thursday, June 16

Throwing a Star into a Black Hole

Today's been quite exhausting. Paid homage at the great momma Atlantic last night under the Gemini sun, Sagittarius full moon, total lunar eclipse...

Watched the waves of motion, of darkness, of reflection, of light, moving in towards me as I sat between her moving body and conjunct the galactic centered moon. Acknowledged my wounded, young self, my little girl, my Christina. Told her its okay, rose up and released a dead bird I found earlier in the day.

I think being with her might have taken more from me then I bargained for.
But all is what it needs to be
I suppose. What else could there be?
I plan to sleep early tonight and dream vividly

Something about this picture and article resonates on some unfathomable level:

If yer so inclined...

Find time...

...I think I know I feel...
what love is... 

Friday, June 10

Notes From my Bedroom Window

There's a fierceness of reorganization happening here - I can see it in the deep bend of the trees, the hushed yet urgent voice of the thunder, the shifting, seemingly erratic west winds - the same ones playing down their power, but with a deep knowing of their strength.

A confidence, of where they come from. I can see it in my changing patterns of sleep, as I awaken at two twenty to stand by my windows in magnetizing conversation with the light show playing outside in the darkened night sky.

Realignment. I like that. As a matter of preference,  not fact, I believe the planet is mirroring our own internal processes - our own alignment, or perhaps we're mirroring hers...its hard to say.

Cosmically, the big bang seems to be regrouping and as I stand here in awe of the unfathomable brewing outside, i can only hope to continue moving myself.

Sirens. Raindrops. Thunder. And yet there's a sort of inhibition, to fully unleash the power. Reminds me of how I feel towards the yogi up high...only leaving timeless behind as the main clue.

Yet, I don't fear the boogie man in this room, as lay here, naked upon this bed now. I'm seeing the raw naked fear of the boogie man i have to contend with in this head. Yet the birds still sing, even as potential destruction passes overhead. I'm sensing the wits to take clues from them.

Yes. Realignment, as in a chance to begin again, and being intimate with this brilliant and precious Earth is the one thing I know will see this through.

One foot in front of the other. It really is the only way. Listen. And not just, but deeply.

Those winds, the songbirds, and even that red raw beauty pumping oxygen through our bodies...they don't fabricate. They only speak the language of the timeless truth of being inherent in this infinite moment

Thursday, June 9

Summer Rain

Standing in the rain
simply being with the rain
feeling the rain
laying in the wet green grass
in the rain

Thunder pounding overhead
lightening brightening the sky 
I feel alive
my body responds to this stimuli
alive and high

Beautiful man standing behind
feeling the same rain
drenching his skin
we find nourishment
in the form of connection
we share

Dripping hair
I make my way home
no shower needed after my daily run

Wednesday, June 1

Noticing the Changes

now replacing the song of coyotes

now replacing the imposing sun

even before it hits the earth

But still, this song cycles around
on repeat...

A New Moon Dance

June 1st 1992.

12 years old, stumbling towards the court house in the early morning heat. A sense of "I'm not good enough but too good for this" fills her thoughts and she dances on the brick under the Gemini new moon.

Swift changes? For sure. And before she knows it, she's standing inside someone's home she's yet to know. If only she knew how to would have really helped then, while she laid her youthful body upon that cold concrete basement floor. Too open, too young. Scared, yet fearless in her reproach.

Ffowardast as in fast toward forward, fast. Now.

June 1st 2011.

So, here she lays, a 30 year old woman staring at a lite up screen. Waiting for 31. A woman. One who often wonders when 12 turned into 30. Hmmmm...she says, supposing right now in this moment would be anyone's best guess.

She pauses, reflects. A thanks, she says out-loud, to all the possible gods and goddess as she stands and makes her way to the cushion. To sit. Thank you. To meditate. Thank you. To be. Thank you. To allow. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

...and there she goes...

Once again
towards a deepening connection with repose

Monday, May 23


Met an 83 year old woman in the post office today. She stood there and spoke of the tears she held for those living in the tornado torn part of nation.

I asked her what advice she'd give to someone my age. She looked at down and said "oh honey, don't know. Don't know."

I thought that was perfectly profound, especially after my Zen stay.

A moment later, she paused, turned to me, and without hesitation, with her crystal clear, arctic blue eyes, she said, "faith, just don't lose faith."

I thanked her and reserved a place for faith in a broken open heart. If I could say one thing to her now, I'd thank her for helping me find the beauty in not only her words but the words to follow...

Sunday, May 22

On Relationships

"Journeying is built into us, no matter how beautiful our home"

Sublime Truth

Sipping internal bouts of trust
full of promise
of less and less from the outside
I noticed the grass grows tall enough to hide
from the prestige inside

Just then
walking thru the atomic mists of time

came the end of land
it was there that I heard a voice say "there's an ocean just waiting to be touched"
and now the lingering taste of salt on upon my lips
from my nude expose
still satisfies any craving for more

Some irony that all this comes on the very same day some said the world would end
oh wait...
maybe it did

Nonetheless, here comes a coal colored fire escape that is accessible from the slanted city sidewalk
climbing up now
closer to the sky and those unseen stars that hide behind clouds
I can imagine them as I sit on this rooftop of high

Just expansion. I'd be willing to bet they only feel truth.
Who am I to understand these associations?

here I am, overlooking divine providence
aglow, from some superimposed radiance

And yet, I can see myself reflected in this post industrial steel
a little rust here
some worn copper there
city lights

gentrification taking a stroll with antiquity
an aeon overlooking it all
I even see the remnants of lovemaking held in the hands of the poise passing by

I wonder when I'll meet mine...

But for now, I'll remained floored, because All of this
is within my precious view
so much ado
so much to do
so much to undo
not do
beyond you

Yes, there resides something we still don't know

Like how to properly end a poem...

Monday, May 16

Remnants of A Beached Whale

I'm sitting here in front of a blank white canvas with some findings from my trip to the momma (the same rocky beach where the whale was found), listening to boards of Canada wondering why a white canvas is so dam intimidating!

I feel really great about coming back to my heart and soul of mixed media painting arts, its been a while - in fact since I last lived here in Rhode Island. There is some force of deep inspiration here for me, I must admit.

That and the grey helps somehow, too. Loving that this was sparked by a rock I found, or that found me. Either way, i'm painting again.

So, here I go, onto whatsoever will become of a blank white canvas...

Wednesday, May 4

How Many Tears?

There is no way to know. And how could I? A mass grave of people and uncountable tears

As I stand over this place of brick, I wonder about the 250,000 bodies below. Sky above. Earth Below. Bodies below. Birds Above.

How does one even begin to envision a machete hacking into skin, let alone again
and again
and again...times a million

Words of Meaning

Superwoman once meant something
And now I sit here, triggered and unsure of how to proceed...

Yet these words of meaning are collecting in the drains from the rains pouring down
here on this grey, gray spring day
while I sit here, listening to the drone of duo stars of the lid, Tippy's Demise leaves quite a desire for surprise inside

its true that hearts feels lonely sometimes
and as I remember the touch of an old lovers hand inside
I feel a longing for chocolate and peanut butter, the chunky kind, unsalted of course...

And if brother Hal is right, the overflowing city water  flooding the streets of this divine city will be dumped right into the Providence River. The same river someone will have to take care to clean it one day

Or not.

I suppose we could go on like this for centuries more. But, still..I wonder if the rains will even come...

Saturday, April 30

Journeying into a Lifetime

Thought a lot about him today. Wondering how much of reality is a projection and how much is actually real...

Of course its hard to know when he's away, up high somewhere…but here I am sitting on top of the hills of Providence, closer to myself now, all the while singing back with the birds and my dad, amidst a dance in this late setting sun. 

She's finding purpose in the purple and white flowers that bloom, the ones that have the courage to live in the growing green grass that will soon be mowed.
The ones that hold her goddess body while she dances to the tones of yang, then yin, then yang again. 
Somehow making sense of men. And me.
Somehow making sense of love. Of life. Of truth. 
And God. All today...

She found God today in the shape of a working class mechanic. One who holds up the Ten Commandments and speaks of wealth being consumed by the greedy. By the Trumps who demand certificates to proof ones birth. Ones sight.

But love. Oh love. Oh those red walls which I made love to. I adore you. and you. and you...
Journeying into the core of deeper truths. Ones that filter out our separations. Ones that hold our eyes in sync and you close yours and I close mine and still we somehow jive. Still, somehow you trust me to pull you, blindfolded by silk... 

Amazing this life. And yes, I am wondering less and less how to make those "he's" love me more and wondering more and more how to love myself to the core...yes, me, myself and I...more.

Yes, I used used a male pronoun there. Sometimes its still a shock to the me who defined herself for many years as queer and that it somehow meant gay. Boxed in, exactly what she was trying to break free of. But now she's more like open. Beyond distinctions and distractions is a comprehensive set of hearts. And its growing momma, its growing like truth do. Like love. Like now. Like always, and forevermore.

Wednesday, April 13

Never Again

Wondering if it takes a genocide to come together in the real and deep way the Rwandans have, are...

Bring here at Rebero has completely changed my perspective on our presence here in Rwanda. I, for the first time since being here, can see how being here is actually an act of solidarity. Before hearing these speeches I was feeling tremendous guilt and shame for carrying white skin, for being of European descent.

Yet, now I'm seeing that being here, as representatives of the international community, we are showing that we care. That yes, white Europeans got on the planes that our governments provided to come take us away as their brothers, sisters, wives, cousins were being murdered. But here we are. We're back. And thats really an important thing.

I find it extraordinary that somehow, even with this kind of history, they allow us to come here and bear witness to the post genocide reality of the murder of over 1 million of their loved ones. I find it extraordinary that they are allowing us to be here.. to open our hearts so that perhaps another genocide will not be possible. If we can truly allow this experience to enter our being, then maybe, i wonder if that is enough in response to my question "does a genocide need to happen in order to have a people, a nation, a world, come together in the way the Rwandans have?"

Rising to Meet the Sun

So much for sleep.

The images of those lime covered, partially decayed bodies visited me throughout the night. Its turned into a morning with a love for coffee the size of the unknown. Images of bodies which lay akimbo - covering the entirety of those wooden platforms in which they lay upon...filling entire rooms of entire buildings. Babies too. I can tell cause their little arms are the size of my hands. Bodies of babies in their mothers arms. A place many of us have sought refuge from the concerns of the world - only found it a place in which they would be hacked into.

There is this story of a 9 month pregnant woman that stays with me. The killers cut the baby from her precious body before hacking her to bits.

So how can one sleep when the souls of the dead visit your dreams? Your mind? Your heart?
"Mwaramutse" * takes on a whole 'nother meaning, as does the sun rise this day. I feel changed - as if nothing could soothe the utter and total horror at Murambi - a place that we all stood in the don't know and bore witness to the total human catastrophe.

Tuesday, April 12

Rainbow Body

Bodies covered in lime. Bodies recovered from deep within the earth. Deep enough to be preserved so I could see where their flesh and bones, limbs, heads and hearts had been hacked into. Bludgeoned. Shot.

White bodies, which now lay strewn about in a classroom meant for training - meant for progress. Classrooms that now instead hold a most horrifying history of our human potential.

I was 14 when it happened.

If someone had told me then about Rwanda I would have wondered where it was. If someone spoke to me of the genocide I would have been too concerned with the brown lip liner lining my lips. But now, at 30, as we make our way up this perfect red clay bumpy road, i am carrying with me the promise to never forget. Not the horror. Not the strength. Not the sky that rivals that of my most dearly beloved, New Mexico. Not the crystals or the eyes - the cries, the wails, the laughter... or the rainbows that hang over Kigali and day like today.

Saturday, April 9

Morning Musings in Kigali

Here I sit at a wooden desk, looking out through the screen at the most lovely and unfamiliar equatorial flowers in bloom.

This place feels like a pure land - something that I find to contrast quite drastically the knowing, holding of an awareness of almost a million people who were horrifically hacked up, some brutally raped, many killed.

Before coming here I had visions of such darkness - the kind that completely enshrouds a person as they intently listen for the sounds of predators as they try to fall to sleep. Yet its been quite the contrary. I feel a deep sense of welcome, even in the sound of the straw broom brushing bare earth. The colors here are glowing, brilliant - unlike anything I've ever imagined or seen - in this alone, I feel feel deep appreciation. 

I have caught myself speaking to the spirits of this land. Not an uncommon thing for me to do, but also not something I thought I'd be doing here - on this Mother of all lands...

There's an unfamiliar type of quiet here - even in the bustling throws of the city - and at night when the moon and stars show up on full display I can hear the play of the civets outside.

Leave as big as giants' palms dance under the rain. The lush landscape does not let me forget all those delicate hands and intentional minds which cultivate full of praise, this most beautiful place.

I stare in awe at the beauty before me - the smell of wet African soil - red, like the womb from which we all came. There's a taste in the air that speaks of Upholding Truth and Preserving that 17 years post genocide is held in beaming light of Amohoro (peace) Kwizera (hope) and Imbabazi (compassion). They rise up to meet the heavens as purple flags are flown. There's a reliance here that even infuses the songs of birds.

It blows me away and I'm brought to my knees in complete admiration for a nation that will lead the peoples to a world infused with peace. I can only hope my people will join...

Thursday, April 7

Commemoration of Genocide

Sobbing, wailing, bearing witness to a sense of tragedy beyond my wildest imaginings, my most terrifying nightmare.

Beyond what I could ever perceive as real, I touched into the deep sorrow in the stadium of Peace in Kigali this morning. It became real for me as I heard others scream out in terror, as if their loved ones were being slaughtered right there before their very eyes.

And that did happen...

Still some 17 years later, the pain has not escaped their bodies, and I find myself wondering where one would store the memory a genocide.

We betrayed them and walked away, flew away back to our white skinned privileged nations.
I inquire about reality in a place of genocide. I wonder how the world could stand by and watch it happen, wanting to rather debate the semantics of a word...

When I come back to my room, I find myself praying to the sprits of this land, to allow me to be here. I hear them as I awaken in the pre-light of Rwandan dawn. They have much to say and seem very kind. Happy even. Full of light, which surprised me at the time.

When I was preparing to come here I thought I would be stepping into a dark zone of terrorizing energy, naturally, I thought, seeing how many lives were viciously stolen from bodies.

But then, there's the radiant hibiscus to greet me as I walk out of the airport in Kigali. Welcoming me with sub tropical beauty.

You’d think there was water close by, like in Hawaii, but there’s not. Its land locked, which makes me question the fish I ate last night for dinner. But that’s not what I’m here to write about. I’m here to write about the resilient and beautiful people here and how open their hearts are. I’m here to write about how it feels to be in a nation, a continent of people that we in the US consider disenfranchised. I’m here to write about a resiliency that blows my mind. Cause meeting in mid air, somewhere in that stadium during the Commemoration of Genocide, was peace and truth infused with accountability and a sorrow I hope not another will ever understand. They deeply held one another and without a second guess seemed to be the only support needed.

So what does one say to the young mother with two babies strapped to her body when she asks for money, and you give her one American dollar thinking that’s worth a whole lot here, only to find out it may buy her a bottle of water, no, not even a gallon. What does one do when another young mother sees that gesture and comes up and asks for something. There has got to be more then money that I can give. There's got to me more we can do. I touch her baby and look deep into her eyes. I want to take them home, but there goes my codependent trying to fix someone again.

'Bearing Witness, what does this mean,' I ask myself as I walk back towards the car.

I wonder what a million bodies look like all together in one place…and felt tremendous shock when Genro told me there were maybe 40,000 in that stadium.

I wonder what my presence here actually accomplishes, if anything at all. That somehow I feel better when I wear that purple cloth around my wrist. That somehow that makes me not one of “them.” You know, the ones who left.

As I sit there in that stadium, I wonder what I would have done. "Of course," I think to myself with slight arrogance, "I would not have left on that April day in 1994 when the planes came to take us away." But really, just sitting there in that stadium, amongst the cries of the world, I felt flooded with terror for moments at a time. Could I have stayed and watched as humans were hacked up? As my own life was questioned? Would I have stayed and wore my white skin of privilege thru the streets to be with those who bore the legacy of colonial power? Who would have listened if I would have stayed? Who would have been here in this stadium if more didn’t leave?

I realize there is an inherent sense of guilt I've been carrying around. One that I'm working to shift into positive action, positive potential. As I sit here, I'm reminded of why I sought out Fleet...moving beyond guilt, holding my seat. But still, as I walk through these streets and drink delicious African tea I still wonder what they now think of me.

Yet, after writing this, I see that there's a rare occurrence happening here. One in which I can move about and do what I came here to do: Bear Witness to the full potential of this: the human condition

Not Knowing
Bearing Witness
Loving Action

Saturday, March 19

An Ode to a Supermoon

"Take me to the edge of the land" she said with a sigh carrying the weight of Venus. "I need to feel the waters of her living womb." The sound of those new swede brown boots from Spain were the first thing she noticed slipping back into her body, as she made her way down that wooden pier.

There, she saw the pastels dancing. In each wave a desperate attempt to be noticed on the dawning of this super moon twilight evening in March.

"You know, we're made of 78% water" she said to her dear comrade sitting by her side. Shivering, they watched the tide receding following nothing else but natural law. There was a kind of silence that held them both in the stillness of that moment of her glorious rising at the horizon.

Amazing how fast time moves. Even more astounding how deeply one can sense that motion in the moon.

Saturday, March 12

A Connected Ocean of Tears

Slipping over the green moss
from salt to air
onto a foreign land
a wet ocean of boulders
ever so joyously
as they create love between the rows of jetty's 

"Are those human made?" I ask the seemingly happy middle aged couple. They must be coming to watch the sun set over those homes, those homes that sit so neatly in a row overlooking the great momma. Those homes that have not been carried away by water. This time.

"Oh yea," he says, with an excitement of a 3rd grader knowing the answer to a 6th grade question. "The hurricane of '38 wiped out this entire area. They built them in hopes to divert another catastrophe like that in the future."

"A catastrophe." I think out loud. "Hmmmmm, like the one in Alabama..."

As I walk away I wonder about Alabama. I wonder about the Gulf of Mexico there, still full of oil, unrefined and left untended now. I wonder about Japan, and 8.9 magnitude earthquake that happened yesterday, in their backyard, in the ocean. I wonder about those waves that come finding humans, land and cars to throw on top of 3-story buildings. I wonder about our atomic atom and how much trouble its gonna cause.

Sigh. What is happening to life?

There's got to more then white and blue pills popping. There's got to be more then these kinds of catastrophes. How can I go sit in bath when they don't even know how many are dead?

Well, today has been a day of depth, I guess. Of contacting old loves and wondering if their okay. Of looking out and into the unknown and just looking, not trying to find an answer. There is no answer. Just an asking. Learning to pray? Perhaps. But not in the God kind of way. In fact, its not a male thing. Its more like curves in motion. Wetness and fertility. Half moons that hang directly overhead, while making friends in Gemini. Its games of sweet and sour and a date with destiny. Its jumping from dry rock to wet boulder, dry boulder to wet rock on top this slippery patch of fern green moss.

Back to the singing now. They serenaded me into a moment of silence. A place. Something. Somewhere, or no where at all, I'm not really sure anymore. This is not translatable into words. This is not a spoken language that I know.
Its a language of water. Its a language of the sun dawning on-top the moving waves of a lifetime and seeing a reflection stare back.

Still, the smoke of this exhale
speaks of fear
one full of failure
and despair

She asks her friend why sunsets burn though peoples memories?

Her friend looks at her, dumbfounded, and answers honestly, with a laughter and a scream.

And as she inhales this pure form of nicotine
somehow, someway
there is a pause in the pain
and when she looks up and see the sky on fire
she's reminded of being higher
beyond the ideology of those white picket fences
is a dream that never learned to fly
but now
on this cold march afternoon
with the Atlantic on her side
she vies to end this sense of separateness standing by
"my world is failing and i am flying watching the shattered shards fall"

Cause those stoops in the lower ninth ward
are still just stoops
steps leading up to grass now
and those cars uprooted from concrete
still on top of houses in Sendai
are still waiting for the cranes to come
the smoke still smoldering from the fires and the now this: a potential nuclear reactor meltdown
its all still there
even those young girls and women with severed vagina's
are still bleeding somewhere
ground zero hasn't been rebuilt
they are to busy fighting over whether or not to let the mosque in

When I look up, I do the only thing I can
I ask those brown and gray furry pussy willows sitting my desk, still budding for spring,
what would you say to the survivors? what do you feel about the world today?

Friday, March 11

A Taste from the Others

She held me in her small hands
a flash of light beaming
i wonder what her insides will feel like if she allows me to go there

Tuesday, March 8

Superimposed Clouds of Fire

Watching water lapping against the confines of burrows
hollowed out eons ago
listening to the hum of the park lights
thoughts about what this is
what is this?
its people in fleece running by
floating on top of the surface of a mind

And the wind is relentless
but it feels good
it feels like shifting sand
mistakes strewn about
and this
a step into some sort of contrived light

Ellis Island still holds on
and the lady in copper still carries that torch of freedom
a light for those coming in from distant lands
a long as your skin is right

Just sitting here now
trying to see whats written in the sky
whats written on skin

Just sitting there
watching the planes coming in
and the city lights turn on in the race of repetitive cycles
preparing for nightfall

Honeycomb concrete
littered with last years discards

Battery Park, I love you.
I love how real you are. I love how deeply you hold us all. I l love how you stand off Jersey to this city and the backdrop is a setting sun. I love how your wind blows any sort of belief away. All the way up this deviated Hudson, full of laughter and cries, all this, coexisting
at the same time.

Ground Zero, Now

From the grey of the city skyline
I wonder about those chalk outlines
of bodies akimbo
which jumped from the 102nd floor
10 years past

No longer a smoldering mess
just an almost empty city block
save for the cranes attempting to rival those of times before

I ask the bus driver what he thinks of a mosque being built right there
he says "I can't answer that dear, but New York will do what it do, no matter what I say or what say you"

I hear the elder woman from the back say "But it didn't take a mosque to bring the buildings down"
and I'm intrigued by how we attempt to run from ideas

Mostly I notice the seagulls, flying in from Battery Park, circling around
"Can you believe its been 10 years?" I say out-loud to what ever is listening. Whoever is there

Perhaps between the thumping of metal on concrete and Mary Poppins on Broadway we can find our collective consciousness and begin again under this darkening sky.

I wonder about all those people, all these cars that just drive by
that just drive by


Papers flying like birds thru the airstream
neon signs that never rest
an endless array of grey
joining the lowest prices

Cast iron bridges
and a dozen pink & white balloons
a 1973 El Camino
held on this 1909 destiny of bridges

Girls stealing basketballs
from older boys on the courts of east Harlem

People people

Even Mr. Malcolm X himself
was here

Friday, March 4

Whose Beating Heart?

Sitting in a crystallized bath
under this new moon in Pisces
she found herself
once again, stuck
between those wooden floor boards of her mind

Candle light dancing between her thighs
as she's holding Eyes Wide Open in her wet hands
she bleeds into the music of a 16th century composer
fluid flowing
her tears
somehow finding solace in the intensity of a C minor held in the past
that which brings her closer to a truth
she's yet to understand

Saturday, February 26

Woman in Seach of the Cosmos

Last night
under the blanketed silence of the city
water from the snow melt outside made its way in
filling up her room of memories carried from past places

There were cutout cardboard crows with blood red hearts looking left
and an owl feather plucked from the myth of death taken from high places
there was even a bumblebee yellow 1970 paper Pontiac GTO

She was carried out by way of the second story window
floating effortlessly past those by now infamous purple curtains
beyond which laid a whole world
unknown to her

And in her dream she called out to the waters of death: "Take me" she cried, and her voice echoed out into the vastness of boundlessness, nothing to bounce off of, nothing to hold onto. "Take me whole and take now, fill me with your element and lay beside me as I float from this second story of my mind"

As she sank into the falling sands of time, she wondered what would become of her, she wondered what she would make of it all

And there were others. And they too were swimming around her. They kept asking her for things, always they were needing something from her. Watching all this happen in disbelief, she shifted her attention to to a non translatable discourse on the Atlantic ocean being born today. Right now. Here. In front of her dreaming eyes, salt crystals forming. Filling her, engulfing her, becoming her. Becoming one.

"Because there is no separation, right?"

But even so,
as she swam over the copper capitol of the city, she still longed for those damp Pacific Northwest nights
fire engine red Fuji bikes
girl girl tryst
and those long in breaths
while sitting
in claw foot bath tubs
ever so delicately by lavender
and candle light

Completely submerged
she became that water
and with every inhale
she sunk deeper into the endless ocean of light

The penetrating taste of salt on her pouting lips
where to?
How, when?

But now
in this late night excursion
beyond dreams
of the fallen tree limbs of providence
beyond reality
of the continuum of global instability
she's swimming into a space surrounded by Japanese paper lanterns
seeped now in northeast pine
she's sinking into the salty waters of confusion and doubt
wandering about in search of her misplaced joy and firm decision making
she's found herself in a space of don't know
cause she don't know where it went
and she still don't know how she woke up in this ocean state, under white blankets and a room full of gray

She's decided to take up sailing
but is finding
in this pre-dawn storm of laughter
under a darkened February sky
nothing of what she came looking for
but still
she wanders about
like a child
around Christmas time
in search of Santa

What mask this time?

She's wondering
if there really is a mote holding anything back at all
let alone her
this: the eternal timeless realms of all there is

Her footsteps
silent now
as she swims over the antiquated wooden floor boards from bed to bath
bath to tea
tea to floor
she's losing sight of the path under all this water

Its cloudy and foggy and raining outside
and that terrifies her beyond the combined salt marshes of her mind

Flying into her heart
are blackbirds, dancing in this rain
into a deeper dance of what this is

or ballet?

Perhaps Opera?

Yet still, she finds a calling to just run away
to be high
in the mountains
sitting with nothing other
then the sky
a warm cup of tea
a beautiful man
true love at 9,400 FT

"I could touch the sky
I could drink the stars
I could taste myself"

Cause even the streetlights trigger her now
even the smell of her dad's car

She hears him say "One foot in front of the other young lady
one foot
just keep moving
just keep moving"

Whatever is there is there
is there
no where to run to
no where to go
its there
whatever is there is there
its here
right now
its here
in this mind
in this body
in this heart
this karma
from a past I don't even know anymore

No where to go. Nothing to do. That's what the zenies like to say.

But perhaps, this time
I'll just crawl back into a warm bed
and swim under those white blankets of surrender into the myth of tomorrow

Saturday, February 19

Dear Life

I am here without any idea of how to proceed. I hear "The only way out is though", but how do you even begin to move when your legs are numb, when your legs think they are ears. How do you make your way towards seeing yourself as really true when the dream is where your lost? What do you do when your whole world starts to crumble? When your seeing a deep state of denial for the first time?

Oh life, what do you do when nothing at all makes sense? When time itself floats about like molecules in a universe with no oxygen and you've somehow dreamed yourself in the unknown, the uncontrollable?

Where do you go? What direction do you take when your so caught up in becoming something? How do you unbecome of who and what your not after a lifetime of construction? And how do you perceive where you've already been when you are different? If everyone is already inherently awake, why does it seem so completely unobtainable?  If there's nothing to attain anyway?

How do we live the truth in a way that it is actually actualized? How do we come into agreement with the truth of existence? How do we stop trusting away from ourselves?

What happens when your bottom stepping ground falls away from earthquakes that leave you paralyzed? How do you begin to move again? And where do you go when there is nothing left?

How do you wake up from the person? The dreamer?

Am I losing my mind? Yes. I think I am. Only this time, she' s not sure if thats a good thing anymore

Friday, February 11

Horns and Laughter

Braced in the chasm of falling light
she found her space
in a place thats filled with gray
its that kind of gray that mimics old stones
you know
the ones that hold you in time
as your floating down
when you lose your ground

she knows there is no ground
there's no need to remind her
she knows its all changing
always anyway

But still
somehow having walls of ashes makes sense to her now

she knows there is nothing to grasp
that grasping is like holding onto air
and only the molecules appear
that impermanence is the only thing lasting
the only thing thats clear

she finds peace in the perfect placement of her owl pictures and relics

she's finding meaning in the way the paper lantern light gently touches the tree goddess that now hangs upon her imperfect wall

Roots appeal to her now

And as she leans into the pulsation of her molten red hot core
she's reminded of past lovers' eyes
held as memories now
like the space they occupy
on portable hard drives

But still
she's dancing between the shimmering silvery light that is reflected in those same purple curtains
and the paper patriarchal spiritual lineage chart
once again
above her bed

She finds relief
that it now holds womenfolk's names
like Jiko
and ryushin

When she looks up to find the Twins in this late winter city sky
all she sees are head lights and bikers passing by

But its okay,
if you listen in a certain tone
there's an ease to the city sounds
honking horns or sirens
laughter from a distance
erupting from unknown mouths
with delight in mind

She's finding a truth in the eyes of the passengers in the cars by her side

Stop lights forcing us to stop. Thankfully, its one thing we city folk got.

She's finding a time for contact in her early morning commute
an uncommon kind of closeness in this, The Renaissance City, The City of Divine

Open. More.

Do it again. Again and again

All the while regina speckor sings to buildings
on repeat
in the background

When she looks up she reads the words:

"Be present
Moment by Moment
Don't check out."

And her heart opens. Again. From Rohatsu in Santa Fe to lonely nights in Providence.

Yet it all makes sense. Yes. For this moment in translation, all is okay.

Tuesday, February 8

New Home Insecurity

There's still an echo in my room
unassigned bed placement
too many walls to choose from? Perhaps...

I don't think i can paint it again
what happens when you go from sunburst yellow to ashes grey?
Its funny, and kinda odd that I'm projecting all this instability on the color of my walls, like somehow the right color is going to make everything feel "safe, stable, comfortable, familiar"
but really
I mean after 18 months living in a zen center, you'd think she's got it down
but the only thing she seems to have down is grasping at non reality

But where should I put my fucking bed?!
Where should I put the lamp?
What color curtains? Walls? Bedding?


Saturday, February 5

Streetlights Under the New Moon

Scraping stickers off the skin of my heart
you know
the ones that have been there
collecting dust
in the back of a second hand store

Its the kind of desk you've dreamed of
sitting in your room
with the thoughts of a writing space
a place in which to communicate your deepest sense of truth

but to who?
who's listening?

The stickiness of the sticker is the kind you have to peel
layer upon layer
fingernail to wood
until it punctures the skin under your nail
and you have to search for its origen
but then suddenly
like insight comes
you realize you have a partial license plate key chain that could make the scraping a bit easier
or so you thought
and perhaps it did

The dance continues
and you stare at your new deep purple curtains
which somehow hang in a way that
bring you a sense of relief
at the time

Yet superimposed against the fabric of your life
you question everything
all if it
why celibacy?
why now?
why providence?
why a borderline mother?
a PTSD veteran father?

why chasing yellow trails that gently remind you of silence?
of love?
of the impossible?

But this desk
oh yes
this desk will hold you upright in your darkest hours
and you'll weep
once again
under the emergent hope of white blankets
in the blue light of dawn
once again
and sense
in this place
this time
this space

Saturday, January 15

The Power of Vulnerability


It seems to me that in order to truly cultivate fearlessness we have to begin with vulnerable. By entering a space of willingness to open in the face of rejection, the face of an answer we don't want to hear, the face of pain, or whatever else is your biggest fear/s, I believe that we are allowing ourselves to be more wholly human. 

What else is the purpose of life then to be alive in this world? 

How better of a way then to maintain a commitment to open. Open. Open. Nothing more, nothing less. 
So, I'd love to hear from you. Tell me of your fears. How do you see vulnerability? What makes you feel vulnerable? How do you meet or not meet it? What's stopping you from entering that space?

What Else But Open?

An answer asked itself from the depths of her gut
and she hiked uphill thru crystals to find the question
in return
she found an opening, an abiding arising
filling all spaces
in the 10 directions
with truth

"Finally," she said, with a deep exhale and a subtle smile, "I'm ready to keep moving"

So, continues the journey
across a nation and over the boulders of love she'll cross
more open now then ever before
stepping, heart first into a stream of trust so deep
that from where she now sits, she takes a trusting bow
for all there is
and for all those that are

For she now knows
that which manifests is nothing less then perfection

Saturday, January 8

Departures Amidst the Silence of Morning

A place where shadow and light dance in the most sensual and elegant way
unknown to even the lovers embrace

Sparkling snow
like infinite crystals
now lay upon the Earth body before me

As I feel pulled asunder
I wonder
does the cawing raven ever seek any different then this?

Tuesday, January 4

Subtleties of a Night Stroll

The crisp sound of air
flowing though the stiffened winter branches
high up in this desert land
reminds me departures

The woven constellations
beaming overhead
shed light on this darkened path now
from eons ago

I pause to ask him
where is it that you go?
Yet the only thing I hear
are buds preparing for spring

With a soft and subtle gaze
he reminds me of my dad
a man i once loved
without fear in my heart