Once, a while ago, when the rhythm took me,

(sorry, sorry, sorry,
lo siento, mea culpa;
have you seen all the ways
we learn to apologize
for being alive?)

it was Los Lobos,
and it was Spring,
and I was in the kitchen,
and I was told to stop screwing off.

The next day, I drove past a graveyard.

Most days now,
I’m guilty of screwing off.
(especially where rhythm is concerned)

Lo siento.


What can I say about you
that wasn’t already said
by Monet’s brush,
by Gibran’s pen,
by Carter, opening Tutankhamen’s tomb,
by Einstein’s math,
by my mother’s hands,
or by my dog’s tongue?

What can I possibly describe about you
that wasn’t already given to me
in the absolution of the wild,
that wasn’t felt by my sister
on the first horse she mounted,
by my father
the first time he wandered the woods alone?

What on earth
can my heart not say these days
as it pulses fragments of dead stars
to my eyes,
that I might turn them
on the night sky, itself
half-made of dead stars?

What can you show me
that is not in itself
a miracle?

And what can I say to you
that does not come out
“we are here for the space of a breath,
and no more”?


I wish I had answers.
I really do.

I wish I had the secret
to a good night’s sleep,
or that I knew what you mean by
“the best hiking trail”;

I wish I knew how 
to look the devil in the eye,
how to visit all 100 places the magazine says to 
before we leave this world,
how to eject the tape in your head;
or the one in mine;

how to learn the language 
of the horse in summer,
or the wolf in winter,
or how to dance
like they do in the movies;

how to exhude the proper passion,
how to fix the brokenness,
or at least clear the wreckage;
and, perhaps,
why folks bring swords to the dinner table.

(There is a reason, you see,
why I’m on one knee 
when talking to dogs,
or children. 
Do we not all in some way bow
to wisdom and grace?)

So, yes, I wish I knew the secret
of the method
of the madness
of the song
of the soul
of the fire 
and the rain;
or that of your your finely-gathered pain,
which is a gift only to be offered.

Ah. Never mind me.


I found a piece of driftwood
while walking.

It’s yours.

old knots and curves,
scent of earth in spring;
water and wood at last
consummating their affair.

(How else do I explain that,
to me,
your whisper is thunder?)

The Most Convenient Definitions

“Battling your demons,”
they call it.
Fighting the monsters.
Taming the beast.
Or, perhaps,
rebuking the Devil.

You must cleanse yourself.
You must take this pill.
You must do yoga.
You must read this book.

You must.

I suppose I can’t lie;
shedding the past is good.


do you remember?
Think back.

Before you were told what to fear.
Before you were told what to hate.
Before you were told what was wrong with you.
Before you were told who to be.

I’ll tell you true,
cross my heart, hope to die-

’cause I seem to recall a boy,

whose demons brought him food,
whose monsters came out from under the bed 
and gathered ’round for story time,
whose beasts ran with him
past the high school lockers,
and who walked the prairies and woods
with Lucifer and Jesus both;

we shared Canadian whiskey,
Dominican cigars,

and harmed not ourselves 
nor any soul,

traipsing the beat
in the heart of creation.


​And so I gaze
into the caverns of the night.

I open to the eons
and the windward side.

I praise the Sun,
and run with the storms.

I leap and fly
above the harriers of this age.

I smash my bottles on the brick walls, 
taking note of what escapes.

I kiss deeply and longingly,
and make an offering
at the shrine of the heart.

And I clean my kill,
giving thanks
in front of the fire.

And I am wounded before the altar,
and am drinking deep the blood.

And I unfurl my banners also,
laughing in triumph 
at the marching armies.

But most of all,
I embrace you, and say goodbye,
until again we meet,

and hope we may both find
the table set for us 
in the clearing next time.

Audacity Beyond 2017: A Love Letter to the Human Race

Hope. Change. Love. Transformation. Luck. Finally.

Did these words bounce around in your mind as the clock rolled over to the new year?

I don’t blame you. Not one bit.

Our new culture is saturated with keys, triggers, signs; easy nuggets of hope that in turn saturate our subconscious, leaving us salivating for beautiful fruits that may never bear.

It’s ok, folks. I’m telling you, right here, right now, it’s ok.

I have walked with the hopeful, with the dreamers, with the expectant mothers and purposed fathers, with the wish-makers and wayfinders. I have also walked with the hopeless, with the downtrodden, the abused, the reckless and disillusioned, the cast-off chaff of this new world who’ve all but given up their faith in humanity.

Still, I say: it’s ok.

Are you calling me out on my BS yet? Please do. 

Bring me your broken dreams. Bring me your deaths. Bring me your fear. Bring me your burdens of blackness, your wreckage that writhes and grins at you in the night.

Do you truly believe, in your deep-heart, that an arbitrary number has anything to do with the timing of the universe, with the random dance of molecules or economies?

I don’t think you do. But it’s nice to believe, isn’t it?

That’s my point. Right there. I don’t care what you believe in. Just believe. The fact the you WANT to believe tells me your heart isn’t dead.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the symbolism. “New year, new you.” Fair enough. But I need you to do me a favor.

Accept that a new year, in and of itself, won’t change a damn thing.

Trust me. Knock it off. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

Set goals, yes. Retain hope in the future, yes. But you’ve just been handed an empty box.

Much like a new relationship, a new year comes with an empty box. What you get out is what you put in. It doesn’t come with anything. And this empty space is what’s important. 

We place value on the structure, but the space is what we use.

So what will you fill yours with?

I can’t stress how vitally important it is to define this concept. “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”? When did we become so lost in our hearts? It’s not wrong to hope, nor to have a back-up plan, but I’ll challenge you right here and now to “hope for what you want, but prepare for what you need”.

You hate this already. I can tell. You don’t need death. You don’t need disease. You don’t need loss. You don’t need breakups, financial hardship, hatred, betrayal, anxiety.

What you need is the hope of the undying.

Allow me to set you up for the pain of the coming year right now.


Some of you, this year, will lose something. Your car will get stolen. You’ll get divorced. Someone will die. You’ll experience betrayal. You’ll get diagnosed with something. You won’t get the job.

Can hardly wait, right?

Are any of you thinking of what could go RIGHT, though?

Hear me now.

In fact, how could we appreciate all that is Good without the absence of it? How could we grow in mind, in body, in heart, in spirit, without being broken on the altar of life? Without being hammered on its anvil? Would you wish for an easy life, or for the strength to endure a difficult one?

Better still, would you wish to walk through the flames and STILL COME OUT shining your light to the world, to hold out your scarred hand to a beaten soul and say, “come with me, for there is still Life up ahead”?

Would you wish, instead of being broken and clinging to your brokenness, of staring at your brokenness with resentment, to allow the light within yourself to shine through the cracks?

Only by being broken can we transform. In being broken, in being dealt a bad hand, we are given a choice; perhaps the most important choice in our lives.

You can choose to say “I didn’t deserve to be broken. I won’t trust life any more. I will exact revenge where I can, so I can reclaim some of what was stolen from me”…

…or you can choose to say, “I didn’t want to be broken, but I’m grateful that I did. Life has threshed my wheat from my chaff, has hammered my impurities from my metal, and if I alone can be broken again and again and AGAIN and walk away laughing, to love and hope and offer an outstretched hand, then I am glad.”

Peace is not found in what you get. It’s found in what you do with what you’re given.

Right here, right now, witness that I renounce all claims to what I think I deserve. I am not special. But nor am I a coward for losing faith, for wanting to give up. I am given a calling and a priceless gift. If I get what I desire, I will be grateful. If I do not, I will also be grateful. 

I will be lifted up on wings, and dashed on the rocks. My soul will dance at the coming dawn, and I will weep in my pain as I am broken again. I am being hammered on the anvil. I am losing myself, and I am becoming myself.

I will use my tears to wash the dirt from another’s face.

The universe will deal me the absolute worst hand, and I’ll say “Here, take my money. It’s time to play chess instead.”

I was so sure blackjack was the answer. But perhaps chess is the better path.

I renounce and refute my human inclination to be hurt by loss, to curl inwards, away from the world. To die from the inside out.

If my house is destroyed, I will wonder what my next house will look like.

Because if I don’t, if I hold on to my innate ability as a human for pattern recognition, and I apply THAT to what happens to me… can you guess what comes next?

Let me tell you. Listen.

I will be the victim of my own self-fulfilling prophecy. 

“See? It didn’t happen. I knew it wouldn’t.”

Bull. Shit.

I’m not advocating a relentless, creepy happiness. I’m not saying “be positive”. Nothing so trite and meaningless. In fact, I’d encourage you to stay as far as possible from sources that promote blind positivity. Or blind negativity, for that matter.

There is a middle path. And you need to walk it.

Good and Bad are cyclical. Sometimes, one wins out more than the other. And there is NOTHING, no matter what, that can take away your hope and the love hidden in your deep-heart unless you allow it to.

There’s always a choice.

We are such beautiful and horrendous creatures. Pitiful and incredible, we sacrifice out of love and wreak atrocities on each other in the same day.

Living for such a brief speck of cosmic time, staring out at the universe, we wonder. Why? If you find an answer that works for you, and you can be truly satisfied in your soul, then I commend you. If you don’t, then let me tell you again: it’s ok.

You need merely ask the question. That, in and of itself, is the mystery and the answer all in one.

The fact that you can ask is beautiful, even without a clear answer. The closure you seek may never come. But the closure you need comes from forging a new path, and to keep asking regardless.

Animals are blameless and pure. The angels some believe in are that also.

So here we stand. Brilliant and flawed, halfway between the ape and the angel, staring up at the night sky in hope. Ready to love and ready to fight in the same breath.

So as you watch the stars in this new year, and for the rest of your life, you might say “I wish for my shooting star, but it never comes. Maybe it never will.”

And you are right.

But this is not cause for despair.

Your strength lies in the ability to unceasingly watch the night sky, time after time after time, marveling at its beauty, drowning in the mystery and audacity of hope so that you might learn to breathe again.

And when someone else comes along, saddened and beaten, wishing for a star that may never come, you can say:

“Look! My God, just look at the stars! Can you believe we get to watch them one more night?”

This, then, is my only resolution I offer you: become a beacon of hope to yourself, and to others. 

Unfurl your banners of Light and watch the armies of death break themselves on your shields.


“Some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

— C.S. Lewis

The Sun and the Shores of Time

Sitting on the shores of time,
after I’d awakened to the sounds 
of migrations, erosions, tides;
the songs of eons, the pulsing of life,

the voice of the deep-heart
did cull my chaff from my wheat;

and there by the waves
I knelt down and wept,

for I had to throw my mask into the sea,
my only worldly possession,
my inheritance;
and it was fine and well-crafted,
and precious to me;

still I threw it, 
and watched the water devour it.

There were waves of liquid,
and of the temporal,
and there were tears
as the ocean inside me came out
to meet its mother;
even then I went mad.

But after the noontide of this age,
I felt the hand of the Sun
cradle my face,
and I lifted my head,

and the Sun asked:
“My child, why do you weep so?”

And I said:
“I’ve thrown away my mask. I had to.”

“Ahhh, I see,” said the Sun, 
“this must have been quite the mask.”

“There is no other like it,” I explained.

“Then let me tell you why I’m happy,”
said the Sun, 
“for every day, 
for more cycles
than even you can comprehend, 
I reflected off the ocean 
and shone on the shores 
and raised great forests 
from the reactions of my heart. 

Yet only now can I see your face,
and I have missed you greatly.”

And there by the waves,
I laid down and slept.


“What’s it look like to you?”

“A calendar.”

He nodded. That one left.

Another came along.

“What’s it look like to you?”

“A vacation.”

Again, he nodded. 
That one left as well, after awhile.

Time passed.

“So what’s it look like to you?”


He narrowed his eyes.
“What does it sound like?”

She closed hers.
“The wind says ‘go west, young man’.”

He laughed.
“What does it smell like?”

“Dirt and stone after the storm.”

He nodded.
“Now… what does it feel like?”

She glanced over.
“Perhaps a hawk on the wing. 
Or a horse, chasing the sunset. 
The good kind of pain, 
after a hard day in the sun.”

He tipped his hat back.
“What brings you out this far?”

“Got tired of dying.”

He opened the cooler in the truckbed,
let the tailgate down,
took out sandwiches and beer.

“Here. I was saving these.”

They divvied it up, 
and with feet swinging, 
breathed in deep over the valley
as the dogs chased rabbits through the pasture.


Lapping in compound water-breaths
against your feet,
a cycle of liquid moving
in reciprocal song on skin

with sand that susurrates
against a tidal rhythm
of seconds, minutes, hours, days, years…

I see you, sitting there.
So what, then, do you feel?

Do you feel
the pulse of creation?
Do you hear
the voices of lovers past?
Do you drink deep
the roil of the turning stars?
Do you sing
the coming of the fresh and crying dawn?

These things are not for me to know,
for I see nothing and everything all at once.

All I know is
when I stumbled upon this beach,
and wound my way around the wreckage,
I found a path made of your footprints.

Invigor 13:83

​Passion is a discontinued brand. 

Can you give me some agreement on a Saturday night?
Can I get an AMEN from the front row,
and possibly a HALLELUJAH from the back? 

Say you all so? 

Now goddamn stand and speak, the lot of you. 

Stand, and be counted, and hold thyself not a hypocrite,
for you wander not in the land of Sodom or Gomorrah;
you are made of flame and pulse and must break yourself
on the rocks of the liquid shore. 

Cry foul,
cry pardon,
cut loose,
cut low; 

let slip the dog days of summer
out the still winter of thine own blood,
for you are always treading the plains of milk and honey;
and I have seen the future ripe, and full, 

and for what you want, 

I say surely you shall not perish,
but rise,
rise in shaking ecstasy at the light of dawn. 

Now goddamn stand and speak.