My Innocent Friends

With animals it's so easy
I never have to say a word
they don't ask for explanations
for the parts of me that are broken

they don't hold me up to the image
of who I was yesterday, last week, last year
we are here together now, and I am loved
for whoever I have to be today

Their innocent, trusting, glossy eyes
tap the glass of my most tender places
they are the mirror of the best parts of me
gleaming emblems of unconditional positive regard

They are the guiding light to perfect peace
humble teachers of how to be grateful
reminders of the way life was supposed to be
with the simple joy of full-bodied presence

I stay far away from anyone who says
they don't like animals
god only knows what goes on beneath
the skin of someone like that

It’s Alright Now

Everything will be alright
everything that you are whispers
these ribbons of truth to secure me
suspended safely above fear

Everything will be alright
every soft exhale assures me
a hum of energy that emanates
through your piercing gaze

Everything will be alright
everything that I am believes you
when you quell my trembling
with one firm embrace

Everything will be alright
finally I have found my rest
this soft feather bed of emotion
the love that I feel for you

The Gift of Giving In

Sore fingertips, small red stains
smeared across the fabric of my psyche
thousands of tiny, pin-prick punctures
trying to stitch gentleness in between
the sudden trembling of a quick temper

Shh, shh, shushing a sweltering soul
don't waste these final moments with fury
violent shouts for justice and change have
dwindled into whispers for self surrender
the somber effort of retreating inward

Giving up is a final gift for myself
now it's time to just sit down and learn
to savor these last glimpses of blue sky
to let myself have a few more brief moments
to enjoy, to smile, to simply breathe

Momentous effort of wrestling my willfulness
to stay focused on this unfamiliar intention
of unclenching my jaw, relaxing my face
softening my muscles, as I practice letting go
teaching myself to be present with this fleeting peace

Soon enough I will have no choice
but to fight and scream and suffer
for now I will work on collecting
all the small joys that are left for me here
creating memory tonics for what's to come

Warm Thunder

The crashing calm of thunderstorms
shouting down the voices inside my head
the violent contrast of safety indoors
simple gratitude for physical shelter

There is no need to rush around when
the electric atmosphere hisses overhead
the deep, rumbling growls of dark clouds
vibrate at a strangely soothing frequency

The forced introspection of sunless days
feels less daunting when it rains
there is plenty of time for me to decide
all the important things that press upon me

Today I have the chance to listen
and breathe in the moist, cool air
claps of thunder like mindful bells
guide me back to this small moment

The Ocean Breathes

Serenity resides beside the seashore
beneath the salty breath of the ocean
the rhythmic humming of the heavy tide
reminds me to breathe deeply

The liquid lungs of this sacred planet
the dark, watery womb of all life
releasing oxygen into the atmosphere
while it sways against the weight of the moon

The crashing exhale of massive waves
chases away all fears of letting go
hypnotized by the back and forth
of forces far greater than I

The awe-inspiring grandeur
of the undulating sea
brings a deep sense of peace
I've been holding my breath

Stop Searching

The healing hum that reverberates
through all the small, silent moments
can become buried beneath the louder
frequencies of frustration and forward motion

The panicked pace of ungrounded grasping
the breath that's stolen while being swept off your feet
it can feel like dying to slow down, to surrender momentum
in favor of savoring the soft rustling outside your window

Finding peace can be counterintuitive
stop flipping over rocks and just pause
to feel the cool stone against your skin
and hear the whispering stream gurgle past

It's hard to accept that happiness is here
when we've wasted so much time searching
learning to laugh at ourselves like when we've been
seeking the object that's been in our hand the whole time

It's the simple things that will save us
if we can sit with the fear that they
won't be enough in the end
they will

Trying to Remember

Ambition takes too much energy
I'd rather just exist
it feels like a fever finally breaking
when I realize I can do this

The American dream was supposed to mean
the chance to enjoy your life
not a nagging necessity to make money for companies
subconsciously convincing us to strive

I never asked for the social climbing goals of others
to become pressed upon my spirit
I have no interest in cars, mansions, or expensive clothes
these things aren't happiness, they're nowhere near it

Time is what we've traded for trinkets
as we transmute our souls to stone
missing our one chance to see the sun
and all the vibrant life it has grown

Wiping this incessant spell from my eyes every morning
that inoculates me with discontent
a centuries long mission to sever these bodies
from the intuition Source has sent

The perfect simplicity of existence is obscured
by billboard advertisements and insidious corporate greed
it takes hours of inner struggle every day to remember
I already have everything I need


Twenty-eight years spent
in the same place
that felt like a prison
when I was sixteen

It once seemed like failure
not escaping to surroundings
exciting and unfamiliar
somewhere far away

But now I see it as a blessing
to grow where you are planted
to traverse the same worn paths
through friendly trees in summer

To sit upon the same faithful earth
that holds mementos of my childhood
and watch the slow changes in myself
reflected back by the whispering hillsides

Sharing secrets with the soiled river
that has always known me more deeply
than anyone could through words alone
as it runs alongside my inner life

The quiet protection of the thick woods
softly urging me onward in time
tiny hands searching for fish hook treasures
among steep, rocky shores just outside of town

The awesome unfurling
of a life and a land intertwined
the profoundly soothing resonance
of a home that's greater than home

West Virginia

There is no heaven I'd rather have
than the deep forests of West Virginia
Mother Nature manifested in
lush, rustling hillsides filled with life

My own soul disguised in blushing red and gold
and the dark, faithful hues of evergreens
a swelling awe that overwhelms the senses
and speaks to the divine seed inside us all

Burning billion year old lights engulf the sky every night
humbled and held in the vastness of this existence
how could I ever leave this perfect, peaceful pocket?
what more could I ask for than this majesty?

Winding roads I know so well
echo with all the heartbreak I've hurled
into the mountains to be absorbed
and transformed into new song

The very best parts of me are interwoven
into the dark earth and dirty rivers
profound connection can be felt
in every glance outside my window

Home has never been a house with four walls
it is here among the dense, ancient trees
that tower all around me and offer shelter
from the harsh realities of human life

I am so grateful that I am able
to intimately know this earth of mine
and recognize its soft, subtle sighs
as I allow her wind and water to carve into me


A coyote cuts across the foggy highway
a life held inside indecision, a moment's hesitation
could be a violent end of everything all at once

Sulfurous air that once shrouded out the sun
a sudden impact that swallowed the earth
in many decades of dark, lifeless winter

Time has a way of emphasizing
the absurdity of right and wrong when
final outcomes are impossible to predict

Half the suffering I've known has been
an inner upheaval of moral outrage
resistance to the evils of this world

My stormy turmoil subsides if only
I can learn to surrender all judgement
and accept my place as a humble passenger

Who am I to hold dominion over
the way life is supposed to unfold?
I prefer the role of patient witness anyway

To watch with curious eyes and an open heart
ready to embrace all of life with equanimity
a grateful submission to existence beyond understanding

To play my small part with a soft hand
extending a gentle, hopeful intention of pure love
prepared to let go of any and all expectations

Tender feet along the balustrade, balancing
between engagement and surrender
too often falling into indignation and anger

The perpetual repetition of life can be tedious
but it offers endless chances to keep trying
precious lessons linger behind a door that is always open

Every failure is an opportunity to find grace
there is no permanence, perfection, or wasted effort
everything is as it should be, everything is as it should be