to My Guru,
Sri Sri Sri
you by rivers of phlegm and blood.
you by rivers of gas and strong digestive juices
you in my heart.
I call my heart is you
is no other.
want to hear you sing and play the flute the Virgin played
she danced before our Lord in pious circles
moon does in her orbit.
to see you consulting with widows about their hemorrhoids
men my age asking for money.
more than 50 now
than smoke of memory gone in fire
than what is left when bones are splintered ash.
not even the echo of my voice is left
these hands I am listening for your voice spread over me like
a flag of sky
and let go of carried in wind snapping
like a prayer shawl
without end or beginning
alone with itself
prayer is, this is prayer
a redbird makes shot through the wing with a pellet gun,
of a buzzard falling from the forehead of an oak tree
from an amazing distance with a 22 rifle when I was 12.
of it falling beautiful in memory as the breast of a woman
flared nostrils of a muley cow in labor.
of falling is my prayer and the memory of hitting the ground
trying to breathe when I reached it.
red face in the shaving mirror is my prayer
I am feeling old and bitter and used.
is no burden greater than breath used against itself
you are who I say you are
you hear these words before I do.
say you are God but you are not God.
just another person who doesn't listen when people
gone down on their knees crying in public.
more than God and I am laid bare to you!
hair over my heart
I call your name you see the gap between these crooked teeth
to hide behind my hands.
the tongue of a crow slit by peanut farmers' sons
to speak the words of men.
couldn't lie there would be nothing left to say.
poor poor poor poor poor. I am poor.
earn your love
stalk you like a crow who stalks a slice of wonder bread
fell from your high window to this ground.
tell you that my heart is a decorated doorway*
my ribs are sanded smooth and lacquered with mantras
in the remains of a Texas accent.
face I show you only you can see
through walls and time before emptiness becomes a man.
I heard you telling someone on the street:
every face see only sky.
are not a whore whispering behind a window blind.
is not your client or your pimp!
you must kneel kneel completely
through the earth.
will find yourself carried underground
the unconceived beginnings of a river.
the decorated doorway
you pass through walking with an arm of moon
kneel before you like a man
will wear a long white skirt that drags the ground
a red hem.
dance for you with honeysuckle in my hair.
me what you want.
am nothing, zero!
you want to see God, look in your mirror.
say who I am
go round you like a hawk who circles a wild magnolia tree
a red winged black bird sits.
stop when we are not afraid to be completely alone.
the sky cracks open.
of our head is born from the womb.
the whole blue body come between the Mother's legs like a
mountain of sky!
we stand in wonder at this birth of who we are!
we lift hands to this light!
when the moon rises
follows the limping heart and flows in a spiral through the
the mob that followed Jesus through the winding streets
when the cross was on his back, the sun setting on the crown
of his head
by thunder, followed by rain.
we may feel that a wing has been torn out our spine.
Maa told me that with only one good wing we can fly in a circle
a circle is good as a straight line when all we want
be here with him.
I came to rest in you whose breast is white
the flesh and drank the blood of memory.
was a bible with verses marked by sticks of chewing gum.
say who you are
contain you in a rib cage of words.
are boxes of arthritic light painful where they join us.
are the failure of mind to let silence be enough.
that when I see your face in the shaving mirror
the one behind the mirror.
you I must look deeper than I believe in my own eyes.
years when I knew God wanted to kill me.
stirs my ashes with a stick.
early morning I kneel by streams of breath
the moon as my witness admitting to you
know nothing nothing nothing.
I walk in a spiral through this city
lines of power drawn by my own intelligence
not find a place where I am not
waiting with arms full of flowers buzzing with bees.**
cell of the body happiness is coiled
folded as the wings of meadowlarks.
you told me
resist the rising breath
if your lungs keep filling until they break your ribs.
stop until this world and all this sky
breathed inside you!
all ash now the color of sky.
come from where I am and none can reach me here
are not changed first to fire.
is my prayer.
in this poem attributed to Shivabalayogi were heard
in meditation or in dreams. The first quote attributed
to Shree Maa was actually said by her, the second was
heard in a dream.
Decorated Doorway" is an English translation of one
of the thousand names of Lord Shiva found in Siva
Puja by Swami Satyananda Saraswati of the Devi Mandir.
(Back to poem.)
Gita, Verse 51. Translation by Swami Satyananda
Saraswati. (Back to poem.)
Copyright 2000 Charlie Hopkins.
Hopkins is a wallpaper hanger and devotee of Sri Shivabalayogi
Maharaj. He lives in Hood River, Oregon. All his poems
and prayers are addressed to his wife, Carol, who is happy
when other people read them too. Carol is a Vedic astrologer
and counselor. You can email them here.
Mandir is the ashram of Shree Maa who is quoted
in this poem.
page was published on September 6, 2000 and last revised on
September 7, 2000.