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Set Me as a Seal 

Set me as a seal upon your heart 
A seal upon your arm 
Upon your eyes 
A stumbling block before the blind 
Set a fire in your heart 
A flame upon your hands 
A torch beneath your feet 
Ignite me in your dreams 
Consume me in your thirst 
Make fire water dance 
Walk gently on the coals 
Resuscitate your secret name 
Repeat to me in tongues again 
Demand again 
Remove me into wild meadows 
Brand me with your eyes like wayward sheep 
Leave deep and everlasting marks between my gates 
Like frontlets on my doorposts 
Falcons on my shoulders 
Like Turtle doves 
Make sure the mark is seen 
Make sure the wax is hot 
Be sure the deed is done 
Let no one be uncertain 
Cast me by the roadside 
Like a fallen marker 
Like a tattered map 
Like a tethered dream 
A broken wing 
A fallen moon 
Like an empty river 
Like a seal upon your heart 
Like a seal upon your outstretched arm


A Psalm Of Gratitude 

I wish to thank the Lord of blessed coincidence 
For sending me my brown eyed angel, 
My silver haired guardian of turquoise islands, 
The child of the indentured slave, 
The curried messenger of coconut goats, 
Of contraband whiskey from the deep blue sea, 
Of clay feet and saffron dreams; 
My God who spreads a shelter of rice weed above, 
Who thatches palms upon the children below, 
Who showers stars upon the eyelids of the weary, 
Who disrobes the willing and leads them to temptation; 
My God who scatters fish and pearls in the waters, 
Who casts a net upon the shore 
And gathers hearts and aspirations 
And feeds them to the needy; 
I wish to bless my God of Liaises Faire, 
Who lifts me in his chariots and sends me my brown eyed teacher 
Soaked in rum 
Who tells of standing ankle deep in blue 
Watching the silhouette of Venezuela dance across the sea, 
Or Tobago, should you choose to look the other way; 
Who tells of an island left behind, 
Where a mother and a father could die in peace 
Of broken backs and blistered hands, 
Tired of caressing their aging children, 
Wishing for no more evenings to fall 
Between them and their apostolic son, 
A foreigner, once more, in a busier place 
Where plowshares have been fashioned into buildings 
And the leopard shall crouch by the kid 
And sin - by the door.


Tobago 

"Yes, sir, mister gentleman - 
Those were better days. 
No food tastes sweeter 
Than the food my mother cooked we, 
So sweet sweet. 
I loved she cooking, 
But now she slipping, going fast..." 
He asked me if I liked water 
To stand in, "Clear clear and blue" 
He said, if you go down and help the fishermen pull in the nets 
Maybe you could get a fish 
"Just like, just for the helping, 
Can you believe!?" 
And I remembered walking hours, a child, 
From my home, 
Down the path the Romans carved along the shore, 
Away from my mother who has long since slipped away, 
Towards my grandparents who have long since died, 
Wishing for the waves to rinse the silt I carried in my heart 
So faithfully, 
My bitter food, my mother's aching soul; 
I wished for better days, 
For simpler, clearer pain, 
And I said: 
"Yes, sir, I do love water, 
Clear clear, and blue 


Light 

The light in Harlem is nothing like 
The light in Chinatown 
It falls sweeter and slower; 

In Hell's Kitchen light is just a memory 
Carried over from the old country 
By anxious grandmothers 
Watching their already incomprehensible grandchildren 
As they dance the street dance 
On Forty Seventh and Tenth, 
Sharpening their eyes, preparing; 

In the Lower East Side light, like hope, 
Is barely visible between the underwear, fire escapes, and the 
Pickled Herring; 
Baltic, northern light, 
As awkwardly out of place 
As the Romanian Chassid's prayers, 
Tumbling through canolies, gazpacho, and rancid meat, 
Crying out for his God of mercy 
Who didn't make the journey across the sea on the immigrants' ship 
And chose, instead, to stay behind in his Carpatian Shtetle 
And wait for some sentimental artist to capture his essence 
In oil and ash on sack cloth; 

Night comes to Union Square as a thief 
Stealing the last light of innocence 
From the girls at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company; 
Grimy windows can be a blessing, sometimes, 
Blurring the cruel and ugly, 
Merging night and day 
Into some swirling soup of wishes; 
Hopeful, dusty star-girls, swimming in a murky heaven. 


For The God Of Unbearable Beauty

Sing praise to the Lord, creator of children,
Protector of sons, neglector of parents!
Sing hymns to the maker of eyes and of milk;
Who sets fire to dreams,
Who extinguishes breath,
Who molds dirt into breasts,
Who provides and divides and distinguishes;
My Lord of discernment,
Creator of lust ever lasting,
Redeemer of life from the ocean within
Be kind to your sailor who travels your womb
Who arrives at your shore exhausted, ecstatic.

Maker of night, of ferocious repentance,
Give speech to the passionate infant
And silence the deadening soldiers of reason;
Lay waste to the man who refuses to kneel
In the face of your cruel magnificence
Who, seeing the child for the very first time, will not jump off his
cliff
And, abandoning all, drown in your eyes
Like a vanishing thought.
Sing hymns for the God of impossible beauty
For the Lord of unbearable joy!


A Playful Psalm

Hey, you! Hey, you!
Hey, you on high - come down here you on high and I on low,
Down low and you are high
That's no way for a you and me to be
That's no way for a me to be with thee, with thou
I thought this was a two thing being one on one
Not you and me divided
My beloved is for me, you know, and I'm for you
Not me in beige and you in blue
Hey, you! What's with the distance?
What's with the attitude, your altitudiness?
Come out, come out wherever you be,
Whatever you are,
Whenever you is you was the wiz,
The one, the star!
Numero Uno, Domine Allah
You the name!
Echad, Wachad,
My Dharma essence, Brahmanescence,
Effervescence,
Rex Tremendis, holy Tatta Mamma sister spirit -
Drop the veil, cause of causes -
Jump the gap
Pull up a chair, a mat, a Zafu,
Make yourself at - you know,
Stay a while, what's the rush?
The similes can wait, the metaphors can pale words, I have no words,
no...
You who are beyond compare - haven't I seen you everywhere before?
Just kidding - no, not really
Talk to me, you who never tell me anything
Let's talk... OK, I'll go, like, first
So... what's up?


A psalm of Dust

Guard my tongue from evil
And my roar from dimming even slightly;
Guard my lips from speaking falsehoods
Even though the truth is what can really maim;
And to those who curse me - may my soul be silent
And my heart roar, wounded right beneath the surface of my burning
eyes;
And my soul shall be as dust, as earth
For, before and under everyone;
For a blessing,
For the benefit of strangers everywhere,
Especially the ones I'll never get to know;
May my soul be fertile ground
Compassionate, passionate ash of lion
Turned to mead,
A shadow of myself, a trace of silt and honey;
Open up my heart and guard my gates
My eyes, my comings and my goings -
Once the gates are opened can the lion be contained?
Chase me with your teaching
Pursue me till my breath falls heavy unto you,
Draw me near, subdue me with that thing you say is love -
I have nothing but your word for it,
I have nothing but these ramblings that I utter -
May they be of use to someone;
May the meditations of my breaking heart be acceptable before you
My hidden rock
My luminous,
Unyielding
One

I yield


For San Francisco

Here's to the sun, finally setting in the right direction
After all these years;
Here's to the ocean stirring my heart and tossing it over the waves
And under the bridge;
Here's to the fleet that sailed through my eyes
And vanished in the bay, somewhere between The Rock and my innocence;
Here's to the city of fog,
Of blurring distinctions,
Of exquisite beauty,
Where West meets East and surrenders, thank God;
Where I never met strangers,
Where the shade of the garden hovers close to the core;
Where the earth is alive
And each rock has its own secret dance;
Where each soul has its melody,
Just as Nachman of Bratzlav sang so long ago
When so few would listen;
Where the day comes down from the Sierras
Like a pilgrim gathering spirits
And heads West to deposit them in the sea of Tranquility
To be carried away, humming, cooing into the night;
May it come as a blessing to all who will listen;
To all who will wait for the music to reach them,
For the waves that will die at their feet;
For the foam that will trace on the shore -
Barely seen in the light of the hesitant new day -
One soul in the image of,
One breath in the likeness of,
One truth,
One song.


A Psalm Of David, Who Is Gone

A psalm of David
Who is gone
And I am left with his inheritance,
With his obsessions,
Indiscretions,
His absence
Which I embrace like a beggar
Who scorched his eyes
From staring at a demon sun he'd once adored
And now has nothing left but sickly shadows
To remind him of the burning

A psalm of David
Who was my king
Who rules my soul, my dreams
Who holds my aspirations in his palm -
A righteous man,
He shall be ever planted in the ruins of my Lord,
Eternal guardian of archeological digs.

A psalm of David
Gone with his obsessions
I embrace the burning psalm of David
King of dreams
Aspirations in his hands
My hands shall be ever outstretched like a beggar
Planted in my God
Eternal shadow of the universe





Commissions | Workshop Info | Upcoming Performances | Booking Info
BUY CDs and Sheet Music
| Press Clippings | Poetry | Links | Biography | E-mail