Are You Free?

I’m not free,
She said,
I can’t fly free
Among the clouds.
Gravity is oppressing me
And holding me back.

I’m not free,
He said,
From the chain
Of causality
That stretches
From the Big Bang,
Throwing matter into motion,
To the motion of the air
From her lips
To my ear
Telling me its over.

The inevitability
Of cause and effect
Chain me down
Like a tiger in a cage.

I’m not free,
He said,
Because one day
I must die and
There’s not enough time
To do all the things;
Not enough money
To buy all the things.
I’m trapped,
Wings clipped,
By mortality.

But you are free,
Said Epictetus,
You cannot
Glide among the gulls
And cannot avoid
Inevitable endings,
But you are free
To choose
To accept the things
You have no control over
As they are.

You are free,
Said Siddhartha,
If you choose
Not to be a slave
To your desires.
Everything essential
Dwells within.
Let go of fear.
Let go of loss.

Do not expect more
Than the universe
Is willing
To give you

6/5-6/6/19

Are You Free? was originally published on Free Verse Revolution.

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Are You Free? @ FVR

My newest poem, Are You Free?, Is now available at the Free Verse Revolution blog:

Are You Free?

If you enjoy my work and would like to support my efforts beyond just being a reader, please consider becoming a supporter on Patreon. By doing so, depending on the level of support you pledge, you can have early access to content, exclusive “behind the scenes” content, and other bonuses:

The Rolling River

Bob Dylan and the ghost of Leonard Cohen
Sitting shivah on short stools
Yarmulke pinned to gray curly hair
Mourning Yossef’s son,
Who got in trouble with the law
Questioning authority
Challenging the establishment
Threatening the status quo.

Low murmured Hebrew and Yiddish,
Swaying like reeds on the sea,
Thoughts linger of sandle-less Socrates,
Served a hemlock cocktail
By the powerful men of Athens,
Condemned to die
For the high crime
Of corrupting the youth
By teaching them
To think for themselves.

The times are changing,
Time is nothing but change:
A rolling river that’s never
The same.

Leonard sits shivah
In the lotus position
Meditating mind breaths
And beneficent Buddha nature,
Serene smile thinking of
The high born privileged prince
Slowly discovering the three fold
Reality of the common world,
Informing the high born
Priests, warriors, and kings
That their stratified social system
Is a mind made illusion
Just like everything else they see.

Socratic Stoic Jews breaking bread
With Benedict Spinoza
Recalling the ship of Citium
Wrecked on the Grecian shore
Near Athens.
Loitering in Hellenic bookstores
Discovering the wise words of Socrates
That hemlock couldn’t kill,
Following the dogs to the porch,
Writing philosophical prescriptions
To alleviate the suffering
Of ill flowing lives.

After seven days
Bob and Lenny
Return the cushions to the chairs,
And uncover the bathroom mirror
As sunlight bursts through
A beat-up Venetian blind.

4/10-4/12/18

My 12th poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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Siddhartha

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Sweet Siddhartha
Pampered prince,
Living in supposed happiness
Behind the gilded gates
Of your father.
Small suspicions sprout
That the purpose of life
May not have as much to do
With fine dining and shiny rocks
As you were led to believe.

A triad of trips beyond teach
The reality and inevitability
Of old age, sickness, and death,
The pervasive suffering of humankind
Out in the world
Beyond your walls.

Escaping indulgence
In the quiet of the night,
Accepting asceticism
In search of truth
And a cure,
Sitting, studying with yogis
And begging before kings.

No less suffering,
No more satisfied.

Yet the cure for the world’s pain
Was waiting to be found
Halfway between
Asceticism and excess,
Riches and renunciation,
Under the old fig tree
Near the calm pond
Where the lotus blooms.

4/5-4/6/18

My sixth poem for National Poetry Writing Month.

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