Obviously I am not a Christian,
but Jesus is my companion.
More than that, even.
We were bound together in darkness,
in a moment we both chose without resistance.
The ropes encircling us are sacred.
We are each other’s atrium and ventricle.
We live in the same house.
We love the same woman.
We lay together on a raft sometimes,
continuing our passage across the sea
to visit the birth of life.
At night, when I’m done
staring at the ceiling
and my tears
are passing out of the harbor
in a galloping herd of waves,
and the stars are keeping watch
over each one,
marking each surging shoulder
with the incendiary memory of
sodium, hydrogen, helium and argon–
Jesus is the tide that carries them.
Jesus is the road we walk that leads us to the sea.
And clearly I am not a Buddhist,
though I dissolve into the Buddha’s robes
with every breath.
More than that, even.
We play hide and seek together
in the light beneath the trees
that fills some of the leaves with color
while others are still and black.
You won’t find either one us there–
just a tapestry of whispers.
When I call the Buddha on the phone,
my presence goes digital.
I subdivide into an infinite field of pixels.
When I look deeply into one,
I see the one beside it.
When I move over to look at that one, I see you.
Every pixel is saying something necessary
about all the other ones–
twinkling off and on for that very reason.
So I look closely at my hand,
and see a mystery I cannot explain.
In the same way that my hands
think they are the ones responsible for these letters,
I think I am the one walking across the street,
and not the sky.
But really the sky is walking across the street.
And really the Buddha is what’s filling all of space.
That’s why the nature of breathing is so obvious.
And by now of course you know I am not Lakota,
though there is no one who is not Lakota.
If you sit in the darkness
beside the glowing stones
and learn a few of the songs,
you’ll finally be just a person full of tears.
No longer more, and no longer less.
Only now there’s a channel
pouring out of you onto the earth.
The Earth who knows your name,
and raised you.
There can’t be spirits there, of course,
to help you walk your path–
not if you are a Christian, or a Buddhist.
But I am not any of those things.
I am not Lakota,
or Christian, or Buddhist either,
so some of those spirits who came
into the silence filled with drumming saw me,
and took pity on me,
and listened to what I had to say.
They got on the string-can telegraph
with the stars
and the grass
and the bear
and the clouds
to help this little one out.
To help him find his way.
They sent the fire to be the light that guides him.
Who are we to say what is what?
We who stumble and spit and irk.
We who judge and pontificate and cajole.
We who need all the help that we can get.
I don’t know anything, really,
and I think that’s why the trees
don’t mind shooting the shit with me.
Because there’s no pressure
to be that kind of tree, in that kind of world.
We just sit close to one another, and wait.
So now you know who I am.
And maybe who you are, too.
I hope so, for we need this knowledge
more than ever today,
we who are still naming,
we who are still blaming,
we who are still shaming.
We who have been given,
all there is to give.