8/11/2017

Hymn to Imperfection

"Imperfection is beauty." ~Marilyn Monroe

"O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam!"

~Exultet, Easter Vigil

Here I fall, a sloppy fractal ceaselessly spilling from on high, into the dark blessed chaos of humanity. On this pathless way, the sign of progress is that I'm not as perfect as I was yesterday.

I make sacraments of my mistakes, and let God breathe through my broken places. I let my wounds stay open: that is the best healing, eyes of the Buddha where Jesus had gashes.

After ten thousand lifetimes, this seeker's heart knows what the robin knows at sunrise. I don't look for diamonds: even my jagged edges are made from infinitesimal love-sparks.

"I vow to be healed by the next person I meet. I will bathe in the radiance of humanity" : this is the rule of my lineage, a long tradition of failed monks.

I insist that the blind Guatemalan woman selling rutabagas in the open-air market be my guru. Here is my secret strength: long ago I threw away my measuring cup, and dove into the sea of wonder.

Why be caught in names? We all seek the same caress. There are thousands of reports, but only one breath, many hungers but a single wanting.

The king of the universe seeks my friendship: it's as simple as that. The one who created me broke my wings, so that I could dance on earth. How can I thank Her?

Love follows sadness, Autumn follows summer; I keep scattering myself like golden leaves to learn this.

A mother taught me to breathe, and with each breath I return to where I was before conception.

Saints, angels and Bodhisattvas hover over me in a white cloud, all thirsty, all longing to get into the tavern of my heart. But you get in first, friend; they're not here for serious drinking like us.

I have nothing to teach, and nothing to give you. That is why you must sit with me on a park bench overlooking the city. Rest your head on my shoulder; listen to the oaks trembling around us in the fading sunlight.

We are unbalanced equations, we are bright quarks spinning out of the void, discovering our loveliness in uncertainty.

We are awkward braids of honeyed wine, splashing into a dark chalice. We don't even know the name of the host who pours us out as an offering.


Photo: taken by my daughter, Abby, in the Pea Patch Community Garden, Seattle, and used as the cover of my book, 'Wounded Bud.'


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