– for Macha in celebration of our 14th wedding anniversary

i am grateful for the daily discipline
of mindfulness toward our bodies
that they still readily respond
to one another in a strong and supple embrace
the touches electric traces and taste of salt
where our separate seas flow together
until we are curled round one another
like planetary currents of liquid light sliding
slowly into one until we become an effervescent
swirling vortex of golden champagne
blood rising like boiling surf racing
to burst into blazing glittering booms
upon the warm sizzling beach foaming
with bubbles of shared mindlessness yes
i am grateful for times like this
when sense of separation vanishes
& we are content to blink dreamily
toward one another like sleek seals
satisfied upon this sighing sand
where sound, light & sensation
drum the hearts’ song wordless
rhythms of appreciation for the
surging cascade and searing neurons
yes this is pure unmitigated bliss
in which a world is torn asunder
and laid gently here to reform
into the daily life we choose again
to live in appreciation and grow within
each bringing newly discovered treasures
to this ragged wild unspoiled coast
where light coalesces into breath
exchanging the sweet intermingling
of all the rest of you and me
where thought falls away into the
eternal swell and sway of moments
stilled and hushed finally spent
in this way into a newborn sense
of an entire universe a loving intention
and alluring invitation to dance
barefoot upon this soft sacred shore
built upon the timeless ebb and flow
of slow patient settling a few grains
each time the tide rises turns reverses
always new this way until today
when discovered on a perfect sparkling
sun warmed day a blanket freshly swept
to our feet where ocean tang glows
upon the silent tongue that receives its blessing
becomes iridescent within our mind &
rises into fiery dawn where we again unwind

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 12/30/17


as my fractured right clavicle

has knitted itself back together

stronger than ever before

(for the body grows with insight)

i am stuck again by the miracle of it

and relish in the feel of muscles sliding

well supported by this honey combed

frame of calcium already recycled

millions of times through sea shells

and the bones of all who transitioned

before us everything built without

a single conscious idea or spoken word

were it not for the fractures and healing

we might take too much for granted

on a planet in a solar system in a galaxy

in a universe where physicists daily marvel

at how finely tuned everything is

to make our existence a living possibility

but as we see it all fits perfectly into you

and me and all that is without a single


©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 12/12/17


It is our last night of retreat with
Gravity, A Center for Contemplative Action.
And now a sky brimming with stars
settles gently around our shoulders.

The Big Dipper poised above Saint Benedict
seems to shimmer with fullness,
as though it just scooped up a mountain
of silvery kernels from Nebraska cornfields
stretching to infinity in every direction.

There are no devices I wish to power on.
The faint taps and whispering scratches
of a fountain pen
communicate to my sisters and brothers
scrawls of gratitude
in a language that we now know
trails off beyond symbols
to a path of reflected lunar light
across the rippled lake and beyond
to circle a magnificent rising moon;
such celestial celebration
as only reverent silence can bring.

I want to rest here forever and i do
in this eternal present moment
emptied of news feeds, opinions and restless thoughts. All our usual distractions seem so meager, like a blaring, blazing 24 hour casino promising riches to the the masses
that throng to it in a distant metropolis.

Across the street monks pray for us
and all of the world with such devoted unwavering love that I can see it rising
above the harvested fields, a holy host
of mysterious beneficence, like a gift blanket of luminescence that I can surrender to fully amongst the dreams of all who shared with us,
fellow seekers encircling us with
joined hearts and hands,
baptising us with the water of life,
tears freely given without self-consciousness
from such beautiful eyes that I never realized
each human has the capacity
to glisten and shine like this,
that they could bring such blessed renewal,
unconditional love that suffuses the night,
rising higher with the ascending moon,
glowing with perfection on every one of us
in this holy grace-filled timeless instant
of solitude, silence and stillness.

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 10/7/17

please pass it around

i can tell you
what your deepest fear is
the same as mine and all humankind:
that you will not be loved

as a member of the global tribe
certain codes and rituals are practiced
to strengthen the story we think of as us
our roles are well worn
one generation to the next ensuring
some comfort will be brushed along our skin

newborns who are never touched
develop a syndrome known as
failure to thrive yes they die
as has been documented scientifically

can we see how clinical we have become?

love withheld, love unreceived leaves wounds
anger that snakes through a body of scars
trailing behind it festering resentment,
a serpentine reorienting to things
so they now make circular sense
the best defense is calculated offense
much lack can be hidden in war where
we battle the monster attacking our worth

you know good and well
this is how we start thinking
so we can deliberately kill
without blinking an eye
a rational logical decision
based upon the original omission
of any sense of tenderness
yes we truly will lay down lives for this

but as i mentioned before i know
your deepest darkest most hidden fear:
to be judged the outcast unworthy of love
not by god his son or the holy host
but by fellow living breathing humans
the sole agents capable of physical touch

is it too much to ask at last
that we pass this along one to another
as some show signs of having been missed
in the original round where all were blessed

it has become a rather pressing matter
as we are about to drown
in the trickle of intricacies
bleeding from every corner
of this well-narrated tale
of utter loneliness and murderous terror

please be kind and pass it around

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 9/29/17

in stillness

in this nowhere
of stillness

there is less
and less
to say

i appreciate

i trust

i feel

an energy
radiating from my heart
boundless endless love

i know
that it flows
from one reality
the source
of all wholeness
and flawless purity

from this
point of stillness
all of life is born
every atom
of all that is

in this perfect moment
in this timeless instance
full of grace and eternity

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 9/27/17

i forgive

i forgive myself
for holding my spirit
by the throat
with the iron fist
of self-doubt and recrimination

i forgive myself
for choosing the safety of a defined life
constrained by beliefs of worthiness,
for imagining that there must be
a right way which can be discovered
if i simply search for it
with enough sincerity and desperation
as though emergency exit lights
will suddenly illuminate the way
off of this insane flight from myself

i forgive myself for repeating the steps
of ho’oponopono a thousand times
i apologize
please forgive me
thank you
i love you
while always concealing in one hand
or the other
a precious piece of guilt or shame
tiny shards of a shattered mirror
that still hold for me
an irresistible gleaming allure

i forgive myself
for building boundaries into walls
so that anger and resentment
would always be securely held
as my treasured personal affliction
so that my isolation would ensure
the perpetuation of my loneliness
so that when connection is what i most need
no one can possibly reach me

i forgive myself
for piling up insulation
against more suffering reaching me
only to find myself turning blue
half dead from such quiet shallow breathing
lest anyone be able to hear
my soul crying out for union with divinity

there are endless ways to return to my cell
secret routes known only to me
i can be here now and disappear in an instant
as any need or want for my undeserving self arises

i forgive myself
for taking on the suffering
that rightfully belongs to others
i never understood that it is here as a lesson
to be lived by its owner and then released

i forgive myself
and return to this world
all of the painful bits
i tried to bear for you
believing then i would be fully loved

i forgive myself for feeling wrong when hurt,
for believing that strength is the ability
to withstand anything that fear can deliver,
that free will was given to me
to choose the cleverly concealed steps
to where perfection is reflected
from the crystalline water
of a pure and depthless lake

as a precautionary measure
i also forgive myself in advance
for thinking i am some kind of mistake,
something less than the divine love
that grew this body from nothing
and that created this shining heart,
an open gate which none can close before me

today i see
the whole hot mess of me
striving to be better
than absolute perfection
and today i do
truly forgive

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 9/25/17


pissed off

yes i’m all about peace and light,
i’m affirming wholeness in this moment, alright,
but the disappearing me
is plenty pissed off and
would like some control back, goddammit

look around, it says, at an obvious
sea of misery definitely sloshing
toward the deep end this time

how the fuck, for instance,
can my only daughter have stage 4 cancer
and they have nothing further to recommend

a derivative of mustard gas – did you know
that is the basis of all chemo
in this chemical soaked poisonous world
we worsen by the day? yeah, pissed off
doesn’t even begin to describe it,
i am fucking enraged by the whole shitty
slide of events, not to even mention the nightly updates of a world awash and aflame

let’s love now, right in the middle of the bonfire
there is plenty of crap to burn,
of that i can assure you,
and i like it hotter than you
might imagine on an entirely
carnal plane fuck if i care
what it translates to
on some mystical metaphysical dimension
let’s work up some sweat some sweet slick
intertwining of an entirely physical nature
and then write about it in a peaceful way
once we’ve blown off some steam we recall

the calm that was always here
except through that one amazing part
where you did that thing oh right

as we bring our awareness back to the room
we wiggle our fingers and toes such bliss
to have settled into ourselves just as we are
even at pissed times like this

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 9/9/17