deep in the deepest recesses
of the heart of the heart
there is nothing

perhaps a gap

in time is noticed

but afterwards ah then
flow synchronies and art and

fluid melodies as if
the brown thrasher
flitting among the gnarly limbs
of a dust bowl era osage orange
had been there all along
belting out his outrageous repetoire
of courting song

a confident call for love
reverberates from his tiny presence
far into the wide tumbling
ever changing sky

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art
20190621 Summer Solstice


– in remembrance of Ron Cox

god is relentlessly swooping in
she is rushing toward me
from every direction

i can taste her essence now
shaking these bright new limbs
leaning into me when i lie against her

i feel her glimmer along living water
and i breathe the perfume of decay
and flowering forest floor and more

is brought forth where sunlight lingers
the heated vibrancy can be felt
pine sap drips & wafts through wiggling air

these creaking expansive woods
have risen high through the earth
behold them crafted from our own elements

she knows of nothing to regret or forgive
simply shimmers offering a life to live
breathe with her easily please and receive

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20190508


on the other side
of darkness
it is difficult
to clearly recall
what first led me there
and why i spent so much time
deep in its warm deadening depths

and i know its onyx threads
are still woven through me

yet i no longer believe
in the story whatever it was
that i felt obliged to trundle
across an unforgiving prairie
on behalf of our struggling ancestors

some pages of history are still in my files
contained rather loosely arranged
in the tumbling wide midwestern sky
and don’t get me wrong
there will be trouble again
right here in river city
some dramatic struggles for personality

but here in the stillness the view
from outer space to inner
leads to a single delicious sip
of fiery golden twilight air where
every want is no longer needed
the membrane so thin i step in

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text & art


there is a stillness within
from which every vibration
in the universe burst forth

i clenched my teeth
and tensed my back
as though it all was all
a burden to resist

until i didn’t
his chattering mind
is rattling on
about its story
trying to remember
all the pieces
and what they mean
and in the spaciousness
of innate perfection
he is smiled upon
with absolute compassion
as can never be understood
by the rational mind
my heart beats and i am breathed
by the One Life of all the universe
i am a stream of atoms
flowing in timeless ness
i am in the gaps i don’t normally see
strictly metaphorically
as we like to say with our words
i must tirelessly cop to it over and over
ceaselessly repeating
so i won’t get it wrong again
ad nauseam
until i no longer need that lie,
my customized version of the past
until one day i surrender and i don’t

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art


now when it arises
anger resentment regret fear
i feel a tinge of excitement too
down in the swamp in the mud
in the darkest steaming depths
if i stay face to face with it
i find at last what my belief withheld
not yet fully seen but a sense
an openness to some bright dawning thing
that formerly could not be imagined
it is a love filled and glorious possibility

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art

in the beginning

was apparent death chaos loss
of everything yet i stepped through
my mother’s ghost to a timeless realm to
a truth just beyond the veil of appearances
where somehow i was always held
and in this moment still am being healed

i felt it most strongly at first
beneath a warm green Ozark lake
8 years old i dove fearlessly deep
trusting the capacity of my breath
the mammalian instinct to slow the heart
to glide fluidly through the caress
of soft sun-bladed living water

other times i was alone in the trees
a clear brook wound through mossy cedar
disappeared beneath a tangled web of roots
and emerged again into a channel

a startling slap of beaver tail

further up an otter gliding peered up
briefly as he sinuously rolled
both of us planning trout for dinner

the wind rustles its way through tall grass
glinting sunlight ripples along wavelets
a current of light broadens onto a vast lake
not visited by man for months the ducks
explode into flashing flight hundreds of them

all of this is real, all happening now
i breathe with all of life in ascending hues
its exuberant expression washes through me
and in every aware moment i am reborn

this is real, all happening now
i love the ache of lungs as light approaches
the transition from water into sky
the dazzling droplets flung in celebration
for this indrawn breath of miraculous new life

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20190112


where now i behold in you
the light of your spirit
the way your particular hue
flows across wintry prairie

to arrive here in this moment
you know it’s required that we recognize
the improbable magic of the heart
that arises in the absence of comment

this is nothing personal you see
we hug like the family we know we are
completely in this moment at home
we are floating away as personified love

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 20190101