The Valley of Decision

I said, "I had a dream that I was showing
off the latest dance in the middle of 
a circle of family and friends."

She asked, "Did you feel the
watching-centeredness change
from one dance to the next?"

I said, "No.  But the look of love
from parents and grandparents
remained between steps and turns."

She said, "It is not possible for time
to ever get tired of experiencing
moments like these."

I asked, tentatively, "Do you think that
awe in the midst of the grand mystery
will always remain with us?"

She answered, "Remember what the 
prophet said, 'Multitudes, multitudes 
in the valley of decision!"

A Bite

I said, "The last bite tasted the same 
as the first bite."

She said, "Sometimes the call
to be different from those around us
remains hidden in folded spaces."

I asked, "How, then, might loving
our neighbor fit into knowing 
differentness?"

She answered, "Shrines on the same
side of the street often share
peculiar and various words of comfort."

I said, "I recognize where the need 
for performing in the eyes of my ancestors
comes from."

She said, "We place a baby in our aunt's arms
and witness the generations coming to us."

Confessing Prophecy

I said, "I have a confession to make.
I failed to do what Simon said."

She said, "Perhaps it takes one
act of disobedience before we 
can claim our inheritance."

I asked, "What practicality does a belief
have if it doesn't make a difference
in our lives?"

She answered, "Is it a belief or is it
something that should be trashed?"

I said, "I have yet to consult with
the oracle of doom and gloom as to 
what if any action is needed."

She said, "Leave prophecy for the pages
of the books taken seriously by scholars."

The Faithful Remnant

I said, "I dreamed last night 
that the troublers of conscience 
came streaming out of the woodwork."

She said, "Sometimes even the ravens 
demand attention while performing."

I asked, "How does a voice make sound
in the midst of people who are convinced
that only they know the real ways?"

She answered, "Silence is fertile ground
for mutterings to emerge."

I said, "In walking from place to place,
so many feel mysteriously unconnected
to anything that might be called human."

She sighed, "The faithful remnant may 
come and go unexpectedly but they
will be seen and heard."

Example of Own Lives

I asked, "How many more fingers
must be pointed at the divine?"

She replied, "We humans enjoy 
the convolutions of large numbers."

I said, "Perhaps furiously fidgeting 
with the letter of the law should be 
made a crime."

She said, "Then people would not
have anything to do on bright, 
sunny mornings as the summer
comes to a close."

I added, "Except to fill daily journals
writing words that appear to be
tolerant and accepting."

She said, "It is easier to embrace ourselves
when we remain examples in our own lives."

Different From Yesterday

I said, "My fear is that organizational
formality will swallow all of us whole."

She asked, "Does that fear arise from 
the dangerous memories that haunt you
or from some gracious hint from the divine?"

I said, "A life's pilgrimage lives in the steps
taken closer to my heart than out beyond
the land that rises in the West."

She said, "Imagine big smiley faces written
lovingly across the pages of your notebook."

I said, "I am keenly aware of how, unburdened
from affliction, we reach a state of grace."

She said, "Then let us broaden our experience
of time's moments differently than yesterday."

I Believe

I said, "I believe in my beliefs shaped by the path 
I have walked between mountains and across 
meadows."

She looked up from her book and said, "What
have you been reading so late into the night?"

I said, "The pinched nerve in my neck is killing
me so I have been reading about near-death
experiences."

She said, "Perhaps you should dwell on more
than the single-mindedness that results from
a maddening pain."

I said, "Can't you see that I am seeing crooked
holding my neck at a precarious angle to life
the whole day long?"

She said, "Come.  Lay your head on my breast
so that you fit with me exactly how you are 
and I will ease your pain."

A Love Letter

I said, "I have decided to give my life
the title 'Extreme Experiments.'"

She said, "Funny, I don't consider
myself extreme or experimental."

I said, "But you have given me
the possibility to recognize
a grander perspective."

She smiled.  "Two people.  Peculiar
lives.  Some shared space and time
spent in each other's arms makes
all the difference."

I smiled, too.  "I had no idea this
conversation was going to turn
into a love letter."

She said, "As one brilliant mind wrote,
'We complex people cannot retreat
to blockish simplicities.'"

A Room

During dinner I said, "My feet
are too large for my room."

She said, "Any room means riotous
wealth upon which you can walk."

I said, "But cramped living leads to small
bitternesses and resentments."

She added, "And also for cozy living
arrangements that call for lots of snuggling."

I smiled. "I welcome those small delights
which can be found when space is at a premium."

She said, "All of creation is one large room."

Next Door

I said, "In my childhood room I cried myself 
to sleep every night believing God was absent,
not realizing that God was the room."

She said, "And look at how many rooms
you have in your house today."

I added, "Though I tire myself out with 
the preponderance of dark thoughts 
and what seems to me to be their endless 
repetition."

She said, "You do such a great job
of taking the mystic's advice, greeting
them at the door, laughing."

I said, "Even the taste of laughter
in my mouth turns bitter with the
sorrow on the face of my neighbor."

She said, "Kiss me, so I can taste it
and then we can make brownies together
and take them next door to share."