Heart Full of Love

Basement has a leak.

Sky is grey with summer heat.

Cicadas blast the dusk with metallic shrieks.

The world is bloody and uncertain.

Tomorrow is Monday.

But this home,

This refuge,

This tiny shard

Of our spinning orb



And inside me

There is a strong glow

That reaches

Into the Heavens,

And tonight,

The Heavens

Reach back

Return the embrace

Close the loop,

Fullfil the promise

Of every sunrise.

--Mr. Gobley


Response to those who say, "Religion is responsible."

Is an accelerant
A propellant
A stimulant

It runs
The engine
Of the soul --
But it does not sit
At the wheel.

Gasoline powers cars--
It also burns
And devours
Do we blame
The gasoline?

A soul must know its course
And keep to it
With a mighty
Sense of purpose.

If that purpose is
The salvation of all beings
Then every act
And every thought
Pulsate outward
Bathing all
Deeds and Doers
In right intention.

If that purpose is
These waves, too,
Fan outward--

But soon enough,
They bounce
Off the walls
Of malformed intention
And return to drown
Doer and deed both.

Is nourishment
Which we sometimes garnish
With poison

Is fuel
Which we too often ignite

Is choreography
For the confined spirit

Spirit is that within us
Which yearns to do great good things.

Dance with this spirit
Pray and work for all that lives
If this helps no one
Other than you
It will still
Have salved,
If not saved,
A soul.

--Mr. Gobley


Creating Each Day

What do you create?

We all create something:

What is your special contribution
to the Matter
of the Universe?

Start here:

What is your thought on arising?

i have two:

one is:

thank you, God, my creator and sustainer,
for restoring my soul to the light of a new day.

another is:

let my straight path
meet your straight path
that we may join hands
and dance.

--Mr. Gobley


Mr. Gobley sez:

  • An entire life probably will be viewable via the Internet before long: a camera implanted in utero, removed at death -- if then. A consummation devoutly not to be wished.
  • The most deadly trait in a leader is the utter lack of a sense of humor.
  • Charisma is a close second.
  • Beware the era in which the extraordinary is commonplace, and vice versa.
  • Time-honored salves for the depressed soul: volunteer work; tending a garden; two days in a place where no engines are heard.
  • Time-honored depression accelerants: television; strip shopping centers; celebrity-hunting magazines; bathroom scales.
  • How about a national service program placing suburban teenagers on family farms for a summer of work?
  • A theory on our current leadership crisis: neckties restrict blood-flow to the brain.
  • Needed invention: antibiotic socks for walking shoeless through airport security.
  • Spiritual nutrition: take a moment, before the first bite, to ponder the food's journey to your table, and the efforts, and the individuals, involved in getting it there.
  • We have free will, all right -- but where did it come from?

--Mr. Gobley


I cannot touch you, therefore
You do not exist.

You do not exist, therefore
I am alone.

I am alone, therefore
All actions,
All consequences,
All choices are mine.

All is mine, therefore
There is nothing else.

There is nothing else, therefore
I extend throughout the Universe.

I extend throughout the Universe, therefore
I am earthbound,
But I am also
Planet, star and comet,
Raging fire,
Burning ice.

Because I am here and also there,
Fire and ice,
I am many in one.

Because I am many in one,
I am human
And yet more than this.

And the part that is
More than human,
Bound up with
My flesh and bones,

Is me,
Touching You.

Therefore, you exist,

We meet at last.


--Mr. Gobley


Scenes from a City

On the train
There is a knapsack
By itself
On the seat at the end of the aisle.

I am alone with it.
What was I doing?
Where was my awareness?
Out the train window
As we went through
The forest preserve.
And now I am alone
With the cause
Of my death?

The conductor marches past me
Eyes the bag,
Pokes it--
And a voice comes
From down the aisle:
"Oh, sorry, that's mine.
I just came down
To talk to my friend."

The conductor is incredulous.

"This is yours?"


"Yeah. I told the other conductor
I was coming back up in a second."

"Come up now," this conductor says.
"Not a second later."

As the man brushes past me
To get his bag, he mutters:
"Fuckin' guy."


Through the window
Of a bistro
I watch an urban pantomime:
Two couples
At a sidewalk table
In the anticipation
Of gustatory delight.

Then there is a man, a thin Black man, holding out his hand, shouting, almost testifying, one hand out, the other beseeching the heedless heavens. Without looking at him, one of the men reaches into his pocket, pulls out a dollar, presses it into the thin man's palm.

The thin man looks,
Where is the kindness
In this ruined world?
Where is the promise of plenty?

Clearly inconvenienced, the man reaches into his pocket, pushing the humid fabric aside with his moist hand, raising his hips, still not looking the thin man in the face. The woman across from him also produces a dollar. The thin man has collected three dollars, although no acknowledgement of his existence, much less his predicament.

The thin man
Walks away from the sidewalk
Shouting thanks
Praising his patrons
They smile
But still do not look
When he is sure of this
He looks at the three dollars
Clenches them in his fist
And pumps that fist
Into the summer sky.

--Mr. Gobley


Today i became marooned, on foot, in the midst of eight lanes of traffic, four zooming in one direction, for zooming and honking in the other. Radios boomed and thumped through window glass; drivers could be seen singing along, cursing the driver in front of them, or doing both at once.

Although it was morning in the city, it was quite hot already. i stood perspiring on the concrete island in this asphalt river, and i was there for some time.

All at once, i became aware that the concrete island had a planter that took up most of its length. The flowers were blooming riotously, and already, at that early hour, in tremendous heat, smog and noise, dozens of bumble bees were working the flowers. They seemed almost cheerful about it. No, better: they were just being bumble bees.

So i thought, "today i am striving to be more like a bumble bee." But that just made me more like a person: wishing, striving to be something other than i was, something approachable to some degree and yet unattainable.

Then i thought: "i shall be like the traffic island: impervious, unshakeable, steady."

You see where this is going, i'm sure. And you're much quicker than i.

God has given me the bumble bee and the concrete island and i have understood that i am both of these things, and more. We are very nearly Divine; all of us, all of this, comes from the hearts of distant stars.

And so i only sat down to write this to you to let you know that i've just now begun to work on being all these things, which is to say, being truly myself.

--Mr. Gobley


"We love death more than you love life": a response

Dear Annihilators:

No, you don't love death more than we love life. You love killing more than we love life. There's a substantial difference.

One finds oneself moved to ask: whose death do you love more?

If you truly loved death more than we love life, you would not seek justification for extinguishing the innocent, and wouldn't be deluded into thinking you'd score points in Heaven for doing so. No: you would simply do yourself in.

An authentic love for death might compel you to a personal relationship with it, but it does not: you conscript and brainwash the vulnerable into wreaking death for you -- apparently you love life more than you love either honesty or death.

Let us remember: one may embrace death, but there is no such thing as loving it: one cannot love what one cannot know. What you love --if anything -- is an idea, a fantasy whose real nature eludes you.

Examine what it is that you love -- this is an issue of the utmost urgency.

Perhaps you love killing more than you love the religion in whose mighty shadow you lurk.

If this is not so, then cease killing and serve the God of your faith. We were, after all, made in His image -- not in the image of the dark lords to whom you have enslaved yourself.

-- Mr. Gobley

Mr. Gobley sez:

  • The attainment of mastery, in the disciplined pursuit of a creative passion, is the most dynamic form of prayer.
  • The greatest danger to an individual, a family, a community, a nation, is always within.
  • Fame is just a means to be misunderstood on a grand scale.
  • It is essential that you reflect, daily, on who you blame for whatever predicaments are yours. Then, work on not-blaming.
  • People always smile at children in elevators.
  • Children that are kind to animals eventually will make good lovers and great parents.
  • The spot where Lewis and Clark emerged from the woods to catch their first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean is called Cape Disappointment. Worth reflecting on.

--Mr. Gobley


To Whom It May Concern:

I should like to get to know you better.

I have thought about you ever since we met.

I have not, in fact, been able to remove from my mind
The image of you,
Waiting for me
At the top of the stairs
Going into the great hall.

The light shone from behind you,
Too cinematic for belief,
Too perfect for verse,
Your silhouette grand,
To my flawed senses

Then I lost track of you. We went our separate ways. I got caught up in the mundane. I needed a job, I needed money. You tried to stay in touch, but I felt so burdened by your communications -- so obligated to repay in kind the generosity of spirit you lavished on me -- that I couldn't bring myself to return the favor. It seemed like any communication of mine would have insulted you with its triteness, its brevity, its lack of depth.

As time went on,
Even as the sound of your voice
Faded from memory,
The vision of you became brighter,
More insistent.
Your eyes looked at me
Full of yearning

Hesitantly, I got back in touch.

I found, to my relief,
My exultation,
That you had been thinking of me, too,
An image of me had fixed in your mind,
You wondered how I was
Longed for contact
For connection
For reunion.

Now we are in touch again.

Weeks, perhaps even months can go by, but there is never any doubt that one of us will reach out again, and the current will jump between us.

How I love you.

If only I could see you.

--Mr. Gobley


Another thought for the week

This state, in which nothing definite is thought, planned, striven for, desired or expected, which aims in no particular direction and yet knows itself capable alike of the possible and the impossible, so unswerving is its power -- this state, which is at bottom purposeless and egoless, was called ... truly "spiritual." It is in fact charged with spiritual awareness and is therefore also called "right presence of mind." This means that the mind or spirit is present everywhere, because it is nowhere attached to any particular place. And it can remain present because, even when related to this or that object, it does not cling to it by reflection and thus lose its original mobility. Like water filling a pond, which is always ready to flow off again, it can work its inexhaustible power because it is free, and be open to everything because it is empty. This state is essentially a primorial state, and its symbol, the empty circle, is not empty of meaning for him who stands within it.

Eugen Herrigel in Zen in the Art of Archery

--Mr. Gobley


Thought for the Week

All that exists, and in particular all persons who exist, participate, by virtue of mere existence, in the existence of God. . . As [Catholic theologian Karl] Rahner explained, 'God does not merely create something other than himself-- he also gives himself to this other. The world receives God, the Infinite and ineffable mystery, to such an extent that he himself becomes its innermost life.' Human beings are the creatures who instinctively respond to that innermost life. 'This mystery,' Rahner writes, 'is the explicit and unexpressed horizon which always encircles and upholds the small area of our everyday experience . . . we call this God . . . However hard and unsatisfactory it may be to interpret the deepest and most fundamental experience at the very bottom of our being, man does experience in his innermost history that this silent, infinitely distant holy mystery, which continually recalls him to the limits of his finitude and lays bare his guilt yet bids him approach; the mystery enfolds him in an ultimate and radical love which commends itself to him as salvation and as the real meaning of his existence.'

-- James Carroll in Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews

--Mr. Gobley


Feng-shui of the soul

Feng-shui is an art
(Or perhaps a science)
Which says
That the placement and texture of objects
Directly affects one's well being
And productivity.

If this is so,
Then this, too,
Must be so:

The placement of practices
Of disciplines and actions
In an ordered pattern
Around one's innermost self
Will elevate one's environment
And benefit those who share it--

Unless, of course, those disciplines
And actions
Have hate at their center.

Feng-shui of the soul
Calls for order and harmony
Even in the face of
Random killing

The pursuit of order
And harmony
In one's environment
Will circle outward
From the still center.

Practice feng-shui of the soul
Get your inner house in order --

No telling others what to do
Until you've tended that
Garden of yours.

--Mr. Gobley


Mr. Gobley sez:

It is impossible to write free verse every day without descending occasionally into platitude.
Nonetheless, it's worth a try.

No nation that is governed by a constitution whose tenets are grounded in a particular religion --nor any nation that is run by clerics -- has avoided utter corruption.

But then: what nation has?

Put another way: what is the minimum number of people a community must contain in order for corruption to be a guaranteed byproduct?

Being "born in sin" may just mean that we are programmed to lust, whether we like it or not.

It is easy to fall in love with bloggers one has never met. Strangers whose souls one can touch are lovers of the highest order.

The only way to minimize clutter and disorganization is through disciplined and regular purging of physical and psychological junk.

Put another way: like all other forms of freedom, spatial freedom requires constant vigilance, ordered ideals, and some small measure of ruthlessness.

Most human interaction is a dance of mutual manipulation. This is not necessarily a bad thing, unless the same dancer always leads.

There is someone in your life whom you have not forgiven. Begin forgiving that person now.

From faithful reader Ambivablog: Never say, "I know exactly how you feel."

--Mr. Gobley


Soul of a day

Days have souls.

Today's soul
Is reaching,
Like me,
To the heavens.

This day will have namesakes.

This day will be written of.

And forgotten.

This day is no more, no less
Than I:

It is slope,
And precipice.

It is here
And not-here.

It hasn't got
bones or ligaments,
Hair or teeth.

In most respects, though,
It is no different
From what
You Think of
As You.

Thank this day
For being a mirror
To the you
That is grateful,

And the day
Will be grateful
For you.

Will see you through
To Wednesday.

--Mr. Gobley


Soul sibling:

Via Negativa

-- Mr. Gobley

Web of being

We are caught in a web.

This web, whose strands are transparent,
Emerges into the visible realm
When the strands are serrated with dew,
Whose drops are moments.

We run along strands,
Leaving bits of ourselves,
Changing coordinates,
Exchanging air and oxides,
Becoming something
Entirely other
At each step,
Within each

Soon, concentricity
And circumference
Have expanded
Beyond being
Or shrunk
To mere nothingness,

And as we look back
From our last
Visible point,
Only then
Do we learn
That we
And the web
Were one.

--Mr. Gobley


Fireworks on the Beach

They brought all they could,
In coolers and canvas bags.

Children, draped in glow-stick necklaces,
Were dragged by their little wrists

To the beach.

The teenage girls
Wore their short shorts
Their halter tops,
And ran in packs.

The beach was thronged:
At the water's edge
There began
A sea of flesh.

Beyond the shore
A semaphore
Of lights from boats
Dotted the rimless horizon.

And then, silence fell,
As the first rocket thundered skyward
And burst into a circle of light

Applause and ooohs of delight
Heads ringed in halos of all colors
Silhouettes of thousands of heads
Turned toward the sky.

We were all crowded there
To cheer explosions
And to drink in our liberty

As ash rained down on us
We smiled at our lovers
Drank our shiraz
And wondered
About the best route home.
--Mr. Gobley


On the day before a holiday weekend
Like the last day of school
The air empties a little
And lets some of the past in

You can feel a shift in time
Can let the muscles of ambition relax
Can sense the sunset
When the Sun
Is still reigning

Work gets done
But something else
Gets done, too:

We stop and savor
That sensation,
That knowledge
Unique among creatures:

The awareness of
And the gratitude for
The passage of time

Stop and remember:
Each moment is given,

A drop
In a swift river
Conveyed to your cup
By a source
That cannot be seen

We may be
The only ones
Who know

Don't turn and flee
In horror:
The flow of Time
Is the embrace of Light

The dark
Is but the exhalation
In between

The past breathes in
Just a little,
To remind us

That all days
Are holidays,
Because each day
Is given.

--Mr. Gobley