N  a  p a  l  m     H  e  a  l  t  h     S  p  a  :     R  e  p  o  r  t     2  0  0  8






deathbed poem


let my bed be cool

grass patch and leaves,

semi-shadowed place

in thinly tree forest.

let the trees be middle-aged

not too old, gnarled, spooky.

at dusk, let my body lay

down to final practice

corpse pose, meditation,

aspiration prayer

for blessing of heart lama

field of total love,

total kinship there

on the grass.

still breathing

shallow, still smelling

close dirt earth, still

feeling the thin viscera

thread of existence

flossing my sinew,

preparing to wind out. 

may I take my last breath happy

old woman, soul receding,

having left my tribe.

let it be that I don’t kneel

to my children’s gravity pull

if I go first, let my husband

be resolved- we part again.

let my body be at full rest

in last of dimpled sunlight,

welcoming slow release

of final breath weaving. 

the crackle stir of small animal

will not distract me,

will not delay me, will not

spring sudden desire turn back,

as lack of new air 

puts organs to full stop.

let them seek pause and sink

in lax form collapsing 

below my once living.

heat dissipating, blood

pooling, thickened, let my arms,

hands, fingers, legs, feet

curl softly inward, retract

toward center spine axis.

head tilting right for eye-cloud

gaze, twilight blue trees pressing

on to deeper back of night star

chill shine in post-mortem orgasm

peace, willowey signature stain

of last wetness escaping,

into earth channel acceptance.

as earth accepts most offerings,

she welcomes her daughter body home.






we breathe, sharing the inert argon 

atoms breathed by all existent and existing.

their shrieks, snorts, yawns, exhalations

bellows of animals, humans, others?

saint’s breath and criminal coughs

martyr whispers and prophet proclamations.

christ on the cross, Shakyamuni at 18,

Mother Theresa Mona Lisa sniffle breath

Charles Manson humming prison breakfast breath

my cousin Mary Francis, my mother, grandmother, great

grandmother and her vapored husband.

dead presidents, holocaust victims, breath of

Appalachian travelers and sherpas trekking

Khombu ice fall, Kalu Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche

their once living breath fills swelling,

living lungs over and over,

gangly monkeys of Swayambhunath,

flute call fauna in Camphuan,

my coworkers, my kid in school, his school mates,

little Jack in daycare, the mutt across the steaming

street Sergio Mendes, Rembrandt Van Rhine,

coufie man putting his baby in car,

El Greco pigment breath permeating

all air breathable and otherwise,

molecules of Pontius Pilot exhausted

thirsty teen in emerald sweatpants,

woman kicking out the Eat Hotdogs Here! sign,

breath of Grandaddy Foltz, Grandaddy Legacy, Uncle Ray,

mother cousin Theresa, ejected from her speeding jeep,

breathing molecules of her last breath,

on the side of whip curve road while good

Samaritan prayer breath and surviving sons’

scream still seat buckled in the upside down. 

breathe breath, heart filled pump

this blood breath this live breath of corporate,

conglomerate CEO’s and board members

we share this breath, older man with coffee cup two,

yellow bus driver singer songwriter,

Adelbert Purga my venomous violin teacher

from 6th grade, his wife, their son

who went to Vietnam, all “our boys”

all their breath, fearful and hopeful

depressed, schizophrenic, manic alcoholic 

drug addicted breath of everyone breathing,

Che Gavarra on dusty wreck,

Chogyam Trunpa arranging flowers in English

suit guy smoking metallic cigarette breath

breathing secondhand, firsthand crazy

yogi lightning bolt breath transmission,

monks serving steaming milk honey chai,

breath of beloved Tharchin Rinpoche,

my own breath 10 years ago,

breath of sex workers and dead poets,

we breathe, we living breathe

extinct dinosaur breath,

broke tooth man breath,

old family dog Rex

cats Moby, Gator, Spooky breath

the mouse that drown in my sink,

the possum, the baby owl

and the thrashed crow buried