Wednesday, June 06, 2018

A Testimony to Change

—Poems by Dah, Berkeley, CA
—Anonymous Photos


Metamorphose keeps caterpillars
that the butterfly’s reach
for immortality is luminous

O butterfly
to be wise and ignorant  
hurts too much
like dried spiky leaves

As small as you are
life’s miseries
have spilled inside of you
because you have lived

Suddenly, without warning
without signs or words
the future caves in
becoming quiet


The noise of life                     
is a cracked mouth                     
is an eye sinking                     
into trepidation                     
or stormy hearts rumbling                      
like the freight of thunder
If only to tame the world                     
as windmills tame the wind                     
transforming its energy                    
blade by blade                     
a testimony to change                     
to the reliance on breath
Breath is light sliding                     
out of stars                      
crawling into the dirt                      
instructing the dead                     
to carry the radiance                      
of eternal silence
The afterlife is                     
the smallest of seeds                      
something eyes cannot                    
show us                    
that only curiosity                    
can teach us
Beyond these words we must                    
tighten our lips                     
so speaking does not interfere                    
with harmony                      
For how shall we tame the world                    
if we keep disputing


A trail of footprints
scorched by the sun
harassed by the wind

Horizon’s thin gray streak
is a haunted place

Opaque blue above
crashes of splintered blue below

The careless sweating of clouds
such ancient elixir

Scarlet blood of a hooked fish
is liquid rose, terror flames in its throat

The gray line’s impact
from blue to horizon to hooked fish
to the mind’s rattling

She asks: What are you thinking?

The way dragonflies pile up in the light
not to bend their shapes but to shape their shadows

She replies: I love the tenderness in your thoughts
I’m looking at the fish. Mucous-bubbles ooze
from its gills. The drunkenness in its eyes

The killer unsheathes his knife
the shiny white belly, sliced, laid open
The fish, brave enough not to make a sound

Seagulls crowd closer with their gluttony
to the steaming guts, gritty with sand



They disappeared, each nonexistent face
disappeared in the clime of their own lust.
Still, I see them, invisible, bodies
of intercourse, shifting mouths of drool.

Something caresses me, a longing, lifeless
hand. Foam on the tip of its fingers, clearly
alive. Nameless, it pursues me with aggressive
foreplay, halfway between love and hatred.

There’s an inward flight of paranoia, frozen
like plastic screams. Half of this gray scene
is over. Still it’s lodged emotively inside
my body, as if only beginning.

Everything is old and faded, laboring or stillborn.
Somebody breaks bread. It begins to rain.
Whose fluid is running down my leg?

Somebody’s life howls in distress, an echo
turns into a long alley where three-dimensional
surrealism turns into horrible realism.

Grief, a mass of wind brought to life by cobwebs,
heavy gray light, gray pain,
flowers dying in sickly gray snow.

A disjointed body is conscious, whispering:
Look behind you. Behind you …


Far away, another wind
Somewhere, rain I cannot feel
I shudder from bone to bone
Transparent motionless waves
slice the air
Dizzy seagulls
collapse on the sand
heads bobbing like limp sadness
And far beyond
above the universe
spread evenly throughout
the gray line stretches and shapes
like a jet’s broken body falling to the sea
The sun’s solar brilliance dims
like a dead firefly
The gray sun is disturbingly beautiful
a dull heart
gray flames
Static, a familiar noise
a whir of wings in a glass jar
burning the oxygen
the bug inhales
a gray toxin
tighter tighter
bug suffocates



Spot after spot the sun spoils
and fades

The fallout has dirty pain
a grimy rhythm and pulse

If all gods decayed like this
darkness could elaborate its beauty

revealing the Unifying Turbine
at the center of creation

If only birds could talk. If only
milkweeds milking sunbeams

could talk. The child
born in a cave knows this:

to be comforted by dark’s tranquilizer
and then again by light’s injection

No matter how imposturous
there will always be charlatans

demanding servitude
demanding dominance

while the pure faith of reason
is The Liberator


That which is broken works
for those who want it broken

Walking the city in this August dawn
my thirst
a cracked basin
This emotional thirst
the city’s grime

I drag the gray line behind me
The homeless snigger
at this misfortune

shaky breath

crowded thoughts

conflicting voices

gray divergence

I must return to the coast
to the sea’s purity
to the infinite way


Today’s LittleNip:


With your eyes, more and more,
you can see the wind
because you are, already,
a dreamy lover  

Behind your eyes, wise
and beautiful
your mind sails
O love

you are more sacred
than this moment


Our welcome to Berkeley poet Dah today, with his fine poems from Berkeley by the Bay! Dah’s 
poems have been published by editors from the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Spain, Africa, Poland, Philippines and India. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the lead editor of The Lounge, a poetry critique group. Dah's sixth poetry collection is The Opening (CTU Publishing, 2018) and his seventh book, Something Else's Thoughts, is forthcoming in July 2018 from Transcendent Zero Press.

Besides being a prolific writer, Dah has been a yoga practitioner since 1969, and is a certified teacher in two yogic disciplines, Shivananda and Yoga Of The Heart. From these two schools, he developed his own style, Chakra Four Yoga, which he’s been teaching to children in public and private schools since 2005. Dah stopped teaching adults in 2013, only to focus on the magical realm of teaching kids to meditate, to stretch, and to stay in harmony with the natural world.

When Dah is not writing or teaching, he stays close to nature and has a great passion for both coastal camping along the Pacific shores, and backcountry camping along lakes and rivers. He also loves cycling, canoeing, and daily long walks in the redwood hills of Berkeley, California where he lives. For more from Dah, go to

Welcome to the Kitchen, Dah, and don’t be a stranger!


Celebrate poetry!

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