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White like the North
and the cold places on the earth
my great grandfather was fond of
over-proof *** and
caribbean sailor blue waves

His Nigerian goddess bore him
nine children
pretty little barefoot toffee skinned children
scampering through sugarcane fields
and tall tropical grasses
the lilting sound of their voices
playing on balmy breezes

My Aunt Glo remembers him well
strolling about with his switch and
stiff upper English lip
he governed the immense rural
Jamaican plantation in St. Elizabeth
around the end of the Nineteeth century

Everyone called him Pupa and his
wife Muma

I don't know much about Muma
except that her mother was an
enslaved person and that she
had to tolerate the insult of ritually
hiding her mixed children when
Pupa's mother, Lady Bush
flounced into town with her entourage

There is an old photograph of
the two of them:

Muma in white frock seated,
her eyes drooping brown sparrows
Pupa with his switch, pocket watch
and far away eyes
There is a peculiar lightness
I have observed that appears
to increase with age

On the anniversary eve of my
70th natal year
I glance towards the
Western horizon
stars all lit
stellar candles beckon

My breath, Pneuma
with gilded wings and
golden vessel
longs to explore the
vaster regions of self

Constellations dangle
Happy Birthday across
the Bright Unknown

I wait......

A vacant silk sari
fluttering, flickering,
in the fiery sunset dusk
PL McGroarty Dec 2017
Dear Mae Sai,
You’ve been a hard pill to swallow.
Downward gazes and inside jokes.
Farang, farang.
Little pointing fingers followed by a wave of giggles as my floor-length dress with the slit down the side blows wild in the breeze,
trying to contain my runaway drapery,
maintain modesty in a border town where summer dresses don’t fly.
A voice cautions from the inside:
"You’re not in the islands anymore dear one.."

Om Namah Shivaya
I murmur steadily to myself repelling thoughts of “I just want to go home.”
There is no home, not outside in the physical world at least.
This here is a recurring theme.
Now I’m really traveling.
How dislocated will you become before you eliminate outside chatter,
and go to work paving the temple solace inside yourself,
the eternal home within the eternal om,
the exterior is irrelevant.

Oh Mae Sai,
soot and smoke bellow up from your belly
placing masks on the mountains at your back,
your wretched reflection glows unforgiving in the street.
Glorious, unpainted authenticity.

**** the farangs, they’re just passing through.
Smile til my face hurts,
it mostly makes no difference,
and then when I’m feeling so unwanted that I can’t hold back the tears,
you throw me curve ***** with every passing street.

A little Burmese babe with the brightest smile
still unsure of how fast her feet will carry her,
she dashes to my right and with the smacking sound of her lips
and the grace of her palm she blows me a kiss.

Thank you sweet one,
that’s just what I needed…
*'Farang' means 'foreign/foreigner' in Thai, derived from 'farangsayt,' which means 'French.'

During a failed visa run in 2016 I found myself stuck on the border of Thailand and Myanmar for several days in Mae Sai waiting for the Thai immigration office to reopen. It was uncomfortable and I cried for hours one day just sitting alone on a stoop, watching people struggle to make ends meet, very few people cracked a smile-- but the whole experience was incredibly therapeutic
I think we are afraid of the vastness
we fear the vastness
the wild untamed beauty of our true nature

The other day at twilight,
I was traveling with my niece, Carina
down St. John's Heritage Highway
the view was absolutely breathtaking
no houses, no development, no people
just vast stretches of old Florida

As we paused to look at the primeval vista
my niece said she found it unnerving - the vastness

I told her I loved it because it reminded me of meditation
losing awareness of our limited, ordinary self
we enter an inexplicable vastness, primordial void
people-less, formless, infinite

We feel eternal truth rushing through our veins
We are part of a larger picture
greater than anything we can imagine

In the starry arms of the blossoming Universe
we rest safe, secure and loved forever
Om Sai Ram Dear Family

Excellent news! Thank You Swamiji. "108 Bhakti Kisses" Poetry book has been added to the Brevard Central Library collection in Florida. Paste the url below:;=449915711¤tIndex=0&view;=allCopiesDetailsTab

Sai Blessings,

Sonya Ki Tomlinson

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