shoes are the first to go

August 21st, 2012

Shoes are the first to go, left at the door.
What if someone takes them—you’re afraid to say more.
No perfumes or unguents, no shorts or short sleeves
Be mindful of others, but I’d rather leave.
The wardrobe, the makeup, the image, the pose
like pimples concealed on the tip of your nose.
Baggage and crap hauled two flights up the stairs
A room with four walls and the walls are just bare.
Sit, someone tells you, sit and be still.
That’s all there is to it. I’m gonna be ill.
But you do it, you try it, you do it some more.
The guy next to you wobbles. Did I hear a snore?
Years pass. Was it minutes?
Time stops. Shadows cast.
Was that one breath or two?  The first or the last?
You don’t know. You don’t care.
One day you consider the weight of your hair.
Like grass it’s too long, like straw it’s all dead.
Take it off, you beseech,
and what you mean is your head.
Take the nightmare, the fairytale, the Hollywood end
the someday, the one day, the hard luck, the win.
Take my mask and my shield, excuses and lies
my what-ifs and rathers, ifs, ands and whys.
Where’s your fear? Where’s your dread?
I can’t find it. It’s shed.
Now plain faced and simple, empty-handed and bare
Go put on your shoes. They’re still there.

If you want to learn how to meditate, come to the Beginner’s Mind One-Day Meditation Retreat on Nov. 10, 2013  in LA.


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  1. I read this in a coffee shop and actually said “Wow” out loud when I was done. The strangers sitting to the left and the right of me stopped what they were doing and looked up at me. We shared a moment.

    Moments are good 😉


    Comment by Erica — August 22, 2012 @ 9:22 am

  2. Karen,
    You are poetry!
    You are lyrical!
    What a delight.
    So true.

    Comment by Mama Baba — August 22, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

  3. 🙂

    Comment by Paul Brennan — August 23, 2012 @ 1:44 am

  4. totally rockin’!!!

    Comment by Colleen — August 23, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  5. Soaring barefoot. There may just be a poem in there.

    Comment by Jena — August 24, 2012 @ 3:05 am

  6. You and your very poetic message are amazing…

    Comment by jane smith — August 30, 2012 @ 9:58 am

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