Vesting Equity

I write because my mental real estate
is limited. As thoughts accumulate
they spill into the yard at this address
like loose debris that chokes the grass unless
routinely raked and bundled up to wait.

The curbside pickup trailer’s seldom late
but long before the bags are out the gate
I’m filling more while sorting through the mess
I write, because…

without releasing space to allocate
for flotsam overflowing from my pate,
I’d hoard the weeds and lose the words to press
between the folds where brainstorms coalesce
with conscious clarity to contemplate.

I write. Because.

2023 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Loose Fitting Garment

“Wear your ego like a loose fitting garment.” – Buddhist proverb

My ego bows before us
neither witty nor astute
attired in nothing formal—
just a simple birthday suit.

For having shed the layers
of its standard-issue clothes
assigned upon arrival,
bluster cannot strike a pose.

Raw ego knows its purpose
is to pacify the id
while challenging the toddler
to outgrow the foolish kid.

And in that conscious effort
it will follow me through time
as mentor and protector
to facilitate the climb.

But often I’m too wimpy
to embrace what lies ahead.
I dress my ego gaudily,
and hide behind instead.

2023 Mary Boren
View discussion.

Resolutions Schmezzolutions

“May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.” —Joey Adams

I wish you supreme mental health
in the pleasure of being yourself
for there’s nobody else who can do it.
May you boldly decide to come through it
unscathed by the false expectations
imposed upon new generations.

In the futile commitment to change
as if thinking alone could arrange
your unique DNA to work better,
there’s a trap that serves only to fetter
your link to the fullest extension
of you without vain intervention.

So before you fall prey to the guff
that your essence is less than enough
to equip you for finding fulfillment
released in the deepest distillment
of innocence, peace, and humaneness
within, just say no to insaneness.

2023 Mary Boren
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Pivot Point

In evolutionary terms,
a quantum leap is overdue
as callow human nature squirms
from murky embryonic stew.

We exited the primal cave
with harnessed energy enough
for all, then willingly grew slave
to needless manufactured stuff.

Like toddlers with flamboyant blocks
we fashion castles in the air,
then fortify our walls with locks
and selfishly refuse to share.

While streamers from our satellite
project an ostentatious glow,
unlike the fabled phoenix flight,
velocity is all for show.

Unless we rise victorious
as one, the looming cosmic crash
will leave behind no more of us—
an evanescent puff of ash.

2022 Mary Boren
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Soupe Au Lait

I didn’t choose a mealy-mannered man
who never makes me mad—the utter boredom
would do me in—nor would I want to can
resentments under lock and key and hoard ’em.

When tempers flare, we let the passion boil
like milk infused with onions, salt, and taters
until it nearly overflows. You’re oil,
I’m water: counterclockwise oscillators.

Then just as suddenly the flame subsides
in recognition of our equal freedom
to percolate with peeves, but love abides
in knowing when to cool instead of heat ’em.

I wouldn’t trade the flavor of the soup
that’s cooked with spices added by the scoop.

2022 Mary Boren
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Wabi-Sabi Waits

The wearer who would camouflage herself
behind a superficial face will muster
resistance from the dreaded  bottom shelf
when flawless, creamy skin has lost its luster.

Strategic bits of plastic might extend
her fleeting fifteen minutes’ worth of glory
as frivolous embellishments transcend
the chance for character to tell the story.

She shuns the wrinkles; sages see the grooves
created in the crucible of patience
as surface grinding gracefully removes
the residue of youthful limitations.

For only in the artistry of lines
can wabi-sabi polish its designs.

2022 Mary Boren
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Wake-Up Call

Suppose the power brokers of the world
are not the politicians we elect
to do the people’s bidding on the stage?
What if instead, identities unknown
are hovering in shadows, pulling strings
in turn — precision choreography
perfected long ago on training grounds
unbound by borders. Privileged by birth
alone, they’d hold the legacies amassed
beyond the reach of fundamental laws.

If that’s the case, imagine how they’d stifle
the growth of motivation to awaken
the consciousness of independent thinkers.

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Conversation Between My Eyes

“I see a healthy couple standing there
barefooted, soon to pace unsullied sands
along the peaceful shoreline, holding hands,
invigorated by the morning air.
I feel the love they share.”

“You must be daft! Delusional! Insane!
There’s nothing but a stretch of barren beach
as far as Eye can see. Beyond the reach
of colorless monotony’s domain
lies tedious terrain.”

2022 Mary Boren
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Illusion of Separation

“The time that my journey takes is long and the way of it long.” – Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali, #12)

I looked through squinted eyes,
and begged to see The Mystery unveiled;
instead, without a word, you lifted me
with loving arms to set me in your lap
behind the wheel.

A primal burst of light
accompanied our launch through time and space,
and in my rattled, addled sense of self
I dreamed that I was traveling alone
without a map.

This lifetime lost among
inhabitants of unfamiliar worlds
obscured the memory of whence I sprang
but couldn’t kill my longing to return
before I die…

’til guided by a star
protruding from the edge of clarity,
I caught an echo of the lullabye
you sing throughout eternity to call
your children home.

2022 Mary Boren
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Surface Disburbances

A pebble skipped across a pond
incites a hectic scene
until the ripples spread beyond
the center of the screen.

An incident that floods a mind
with bitterness can dredge
impediments unless we find
discernment on the edge.

When stillness or resistance calls
between opposing views,
the shadow of perception falls
wherever people choose

2022 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Cosmic Connection

“Not the ones speaking the same language, but the ones sharing the same feeling, understand each other.” -Rumi

The music doesn’t echo in a void.
It travels on a transcendental plane
that cannot be distorted or destroyed
and enters through a universal vein.

The magic doesn’t happen on the stage
when eyes alone are focusing on smoke
and mirrors, tricks impossible to gauge
when realism hides behind a cloak.

For only in the space between the realms
that camouflage the planets on their course
can kindred spirits forge a bond that whelms
our senses with connection to the source.

Communion recognized throughout the spheres
will ring when stillness penetrates our ears.

2022 Mary Boren
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A Different Box of Chocolates

The flavor of a box of candy tries
to overwhelm the message it delivers.
Don’t bring me one unless you want my thighs
to wear it as a clue to thoughtless givers.

Acknowledging that tryptophan succeeds
in tactics to manipulate emotion,
I’d rather know an item meets my needs
than artificially compels devotion.

So pay attention when the signs are clear
on who I am compared to what you thought
and (any day but Valentine’s) appear
with pieces of yourself, not what you bought.

Forget the standard candy, flowers, jewels,
and give me something useful — power tools!

2022 Mary Boren
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Circular Curriculum

We only have, on average, the span
of eighty-seven years to mount a quest
for wisdom steeped in life. The lesson plan
is stacked against the odds we’ll pass the test.

For some, the obstacles occur at birth
before the child has drawn a second gasp
and never cease, while others’ inner worth
is nurtured from the gate to final grasp.

But if distracted by the siren call
of fame and fortune, don’t expect to reach
the summit of serenity. The fall
of hubris supersedes us in the breach.

And any course curtailed before it’s done
will be extended for another run.

2021 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Can You Live Without that Gizmo?

For the season,
instead of rewarding the greed
in the shadow
of corporate gluttons who feed
on consumers like candy,
help someone in need.

With the message
of Thanksgiving lost on the grounds,
reconsider
the noise that unceasingly pounds
on the spirit of sharing
as profit abounds.

In the absence
of empathy, avarice thrives.
You are hoarding
enough for the legions of lives
who are trapped in the chasm
til justice arrives.

2021 Mary Boren
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Fasting for Lent

I’ve pledged to stifle negativity
for forty days. In striving not to judge
another for the treatment given me,
I’ll dodge the bait to whine or hold a grudge.

It shouldn’t be a challenge to achieve
an altered state of transcendental bliss
if I can find the secret to deceive
emotion with a promise and a kiss.

But Ego has a credo of its own:
“Don’t give an inch in sowing discontent.”
Perception hangs as heavy as a stone
between the poles of stuck and free ascent.

With thirty days to go, I’m half inclined
to chuck it all and speak my monkey mind.


2020 Mary Boren
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Contemplation

With a weighty decision to make
I had better be fully awake
and aware of the options
lest short-sighted swaptions
compel me to make a mistake.

So I’m giving the matter the bulk
of my serious thought. Choices hulk
like a gaggle of guesses.
No’s prudent, but yes is
less likely to lead to a sulk.

If I go the direction I like
it will cost me an hour on the bike,
but this cookie I’m holding
is well worth the scolding
I’ll get from a blood sugar spike!


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2020 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Halt, Who Goes There?

I see you coming, melancholy mood,
descending like a demon eighteen-wheeler
from out of nowhere racing to occlude
my passage through perception’s truth-concealer.

I’m drifting in bewildering terrain,
white-knuckled now, my eyes are turning glassy.
As wretched shocks dislodge me from my lane,
I can’t escape the damage to my chassis.

With wanderlust careening off the road,
it takes a heap of strength to hold the center.
The labored engine threatens to explode
before my awe-struck psyche starts to splinter.

But wait—I have a built-in safety pillow—
I’ll stomp the brakes and let the airbags billow!


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2020 Mary Boren
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Hello 2020

A fading dream’s elusive silhouettes
dance softly on my window shade at dawn
to remnants of a half-remembered song
as if to nudge awake what time resets.

So down a labyrinthine corridor
I chase the animated shadow’s tail
with pure intentionality, yet fail
to reinvent the guise it wore before.

You say the pragmatist within me knows
its visage drips with jewel-studded strands
parading on the stage with sick demands,
but I reject the path that poser goes.

For January brings a reckoning
in rituals to renovate the soul.
With White Stone Meditation / Burning Bowl
the decade waits, its promise beckoning.


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2020 Mary Boren
View Discussion

Style and Substance

(After A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s “Ambition and Art“)

Style

I am the vessel that boldly glides
through seas uncharted,
chiseling shadows on open sides
where craft is started.

Splitting the distance from east to west
in measured portions
calms the peripheral ocean crest
without distortions.

Tossed on the shore of Eternity
where dreamscape thrashes,
trust an alliance of form and free
to salvage crashes.

Substance

Come to me under the stars and bring
your shining essence.
Nothing uncommonly bright takes wing
without your presence.

Whisper the secrets celestials tell
behind the curtain,
music and magic to gently quell
the lust for Certain.

Consciousness voyages wispily,
its scent alluring,
flooded in fathoms of mystery
through time enduring.

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2018 Mary Boren
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Pilgrimage

light on hills

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” -Rumi

The hills are steep, the climbing’s hard.
If you would persevere, it
may leave the body deeply scarred
and dissipate the spirit.

But when you scale the furthest crest
and overlook the valley,
abrasions suffered on the quest
will yield a grand finale.

The gift of elevated sight
revealed as you continue
will radiate the path with light
that’s coming from within you.

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Mary Boren, 2018
View discussion on this poem.

Watchers

Eating popcorn at the movie,
gasping at the gruesome scenes
satisfies a dormant longing:
life by artificial means.

In the field of entertainment,
chaos brings its own reward.
Heightened senses lust for drama
manifest in gun and sword.

Watchers trapped within the frenzy
clamor in a common voice.
Re-emerging from the darkness
offers up a brighter choice.

When the world jumps out of focus,
squint your eyes and stand behind
someone with a crystal vision.
Let your lens be realigned.

Be the watcher watching watchers.
unaffected by the fray.
Pressing through illusion’s gauntlet,
live on purpose every day.

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2017 Mary Boren
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Remedial Retreat

tent-camping

If I could spend a weekend with the me
who used to be, I wouldn’t waste a minute
dispensing admonitions bound to be
unheard instead of boldly bathing in it.

I’d load me, bag and baggage, in the car
blindfolded, like a hostage—scared, unwilling
to see the wonder in the way we are
and take a trip abundantly fulfilling.

Awaking to the pungent pull of pines
with mind immersed in joyous morning glitters,
I’d hold my hand to swing between the vines
and join the chorus of the woodland critters.

Alert to every scent and sound, aware
of all within our common jurisdiction,
no leaf is left unfluttered nor a hair
unsplit in separating fact from fiction.

Now guided by example, having flown
the strictures of illusion that have driven
my younger self within, I’d say, “You’re known
and loved.  Unleash the laughter! Life’s for livin’!””

———

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2014 Mary Boren
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The Call of Home

Astral Projection

I’d love to travel astrally,
projecting past the sun and moon
into the realm beyond the bounds
of brick and mortar, blood and bone.

When carried on a single thought
aloft, my busy brain would cease
its constant chattering while I
enjoy the panoramic view.

But for the needs of day to day
existence in a mortal shell,
there’s no place I would rather live
than here at home on Planet Earth.

Let not her strength and beauty fade
because we failed to heed her cry.

———

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2013 Mary Boren
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Holy Instant

universe

Based on the teachings of A Course in Miracles

Behind each errant thought there hangs a thread
of continuity, a knowingness
that’s hidden by an unrelenting fear
of meaningless existence. Only in
suspended judgment can the truth emerge.
When ego is subjected to the light,
illusion evanesces. One by one,
each child of God, awakening, recalls
his rightful heritage of endless love,
for separation never has occurred.
Now, following the thread back to its source,
we see the world for what it is, a screen
projecting unreality, a blip.
The little willingness is all it takes
to conquer thought and matter, time and space.

———

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2012 Mary Boren
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Calling

NASA-1996-sunrise_apollo

I have fulfilled my purpose
when I cease to wonder …

Why am I here?
Am I doing this right?
What does tomorrow hold?

… when I can sit in stillness
and lose all sense of self in …

the song of a wren,
the rustle of leaves,
and the colors of sunrise.

I have reached the fullest expression
of human experience
when I can …

fix nothing,
forgive everyone,
and let go of everything.

I have not been suspended in a body
to learn, grow, excel, repent, or conquer.
My sole purpose in this incarnation is simply …

to wake up.

———

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2011 Mary Boren
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Poof

“I am never upset for the reason I think.” – A Course in Miracles

When the hairdresser clips you entirely too close;
when your child shows a penchant for sass;
when the seminar speaker is waxing verbose;
when your hero falls flat on his ass …
and a flood of emotion’s creating a stink
in your mind, STOP! Consider the fact
that you’re never upset for the reason you think.
You can choose how you want to react.

If you scrape off the crust of resentment or rage,
you’ll uncover a cowering imp
that is clutching a plagiarized script. On the stage,
he’s an icon. Exposed, he’s a wimp.
His persona’s all hype — “too ferocious to tame” —
but he only appears to exist
in the absence of love. Simply call him by name,
“little fear,” and he’ll fade into mist.

———

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2010 Mary Boren
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Transition

Deep within the hidden country,
down a road nobody knows,
lined in shades of mystic colors,
violets and indigos,
stands the bridge that spans a distance
wider than the river flows.
Can you read the cryptic marker?
Do you wonder where it goes?

Only audible in stillness
comes the summons, “Take my hand;
we will cross together.” Choices
dance around illusion’s strand.
Quickening, yet not awakened,
shedding scents of La La Land,
on the cusp of Dreamed & Doing,
step into the ampersand.

———

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2006 Mary Boren
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Pressure Tactics

(retelling a well-known parable)

“I don’t see how I’ll make it, Mom,” I whined.
“I’m sick of trying — frazzled, torn, and raw.”
(She never interferes or speaks her mind
unless invited.) All she said was, “Aww …

“… poor baby.” Then she spooned another egg
into the boiling water. Watching her
in quiet motion brought me down a peg.
My snivels dried. The carrots got a stir.

She poured us both a cup of coffee, then
proposed a riddle. “See what’s on each burner?
Well, how are they alike?” I scratched my chin
(to buy some time — I’m not the fastest learner).

So Mom explained: “When heated pressure surges
inside a pot of water, it will boil.
There’s nothing going through it that emerges
unchanged, unless it’s chicken fat or oil.

“A carrot goes in hard and comes out tender,
while eggs are just the opposite; they start
their boil with fragile guts, soft-shelled surrender
that toughens up. … But coffee bubbles smart.

“Its strength and color permeate the water
with flavor of its own — it steals the scene.
Now, sort things out and tell me, darling daughter:
Are you a carrot, egg, or coffee bean?”

2002 Mary Boren
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