Steve Brooks (Abhaya) – Poetry, Prose & Art

July 6, 2012

Steve Abhaya Brooks – Poetry, Prose, and Art

Filed under: Contents — Steve Brooks @ 4:04 pm

Steve Brooks

Here are the books I am happy to have in print. All are now available on Simply type in Steve Abhaya Brooks and you’ll see a list of the available titles, with excerpts.

She Saw Me and Said So, my most recent poems.  70 pages, $15

Leaves Fall in August,  recent Haiku poetry, 70 Pages, $12

Savage Amusement – A Creative Life in San Francisco in the Seventies – 280 pages, $15

Fearless in Lucknow – A Poet’s Time with a Famous Teacher in India – 108 pages, $12

Borderwalker – A Novella of Fall and Redemption – 98 Pages, $12

Desire Beyond Desire – The Collected Poetry of Steve Brooks- 302 pages, $15

Zenwords – A Zenpendium of Zenguistic Zenfinitions – 128 pages, $15

Life Itself – Awareness in the Form of Zenish Haiku – 68 pages, $10

Altered Egos – The Lives of Historical Characters Reimagined – 276 pages, $15

The Five-Headed Lizard and the Famous Death of a Firefly – Zenish Haiku – 100 pages, $12

Stop Time Look Around – Longer Zenku (Zenish Haiku) – 108 pages, $12

Eating Pizza with a Spoon -The Biography of a Brother Who Killed Himself – 96 pages, $12

The Lyin’ King – Satirical Poems and Drawings – 48 pages, $10

Energy It’s Big Body Rotating – Poems – 44 pages $10

Marbles in the Sand – Poems – 50 pages $12

The Vigil of the Homeward Bound – 24 pages $8

After Emily – 26 pages $10

I recommend you seek out these books on Amazon by author’s name: Steve Abhaya Brooks.

See videos below on this page.

For an overview of what’s on this site go to: All Covers  or Contents by Title, on your right. Then enter the name of the post you want into the search box to your right. You can also go to Categories, and click on one of them for specific areas of interest. Once you enter a post in the search box, it will come up, but you will need to scroll down past other mentions of it until the post itself appears. If you want to respond to what you see here, scroll down to Leave a Comment on this page, or email me at:

All artwork on is by the author, except for the cover of The Blood & Turnips Poetry Festival by Alexandra Benjamin, the cover to The Zen of Housepainting by Chris Blum, and the paintings that accompany The Lonely Lion are by Christine Schibly. The cover photo for Fearless in Lucknow was taken by Michael Schiesser. The artwork for Let’s Spend Some Time Together is by Gregory Vose.

The reading at the Altamont is from several books including Essential Occupation, published by New Native Press, available from,,, and The reading at Malaprops is shorter and only from Essential Occupation. 

Nothing is a talk that evolved from two earlier one-man shows,  Keep Talking, in ’75, and The Blood & Turnips Poetry Festival, in ’82. Nothing was recorded in ’03. My son Jaxon first made it available on his insightful and humorous website:

Nothing – A One Man Show is on YouTube.

Steve Brooks at the Altamont is on YouTube. 

Steve Brooks at Malaprops is on YouTube. 

Fearless in Lucknow, a story of my time with a teacher in India, is on Kindle

My Mother’s Chair, Taking Care of Gladys, a book of elder-care, is on Kindle.

Eating Pizza with a Spoon, the story of my brother, is on Kindle.

Hem, by John Mark Brooks, my brother, is on Kindle.

October 31, 2008


Filed under: Book,Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 11:42 pm

Alone CoverAlone has gone through several permutations. It began as poems written over a year from 6/06 to 6/07. During that year, 600 poems became six books, then two, including the selected poems, called Alone, and the complete prose version, We Tie Our Wings to the Trees.

I wrote and lived as a poet of the heart for many years. I’ve written several books of love poems, but this one chronicles a transformation. I was a hungry romantic, and desire was my meat, but there’s always been a stubborn awareness of the reality behind and beyond the romance of my life. I was a romantic of my own life, and I was a romantic of life itself. This book began in that same temper but with an awareness of the reality that saw through the romantic, to the core.

For twenty years, after letting go of my addiction to alcohol, I shed other addictions, and the last to go was the addiction to desire. This book chronicles the lifting of that obsession. I imagine most people reading this will say, “What’s the problem? What is life without desire? Why would I even want to read about someone breaking the addiction to desire? Isn’t that like breaking the addiction to breathing?” This is not about breathing, but I can imagine someone overly concerned with taking the next breath, unable to breathe freely, without first catering to their concern. This is about the addiction to something that colors the reality, the way all addictions gradually take away more than they give.

For anyone whose life is dependent on living in a romantic reality, I can only say that letting go of romance leaves one’s reality intact. Reality has been a deeper pull on my spirit than any romantic sense I’ve ever had. In the East, the attachment to desire is spoken of as the great Satan of consciousness. Westerners have nodded sympathetically at those Zen saints who seem to have gone a bridge too far for the rest of us. I was pulled by these two inclinations, to live in the brightly colored world of romantic attachment and to want to know the clearest reality for myself.

After an extraordinary time in India, almost by accident, I became even more determined to let go of the attachments of the mind. This has not been easy, especially for one whose mind is rich and fertile. I used to say that when you have a brain that won’t quit, it’s exhausting.  I have a mind that won’t quit, but I know how to quit the mind. But, as I say, the romance of reality takes nothing away from reality, and romance has become less appealing to me, as a way of life, and more appealing as a way of play.

I made the break. I was in a loose relationship with a woman, and we talked about these things, freely and openly, laughing about being in a non-relationship, where the love that remains is more important than the love that attaches to the other. We never became lovers, but I couldn’t shake the desire to be lovers with her. It became obvious that my convictions were at odds with my attachment to desire. Awareness was clouded by consciousness, which was still affected by old habits of thought and feeling. Desire was running the show, when the show was about living beyond attachments.

Alone is not the story of living alone. It is the story of recognizing desire, moving beyond desire, living beyond desire, and finally living free of desire. There is an arc in this letting go. The early poems are a mix of joyful passion and calm consideration, of mind and feeling and heart living in the open reality of contemplation and serene awareness. Then there is a darker  period of loss and emptiness that contradicts the joyful emptiness of Being Itself. Slowly, the passion beneath passionate behavior emerges, not the same as being passionate, the way any articulate poet can be, but living in the essence of passion.

In living dispassionately, I sought not the end of passion, but the revelation of the roots of passion, where passion doesn’t come and go, and doesn’t rise and fall on the occasion of its object. That had been my goal and my expectation all along, even when I didn’t believe it, even when I was living in the passion of my poetic nature. I have let go of my passionate profession, and I have found the reality of my being. This being does not come and go. It is not dependent on another. My reality is identical to itself. I don’t have to match my words to a passionate profession, or vice versa. I am what I am, and it is good.

After these poems were written, I still had to make a break from the woman of the poems, not because of anything she did or didn’t do, but because I had kept her close in my romantic mind. She had been a loving supporter of my work, and she obliged me by cutting the last imaginary ties to any romance with her. My mind of thoughts and feelings is remarkably slow, compared to my poet self, i.e., the self of awareness. Finally, there’s no difference between them. It’s now been years since I felt the obsession lift. I know from my time letting go of alcohol, and the years after, living in the freedom of non-attachment, that this freedom is real.


September 25, 2008

Fearless in Lucknow

Filed under: Book,Non-fiction — Steve Brooks @ 1:42 pm

Fearless in Lucknow Cover

Fearless in Lucknow is now available on Kindle, @

Fearless in Lucknow is the story of an intimate meeting with an esteemed guru, in the least personal reality one can imagine. It is also the story of a poet among seekers.

The first day I spent with Papaji, listening, I saw something I’d never seen before. I saw a man, not only speaking to others about the truth of their inherent nature, I saw being speaking to being, not merely someone speaking about being to others. I saw a man speaking to others in the big, open room of a suburban house, in a large urban city, on the other side of the world, sometimes speaking as one person to another, and I saw a new thing I hadn’t seen before, I saw love pouring out toward itself, and I heard the clearest, most direct expression of what is beyond the familiar forms of religion and philosophy – awareness of being itself, and speaking, in and from, that awareness.

“In reading Fearless in Lucknow, I realized that Steve Abhaya is one of the few people I have ever met who truly understands and tries to live the spiritual concepts which he talks about in this profound personal memoir. In fact, I don’t know anyone who has gone as far as he has (consciously) in this direction. He walks the walk. Maybe I just don’t get out enough, but the concepts and ideas/ideals in this memoir are important for people to read – if for no other reason than to at least get a glimpse of ‘the journey.’ Abhaya writes about his particular journey in an unthreatening and unpretentious way – which is also rare for such subject matter and spiritual books in my experience. I think that this little book could go a long way to becoming an American version of “An Autobiography of a Yogi” for this day and age. If nothing else, it will certainly add to the existing literature of the whole East/West canon.

-Thomas Rain Crowe

author/translator of Drunk on the Wine of the Beloved: 100 Poems of Hafiz (Shambhala)

Download here:

Fearless in Lucknow




March 27, 2017

The Lyin’ King

Filed under: Art,Book,Fiction,Humor,Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 9:20 am

Click on The Presidential Seal to see contents.

The Presidential Seal 




May 9, 2016

American Zenku

Filed under: Drama,Fiction,Humor,Non-fiction,Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 9:00 am

“The Five-Headed Lizard & The Famous Death of a Firefly” will soon be out in print from Amazon.

Zenku Tales

The Five-Headed Lizard

The Famous Death of a Firefly

Stop Time Look Around


Alone In Love

March 27, 2016

Zenku Tales

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Brooks @ 10:50 am

Zenku Tales Cover

Zenku Tales Contents


The Five-Headed Lizard

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Brooks @ 10:46 am


October 5, 2015

That Night in Oaxaca – Crushed Art with Words

Filed under: Art,Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 10:10 am

That Night in Oaxaca -Crushed Art with Words, 33 pages, began with paintings from the nude, done over ten years, oil on paper, until one day in 2014, I crushed one of the paintings and something else was revealed.


March 9, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Brooks @ 8:46 pm

Zencu Cover


April 17, 2014

Invisible Lion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Brooks @ 12:27 pm

Invisible Lion CoverInvisible Lion
is the third of the books included in The Window Seat. It was written in San Francisco in the spring of 1985 after I had stopped drinking. Invisible Lion is not a book of recovery, but it talks about the aftermath of a certain kind of life.

Download here:

Invisible Lion

March 3, 2014

The Shredding Sky

Filed under: Book,Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 2:08 pm

The Shredding Sky CoverThe Shredding Sky is a book of 30 poems, written in 2014.

Download here:

The Shredding Sky

February 28, 2014

Wisdom Teeth

Filed under: Book,Poetry,Uncategorized — Steve Brooks @ 2:00 pm

Wisdom Teeth CoverWisdom Teeth is a book of 24 somewhat philosophical poems, somewhat in junction with Flowers. 

Download here:

Wisdom Teeth

February 27, 2014

On the Lake of Volcanoes

Filed under: Book,Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 1:21 pm

On the Lake of Volcanoes CoverOn the Lake of Volcanoes is a book of 25 poems, written in 2014 on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

Download here:

On the Lake of Volcanoes

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