Steve Brooks (Abhaya) – Poetry, Prose & Art

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.


Half Past Kissing Time

Filed under: Book,Fiction,Novella — Steve Brooks @ 3:26 pm

Half Past Kissing Time Cover

Half Past Kissing Time is the real life fiction of a young man’s life, in the summer before he’s to be married; a sequel to the coming-of-age novelization called SWIMMING. The events described in Half Past Kissing Time, are relatively true, in that bastion of unreality, the re-imagined past. 

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Half Past Kissing Time

October 28, 2008

The Cock Poems by Georgio Vesta

Filed under: Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 6:27 pm

The Cock Poems by Georgio Vesta CoverThe Cock Poems by Georgio Vesta were written in the mid-Seventies and published in City Lights Magazine. They were performed at Opal Nations’ place in San Francisco, by Wendy Miller, in male drag, appearing as Georgio.”

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October 26, 2008

Ordinary Ecstasy

Filed under: Book,Non-fiction — Steve Brooks @ 10:23 pm

Ordinary Ecstasy CoverOrdinary Ecstasy was written from November, 1991, to January, 1992, in the Osho International Commune in Pune, India. I was there with Suryo Gardner, a longtime sannyasin of the beloved and notorious guru, Rajneesh, finally called Osho. The ashram became a crucible in our relationship with each other, with the guru, and in our relationship with awareness itself. Osho was her master but not mine. The experience of ordinary ecstasy became the tenor of our life in that remarkable place and time.

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Ordinary Ecstasy has been removed from this site, since it has become part of another book, Fearless in India, and that book is being considered for publication.

The Lost Poems of Jesus

Filed under: Book,Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 7:34 pm

The Lost Poems of Jesus CoverThe Lost Poems of Jesus is an apocryphal discovery of divine imagination. I wrote these poems, originally, as expressions of my own, and they were published under the title Outbursts of Love. Recently, I re-imagined them as if they were poems Jesus might have written when he was in his twenties and an unknown carpenter, falling deeper and deeper into his own awareness of the spirit. There is a kind of expression in these poems that resembles the way Rumi spoke of what he called The Beloved. I am not a practicing Christian, but I don’t believe I am saying anything here that could be called untoward or inappropriate for such a man, as Jesus might have been, before he began his ministry.

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The Lost Poems of Jesus

October 25, 2008

The Eternal Ruse

Filed under: Book,Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 7:39 pm

The Eternal Ruse Cover

The poems in The Eternal Ruse were written in 1985, when the freedom from alcohol in my life opened the floodgates. These love poems were the first I had written, and many more followed. The muse of my poems at the time became Joni McConnell, who died in 2002, after a bright and brave life. She was one who brought happiness into the lives of the people around her, because of the light she encouraged to shine within herself and others. She was coming to terms with being an incest survivor, and I was recovering from 22 years of drinking. We were called Holocaust and Apocalypse when we were together, but we never stopped loving each other and loving this life that we were a part of, together.

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The Eternal Ruse

October 3, 2008

Millie the Mermaid

Filed under: Fiction,Prose — Steve Brooks @ 5:29 pm

Millie the Mermaid CoverMillie the Mermaid is a fictional story, written in the 90s, of sexual abuse, alcoholism, friendship, abandonment, love and fear. “I don’t know who these people are, and I can remember nothing in my life that parallels this story, but both of these characters came to life for me, and I cared for them as long as they were with me.”

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