Steve Brooks (Abhaya) – Poetry, Prose & Art

November 11, 2010

Essential Occupation

Filed under: Book,Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 11:33 pm

Essential Occupation is drawn from four books written between ‘02 and ‘04, Victrola, Essential Occupation, The Greening, and The Open Door that Oceans Are. These poems were written after my first stents were put in, before and after my mother died, and after I had discovered the first truly bohemian coffeehouse in Seattle, after living there for fifteen years. Victrola was a café where I finally felt at home, not in the sense of being welcome among decent people but being among other poet/artists. That was a common experience for me in San Francisco, but in Seattle, my life as a poet/artist felt somewhat isolated, even while finding sympathetic others in a sympathetic city, but not finding a gathering place of such people.At the same time, I grappled with my romantic attachment to relationships and my practice of non-attachment in the awareness of spirit. In other words, was I going to continue to look for a lover or was I going to live in a monastery of my own making? The answer is neither. The answer is, “I write poetry”, but I was less clear about that at the time. These poems are more clear than I was, as is often the case.

I heard a man say, “Poets are lucky, because they have the opportunity, at the moment of creation, to turn and look and see the source. The problem is, they fall in love with the thing created, and they follow it into the world.” There is no problem here; both are true and both are worth doing, as a human being living in the consciousness of being itself.

It’s difficult, sometimes, to recognize the reality of both directions without losing sight of one or the other, but it’s not impossible, and it is a great challenge with great reward. These poems speak to the challenge and the reward of both ways the eyes are capable of seeing. There is a danger in the attachment to either way of seeing, and being a poet works for me as the way of no way.

Romanticism and Spirituality are both attachments of the mind, and poetry has been the path of freedom for me. Lucky for me, poetry works to dissolve thought and feeling, even as it forms awareness into consciousness. The more personal I become, the less personal I discover I am, and poetry is the expression of the highly personal and the least personal in the same language.

Download here:
Essential Occupation is now available from Small Press Distributors (Berkeley CA) ( (google–under author or title)
Baker & Taylor (from bookstore orders)
New Native Press (

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