Steve Brooks (Abhaya) – Poetry, Prose & Art

January 2, 2009

Cafe Life

Filed under: Book,Non-fiction,Poetry,Prose,Uncategorized — Steve Brooks @ 3:34 pm

Cafe Life Cover


Café Life is a character study of the “third place.” Not home and not work, it is the café, coffeehouse, neighborhood bar, old style candy store or soda fountain. It is the modern equivalent of the town square or the watering hole where all the animals come.

Café Life is a partial gallery of the characters of one such place, The Owl and Monkey Café, on Ninth Avenue, on the NJudah trolley line, in San Francisco, during January of 1981, just as the Reagan Presidency was about to begin, not long after John Lennon had been shot, but it could be any year in any similar place, where people gather around a watering hole or a fire to warm themselves or refresh themselves, to find themselves, or to avoid themselves.

     Such a café is a clearing in the woods that’s safe and unsafe at the same time. Some people will stay too long, and some people will stay away. Eventually, almost everyone will show up. I made a decision to sit still, in one place, for as long as I could, to stop running, to see who would come to me if I didn’t move. Over several years, I met literally thousands of people. This collection chronicles a few of them.

     I’ll be forever grateful to The Owl and the Monkey Café and places like it. They are wonderful places, and I celebrate their existence. I’ve been writing, happily, in cafés for nearly forty years.

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December 5, 2008


Filed under: Book,Non-fiction — Steve Brooks @ 3:18 pm

Joni CoverJoni is an attempt to tell what it was like to live with a woman whose presence was remarkable to all who knew her or met her.

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November 26, 2008

Pick Up the Baby – Catastrophic Healing

Filed under: Book,Non-fiction — Steve Brooks @ 6:06 pm

Pick Up the Baby Cover

Pick Up the BabyCatastrophic Healing was written in 1989, after four years of sobriety, as the underlying reality came to the surface. Pick Up the Baby  is not ‘about’ the healing process but written from within the moment of healing itself.

Download here:

Pick Up the Baby Introduction

Pick Up the Baby

November 13, 2008


Filed under: Book,Non-fiction — Steve Brooks @ 8:37 pm

Regina CoverRegina is an attempt to answer the question, “What does it mean to call someone the love of one’s life?” Decades after a much-desired relationship has faded from the scene, questions remain and questions arise. What is the positive side to remorse and regret? What else goes on in the depth of desire and the contemplation of loss, in matters of the heart?

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Opening Pages


November 2, 2008

101 Ways to Avoid Reading Self-Help Books

Filed under: Art,Book,Fiction,Non-fiction — Steve Brooks @ 10:37 pm

101 Ways CoverWalking in the Barnes and Noble in the Kahala Mall, in Honolulu, I passed the self-help row. It seemed to go on for miles. I thought, “Somebody ought to write 101 Ways to Avoid Reading Self-Help Books.” Then I thought, “You’re a writer. Why don’t you do it?” So I did. This book, if what I’m saying is true, should work, even if you read it and do absolutely nothing it suggests.

The drawings included here have been sold as a coloring book called Have a Seat!



Download text only here:

101 Ways to Avoid Reading Self-Help Books

101 Ways with illustrations:




November 1, 2008

Walking in Ellensburg

Filed under: Book,Non-fiction,Poetry — Steve Brooks @ 9:05 pm

Walking in Ellensburg CoverWalking in Ellensburg is a continuation of the sort of poem begun in Walking in San Francisco, thirty years before, and continued in Walking in Asheville, ’11, and in Walking in the Village, in New York City, ’13. The quiet of a small town in summer opens the spirit to the kind of frameless being that children enjoy, different from the life of the city, then or now.  As I walked the streets of Ellensburg, Washington, in the summer of 2008, I saw things I had not seen from my car, my bicycle, or even walking with a purpose. Download here: Walking in Ellensburg

The Zen of Housepainting

Filed under: Non-fiction — Steve Brooks @ 7:08 pm

I started painting, many years ago, when I needed money to finance my fledgling life as an artist. A friend, Dirk Kortz, who had been painting for fifteen years, took me on out of friendship, kindness, and desperation. Since I was a poet, and Dirk was a writer, painter and filmmaker, we got along great. We both enjoyed the work, we liked to do a good job, and we shared the dream that someday we would lay the brush down and never touch a roller again. Painting has become a wonderful meditation and metaphor for life. It wasn’t enough to be a poet. I had to go out and learn a useful skill. When I die, I don’t want to be buried or cremated. I want to be smashed against the wall like a bug and painted over. Two coats, please. Top of the line. 

After painting houses for several years, it was time to put together some wit and wisdom from the profession. The Zen of Housepainting was published by City Miner Magazine, in Berkeley, California, in 1980.

Download here:

The Zen of Housepainting

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.

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




September 24, 2008

My Mother’s Chair

Filed under: Book,Non-fiction,Poetry,Prose — Steve Brooks @ 9:37 pm

Mother's ChairMy Mother’s Chair was written in ’03-’04, when I was taking care of my mother, during the last year of her life. She was an imposing figure in my life and the lives of my two brothers. I was her other, as a small boy, and she was my first other. The story explores her effect on my life as an poet, artist and writer.

Download here:

My Mother’s Chair Introduction




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