Posts by Christopher "Kakuyo" Leibow

Kakuyo sensei is a lay minister with Bright Dawn Way of Oneness Buddhism and is the sensei and founder of the Salt Lake Buddhist Fellowship.

[My heart moves forward into the light]

for Linnea

My heart moves forward into the light
greets you in the rising and falling of hours
that trail behind us and stretch before us.

I try not to talk about the all things I want – they are
my prayers I say in the closet away from
even you.

It’s that I am afraid
of what I want, I ‘ve just
come to understand

the weight of things
and the need to be patient

like the spring rain
that fills the face of the daffodil

till it bends down
slowly to earth

to return the kisses.

And now –

all my days without you
make love to all my days with you

and from their lovemaking
days without end are born in

your belly and take root
in my poet’s heart that

moves forward, forward
into the light.


Lovers in a Red Sky

Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love. Marc Chagall.

for Linnea

And when they
discover what we

have done. what will
they think of us?

Will they know how
much you love me? How

your hand thrust itself
into this tangle-

d, heaped up heart of my mine,
and pulled out a wreck of gulls

and set them free? Or how you blew
out each street lamp for me, like

the hundred flickering candles
that have kept me,

awake for years, & just so I
could sleep through one bright

night in the safe darkness
of your heart. What will they

know about us? The moon
and her, procession of attendant

stars? Will they know how-
how much I love you, and

will the moon ask for her
stars back, the one’s I stole

and wove into your hair just
last night, while you dreamt

of chasing the same stars back
to earth, those falling stars, like

the bright flash of a wish of that
“once upon a time” little girl you

used to be, dreaming of a love
of your own? Ahh we shouldn’t

worry love, more than not, they
will give no heed… But what if,

O love, what if our loving makes
us lighter than air, and in the red

setting sky, we simply start to float
above it all, above all the men

in their fine hats and all the women
in their complicated dresses twirling

their parasols over their shoulders , their
serious eyes fixed to the ground as if

it were lines from a sentencing, and
then over freshly planted fields, over

hamlets. And of those who notice, some
will call it madness, others will look

down, embarrassed and shuffle their feet in the dust,
but can you see over there, that young

man on the roof with his sketch pad,
that one reading the verses
of changing light

he will record it all

in shades of red

Homecoming (Revisited)

Audio of the Poem

I was the same, but I was waiting for myself on the shore to return.        Murakami


It is a difficult time. So
You wait for yourself to come back.
You wait on the
Pier. Watch pelicans
Pirouette in the air; weightless

For a moment and then diving.
The sound of their splash reminding
You of something you just can’t quite
Remember. You sit there eating
Fish after fish, wash them

Down with beer. You have started
Counting seagulls and giving them
Long Spanish names. You choreograph
Ballets, make architectural
Drawings of dreams and have started

To build a home of sea shells. On
The weekends people come just to
See you waiting for yourself. “Where
Did you go?” they ask, you just shrug
Your shoulders. You make new friends.

You take up painting and paint self
Portraits, your image repeated
Like the latitude and longitude
Lines on a map. Early every
Morning you lean against the railing.

The seagulls have joined you. You’ve made
Them tiny red scarves that they
All wear. All of you stare, being
Still as glass as if any movement
Might blur vision. All of you are

Staring out to sea, straining to
See you coming back, straining to

See the prow of the boat cutting
The silver morning water.

The Invention of Joy

What day was it
that God created
bird song?

And on that day did
the throats of the first
birds who sang, bleed

just a little bit?
Was it on that same day
that joy was invented?

Or that flight became
the home of all those who sing?
Or did the first birds tremble

anxious because of what came
out from their small bodies
did they fear stopping

as if the world would
cease turning?
Or did they fly

higher and higher
singing louder and louder
till they fell back to earth

And was it on that day
that the first falling stars
came tumbling out

of the first evening sky
for all of us
to make

wishes upon?

Daphne Major, Galapagos


“These birds are the most singular of any in the Galapagos.”

                                                                   Charles Darwin.


Volcanic up swell,

tick mark,

tiny dot in the middle

of a blue map.


Stationary ship,

belly of the earth

like a backstroke swimmer

in a blue-black sea,


where erratic rains run away

while a Cactus Finch (Scandens) has gone

black to mate, so black that shadows cast


blushes back.  So black,

more silhouette

than a black beaked bird



on your barred black belly,

this fine breath’d bird, this


penumbra of feathers and flight;

demonstrating divergence and drift,

so proud he sings aloud


the song of the Ground Finch (Fortis)

O befuddled bird

bereft an opera coach,


sans score  of Scandens,  the bird song

bindery gone  bankrupt,  loose leaf

scores littered, learning a  neighbor’s

second hand sheet music.


Amid the volcanic dreams

of Finches, and bird shaped voids, 

singing atop cacti, amid these small

dark commas  set against  a bluer

than blue sky,  he sings the wrong song


but its been a good year  and she comes,

the star crossed lover, Lady Fortis.


And before the rains return, and they will return,

                  a small clutch of stars.


And when the rains return, they will return

                     with long lost letters from London.


Your gaze brought me…

to your mouth
where you leave me;
hovering, a stage
bird hung from a frayed
string. It was in those days
when we wrote our
anxieties on the outline
of each other’s lips
that made our kisses bitter.
When we wrote so many
letters home asking
unanswerable questions,
of those we had abandoned.
Now in this dark room
we trace the line of each
other’s ribs gently, a subtle

gesture, we both understand.



Your demise began early.

as it does for the majority
of us all . The world and its repeated histories,
the Braille of scars, wrong turns and cull-de sacs

From your perch, you watch
a cold blue smoke rise
on the other side
of the river, from an abandoned field, from
a thicket of sycamores

where a stag’s plaintive moan, runs up the hillside
to your feet.  You think
that it is always the same,  bound as you are,
to the weight – of things.

and maybe in the end it is only the birds that understand
what we are missing here on the ground.

Or not even the birds  but maybe the stars watching us
from so far away and for so long,

long before this demise, joyful when we simply take notice of them.

You laugh at yourself,  a second-hand  angel,  soul bare and drunk.

Too drunk again.  Standing, you pull hard on the leather straps
holding the wood and wax wings to your back

as the wind lifts up the smaller feathers
frayed around the wing tips.