Sunrise in the West

Enjoy the recordings from Joe's CD "Sunrise in the West". The Audio file is on the rightside of the website. 


  • Posted on: 26 November 2015
  • By: Joe

on a cold winter evening
five old Nepali men
sit cross-legged in
a Vishnu temple in Bhaktapur
singing songs of praise
into the night

on the darkened street
a few passersby
touch their hands to foreheads
in silent tribute
but no one stops to listen
to their songs

except for one

Looking Like A Young Mother Teresa

  • Posted on: 26 November 2015
  • By: Joe

a shawl thrown over her head
Bombay shirt and sash
walking down a Kathmandu street
from Iowa by way of Arizona
on her way back to Calcutta

we visit Tibetans at the Monkey Temple
meet the rinpoche
wear white scarves
red cords around our necks
to show that we have been blessed

take a taxi to Boudanath
circle the great white stupa
spin the prayer wheels

before she returns to her ashram
she tells me she has been reborn
from previous lifetimes--
her karma brought her to the great Midwest
so she could search and search
in the long long journey
to get back


Little Varanasi

  • Posted on: 26 November 2015
  • By: Joe

the men with shaved heads
and white robes

the wife in orange
and saffron

the body wrapped
in white sheets

flowers heaped
in a cortege

then the procession
to the fire


on the other side
of the river

monkeys climb
the walls

women sell trinkets
to tourists

people buy peanuts
and popcorn from vendors

as we rise to leave
a man stares at me and says:

"We are all the same--
we live and we die"

life so close to death

the smoke rises behind us
as we walk back into town


                                                      Pashupathinath, Kathmandu

The Backyard Shrine

  • Posted on: 27 November 2015
  • By: Joe

behind a crumbling brick apartment house
surrounded by old tires and empty barrels

a young girl silently performs the morning prayers

kneels to the statue of a god
touches her fingertips to her forehead three times
and walks to the three corners of the small backyard shrine

dabs everything with red vermillion
tears a leaf off a branch
places it on her tray
walks back to a red broken brick
circles it and returns

leaves food out for the birds
before walking home
over the corrugated iron



Tibetan Village Scenes

  • Posted on: 27 November 2015
  • By: Joe

in the cafe
beneath the photo
of the Dalai Lama

a poster of a 
woman in red
playing pool
drinking Carlsberg


at the stupa
one hundred
thousand prostrations
to the Buddha--
who is keeping count?


after evening meditation
thirteen-year-old monk
takes off his maroon robes

puts on his Nike shorts


walking into a cave
where Padma Sambhava meditated
a thousand years ago

I cut my forehead
on the ceiling
not bowing low enough


these prayer flags
are faded

the words already blown
into the wind


from the corrugated
iron shacks

outside the
Monkey Temple

the sound of refugees


                                               Kathmandu Valley


  • Posted on: 27 November 2015
  • By: Joe

She moves in circles
like a spinning dancer
a whirling dervish

She goes wherever the dance is
dressed in red and gold silk--
she's so tired of black and blue

She is the mysterious one
we've all been searching for
her music, her song,
her flaming red hair

you will not find her in a convert--
when she enters the meditation hall
it is with ease and a smile
she is never what you expect

with a glass of wine and a song
she will lead you to the highest heights
if you have eyes to see her
you'll forget about diamonds and pearls

without her the wine would have no bouquet--
with her, you do not need wine

she is the butterfly in your dream
the bird let out of its cage
the voice that comes to you in the middle
of the long dark night

She is standing next to you right now.

Love Comes Softly

  • Posted on: 27 November 2015
  • By: Joe

Lila comes into my room
at dusk
lies beside me
holding me
caressing my eyes
kissing my lips
Lila sleeps with me
envelops my body
my soul
until she vanishes
with the dawn
and I awake to find her gone

Love comes softly
when it comes
not a rush into
arms into
bed into
Love comes
softly into the 
as the stars whisper
and the moon
closes its eyes

The River Answered

  • Posted on: 26 November 2015
  • By: Joe

I said to the river:
"My life is not the same"

the river said:
Nothing stays the same

the rocks and boulders
change their shape
as my waters
pass over them


I said to the river:
"I am afraid of losing my life"

The river ansered:
My life is constant loss

I flow downstream
into a riverbed
into a lake
into the great ocean
always my waters
disappear on their way past


"Sometimes I am in sorrow"
I said to the river
"Sometime I am in bliss"

The river replied:
My waters keeps flowing

over one bend there is sunshine
in another shade
a rushing downstream
over rocks
and then a tranquil pool

"I am lonely"
I said to the river

The river answered:
I am always alone
but never lonely

I have the trees
their overhanging
arches and limbs
their leaves and seeds

I have the stones
of different colors
and hues

I have the sunlight
always streaming in
over rock
over tree
over mountain

I have the everpresent Earth
of sand and soil
underneath me
holding me
in her arms


"My life is almost over"
I said to the river

The river spoke:
No life ever ends
in eternity

Your life will forever
in these rocks
these trees
these drops of water
that lead into
the sea

The song of the earth
is your song
the blue of the sky
is lit with your light


I said to the river
"Then I shall be River"

The River answered: