Saturday, November 23, 2013

September, October, November

It’s not poetry as such,
though I’ve read some and will again,
but the poets themselves

and what they’ve become
through the search implied
in the poetic—

shadows of movement
before explanation, the curve of words
as formed in the wind

and the wonder and heartache
extended in lines

of questions never closed…


Reentering the world
from half-slumber into daylight
delights returning senses.

Awakened crossing back,
tenderness precedes every thought
and remembrance affirms

the resonant sky
with the gladness
of love.


It came as at the breaking edge of a restful dream
that just as morning makes its familiar way, I too
know how this is done—the ground of the earth

is always prepared, the air responds as asked;
light meets eyes, birdsong the ears
and myriads of skins speak to touch.

So let questions dance, let thoughts make their run,
for I too know how
this is done.


He leaned forward, just a bit,
you know,
like a little bow,

and said
in a soft voice
that the world is always giving…


Each morning, wading the stream,
the current’s ebb and flow, till evening
time to rest, 

like a fish facing upstream
into all it brings, ever watchful
of hovering shadows.


With gratitude

Often as not, I wake in confusion,
long-nursed doubts surfacing
refreshed, a’swirl.

But each day comes
not so much with a plan,
as with its own breath

that we ride, a’swirl in our dreams
or awake—either way is OK. 


Jet lagged

11/11 seems to have been misplaced somewhere
on the couch where I lay most of the day delirious

engrossed in speaking images graciously passing
the glowing screen—without pause.

This morning though, 11/12, is right where I’d have it
here under the pillow next to my head, waiting and ready

to roll over the edge to outside and in…
to the drizzle-wet streets

of proper coming home—everything in its time always
all we need.



Shadows spill across the page
and onto the floor—only to be wiped clean
by passing clouds.



Morning winds clear the way for light,
muscling clouds aside
along with the dark.

Free of the need to signal,
the last two stars
leave too.


Early night—early morning.
Dark, star-studded sky.

With Orion right there, how far
from home can we really be?



Leaves on vines
in the orchard rows
have begun to yellow.

Burnt by summer,
weathered in passing rains,
some lean closer to orange

to whisper of the coming fall.


To Frienz

Hard to tell what’s being sung,
but railroad songs in any tongue
are as clear as the tracks are long.


Our method for learning
Rome’s bus system: confusion—we succeed,
get to where we got,
and back again.


Traveling through Tuscany with a GPS
named Emily, I become quite attached.

Over and over I ask, “Where am I?”
And over and over again

she patiently replies:
“You are here.”



Under the moon-like light
of the street lamp, the intersection
opens its silence

to the swaying shadows above

and a single






Cordona—lighting candles with Marghareta

From the remains of the old Roman wall
overlooking the spreading countryside,

along the steep, coble-covered path,
muraled images

of the stations of the cross
leading the way,

the street-clothed priest
motions us in

to the sun-patched sanctuary—

leaving us alone
with the Sant.


As the conversation turns to “art”

I find myself thinking of people taking time
for morning coffee together
at tables at the edge of sidewalks
on traffic filled streets,

seemingly wanting to be right there.

That canvas.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September's End

We sit with our backs to the east.
A small house in a small town, overlooking

a small valley,

homes on the opposite slopes
looking back.

Mornings—if early enough—you can trace
the sun’s progress by looking west—hill tops first,
the softest touch. Then the slow pushing down
of shadows out of the way reveals
flashed signals of the sun’s rising presence
igniting east-facing windows like bursts of light

shining out from the earth itself.

There was a window out there
morning last

with strength enough to light the whole of our interior
with warm-glow—made me to turn and to smile
in silent amazement

into the source. The sun, you know,

has its own sense of time, its own sense of space,
its own sense of our individual contours. And although
we are a part of its broader concerns,

the best we can likely do is as best we can to attend
to its finding us. And to rest

in that attention
to where we are and to when.


Ah, good friend, you’ve set me free
in sun-soaked by-ways, along wind-stroked hills,
and narrow corridors of shadow graced with light.



There is intensity of focus that comes of us
as natural and as certain and as easy as winds

that drench the face and the edge, the back
and the very end point

of every needle of every pine
within their reach—and then to all the rest,

they breathe the wish that blows behind
their rivered and rippling kiss.


Vows we find we’ve made:

looking back, I’d have to say,
a long-standing inclination toward silence
and the solitary, from birth even, yet always as these
are drawn through the intimacies of the few, the nuclear

and as carried on within the broad strokes and patch-work
of the greater quiet—the urge to acts of mutuality,
of respect and consideration and the wish to understand

these enduring visions of love at play
in the daily comings and goings that define the ordinary,
the universal, the connecting groundswell of commonness

that is our collective humanness—and this,
it seems for me, is the center-less center to which
I have leveled my most heart-felt claims
of citizenship.



Near-ecstatic revelation

The lift of our living within
              the firm embrace of holy name

is found

not on the in-breath,
                    but of the out-going.



After far too long a time
trying to prepare for seventy,
I’ve somehow come to let it go
to itself—this turning grace
called aging—and, 

as it does what it does and what it is,
to use the best of all I have as such,
and as I am, to see it through
all the way through its grace filled,
self-fulfilling way.


Whose voice is it
you think
you hear,

And so
of the words,
yours too?


Often after the fact, I pull back in wonder
at the somewhat frantic nature of the search
for that which I already know to be there, yet
nonetheless continue to need to reconfirm,

like seeking out the earliest cast of the sun’s rays,
as if to assure myself the warmth remains
there in the light where last left—and for us,
the spoken name is like this too,

the emergence and re-emergence
of the warmth of embodied memory
made manifest; no less a flicker
than passing thoughts, but tangibly so.



implies connecting and also connection,
it implies greater numbers of, and so,
addition, so then, progression
and causation, relation and variety—

it implies abundance…

and so in such a world
might well then serve
the preferred expression
of gratitude, of praise

and of prayer…and…


the deep


in this one


of our


John Muir Wilderness
                   Fleming Lake--Elevation 9,700 feet

The mountains here drop their shadows
just as the rays of the coming sun begin to arrive,

water offers ripples to the first gentle gusts,
and pines ruffle and wave. To follow the urge

to sit at the edge in a place like this is an act of faith,
a free-fall ride on the wakes

of star-streams—birds swoop and twitter, answers
brittle and fall, frames and reference shift

to the boundless possibilities of the humbled few
who discover the truly praiseworthy.

Here, it’s not asked, how old one is,
but exclaimed: How far we have come!

Here, the wise are those who hold their tongue.
Listen to the rest.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Friend to Friend

Arrogance—yours or mine no difference—

always misguided, rarely instructive of anything
other than itself, and often simply meanness
cloaked in good intentions,

like building character, in someone else.
Though at the lake that day, it clouded
crystalline waters so, what might have been

rebuke, instead glowed with the clarity
of genuine kindness, a flash amongst shadows,
not so much unexpected, as from one unfamiliar,

now known from the inside, out—a gift.


We cannot know for certain,
but the effort, beyond all reason,
the effort so fruitless reveals nonetheless
continuous, even uncalled for delight
and richness—reason enough then,
reason enough.


Take your teacher by the throat
and listen—it’s the gurgle
that’s most important.


We think

as we live, the promises
we make ourselves, vows,
intentions, grand plans, sweeping vistas,

like so many heart-felt leaves blown
to tremor, even before their saying is done—
bud to spread to color to mulch,

all returned to the earth sustained
and richened within the blanket embrace
of the myriad workings of the sun in its sky.


Place specific, local,
as in heart beat—how the universe conspires
continuations of each and all throughout their time,
questions of purpose, intention, of direction,
value added, or allowed, all implode
right here—seamless, seem-less wholeness,
each complete in place and time, rightful roles
forever fulfilled—inevitable—amen.


They say, just before death arrives, life
sometimes surges, energies push the furthest
reach, new horizons replace the old, space awakens,
shadows fall, imagination stretches to follow the light
to the other side...


In the steadied silence of a Sunday morning
begun before the promise of a spoken sun, the roses
on the altar slump, and the two of them, cloaked in clouds
of circling smoke of incense burned to dust,
take their turn to cry—for Buddhas forever gone
and for those about to come.


The way it is

There are times when, despite myself, I raise my voice,
when the thrust of my heart pushes through the words and past,
leaves them limp on the empty air, only to fall
to the floor, ill-spent.

And I know, it’s the breath
that words ride that makes them all they are
and its absence that undoes them.
I know.


On trust and praise

It’s the urge to engage through syllable and sound
the shadowy horizons of awareness
not simply our own.

It’s the desire to use all that we have
and all that we cannot hold, to articulate the wish
that we cannot speak.

It’s the depths of our need, though not so clearly seen,
to affirm the connections, to return as community,
as is already given.


Thresholds of sorts, arise
as we identify what is no longer essential.

Letting that go, of itself lightens
the next step and wherever it may lead.


As the chest rises and falls
almost imperceptibly, we conceive
the body alive with the flow of breath—

Buddha’s Name as utterance
makes real the potency of language
as a vehicle of awakening…



The desire to make something happen
will make

something happen—while all the while,
the world

inevitably delivers
the inevitable, 

making us wonder,

which end of the effort
we’re really on.


The ancients speak
of clear and certain vision
amidst that most certain ambiguity
that is the foundational reality of our humanity.

How to live unruffled in a ruffled universe?

Allow each answer its flutter
before letting go…


Morning fog rolls in over the ocean
that lies west of here,

shoulders inland hills,

then tips and pours toward the bay,
leading puffs tinted pink.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Notes to myself--August 2013

Notes to myself—August 2013

To say “forty years” now is no stretch, saying Buddha’s Name, inside and out, steadily sporadically, at times spontaneously, one way or the other all these years, as so this morning along empty streets, nembutsu readily rides each breath through to release, leads place specific into this body-moment that leads to the unknown next, all held and all moved, single breath on single breath carrying living voice homeward.

My Dad used to speak of the “second wind” that long-distance runners experience, when body overtakes will and running turns into a kind of riding, a place of effortless confidence in something other—today it feels like that might feel, in it for the duration, never alone, somehow easy.


I’m American in the sense that I have no definitive link to any soil other than this, no family memory of any “mother land” outside North America. Whence then, the powerful influence of nembutsu ?


Reading selections from Albert Saijo’s, Outspeaks to the poetry workshop at the jail last week, the men loved the power and simplicity of his work.

Some have said of Saijo, an American original by my way of thinking, that he always looked both ways, then went straight ahead—by “both” they must have meant inside and out.

Saijo went from the camps into WW II, from the war back into his country. He traveled it. He chewed peyote, as I recall, sat Zen and fasted. In later years, he lived on the edge of a volcano (so as not to take up too much room). And although he eschewed literary recognition, he was a writer by vocation—all caps and dashes, no other punctuation. In  his own words, he wanted to be a “field preacher,” in the way of John Muir’s father.

And it works. I mean, I can only imagine a field preacher, but Saijo’s words are anything but indecisive—he was a slight man, small of stature and photos suggest, quiet. But his words, the thinking and passion that pushes them, are large and clear—no equivocation here—he knew where he was headed, and that’s where he went.

Look out, look in—then keep going. Kind of like a life of nembutsu.


Once a motel, the b&b sits off the main road below grade, under trees, adjacent wide spread ranch-like work buildings. Plentiful green and blue, a pleasant place, where water running through the walls signals the neighbors showering, and each closed door resonates through several units either side. But it’s quiet. And a slight adjustment to the vertical blinds on the sliding door, lights the room with morning, lets the ordered shades of beige pateo stones just outside extend a sense of comfort and calm, both sides across the sill.

I remember a journal entry by Cid Corman, ex-pat American poet living in Japan in the 1960’s, capturing the moments of an entire day as he sat overlooking the garden space outside his kitchen. He observed, and he wrote his life, the day unfolding in shifting tones of light.

And comments by William Stafford, on the way it is for him in writing. Not writing poems, but writing, the active engagement of giving oneself over to the process, poem or prose.

The difference between the two for Stafford is a matter of signals; neither content, nor form, so much as certain signals from writer to reader that a poem is underway; the lack of such, signaling prose—grammar, syntax, line length.

And for Stafford, the poem is not just about signals sent by the poet, but certain signals the poet receives and transcribes—a poem then is not merely personal statement or  personal expression; at its best a poem speaks to, speaks of, source rather than sender.

This subtle shift demands of the writer certain careful but easy handed attentiveness to his or her own intentions in order to determine whether the nature of engagement is prose or poetry, or both, and to send it out as best they can, as such.

The ambiguity here rightly defines the writing way Stafford enjoyed, as a humble one.


Shinran, prolific writer, unwavering in the certainty of the source of his liberation, at age 86, cites Honen: “ ‘Other Power means that no working is true working.’ ‘Working’ is the calculating heart and mind of each practicer. As long as one possesses a calculating mind, one endeavors in self-power. You must understand fully the working of self-power.”

Thoreau: “Good writing as well as good acting will be obedience to conscience. There must not be a particle of will or whim mixed with it. If we can listen, we shall hear. By reverently listening to the inner voice, we may reinstate ourselves on the pinnacle of humanity.” 1-26-1841 And: “We are constantly invited to be what we are, as something worthy, and noble. I never waited but for myself to come around; none ever detained me, but I lagged or tagged after myself.” 2-3-1841


Awareness, inner and outer, careful listening, learning and consideration. Appreciation for all received; for the continued receiving, wonder and praise. And the personal determination to attend the quietude required to continue this way of humility and gratitude.

Borderless, boundless, all and ever-inclusive.

Every question, any question, indicative of too much self--Namuamidabutsu. 

Heart Beats

The Heartbeat Sutrafor Sandino,
                                                  July 2013

I’ve heard it said, Grandson, that Buddha once said,
as he sat at sun’s rising, that heartbeats transmute
and all else follows—and in that gathering

of waiting leaves, of night let go, Buddha paused
to watch the words and all they were
return to the wonder of beginnings,

then turned his hand to raise a flower 
to meet the gaze of eyes been raised
to meet the bluing sky.

And so it is with you, in the ease and offering
of your infant sleep, the same
throb and promise.

As half-finished darkness holds silent the house
and all around us has paused,
the gentle curve of your open-cupped palm

reveals the assurance, the articulation
and the wonder of the beginnings
of our beating hearts.



Silence allows hearing,
stillness permits sight and touch
and the generous capacity to speak
enables navigation of the oceans of words
that define our humanity—left, right,
up, down, beginnings and ends—where
would we be without this ?


Turning in ever-tightening circles,
trying to site the source of the blinding cacophony,
I finally find its voice 

to be my own—and in this startling release,
relief and ease, begin to discern
its song…


flowers dance…

stems bend to winds
afloat with fogs

and dew
that gladly coat

the needled pines,
got drunk

on the breath of gods…


About attitude

Not so much to write poems,
but to write to see what comes—music or dissonance,
though not the same, are of the same mouth
and worthy of similar considerations.

Like time, the time to trace,
the time to witness the turns the words
will make to reach the page, line by line,
word by word, the world revealed, itself remade.


And of writing the day awake,

watching the light come in
where none had been,

unfolding across the sill
and on to the page poured over all over

with lighted words,
writing themselves awake

in the way of the coming day.


there’s been this voice

--all along I suppose,
         low-toned, unobtrusive, 
a most constant companion
         I’d taken to be my self,
and rightly so, I’d say—

but not the one I’d had in mind


Bodhisattvas everywhere

Slowly rising out
of the swirl of indecision,

of seemingly interminable
bait and switch,  to view

through the window
soft pink petals

atop stems some five feet tall 
and perfectly still, paused

as if to wait, to hear
my heart beat. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This living...

This living…

June--July 2013

In the end, there is no answer,
only song—songs of momentums
of moments of resonance,



It’s not so much that “I thought”
but my thinking was such
that my living was so
that the world as it was
seemed a constant nuisance,

endlessly interrupting, forever
intervening in the story
in my mind.

Then one day, it got through.
And now I see the reverse is true.


Voice rides breath that ride winds that ride
seminal vibrations that sound—say the teachers:
follow just one thing, all the way through.


the depths of the working of breath
may only be discerned by mind made quiet
as it follows where it leads


Voice of course is breath embodied,
breath, the wind’s wish for a rounded earth,
whispered amongst myriads of limbs.


Poems in morning

And in morning’s quiet,
the house still, is only the chill
that drifts, that lets the window opened
feel the pass of night, feel the blessings
bared and at rest in the calm
of the heart at home.


the density…

of lived experience is such
that moments of clarity and calm

are like quiet clearings
stumbled upon in the wilds

—a bit of a stretch
to claim too much credit



After a long absence,
returning to work the garden
—it all comes back.


A scattering of haiku—for Fritz,
thinking of transition

Fallen leaves make the earth.
Ideas, seasoned by light,
cushion every step.


Mature growth, rich life:
always in proportion to
how well we let go.


Cautionary: trees
sometimes hold their leaves too long—
like us, still survive.


Age gifts pure practice,
ready or not. No cushions,
no bells. Only change.


Even seclusion
is in relation—how else
to breathe, but for leaves.


In the meadows of Lyell Canyon, Yosemite
July 2013

Promise floats in the air here, lean, immediate,
without presumption; and this high mountain dirt,
rich, abundant meadows spread wild with color
for any who will come this far.

Chanting ancient songs across these meadows looking out
at glacier-covered peaks, seems more than just appropriate, more
like an act of the wind, itself lifting voice above the stream,
through the grass, into the pines and along the rock-faced ridges

at rest at the gates of heaven.

Humility sprouts in all who plant their feet here, even for awhile,
unfolding on the breath before thought, as natural a grace
as the cloud-traced contours of distant glaciers,
wind-blown, light filled shadows

passing among myriads of hints
of healing and wholeness.



he sits at the altar,
incense wafts,

breath settles, light falls,
wonder unfolds
to sustain

like the pulse of the out-stretched hand
that pulls forth the praise that follows the prayer
that opens the heart,

that gentle persistence, the softest scratch
that pulls each page, as it pulls each breath,
to the fullness of its turning.


July 4th

The Big Dipper,
large and low in the North.

Here in the South, we too get up
in the dark, to pee.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More with less...

More with less—poems
from May 2013

There was once a man who wrote
each day, pen to page to swirl and to scratch,
to press into meaning the meandering lines,

to trace the tracks along the shore
or traceless futures of untellable trails
that lift into the sky.

And some mornings of summer’s longer days
when dappled sun light reached to touch the hand
as it touched the pen that touched the page,

he’d pause, as always pleased to bow his head,
then again begin to move the pen.


It’s that we love, that
we love, that moves us most.


Dimpled to opaque,
the colored sheet of cultured glass
hung from the bamboo trellis,
sways with the weight
of captured sun beams.


To Jonathan and Victoria

Phrase was the term she used,
the recurring theme in the piece he played,

not passage, nor line, more the rhythmic murmur,
the sounded pulse insistent of ought but itself,

self-contained, readily moved where best received,
but best understood in the gathered hush

of pass and return,
over and again.


To wake in darkness before stirring birds
to find winds finally quiet,
fog but broken mist in chilled air
as the first of the sun
lights into the clearing skies

and yet to walk almost blind
with churning argument—it is this then,
it is this, is it not, that condition called human.


Like those tall pink blossoms in the garden
jostle and sway, thoughts too speak
of what’s being said.


Call it meditation
if you will, if you must
call it something,

but know the quiet mind
is itself already
the work.


The ancient masters do not quibble—joy
is real, as is travail; life is rife with both.

Skillful negotiation is key,
compassion its natural associate.


Brief auto-biography

Having come to know, this alone leads.
Not hope nor fear, not past nor future,
but this now, this sounded song,
this trail and curve of the breaking wave,
the spread and swell, the articulate turn
of each and every word.


Sandino David

In the park at the top of Fruitvale
with the grandson asleep,
each at his age in grass in sun
and all that has occurred
and is done—breezes rush,
leaves tremble, grasses crease at our feet,
and the sky that whispers its mark
on this time in this place as right.


The ripple speaks
of current
that moves it

to speak of
its movement—
thus, the stream.


to Irma

colored glass—filtered light—glinting
silver—shifting shapes—passing
eyes delight…

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring poems

April and May 2013

Watching the inmates

The open page takes
everyone, just as they are.
Heads bow. Words begin.


By example—a haiku with commentary

Like leaves pulled by winds
hold tight to branched extensions
of roots holding firm.

Even before our fingers form, culture
begins to show us how—but different grips
are possible--some even letting go.


Wonder:  heart freed of thinking.
Calculation stretched to snapped

does not prevent fulsome release
for those who’ve come to see

the more
that makes it

what it is.


Dove calls alone
in early light.

Clocks pulse
the empty kitchen.

Reflection gifts
ever-embracing space

and silence.


Somehow the first of May has come and gone
a mark on a calendar unremembered 

much like myriad single breaths thoughtlessly taken
then given away that pass nonetheless

through traceless minutes’ days—but for that
slight attentive pause, just there passed.


Days stretch in summer,
lighted lingering coming
slowly to night stars.


Chanting Buddha’s name

Unfathomably vast a matrix of realms of truths
carries our each and every muttering—resonant thereof.


Coastal grasslands, swelled prairie bluffs,
tales of ancient oceans outlasted.


Saint Francis, oh, Saint Francis,
how many, many times your
image has moved me.

Your saintly qualities though,
they’re human,
aren’t they.


It took some time
to see the time
to preach
is done—so let
the poems come.


While some words say,
         poems do,
participate, engage.

Written or read,
        spoken or heard,
poems move…


What part of nothing more to do isn’t clear? Snakes,
over time, leave their skin behind. The screen-door
out to the back porch, it slams every time—mornings,
over coffee, I write; evenings burn incense and chant.



swoop in
like a boardwalk gull
to snatch up guarded bits
of joy…

then lift off
in dust and tufts
of disregard
for those

who would but share,
not swallow.
So, so sad.


Altar incense burns
a barely visible thread
of tenuous tie

to tradition
nearly faceless
save the solidity of voice

and so we mutter and chant
and sing affirmations of foundations
of living breath.


Soft pink streaks sky clearing clouds to blue.
Garden flowers toll stillness.


No one to wake
at this hour,

the barking dog

with everyone
within ear-shot;

even passing cars slow 
to hear

and not break
this living stream

rarely heard
as music.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wind blown

Wind blown…March into April

Low fog lifts, day light
descends, moist leavings tracing
each step into spring.


Big Dipper—floats in
dark skies, turns, tilts, never fails
to point the way home.


Promised fog arrives,
blanket-shadows morning light.

But for one west-placed window,
ablaze with a different dream.


Breath as sound…

suggestions of elegance, to be sure,
but the old masters took note
of a certain radiance—visceral, joyous.


What we offer over
in the world
is the whole of our living,

every time—our mistake
is thinking
it’s not.


The poet strives
to make words say
as much as he would
have them say

and trusts 
that desire they ride
that makes them say
all the more.


what winds of circumstance
pull from our hands,
frees us


Glow burn—a sudden rush of rightness
splays light through dark

disappeared—forgetting words
that would write this right,

I draw these instead.


Studies in light ask
for light-handed inquiry.


Watching the inmates…

the open page takes
everyone, just as they are.
Heads bow, words begin.


The body drags itself
out of sleep these days, full
with windswept pollens.

Miniscule puffs of life
circulate, settle and collect—like
the weight of age.


Time bends—deep purple
strokes in the wisteria,
darker than before.


April 8th and already
multiple pages,

meanderings of a mind
set free at the tip of a pen

to simply speak—simply
to speak simply, of itself enough.


April 13th

The celebration

The day opens on tides of quiet light
and shadowless blue—hushed bird calls
echo blessings already underway.


For Erin and Edwin

The range of light

to laughter,
to smiled embrace, 
close-knit warmth,

to the firm press of lips
and casual words of tenderness
spoken in witness

of the tenuous reach of darkness
as eyes meet in the glow of love.


To  Leslie—afterthoughts

To think—this spontaneous
ingenuity so troublesome

holds unopened avenues
of collective salvation,

one whole one at a time.


to make inside meet out.


Faith—trusting sincerity,
wherever we find it.



for even just one voice
among the many varied turnings
of that light that outshines the sun
just so.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

February and into March

February 25th

This the shortest month,
though not as short as
could be

rushes to close,
leaving only

where we’ve been,
the way headed,

for now: forever
rainless skies and a brim-full moon
of patience.

…and into March…

A song for the manzanita—
five faces, one hill

When I contemplate the life-length of this mountain,
the seventy years it took me
to smell its dust
like this

do not rise
except to its reflection—we together
or not at all,
not at all ever alone.


“Stars,” for us,
but traces, really,
of what stars really are.


Waking in the night
from dreams of frost covered hills—
the sheen of moonlight.


Study, paperwork,
a walk and early planting.

And while standing in the kitchen
before evening chanting,

my life spreads clean
as the counter-top before me,

at my ankles. 


Buddhist contemplative…

No blame. We simply
get it wrong, and are carried
along just the same.


Light inside, dark out,
making mirrored images
where once was window.


Schooley 3/2/13

On the slopes in the sun
amidst the manzanita, he says:

“I bow to the mountain.”


Every thought, same story—like
streams in the darkened sky, trails
of ever thinning light,

precarious blessings,
angels’ exhales,
warmed whispers

on bared fingers,
in the night.


Zuiken Sensei

That cigarette-smoking old man
studied dharma a life-time
or more. Or more.

Left accrued knowledge
to the page, opted
instead for spirit.

That unencumbered
breath rising
through his own.


Low fog lifts, daylight
descends, moist leavings tracing
each step into spring.


Because blossoms’ bouquet.
Because incense burning.
Because the altar’s quiet.

Buddha’s raised hand,
beside, the silent monk,
the gladdened heart, at rest.


Spring Report—March 27th

As light lingers longer,
as sun betrays clinging chills,
your illness withers
and fades, dark winter dreams
heal in the hands of spring.