Thursday, December 29, 2016

Where endings are beginnings...


This Buddha sits with you 
in the broken light  

of pain-strewn streets
and slow-folded knees

that signal
unquestioned  presence—

throughout the darkness,
the voice of a friend.


A poetic form from the American poet, Allen Ginsberg:

The American Sentence: a whole thought in seventeen syllables

(a modern adaptation of the Japanese haiku, for English)

(punctuation, as you like; a single line preferred, not required):

* Below the horizon’s morning sky, sun glistens in hillside windows.

* Stretch-bellied grandchildren watch u-tube—Nona asleep in the next room.

* Perspective: my new allergies, in light of a friend turned terminal.

* Who can deny that the sound of the pen-scratched page is saying something.

  • Songs of the Sunday paper: shoes without socks, chill against showered skin.

* Pink mist pools just above the bay’s waters in answer to morning’s call.


We ran, ran through grasses in the hills,
just for the thrill of it, 

shoelaces stuck with seeds and spurs,
all raggedy, all winded, just like a kid—

you know, like the kids we once were,  
heading head-long to nowhere in particular, 

just to go there.



the quiet rush
of out-poured breath
carried in a name…


The briefest pause 
allows direction 
space enough 
to change 


insight’s like this,
passed by
or followed, 

either way, new.


Self or other, it’s witness that heals,
voice that soothes, our wounds
that can bind.


Life-death, the poem’s heart,
Buddha’s name, resonant
syllables sounding.


That old man, there in the mirror in the aisle
in the store—it’s me.


The moon that is my life,

pours itself into the west,
but “to what end…”

that old witness, Chomei,
once asked.

Rains continue, drought retreats,
bamboo quivers and drips.

And what more for one more 
inarticulate tongue

than to offer “a few prayers,”

into the trace and feel,
the unobtrusive 

touch of this 
ever-abiding silence.


Now a’days, December 10th 
is international human right’s day—

for the ancients, the venerables 
among them vowed to save them all—

each day, ever, the numberless sentient beings 
they encountered there—

including the humans among them, 
earthlings all, and earth and its all, 

each day and every day ever—
all this, all this day too.


My Dad’s breakfast, every day I ever saw,
was two eggs easy, bacon, toast and coffee—
as a kid, he’d have had biscuit, not toast,
jam not jelly; and he always ate to full.

The belly is the first to go, he’d say, 
having been lean as they come when young,
the belly arriving mid-thirties, encouraged too
by regular evening beer.

I can say with confidence, he could do anything 
with his hands—he worked hard.

And I wonder here, if he had lived as long 
as I have,

would he have come to be less certain 
of things—or 

was it just that it seemed that way
as a kid, 

as his kid…  


Thoughts for the turn of the year…

Resistance does not require of us to change,
but rather to intensify. For how we live 
and what we live for

threatens most

those who would have us do otherwise.

Double down, do so with joy

and, mostly, be true.

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