Friday, October 22, 2021

what it once filled

One hundred twelve years ago he was born on the East streets shoehorned between Flatbush and Bensonhurst in Brooklyn. Today’s his birthday.

There are moments we return to, now and always. Family is like water — it has a memory of what it once filled, always trying to get back to the original stream. 

(-p.57, Let The Great World Spin, by Colum McCann)

 That stream has disappeared into river, into ocean, into cycle of rainfall, thunder, puddles, and whooshing spray from passing tires.

He was a good man pummeled by demands of alarm clock, subway car, church societies, Rheingold and Schaffer, family history, along with loving attempts to hold together centrifugal forces of everyday whirling drip, drip, drip.

my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if (so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm 

(-from e.e.cummings poem my father moved through dooms of love)

I light candle in his honor.

I burn incense stick.

I am grateful for the rain and flow through time to dripping eaves outside my window.

nothing remains

 There are times language

Fails to tell what’s happening —

Nothing remains here

Thursday, October 21, 2021


 Moonlight soaks mountain

Every animal knows what

Is before their eyes

on second thought

 The Irish writer

Thought he had some poems in him,

Putting pen down, slept

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

each plays a part

 Hunter’s moon, on pond 

in trees, at window, lighting

fields for swooping owl

wordless silent attention

On poet Gregory Corso's (3mar1930-17jan2001) gravestone at the non-Catholic cemetery for foreigners at Via Caio Cestio in Rome Italy, there is written::


  is life

 it flows thru

  the death of me


  like a river


  of becoming

  the sea

(Excerpt from: "One Bird, One Stone: 108 Contemporary Zen Stories" by Sean Murphy. Scribd.)

Thinking of my sister, Patricia, today, anniversary of her death in 1999. 

Wondering if life, (not thoughts about, nor experiences of), is it’s own  nameless wholeness only realized in (wordless silent attention) looking, (at and as), nothing passing one another through (here and now) a glistening autumn morning in Maine (this 19th/20th of October).

(PantaRhea at window shikantaza)

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

within the hour

 Twenty two years go

by tonight my sister died —

As I dozed, waking

Monday, October 18, 2021

a short distance from myself

 That space between memory and imagination, that space — look for me there.

It’s an empty space.

Where I’ll be.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

presence, in and of, itself

 Something we do not yet recognize surrounds and informs all which is, whether seen or unseen, felt or unfelt, thought or unthought.

 “The presence of inherent value in a natural object is independent of any awareness, interest, or appreciation of it by a conscious being.”

(—Tom Regan, “The Nature and Possibility of an Environmental Ethic,” Environmental Ethics 3 (1881), pp. 19–34)

We’re unsure what it is, what it is called, or how it does or might arise in our awareness.

But until it does, we remain poor passing facts and strangers to one, another, that which is below our feet, above our head, within and without, us. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

charged with untold and untellable wisdom

Chris from Augusta sends Whitman:

Of The Terrible Doubt Of Appearances
                                  by Walt Whitman

Of the terrible doubt of appearances,
Of the uncertainty after all, that we may be deluded,
That may-be reliance and hope are but speculations after all,
That may-be identity beyond the grave is a beautiful fable
May-be the things I perceive, the animals, plants, men, hills,
     shining and flowing waters,
The skies of day and night, colors, densities, forms, may-be
     these are (as doubtless they are) only apparitions, and
     the real something has yet to be known,
(How often they dart out of themselves as if to confound me
     and mock me!
How often I think neither I know, nor any man knows,
     aught of them,)

May-be seeming to me what they are (as doubtless they

     indeed but seem) as from my present point of view, and
     might prove (as of course they would) nought of what
     they appear, or nought anyhow, from entirely changed
     points of view;
To me these and the like of these are curiously answer'd by
     my lovers, my dear friends,
When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long while
     holding me by the hand,
When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words and
     reason hold not, surround us and pervade us,
Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom, I am
     silent, I require nothing further,
I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of
     identity beyond the grave,
But I walk or sit indifferent, I am satisfied,
He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.

"Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances" by Walt Whitman. Public domain)

Such a timely arrival, having just finished the Mike Flanigan limited series on Netflix.

The horror and "terrible doubt of appearances," of what we do and what we think about what cannot be grasped.

no call to become special

 Tweet by Joan Halifax, 7:40pm, 10/15/2021

How can one meditate & not meditate at the same time? By leaving behind complicated notions of what we are doing on the cushion. In Zen, there is no call to become special. Instead, there is tacit consent to accept our experience of the moment & drop the project of enlightenment.

I’m good with this. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

into your bones

"May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us." 

(— Theresa of Avila, 28 March 1515 —15 October 1582)

it’s not looking good

 There are things to beware.

 October 15 at 10:20 AM ET
 LONDON —  A British lawmaker from the Conservative Party died after being stabbed multiple times in an attack Friday in his home district in southeast England.
Police said a 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and recovering a knife and said it was not seeking anyone else.
David Amess, who represented Southend West in Essex, was meeting with constituents when he was assaulted. 

John Lamb, chairman of the local Conservative party told Reuters before the reports of his death that “it’s not looking good” and said emergency workers were trying to stabilize him before moving him from the church auxillary where he was meeting with people from his district.

(—from, British lawmaker dies after being stabbed multiple times while meeting constituents, Washington Post)

Sentinel keeps watch as tide goes out.

A new courage is required.

A new time is revealing new dangers.

A new consciousness is now, and exquisitely, necessary. 

no reason to change anything

 Heart doc says recent echocardiogram says everything is ok.

A perfect time to keel over with heart failure.

Isn’t that the way things go?

This contrarian existence!

and justice wears latex gloves

 No reason to expect justice will prevail in holding accountable the former administration for crimes against decency and democracy. 

Such ability to flaunt laws and ethics is, to some, what makes great this ambivalent country.

Tough call. On one hand, reprobates are reprobates. On the other hand, prison sucks.

I come down squarely on the side of law-abiding populace. 

But the impotence of justice to hold reprobates accountable is astounding.

Justice works best against the poor, minorities, or anyone not an elected office-holder with huge fundraising schemes.

Cheer up, mr former chief executive, they’ll never touch you. 

You’re untouchable.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

showering koan

 Life is waiting

on death;

Death is no

longer waiting

on life

till we come to a hard bottom

 Where to begin?

Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downwards through the mud and slush of opinion and tradition, and pride and prejudice, appearance and delusion, through the alluvium which covers the globe, through poetry and philosophy and religion, through church and state, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, till we come to a hard bottom that rocks in place which we can call reality and say, This is, and no mistake…

(—Henry David Thoreau)

This is 

A good place.

que dieu nous aide

Increasingly, threats are levied against town councils, school boards, hospital personnel, police, and emt’s in the context of COVID-19 protective measures intended to forestall and minimize harm caused by the virus and its mutations.

It is hard to ignore the stringent rhetoric and overt threats.

Elected figures exacerbate the dangerous tone and menacing innuendo in such a way that is difficult to discern their complicity or acceleration of potential violence and undermining of public good.

It is a curious and uncertain time.

More than that, it is a prefiguring of what is on the horizon for uncivil discourse edging toward national unrest and overt public danger.

No amount or personal or private meditation or practice toward equanimity will shield any individual from the threatening eventuality of menace and misuse of power.

Something dangerous and evil this way comes. 

Que Dieu nous aide!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

in an undertone

Sometimes, sitting still and wondering is all one can do. 

The  is the centerpiece of the daily morning and evening prayer services and is considered by some the most essential prayer in all of Judaism. An affirmation of God’s singularity and kingship, its daily recitation is regarded by traditionally observant Jews as a biblical commandment. 


The first verse of the Shema, from the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, is among the best-known in all of Jewish liturgy. It is recited at the climactic moment of the final prayer of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, and traditionally as the last words before death. Traditionally, it is recited with the hand placed over the eyes.

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד

She-ma yisrael,  eloheinu, adonai echad

Hear O’ Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One

This verse is followed by one line of text that is traditionally recited in an undertone:

בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד

Baruch shem kavod malchuto l’olam va-ed

Blessed is the name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever

The remainder of the Shema prayer is taken from three biblical sources:

Deuteronomy 6:5-9:

וְאָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽך
וְהָי֞וּ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֗לֶּה אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֧י מְצַוְּךָ֛ הַיּ֖וֹם עַל־לְבָבֶֽךָ
וְשִׁנַּנְתָּ֣ם לְבָנֶ֔יךָ וְדִבַּרְתָּ֖ בָּ֑ם בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ֤ בְּבֵיתֶ֙ךָ֙ וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ֣ בַדֶּ֔רֶךְ וּֽבְשָׁכְבְּךָ֖ וּבְקוּמֶֽךָ
וּקְשַׁרְתָּ֥ם לְא֖וֹת עַל־יָדֶ֑ךָ וְהָי֥וּ לְטֹטָפֹ֖ת בֵּ֥ין עֵינֶֽיךָ
וּכְתַבְתָּ֛ם עַל־מְזוּזֹ֥ת בֵּיתֶ֖ךָ וּבִשְׁעָרֶֽיךָ

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead, inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 

At other times, sitting still and wondering is all that needs be done.

so what does the one who is say -- (ש)

 Think of it this way:

He who causes to be is

who I am, as is --

what else can I tell you? if

you want more, write a letter

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

just a convenient designation

What we are called is not what we are. 

In the first century Buddhist text the Milinda Pañha, the Indo-Greek king Menander I meets a Buddhist sage and asks his name. The monk replies that his name is Nāgasena, but quickly adds that this is just “a convenient designation, a mere name, this Nāgasena, for there is no self here to be found”.

Menander is bewildered, yet this is in fact a core Buddhist teaching: the doctrine of anatta, ‘no-self ’. The idea here is that selves are, at best, a sort of mere convention. We call each other by the names we’ve been given or chosen, but these names don’t refer to anything substantial. Nāgasena gives the example of the chariot Menander has ridden to the meeting. You can certainly point to, name, and ride a chariot, yet strip each part away, and there is nothing left.There’s no enduring ‘core’ or essence to the chariot. It’s the same, we’re told, with selves.

Scepticism about selves also crops up in western philosophy, starting from David Hume – who claimed that whenever he turned his focus to his own thoughts, “I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception.” No self, just thoughts.

There are two ways to think about these no-self claims. One is to see them as a form of reductionism. Selves exist, but only in the way a flock of birds or a football team does. You could list each individual bird or player instead of referring to the whole without losing anything except convenience. Eliminativism is a stronger claim. If reductionists think selves a sort of useful fiction, eliminativists think the self is illusory, a sort of trick played on us by experience or language.

Perhaps that’s a distinction without a difference though. After all, for Buddhists like Nāgasena at least, the whole point is just not to get hung up on the self at all. 

(There Are No Selves, in New Philosopher, ISSUE 33 - SEPTEMBER/NOVEMBER 2021)

If I am no-self, perhaps I belong to the self-at-all. 

the importance of intervention

Slavoj Žižek debating Jordan Peterson references André Glucksmann. I look up Glucksmann:

In his book Dostoyevsky in Manhattan, Glucksmann asserts that nihilism, particularly as depicted by Dostoyevsky in his novels Demons and The Brothers Karamazov, is the 'characteristic form' of modern terrorism. Drawing on Ivan Karamazov's dictum that "If there is no God, everything is permitted", Glucksmann argues that:

The inner nature of nihilistic terrorism is that everything is permissible, whether because God exists and I am his representative, or because God does not exist and I take his place.

His 2006 book Une rage d’enfant is an autobiography which talks about how his experiences as a young Jew in occupied France led to his interest in philosophy and his belief in the importance of intervention:

My style of thinking is to compare what happens on the TV, in the news and so on, and then extract what I can from books of philosophers to understand it. Philosophy for me is like subtitles. The problem comes from current events but the answer is supplied by philosophy.

Glucksmann criticises the notion that Islamic terrorism is a product of the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West, arguing that the first victims of Islamic terrorism are Muslims:

Why do the 200,000 slaughtered Muslims of Darfur not arouse even half a quarter of the fury caused by 200-times fewer dead in Lebanon? Must we deduce that Muslims killed by other Muslims don’t count – whether in the eyes of Muslim authorities or viewed through the bad conscience of the West?


We are meant to think about thought, not to be swallowed by it.

(The sound of a burp is heard.)

Excuse me!


not to completely feel is thinking (e.e.cummings)

 Attached to thinking

Today’s  humans trace ideas

Not feeling itself —

There is nothing in thinking

Better expressed by feeling

Monday, October 11, 2021

how one sentence says so much

 "If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal."

   (from, A Universe Not Made For Us {Carl Sagan on religion}).             

to canadian friends

Joyeux Action de Graces!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

living name

 This, on stargazerslounge, after book I’m reading seemed to have a flawed number in preface about how long ago the supposed Big Bang took place.

On 03/02/2013 at 05:27, chiltonstar said: 

IMO, flawed, but the best we have at the moment. The "point of origin" is surely anywhere/everywhere because the Universe was extremely small at the time - we were part of that as is everything else (matter, once it had condensed anyway) in the observable Universe. Chris 

All the sub-atomic particles and later atoms in my body were present in a pinhead singularity right here at the origin of the Big Bang 13.6 billion years ago and in that intervening time everything has expanded away from me. The same applies to you and everything else in the universe - everything once occupied that singularity  :rolleyes:

If so, then the reality is we are expanded from our origin, not separated from it. 

Belief in separation, with subsequent acts of antagonistic violence exemplifying that belief, is what our mythic religions call “ sin.”

But what if blinky-eyed smiley emoji is right, and we are extensions of original singularity, grown diverse and different — but not detached — in our current and contemporary manifestation of existence/essence, as we entropically dim remembrance and recollection of our true nature, true origin, and true inchoate integral relationality within all being?

Does wisdom wait behind recalcitrant knowledge for our arrival at its hospitality?

“We are poor passing facts.
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.”

(― Robert Lowell, in poem “Epilogue”)

Richard Hugo began his poem “Villager” with the words:

“What's wrong will always be wrong.  I've seen him lean

against the house hours and glare at the sea.  His eyes say

no boat will come.”

I love Lowell and Hugo — their words.

I think, off on the squint horizon, there is a boat coming. There is a living name sounding.

We wait on wharves, restless with anticipation, for this sighting and resonance to appear.

no, it is a word

 The impertinent 

Footling politicians think

They own emptiness —

I despair of this culture

Where wisdom cannot be found

shot-blocking the scholarship guy practice

 Sixty years ago

Walk-on college freshman team —

Still have hoop game socks

dream of bill ferris’ watch

 Never belonging

I walk each periphery

Cat's claws on cardboard —

He ran so fast he threw up

No track coach could retain him

Saturday, October 09, 2021

what do you seek

 A religious life

Is one lived recognizing

Evil is not good

It might stand by the cruel

But it will never be good

waka on woe-some prospects

 The science fiction

novel just finished concludes

humans immature

not ready for wisdom to

advance to next level life

Friday, October 08, 2021

a trinity of ones

 appearing one by

one at door emergency

room welcomes each one


 Do you thank the ground

for holding you up, then for 

covering over

Thursday, October 07, 2021

de nada

Sometimes there is

nothing to say

How fortunate

here’s the whole of it

 From Center for Action and Contemplation, Fr. Richard Rohr writes:

“Ensouled” Animals

Readers of the Daily Meditations may be familiar with the theological and scientific work of Ilia Delio. Today we share a reflection that honors both her Franciscan theology and her personal relationship with a beloved pet. 

It is almost a week since our beloved cat, Mango, was put to sleep. . . 

We had rescued Mango a little more than eight years earlier. . . . He liked to sleep in the chapel and often joined us for prayer in the evening. Mango was real presence. And it is his presence that was sorely missed.

Recent questions in ecology and theology have focused on animal life. Do animals have souls? Do animals go to heaven? Without becoming entangled in theological discourse, I want to say quite clearly that Mango was ensouled. His soul was a core constitutive beingness, a particularity of life that was completely unique, with his own personality and mannerisms. To use the language of [Franciscan philosopher] Duns Scotus, Mango revealed a haecceitas, his own “thisness.” Scotus placed a great emphasis on the inherent dignity of each and every thing that exists. . . .

Each living being gives glory to God by its unique, core constitutive being. . . . To be a creature of God is to be brought into relationship in such a way that the divine mystery is expressed in each concrete existence. Soul is the mirror of creaturely relatedness that reflects the vitality of divine Love.

I did not have to wonder whether or not Mango had a soul. I knew it implicitly by the way he listened to me talking or thinking aloud, the way he sat on my office chair waiting for me to finish writing so he could eat, or simply the way he looked at me—eye to eye—in the early morning, at the start of a new day. Soul existence is expressed in the language of love. . . .

Love makes us something; it makes us alive and draws us in to the dynamism of life, sustaining life’s flow despite many layers of sufferings and disappointments. . . . If God is love, then the vitality of love, even the love of a furry creature, is the dynamic presence of God. . . .

Every creature is born out of the love of God, sustained in love, and transformed in love. Every sparrow that falls to the ground is known and loved by God (cf. Matthew 10:29); the Spirit of God is present in love to each creature here and now so that all creaturely life shares in cosmic communion. . . .

As I reflect on Mango’s death, his haecceitas, and the mystery of love, I have no doubt that his core love-energy will endure. His life has been inscribed on mine; the memory of his life is entangled with my own. My heart grieves for Brother Mango, my faithful companion, but I believe we shall be reunited in God’s eternal embrace.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

nothing to see here

Bruno’s empty cell

Chartreuse solitude, bells sound

through vacant selfless

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

forcing me to over 65 side of table

 flu-shot, no balloon

no lollie-pop, just smiling

nurse saying I'm done

Monday, October 04, 2021

oh felice giorno

A good day!

Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(From a letter written to all the faithful by Saint Francis of Assisi)

A good meditation on a way of being-with-others that invites peace, goodness, service, and humility.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

cf 25march2021, late announciation


                                         (for Tommy, on your death) 

Late have we learned this, 

master of three word phrases -- 

Fondness, for you, yes 


Saturday, October 02, 2021

rēs ipsa loquitur

 I’m here — the phrase holds

Everything that could be said

Itself being true


 After zazen, the Heart Sutra and the Sandokai chants.

And, in colloquy, it seems a rapprochement arises between sandokai and catholic theology.

"Father" is the absolute.

"Son" is the relative.

Holy Spirit is the energetic wholeness encompassing and vivifying absolute/relative, father/son.

It is cosmotheandric complément.

Friday, October 01, 2021

to stave off the loneliness

 Sometimes a paragraph jumps out at you.

Corrigan told me once that Christ was quite easy to understand. He went where he was supposed to go. He stayed where he was needed. He took little or nothing along, a pair of sandals, a bit of a shirt, a few odds and ends to stave off the loneliness. He never rejected the world. If He had rejected it, He would have been rejecting mystery. And if He rejected mystery, He would have been rejecting faith.

(pg.20, from Let the Great World Spin, novel by Colum McCann, 2009)

As it applies to each human being. 

is good for the soul

 I know what’s missing ..

The grace of admission, un-

veiling the hidden

Revealing and bringing in

what longs to be the open

Thursday, September 30, 2021

pu trid

 Sometimes politics

Skunk smell everywhere, today

Is one of those days


 The records show names

the human race across years

adam, enosh, you

she was an elegant principal

 Owl at dawn wakes me

Reporter’s notebook jotting

Hoot research in dream

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

who is like god

 Celebration of 

Archangels — powers not

Understood —  surround 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

having the touch

Have we lost our sense of taste? 

Become tasteless?

 Central to the interpretation of embodied life is evaluation.

 The ancient term for wisdom, sapientia, comes from sapere, to taste. Sapere-savourer-savoir. This etymological line speaks legions, reminding us that our deepest knowing is tasting and touching. We first sound the world through the tips of our tongues, discerning between savory and unsavory.

Living well is a matter of “savvy,” as we say. Ordinary language knows this, and philosophical language is no more than an extrapolation of what we already know “deep down.” Wisdom, in the end, is about taste and tact. That’s what we mean, isn’t it, when we say that someone sensible is someone sensitive: they have “the touch,” as healer, teacher, artist, lover. They are attentive, careful, tentative. They get it. To have the right touch is to touch and be touched wisely. Touching well is living well.

Hermeneutics begins there: in the flesh.

(--from, What is Carnal HermeneuticsRichard Kearney, 2015, Academia) 

Perhaps we need to interpret our lives with less analysis and more imagination.

Wisdom invites imagination into its room to sit and speak.

What’s wrong isn’t that something is wrong. Rather, it is the unwillingness to say, yes, that’s wrong, and get on enacting what’s right without fear or remaining mired in shame.

“What’s wrong will always be wrong” (Richard Hugo) — but what’s right is each time created new.

Keep in touch.