Sunday, May 22, 2022

set my soul

The woman who, at her table, served fish chowder, would probably sing this in harmony. (A good Baptist would never let a good Offertory pass without oyster crackers and sliced demi-seeded baguette after returning from sawmill yard with salvaged burn-pile pieces.)

Benedícite gentes Dóminum Deum nostrum,

         Bless our God, you nations


et obaudíte vocem laudis ejus:

         and make the voice of his praise be heard.


qui pósuit ánimam meam ad vitam,

         He has set my soul toward life, 


et non dedit commovéri pedes meos:

         and he has granted that my feet may not be shaken.


benedíctus Dóminus,

         Blessed is God, 


qui non amóvit deprecatiónem meam,

         who has not removed my prayer, 


et misericórdiam suam a me,

         nor his mercy, from me.


Allelúia.

         Alleluia.


(Offertorium, 22may2022)


Her mother’s Christian compositions playing from old Emerson victrola with cassette tape in side as errant mosquitoes flew on wrong side of door where daybed had struggled up front steps in true wonder of engineering angles and misdirectional pivoting by three uncredentialed surveyors.

Still, some good chowdah!

if you think about them, words will show up as they are

 There must be

Some way

Out of here


No, there

Is only

Here


There’s 

no there

There


(Thank

God for

Poets)


They know 

Where their

Bread is


Buttered —

(I told the

Checkout lady


I first thought

The sign over

Her shoulder


Read “help us

Serve you

Butter”


She took

The time 

to laugh


Continuing to

Scan strawberry-

Rhubarb pie in


Union

(Where we all

Should 


Live

And find

Here)

Saturday, May 21, 2022

mужність *

                  (* courage, Ukrainian)

Yes,

You can 

Live within/

         without

Hope

this country ‘tis of his

 He’s gone to gun store

He’s gone to buy a gun, gone

To buy some bullets


He thinks he’ll kill some 

people, shoot them in the head

Watch their blood flow out


He loves his country,

 loves mom and dad, his sister

Loves his car and bike


He just plans to kill

Some folks, tie with a ribbon

Pretty package gift


Well, that’s that, time to

Go — bye mom, dad, sis, 

Bye you folks soon dead


It’s great to be an

American, so many 

freedoms, good teachers


Models of hatred

Stupidity, bigotry

Lovers of pure truth

Friday, May 20, 2022

that which gathers you

Think of it this way -- we are surrounded by that which is God, however we name God. And yet, in our protective and conditioned enclosure we haphazardly call the "self," it is an awkward travail to transcend and be transformed by something not of our own making, ingestion, or agency. 

Those who recognize their surround as holy, who long to drop away artifice and self-seeking, who suspect that union with God is not something to reach out for, that only emptying oneself is worthwhile practice and contemplation -- this is the desert eremetic life -- whether alone, or alone with others.

It's not psychedelics, it's mysticism, it's the whole surround come alive with insight. 

In the Eastern tradition the highest point is absence of all image and thought, there's no imagination, there's no thought, there's nothing -- there's only this kind of pure presence and pure light that gathers you into God -- all these experiences, let them go...

(--Jonathan Pageau, in conversation with Jordan Peterson, Bishop Barron, John Vervaeke, "The 4 Horsemen of Meaning" @1:12 YouTube)

Some of us have always been hermits. Whether wandering from solitary cell, hiding with others, or returning by way of obscurare poenitentiam -- a faint recollection of one's premier métier -- the obscuring repentance of one's original calling.

Where, in homeless meander, one is taken in, given hospitality, and silently settled.

eating the residue of awareness and spitting it out

We are dying. We are being born. We are dying. We are being born.

Between one and the other is this thought: alive now, I am here; what's to come, I don't know.

Listening to John Vervaeke, PhD, a lecturer at the University of Toronto in the departments of psychology, cognitive science and Buddhist psychology. In one piece he talks about zombies and the crisis of meaning in our culture.


I don't know from zombies, but I do experience our republican brothers and sisters in their current state of undeniable hunger to dramatically devour whatever good is proposed from their democrat brothers and sisters.


I no longer think that it is politics we are witnessing these days.


It is the devaluation and denigration of shared value, the obliteration of civil comity, and the cynical obscuring of good that is not partisan or perverted to personal preference.


We'd rather attend a wake and gloat -- than become awake and share the joy of communal compassion.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

to keep within bounds or on a course

 Where does it all come from? 

From nothing? From something?

What origin or source lets into being that which was not in being?


The creation of the sun, moon, and stars (“lights in the firmament of the heavens”) on the

fourth day of creation (Gen. 1:14). (The plants are shown to have been already created on

the third day.) Detail of a fresco at Suchevitsa Monastery, Moldavia, Romania, sixteenth

century. (From St. Ephraim the Syrian - Commentary on Genesis)


Our imagination is limited.

But Imagination-Itself is unlimited, infinite and eternal, invisible, and in complete control of everything. 

control 

 

Verb

conduct, manage, control, direct mean to use one's powers to lead, guide, or dominate. conduct implies taking responsibility for the acts and achievements of a group.  conducted negotiations  manage implies direct handling and manipulating or maneuvering toward a desired result.  manages a meat market control implies a regulating or restraining in order to keep within bounds or on a course.  controlling his appetite  direct implies constant guiding and regulating so as to achieve smooth operation.  directs the store's day-to-day business 

 

Noun

power, authority, jurisdiction, control, command, sway, dominion mean the right to govern or rule or determine. power implies possession of ability to wield force, authority, or influence.  the power to mold public opinion  authority implies power for a specific purpose within specified limits.  granted the authority to manage her estate  jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits. the bureau having jurisdiction over parks  control stresses the power to direct and restrain.  you are responsible for the students under your control command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience.  the army officer in command  sway suggests the extent of exercised power or influence. the empire extended its sway over the region  dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority.  given dominion over all the animals

--Mirriam Webster

Things are not what seems to be.

"Seems" appears. "Being," essence, thing-in-itself, doesn't appear.

Being is that within which all things are, is that from which all things emerge, that toward which all things travel. As such, Being is, often and easily, forgotten.

Tell me -- have you ever seen the rain -- from origin to end, the whole cycle of interbeing through which everything travels?

Two haiku:

1.

Next to this chair on 

which I sit, the mottled cat

finally settles

2. 

It rains, in dooryard 

Woman, bending over soil,  

will have flowers in

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

there will be bloodshed, and you know it

 Throwing in towel

They are too cynical too

Cruel, these trumpists 

in it, the world

There are times I wonder if I have not yet even begun to understand about symbolism, myth, and metaphor. 

But the journey...is...mesmerizing. 

Verse of the day 


The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. 

- Psalm 24:1


Voice of the day 


God is Change— / Seed to tree, / tree to forest; / Rain to river, / river to sea; / Grubs to bees, / bees to swarm. / From one, many; / from many, one; / Forever uniting, growing, dissolving— / forever Changing. / The universe / is God’s self-portrait. 

- Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower (1993)


Prayer of the day 


God of change, may we follow your patterns of reshaping, and refining to make this evolving earth whole.


(Sojourners, 18may22)

As is, the earth, the world,  the cosmos -- sitting spellbound, awaiting complete attention.

demos crazy

 If all votes are in

No one will be elected

One too few, one more

chirping floats through sunlight at window

 I’ve sleep-walked through much of my life. Lost sight of what is right in front of me.  

5. Ego dormívi, et soporátus sum:

                         5. I lie down and sleep;

et exsurréxi, quia Dóminus suscépit me.

                              I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. 

(-from Psalm 3)

What? Did you say something? 

I can almost hear what is being said beyond this soporific self.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

to be part of a chair

At Sunday Evening Practice we listened to Richard Kearney talk about Anatheism, Returning to God After God. 

We had to stretch.

I'm also reading from The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, by Yoram Hazony. 

Another stretch.

Chris from Augusta sends me talk by Jonathan Pageau:

In order for the leg of a chair to be part of a chair it has to sacrifice itself to the higher purpose. It has to. Because it can't just be a leg of a chair it has to participate in the higher pattern, and so, the highest point of the pattern is the negation of identity..." 

(from, The Symbolic World, A Lecture by Jonathan Pageau, you tube, beginning at 1:45:00)

I'm listening carefully.

There's a way, [he says,] that that which is above sacrifices itself for that which is below. The real hierarchy ends in self-sacrifice. That's why the cross is at the top of the hill. (--Pageau)

I stretch. 

Slowly getting up from chair.

Very carefully. 

manifest no

 White people white folks 

white people white people white

Folks — please stop, please … stop

Monday, May 16, 2022

where god’s voice says ‘come in’

 That doorstep where you

Step up, step in through strangeness

Ripe uncertainty 

yes, yes, we see, thank you

 What

Is

After

God

verschwinde mich

 Disappear me now

Drop off mind and body, there’s

nothing left to want

surprise, surprise

 Dallas and Boston

Win handily seventh games —

Playoffs half over

Sunday, May 15, 2022

when nothing else dissolves encrusted words of hate

 French monastic nuns

chant morning lauds psalmist tones

alternative news

after reading deathly scroll

 There’s a cheese danish

downstairs, coffee beans, no guns

no hate, no bigots

Saturday, May 14, 2022

quantum entanglement

 I’m sorry I killed 

you all, my Buffalo friends —

We are a sorry 

lot, aren’t we? Guns and hate

They tell us we are free, ha

Friday, May 13, 2022

to belong to the air

If we were fully absorbed by whatever action or activity we are taking, would we disappear into it? 

 Within seconds he was pureness moving, and he could do anything he liked. He was inside and outside his body at the same time, indulging in what it meant to belong to the air, no future, no past, and this gave him the offhand vaunt to his walk. He was carrying his life from one side to the other. On the lookout for the moment when he wasn’t even aware of his breath.

The core reason for it all was beauty. Walking was a divine delight.everything was rewritten when he was up in the air. New things were possible with the human form. It went beyond equilibrium.

He felt for a moment uncreated. Another kind of awake

(—p.164, in Colum McCann’s novel Let The Great World Spin, about man walking wire between trade center towers in nyc)

If I were to 100% pray and contemplate the root reality of being-itself, would there be nothing else but prayer and contemplation?

Ha!

Anyone around my base is it!

Olly olly in free!

pace

 "Science moves at the pace of science." (--Jen Psaki, at her final White House Press Briefing, 13may22)

She, in this observer'e eye, has been fantastic at her job, and wonderful as a model of civility, verifiable information, and patience.

Alternately, Che meraviglia, pace (Italian)

Or, perhaps, more accurately, Cé chomh iontach, síocháin. (Irish)

How wonderful, peace! (Translated)

are in you am in i are in we

What is true is what is true.

You cannot adequately think it. 

You can, though, feel it, the shared sense of reality or being. 

" Having nothing in itself other than itself, the One knows no other. And this absence of otherness is the experience that we feel as love." (--Rupert Spira, There Is Only One Reality, 13may2022

It is true that I am here with you. Even when not physically proximate to you.

Some are tempted to call this spiritual presence.

I, rather, call it real presence.

Reality, as not two, is one. (But don't make one!)

Thus, we are really present to one another, to everything there is, was, and will be.

It is in this presence we begin to decipher reality, or, by reality's other name, God. 

And each and every additional and distinctive manifestation of reality's effervescent distributive transforming appearances given to our awareness.

(Avoid, a teacher once said, saying "I love you!" It only makes the two of you lonely.)

The poet e.e.cummings said it in a way worth hearing:

the great advantage of being alive 

the great advantage of being alive

(instead of undying)is not so much

that mind no more can disprove than prove

what heart may feel and soul may touch

— the great (my darling)happens to be

that love are in we, that love are in we

 

and here is a secret they never will share

for whom create is less than have

or one times one than when times where —

that we are in love,that we are in love:

with us they’ve nothing times nothing to do

(for love are in we am in i are in you)

 

this world(as timorous itsters all

to call their cowardice quite agree)

shall never discover our touch and feel

–for love are in we are in love are in we;

for you are and i am and we are(above

and under all possible worlds)in love

 

a billion brains may coax undeath

from fancied fact and spaceful time–

no heart can leap,no soul can breathe

but by the sizeless truth of a dream

whose sleep is the sky and the earth and the sea.

For love are in you am in i are in we

(Poem by e.e.cummings) 

His evocative final line...so unlonely. 

telling truth

 The comic book proclaimed “Truth, Justice, and the American Way!” I was a kid then. Who’s kidding now?

Mendacity is as old as time. Propaganda is as old as language. But things feel different — more dangerous — now. The mendacity has a faster metabolism. The propaganda has more outlets, with fewer filters. And for all our inventions, all our advancements, we humans seem more partial than ever to convenient fantasy over thorny truth.

(—Frank Bruni, in The Power of Lies in an Age of Political Fictionnytimes, 12may22)

Studying Metaphysics and Epistemology as undergraduate in Washington DC university in late nineteen sixties, the notion of truth seemed important and intriguing. Whether it was the correspondence theory in western thought, or zen koan in eastern succinctness that “truth is just like this,” there was much to think about.

Narrowly speaking, the correspondence theory of truth is the view that truth is correspondence to, or with, a fact—a view that was advocated by Russell and Moore early in the 20th century. But the label is usually applied much more broadly to any view explicitly embracing the idea that truth consists in a relation to reality, i.e., that truth is a relational property involving a characteristic relation (to be specified) to some portion of reality (to be specified). This basic idea has been expressed in many ways, giving rise to an extended family of theories and, more often, theory sketches. Members of the family employ various concepts for the relevant relation (correspondence, conformity, congruence, agreement, accordance, copying, picturing, signification, representation, reference, satisfaction) and/or various concepts for the relevant portion of reality (facts, states of affairs, conditions, situations, events, objects, sequences of objects, sets, properties, tropes). The resulting multiplicity of versions and reformulations of the theory is due to a blend of substantive and terminological differences.

The correspondence theory of truth is often associated with metaphysical realism. Its traditional competitors, pragmatist, as well as coherentist, verificationist, and other epistemic theories of truth, are often associated with idealism, anti-realism, or relativism. In recent years, these traditional competitors have been virtually replaced (at least from publication-space) by deflationary theories of truth and, to a lesser extent, by the identity theory (note that these new competitors are typically not associated with anti-realism). Still more recently, two further approaches have received considerable attention. One is truthmaker theory: it is sometimes viewed as a competitor to, sometimes as a more liberal version of, the correspondence theory. The other is pluralism: it incorporates a correspondence account as one, but only one, ingredient of its overall account of truth.

(—Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Today, the American way of truth seems to be that truth is a lie. Ask any politician. Ask the post-truth revelers for whom expediency and ambition supplant old fashioned notions of clarity conforming to what is experientially factually so. There are no objective standards (were there ever?) for truthful reasoning. Things are true if someone says they’re true. Plato’s world of ideal forms wherein Truth exists as model for lower tier exemplification is on a dusty shelf. 

Whereas, truth as being “just like this” gives a simpler, perhaps equally unsatisfactory example of why truth is not always desirable. How many disastrous consequences have followed the words, “Can I tell you the truth?”

Lies are the truth these days. There’s an upside down quality to almost anything uttered in public speech — what is concealed equals or exceeds what is revealed in common discourse, political talk, advertisements, and nonfictional writing.

“Just like this” might point out something clear or something murky. 

Perhaps, in either case, some consolation might reside in the absence or diminishment of illusion.

It seems a modest apprehension of what truth might be, namely, what illusion is not..

This via negativa might not arrive at what truth is, but nears what illusion is not.

Zen masters say, “Don’t seek the truth — just drop your opinions.”

語是謗、寂是誑、語寂向上有路在 "Speech is blasphemy, silence a lie. Above speech and silence there is a way out."  

-- I-tuan (義端) one of Nan-ch'uan's great disciples (The Golden Age of Zen 250, 322 n.13)


不着不求 "No clinging, no seeking." (Fujaku, fugu.) 

--Pai-chang (Hyakujõ) (The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 62)

https://sacred-texts.com/bud/zen/sayings.htm

Thursday, May 12, 2022

when leaders show us law cannot touch them

 Our ethics have changed

Much to our disgrace, once we

Cared for each other

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

speak to the regeneration of all things

At Tuesday Evening Conversation we spoke about poetry.

Here's what Shelly says:

Poetry, in a general sense, may be defined to be "the expression of the Imagination:" and Poetry is connate with the origin of man. Man is an instrument over which a series of external and internal impressions are driven, like the alternations of an ever-changing wind over an Æolian lyre; which move it, by their motion, to ever-changing melody.

(--excerpt from A Defence of Poetryby PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY) 

John Keats in a letter to Percy Bysshe Shelly on August 16, 1820, writes:

My Imagination is a Monastery and I am its Monk – you must explain my metap [for metaphysics] to yourself.  

As a monastic, my monastery is foundational imagination. It is my stability. Its grounds are the earth. Its sanctuary the silence of spirit wandering through appearances and phenomenal descriptives of materiality and mystery. 

Where we are asked to greet and rely on fellow humans for communal continuance and constancy. But we are often disappointed. Often it is not compatibility others want, but the incompatibility of hostility and arrogance. It is often difficult to square their words promising a better world with their actions dividing and alienating.

Put no trust in princes,
In mortal men in whom there is no help.
Take their breath, they return to clay
and their plans that day come to nothing.
 

(-from Psalm 146)

Sometimes there is nothing to look forward to. The world they promise has no room for anyone not like them.

Still, we long to see the light bringing others closer to us. The appearance through fog, like sailor on ocean or kayaker on lake experiencing first the loss of perspective, then the lifting of obdurate veiling until, once again, what is there reveals itself to hungry thirsty bodies and worried suspended souls. We long to hear the sound of those whose vibrations have resonated with ours, even from great distances of space, great expanses of time.

We seldom are aware that the dead are not distant from us. That we are not distant from death.

Missing the Dead


I miss the old scrawl on the viaduct,

the crazily dancing letters: BIRD LIVES.

It’s gone now, the wall as clean as forgetting.

I go home and put on a record:

Charlie Parker Live at the Blue Note.

Each time I play it, months or years apart,

the music emerges more luminous;

I never listened so well before.

I wish my parents had been musicians

and left me themselves transformed into sound,

or that I could believe in the stars

as the radiant bodies of the dead.

Then I could stand in the dark, pointing out

my mother and father to all

who did not know them, how they shimmer,

how they keep getting brighter

as we keep moving toward each other.

                 (~ Poem by Lisel Mueller)

In his novel Let The Great World Spin, Colum McCann writes about the character (based on Philippe Petit who walked a wire between the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center on 7August1974). McCann writes: "Tucked inside his cabin doorway a sign: NOBODY FALLS HALFWAY."

Creativity and the creative act, in some, is radical homelessness traversing unimaginable resting places.

For Nikolai Berdyaev, philosophy is many things, but it is in no way an academic exercise performed for one’s peers. The idea of conformity to the opinions of even a highly cultured group repelled him, as it always compromises the essential freedom of the philosopher who sells his birthright for a plate of lentils by appealing to the crowd, however sophisticated its opinions. Berdyaev holds that philosophy is primarily a creative act, and as such it must resist the temptation of acceptance promised by professional approval. As he writes,  

 

The highly cultured man of a certain style usually expresses imitative opinions upon every subject: they are average opinions, they belong to a group, though it may well be that this imitativeness belongs to a cultured élite and to a highly select group [….] Genius has never been completely able to find a place for itself in culture, and culture has always striven to turn genius from a wild animal into a domestic animal.” [1] 

 

The philosopher, as wild animal, has no proper place in the domesticated world of the academy. 

 

Connected to his ideas on creativeness, Berdyaev describes his attention to philosophy as revelation in terms of “active eschatology.” “Active eschatology,” he writes, “is the justification of the creative power in man.” [2] This is so because, “The outpouring of the Spirit, which changes the world, is the activity of the spirit in man himself.” Berdyaev’s active eschatology, then, speaks to the regeneration of all things, or, to adopt explicitly religious terminology, their glorification. The idea of theosis, indeed, tinctures (to use Boehmian language) all of Berdyaev’s thought. This glorification approaching from the future, furthermore, resides in the Coming of Christ which moves toward the present just as history moves toward its arrival, the two converging almost in the way of a supercollider. [3]

(--You Are Here: Nikolai Berdyaev Calls the Eschaton,, Michael Martin, Dec 15, 2020)

Tina alludes to a potential definition of poetry. Her words were different, but her narrative suggested that "Poetry is what is poetry" As if, if you say it is, it is. This has a provenence to the phrasing: The poem is Being written.

Our epics, Genesis, John 1, all stipulate that in the beginning, word.

Imagine that!

Go ahead, 

fall, 

in, 

love!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

one modal pattern ending in a rest

  regularity

of chanted psalms, antiphons,

tones of circumflex

variations of divine

ordo sensibility

levate *

 My prayer is mute

sunlight on left hand, kettle

whistling like sore cat

     * Latin, lift up, rise up

lonely audience in upstairs window

 Ah, there they are, birds

serenade first light, dooryard

concert, cat listens

Monday, May 09, 2022

grace

 Yes…the willingness to be present, see what is taking place, and respond with active compassion to those calling out, or that which calls out, for practical, immediate, and intimate attentive presence.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

sin

 No…the unwillingness to be present in, with, or to, compassion.

finally be home

When you hear me saying "I'm here!"

Remind me of that poem I read on

Mothers' Day about joint custody,

the one that ended:

                                         And so I have 

 

two brains now. Two entirely different brains.        

 

The one that always misses where I’m not, 

 

the one that is so relieved to finally be home.

                             (--from Joint Custody, poem by Ada Limón) 


If you are wondering what the word 'control' means

from the Philip Whalen reference written (no doubt)

inaccurately,  but with respect, re- punctuated:

invisible, and in, complete control, of 

everything

 

It means (to my personal hermeneutic)

the underlying wholesome goodness

rooting what-is itself, as-it-is itself, upholding

and letting go (on) that which was formerly

there, (albeit as transforming and transcending) 


We used to call the residually disappeared myself

"me"

no longer clinging to what ego once described as

thus  (However mis-in-formed)


God, they say, is pure spirit.

Nothing to see here

Move along 

not the one I’d find outside this door

 What do you put your attention on? Flowers and candy? Appreciatory phone calls and fond recall?

This morning, I mother Ukraine. I mother women who want to choose whether to give birth. I mother the ideologically suffocating who crave untenable promises of authoritarian political purity by dissipated personalities who are scary and punctilious in their pretense.

If you google the history of Mother’s Day, the internet will tell you that Mother’s Day began in 1908 when Anna Jarvis decided to honor her mother. But “Mothers’ Day”—with the apostrophe not in the singular spot, but in the plural—actually started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage. Mothers’ Day was not designed to encourage people to be nice to their mothers. It was part of women’s effort to gain power to change modern society.


The Civil War years taught naïve Americans what mass death meant in the modern era. Soldiers who had marched off to war with fantasies of heroism discovered that long-range weapons turned death into tortured anonymity. Men were trampled into blood-soaked mud, piled like cordwood in ditches, or transformed into emaciated corpses after dysentery drained their lives away.


The women who had watched their men march off to war were haunted by its results. They lost fathers, husbands, sons. The men who did come home were scarred in body and mind.


Modern war, it seemed, was not a game.

(—Heather Cox Richardson, in Letters from an American, May 7, 2922)

War and deceit are the antitheses of the modern conception of mothers’ day. 

Yet, why not celebrate mothers everywhere?

Mine sent me a letter that I found under mail slot in hallway on Mother’s Day in 1981 returning to my apartment in Pennsylvania. I’d just returned from her wake and funeral in New York. And there she was in her words. The last of which were, “Love, and Good Luck!”

It’s a useful reminder the crapshoot of current chaos and cultural violence with its moral and legal ambiguity befogging the stumbling consciousnesses seeking solid ground on which to stand and walk and meet each other.

Being is born every instant.

Consciousness is what Being develops.

Loss, relative and relational, is universal experience.

Then, let it all go! Let loss, and gain, absolute and undifferentiated, go its own way. Fall freely.


"NEVER APOLOGIZE; NEVER EXPLAIN"                                                                              

A pair of strange new birds in the maple tree

Peer through the windows,

Mother and father visiting me:

"You are unmarried.

No child begot

Now we are birds, now you've

forgotten us

Although in dreams we visit you

in human shape

 

They speak Homer's language

Sing like Aeschylus

 

The life of a poet: less than 2/3rds of a second

                                                          18:ii :67

                                                                 (Poem by Philip Whalen)


Stay still, right where you are, everything seemingly fallen away, and you, you in that hallow hollow place with no parameters nor defining allocution to steer you elsewhere.

All of it, without destination or dimension, is there. And, you, aren’t, anywhere, else.

Let the hallucinating mob drink their hopes and ambitions, dreams and purifications, blessedness and salvific specialness. So many ways to go somewhere!

For today, go nowhere.

Arrive where you are without baggage nor further destination.

Be gone.

No forwarding address. No accumulated references. No commendations. No titles. No ribbons. No exhausting obituaries. No obsequies. No thing to memorize nor memorialize.

There you are, nowhere to be, no one to be, no longer longing to be.

Walking Beside the Kamogawa, Remembering Nansen and Fudo and Gary’s Poem

Here are two half-grown black cats perched on a
lump of old teakettle brick plastic garbage
ten feet from the west bank of the River.
I won’t save them. Right here Gary sat with dying Nansen,
The broken cat, warped and sick every day of its life,
Puke & drool on the tatami for Gary to wipe up & scold,
“If you get any worse I’m going to have you put away!”
The vet injected an overdose of nemby and for half an hour
Nansen was comfortable.

How can we do this, how can we live and die?
How does anybody choose for somebody else.
How dare we appear in this Hell-mouth weeping tears,
Busting our heads in ten fragments making vows &
promises?

Suzuki Roshi said, “If I die, it’s all right. If I should
live, it’s all right. Sun-face Buddha, Moon-face Buddha.”
Why do I always fall for that old line?

We don’t treat each other any better. When will I
Stop writing it down.

A Vision of the Bodhisattvas

They pass before me one by one riding on animals
“What are you waiting for,” they want to know

Z —, young as he is (& mad into the bargain) tells me
“Some day you’ll drop everything & become a rishi, you know.”

I know
The forest is there, I’ve lived in it
more certainly than this town? Irrelevant—

What am I waiting for?
A change in customs that will take 1000 years to come about?
Who’s to make the change but me?

“Returning again and again,” Amida says

Why’s that dream so necessary? Walking out of whatever house
alone
Nothing but the clothes on my back, money or no
Down the road to the next place the highway leading to the
mountains
From which I absolutely must come back

What business have I to do that?
I know the world and I love it too much and it
Is not the one I’d find outside this door

(Poem by Philip Whalen)

Here’s my bastardized recollection of another Whalen line John Maloney pointed out to me in Cambridge MA about a half century ago:

Invisible, and in 

        complete control 

of everything

Saturday, May 07, 2022

flagellum corruptionis *

 I remain in this chair

tree in soil

roots without need for air


if all is good, fine

I'd like to think so

just to say I thought so


all the misinformation

and the priggish cogs

clog stairways to the roof


these men, these women

snarl so virulent and slavish

now that power has rotted them

...   ...   ...

                           * the scourge of corruption

Friday, May 06, 2022

cancelling an appointment with nothing

If there is an afterlife

I’ll be disappointed —

    (Someone finds that funny)

I’m not laughing, just bemused

the dark, too, blooms and sings

Reading book, This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for American Democracy, by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns 

Scribd says:

This is the authoritative account of an eighteen-month crisis in American democracy that will be seared into the country’s political memory for decades to come. With stunning, in-the-room detail, New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns show how both our political parties confronted a series of national traumas, including the coronavirus pandemic, the January 6 attack on the Capitol, and the political brinksmanship of President Biden’s first year in the White House.

From Donald Trump’s assault on the 2020 election and his ongoing campaign of vengeance against his fellow Republicans, to the behind-the-scenes story of Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate and his bitter struggles to unite the Democratic Party, this book exposes the degree to which the two-party system has been strained to the point of disintegration. More than at any time in recent history, the long-established traditions and institutions of American politics are under siege as a set of aging political leaders struggle to hold together a changing country.

Martin and Burns break news on most every page, drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before-seen documents and recordings from the highest levels of government. The book asks the vitally important (and disturbing) question: can American democracy, as we know it, ever work again?

I might be naïve, but I remain flummoxed and disturbed at the former president's blatant antagonism toward anything civil, respectful, or thoughtful in the carrying out of presidential duties or leadership integrity. He just didn't care. His only obsession was with himself, his increasing of his personal wealth, and capturing the adulation of everyone or anyone.

And it is, God help us, not over.

It is a good time to become a contemplative mystic.

Or read, Gott sei dank, poetry.

To Know the Dark

              by Wendell Berry

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.

To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,

and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,

and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.


-- from Soul Food: Nourishing Poems for Starved Minds, Edited by Neil Astley / Edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce

(With thanks to Doris for sending Berry.)

Thursday, May 05, 2022

what you want to do

Golfers are back. 

Can't walk Samoset any more until autumn cold sets in. 

Window, however,  can stay open all night.

The cat likes that.  

“The American dream is no longer just to get rich quick, but also to enjoy doing it, the new captains of industry offer various best-selling decalogue for achieving this goal. Their tips range from philosophical (learn from your failures) to the practical (never handle the same piece of paper twice). There’s one insight into both productivity and satisfaction that they inevitably share, however: the importance of laser like attention to your goal, be it building a better mousetrap or raising cattle. Unless you can concentrate on what you want to do and suppress distractions, it’s hard to accomplish anything, period. 
(— Winifred Gallagher in Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life)

Someone ate through plastic opening of bird feeder. Or pecked through. Spring redwing blackbirds arrived and flooded the zone. Green metal one holds true.

 Reading about acquaintance Franciscan hermit sister in Gallagher's Spiritual Genius series of interviews (2002). She begins book with:

A man questioned abbot Nistero: "What good work shall I do?" And he answered, "All works are not equal. The Scripture saith that Abraham was hospitable, and God was with him. And Elias loved quiet, and God was with him. And David was humble, and God was with him. What therefore thou findest that thy soul desireth in following God, that do, and keep thy heart."

(--Verba Seniorum (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Epigraph to Spiritual Genius, The Mastery of Life's Meaning)

 Do you know what you want to do?

(Dog moves from rug to green-bed by cabinet. Snores.)

I don't. Want. To do. Anything.  (At least, not today.)

Letter from prison to read. My thirty-plus year compañero. (He was in first college course I taught there.)

He writes about ghosts. He's ok with ghosts.  He says they want to be recognized, can be great friends, and can understand and respect boundaries set by the living.  (As we define 'the living.') He says there is no death. We've been talking with and writing each other a long time now. He wants to help folks be less afraid.That's a good thing.

I trust he will keep his heart. 

In the stillness of this room, I wish him well. I write him and tell him so.

I'll go walk with the dog soon. It's nice to have been so quiet all day. Whoever visited with me in this still space was welcomed and respectful.

I am not afraid, neither of presence, nor of absence.

At least, I suspect that's the case.

in vacant or in pensive mood,

The world of law and leaks becomes tedious. 

The elbows and ankles of millionaires running up and down basketball courts are uninteresting. 

The craven ambition of cynical rightwing or leftwing media stars snug inside lucrative contracts is dispiriting.

One has to look around.

To remember where, what, and who one is.


 I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

                                        (--Poem by William Wordsworth) 

In this chair. Looking out. As cars pass. And sun warms porch. Dog snores. 
It is the anniversary of my mother's death. Some forty one years gone by.
Very little sound. 

Peasant woman in babushka walks road aside thatched roofs.

Arab in headscarf meditates in morning light.

Tibetan monks lean over sand mandala.

Dalai Lama sits well within himself.

Peter's banner with fish and ribboned cross ascends wall.

We are orphans and children of orphans.

Given birth by a moment long since disappeared.

Having nothing to call our own.

Holding on with empty hands.