Tuesday, January 21, 2020

instead of briers

This trial of Donald Trump might spell the end of the Senate as we’ve known it.

As has the end of the presidency been already accomplished to date these last three years.

Perhaps the judiciary, our system of jurisprudence in the courts, will also prove to have been dealt a mortal blow.

I am not optimistic the structure and system of the United States these past two centuries will survive the heavy load of disreputable and dysfunctional weight laid upon it.

I’m unsure. Men with guns roam streets of Virginia. Vitriol spews from airways condemning politicians and intelligence agencies, Democrats and Republicans, whites and blacks, rich and poor, religious and not religious, the arrogant and the humble cannot recognize each other and threaten to castle shoot each other dead. Division and destruction has become the refuge of the ignorant.

I turn to Isaiah.

Isaiah 55 New International Version (NIV)

Invitation to the Thirsty

55 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
    for an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.”

Monday, January 20, 2020

the active theology of martin luther king remains

Responding to The Agitated M.L.K. I Came to Love, op-ed by Charles Blow, 20jan20, NYTimes:
He was extraordinary. I lived in Wash DC studying at CUA as a Franciscan Friar the day he was shot and killed. I posed a brother seated on floor in front of tabernacle with front page of Washington Post facing camera. The composition of the photo was instructive -- here was another Christ murdered for preaching peace, brotherhood, service, and equality. That was 52 years ago. MLK was an inspiration and a model of active theology. My heart remains sad. My hope is dimmed. But my love for him and those he urged us to honor and serve remains deep and enduring.
 A good birth --

'day to you, Martin! 

do you pray often

I never





Out to pee

At three

The unsettled

Max Manjushri —

Wood to cold brown

Stove, medieval music

Low from device

Himself on couch

A stopover, a pause

This busy head of his

A chance to pray

Dooryard psaltery

Sunday, January 19, 2020

quia per sanctam crucem tuam

What if every

human being,

arms out wide,

legs straight down,

were to be seen

as a cross?

What or

who dies

at you

on you

within you

every day?

And what

story would

you tell


the realization?

heartbreaking analysis

Watching Frontline's America's Great Divide: From Obama to Trump.

The current president as the manifestation of division.

Deficiency embodied.

Discord and chaos.



Our time.

Our life.


nowhere, by itself, everywhere

God is


is God

Saturday, January 18, 2020

gone is nothing there

Because we spoke of this last evening and this morning:
The key word is BODHI, a feminine noun in the vocative case, which means awakening. All the other words are also in the vocative feminine and therefore modify BODHI.
GATE means gone. 
PARAGATE means gone to the further shore and is a stock Sanskrit expression used by Jains and Buddhists to refer to arahants. (The word PARA means the bank of a river opposite to the one on which one is presently standing.) 
PARASAMGATE means completely gone to the further shore. (The prefix SAM is intensive in meaning: completely, thoroughly, altogether.) 
SVAHA is an indeclinable particle from Vedic Sanskrit. It is said to be the name of the wife of Agni, the god of fire. It is used at the end of a recitation that accompanies a burnt offering made at a Vedic sacrifice (rather as "amen" is used at the end of a prayer in Christian liturgy). It cannot really be translated, since it is a performative word rather than a word that conveys meaning. 
The whole mantra, literally translated, comes out a bit like this: "Oh awakening that has gone, gone, gone to the further shore, gone completely to the further shore. Amen." 
More loosely translated, it means this: "You Brahmin priests with your fancy fire sacrifices aren't the only ones who get people to heaven. We can do it without killing animals and wasting trees. So there." 
Richard Hayes
Religious Studies
McGill University 


Our current



deficient and



seared and 


soul —

How long,

O Lord?

How long?

Friday, January 17, 2020

feast of anthony the hermit

He found his way

In the desert —

With his help

May I find

Nothing other

Beside this


To feel another’s suffering

To act with kindness toward

One we do not know we are —

This is the change

From something to nothing

Where what is truly itself

Lacks separation, is fused

With the whole of what is

The reality if this

Existence —

Pray for it!


What’s that line — about
not being able to solve
a problem using the same
terms that created it?

I want different terms.
It seems we’ve given up
on kindness, charity, civility,
and hope. What to do?

I will not buy a gun
Will not sharpen cynicism
Will not despair the
Ugliness of dismissal.

I will do the useless thing —
notice when angry
Hate no one who hates me
Think of God, of love, of

The inner way of incarnation
Of what is wholly here
Completely within
The nondual us we are

moon waning

When everything

Fell away

Nothing held


Thursday, January 16, 2020

a dimension beyond

We believe
There is an empty

Between all
See and know

We’re not
We’re there

Which is
Now that
You’ve found me

Let me know
How I can be

Thanks —
(you can
Call me

nostra apologia pro vita patria

It is hard to believe and more difficult to experience the unwillingness of so many to acknowledge the deficiencies and unsuitability of Donald J.Trump to carry out the responsibilities and functioning leadership of the office of president of the United States.

Observation and evidence confirm his intellectual and temperamental unreliability to guide this nation at this time with the issues needing mature and evenhanded attention and resolution.

I am disappointed both for him and in him. But the time for action is now.

Nor do I think Vice President Mike Pence has distinguished himself in supporting and carrying out the agenda of the president in matters of ethical and legal failings worldwide. This includes the failure of the attorney general William Barr to act in a judicious and responsible manner throughout.

It is a dangerous and difficult time for the nation.

One can only trust the other branches of our tripartite governance set up by our founders will rise to balance and offset the collapsing executive to rectify and reset aright the government going forward.

If prayer were an assistance, it will be offered. If love of country were to exceed partisan pandering, now is the time. If truth still matters, it is time to reveal its hidden strength.

Many people have died to protect and secure the liberty and justice necessary to exist as a vital and meaningful place to live and thrive as a country in this world — it is time to honor that determined sacrifice, to do what is right, and to ensure we become again a nation of laws and not a cult of personality ignoring what is right, good, and true.

Shalom, peace, is what we seek.

Domine non sum dignus, still, we seek your presence among us.

Inshallah, we will be upright and determined.

Gassho, we greet all in their effort to live for one another and for the love of what is true.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

sine finis


walked from house
chamber to senate

with articles of

a liturgical procession
carrying sins

through rotunda
where dead heroes

are remembered.
There is no solemnity

like that of formal
pronouncement and

something that lasts
forever, something not



He was born among us

Someone had him murdered —

All are punishéd!

Sorrow burdens our souls

no kidding

Stop me

If you’ve



Tuesday, January 14, 2020

of a tuesday night

anyone doubt

the shallow depth

his words wade

the ugly

attempt to


it is a curse

to live

these awful days

when honor



cemetery to ocean

Winding path

Through empty resort —

Tuesday walk

fun era (without the) l


Living being

In dream —
Waiting for me

To say


Monday, January 13, 2020


You don’t say

Should be

Motto for hermits


mind changes

quick as ...

(never mind)

discussing sandpaper

Slip of paper falls from manumitting book to cluttered desk.

 Here is what is there:

they cannot tell
what I know --
pencils in incense can
(22jan89 )

friends at dinner
discussing sandpaper
wearing words of students

these final seconds
then no more, light --
night death poem

“Art is essentially the affirmation, the blessing, and the deification of existence.” 
(Friedrich Nietzsche)

Sunday, January 12, 2020

mystery of imagination

How else might it be said?
“Behold the Lamb of God: behold Him Who taketh away the sins of the world.” 
And my First Communion began to come towards me, down the steps. I was the only one at the altar rail. Heaven was entirely mine—that Heaven in which sharing makes no division or diminution. But this solitariness was a kind of reminder of the singleness with which this Christ, hidden in the small Host, was giving Himself for me, and to me, and, with Himself, the entire Godhead and Trinity—a great new increase of the power and grasp of their indwelling that had begun only a few minutes before at the font. 
I left the altar rail and went back to the pew where the others were kneeling like four shadows, four unrealities, and I hid my face in my hands.

(-Excerpt from: "The Seven Storey Mountain" by Thomas Merton. Scribd.)
To face reality is an uncertain act of courage and imagination.

Nothing  exists until it’s face looks out into shadow darkness wherein faint arising light from emerging seeing insinuates itself through the expanse spreading out before our primary glance.

Singleness of diversity with no division or diminution.

Communion — a reception of reality with trust pervading the immense unknown — saying ‘yes’ to what is beyond fathoming.

« There is only one issue – one in the whole world: to provide men again with spiritual significance; to rain on them something like a Gregorian chant. ».   (Saint-Exupéry)
Rain is falling everywhere.

saurday evening hospice

Four hours in low lit room

she slept with twilight breath—

in my hand, beads

through mind, exhortatory

soundless mantra prayer

Saturday, January 11, 2020

not yet here

Every conversation
is an appointment
with the unknown

If we listen
we hear
What Is to come

Some call reality
God — the not yet
coming to be

You are not just
what God is doing —
You are not yet here

Friday, January 10, 2020

nothing more than names

Friday Evening Conversation was all annoyance.




Apropos of nothing, this:
We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth from whatever source it comes to us, even if it is brought to us by former generations and foreign peoples. For him who seeks the truth there is nothing of higher value than truth itself.
—Abu Yūsuf Yaʻqūb ibn ʼIsḥāq aṣ-Ṣabbāḥ al-Kindī1 
“East” and “West” are nothing more than names applied to this or that place according to the situation. There is no such thing as occupying the center and determining East and West. If we do not respect the Way of the Buddha because he is a barbarian, then shall we also not respect the ways of Shun, who was born among the Eastern tribes, and King Wen, who was born among the Western tribes? Can we disparage a person’s Way just on the basis of his being foreign?
 (— epigraph to Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in Early Twentieth-Century German Thought, by Eric S. Nelson)
I’ll settle for truth itself.

It is always at home wherever it visits. 

Thursday, January 09, 2020




describe it —

I’d say

more like


the kind





from which it came

              (to remind myself) 

Make a place to sit down. 
Sit down. Be quiet. 
You must depend upon 
affection, reading, knowledge, 
skill – more of each 
than you have – inspiration, 
work, growing older, patience, 
for patience joins time 
to eternity. Any readers 
who like your poems, 
doubt their judgment. 
Breathe with unconditional breath 
the unconditioned air. 
Shun electric wire. 
Communicate slowly. Live 
a three-dimensioned life; 
stay away from screens. 
Stay away from anything 
that obscures the place it is in. 
There are no unsacred places; 
there are only sacred places 
and desecrated places. 
Accept what comes from silence. 
Make the best you can of it. 
Of the little words that come 
out of the silence, like prayers 
prayed back to the one who prays, 
make a poem that does not disturb 
the silence from which it came.

(—Poem by Wendell Berry) 

from outside the huckster and barker tent

 Illusionists mesmerize us into looking away from what is actually there. It appears politics in Washington DC is conducting a carnival shifting attention from desperate need.
We Americans are locked in political combat and focused on President Trump, but there is a cancer gnawing at the nation that predates Trump and is larger than him. Suicides are at their highest rate since World War II;  one child in seven is living with a parent suffering from substance abuse; a baby is born every 15 minutes after prenatal exposure to opioids; America is slipping as a great power.   
We have deep structural problems that have been a half century in the making, under both political parties, and that are often transmitted from generation to generation. Only in America has life expectancy now fallen three years in a row, for the first time in a century, because of “deaths of despair.”   
“The meaningfulness of the working-class life seems to have evaporated,” Angus Deaton, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, told us. “The economy just seems to have stopped delivering for these people.” Deaton and the economist Anne Case, who is also his wife, coined the term “deaths of despair” to describe the surge of mortality from alcohol, drugs and suicide.  
(--Who Killed the Knapp Family?  Across America, working-class people — including many of our friends — are dying of despair. And we’re still blaming the wrong people. By Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, NYTimes, 9jan20)
Thank you, Kristopher and WuDunn, for this reminder from outside the huckster and barker tent.


In middle
of night
Dog, moonlight —

Coat on, off
on, off

He barks
at bald mountain
in wind white 

Wednesday, January 08, 2020


There are moments

When moonlight on snow

Is all we know

human; dignity

 This fragment from interview in Salon between Chauncey DeVega and Henry Giroux:
What are your thoughts about the professional centrists and other “mainstream” voices in the news media? They dance around the dire realities of what Trumpism represents because they are invested in giving their public some false hope. As an example, the most prominent opinion-makers took almost three years to finally describe Donald Trump as what he is — a fascist, a serial liar, a racist, a misogynist, corrupt, mentally unwell and a demagogue. But guess what? Over the following days and weeks they just moved on. There is little if any follow-through and commitment to the truth.  
Their ethical frameworks are organized around very specific economic and political interests. Those professional centrist pundit types are basically showmen and show-women. They are examples of a politics of disengagement and a politics of theater. Politics is emptied of any substance. It's all about the spectacle.  
Therefore, any questions of social or ethical responsibility are made meaningless in relation to their own complicity in the system. These professional centrists have a stake in the system. They benefit from it. Do you really think that they care about the social costs that the system produces? They could care less. 
These people are nothing more than charlatans who defend the system by making the claim to be opposed to it, when in fact they are not opposed at all. They're basically complicit with it.  
A prime example of the politics of theater and distraction is the new movie “Bombshell,” which is about Fox News and its sexual harassment scandal. The political work being done by such a movie is very dangerous because it attempts to humanize the agents of fascism.  
I'm not interested in personal stories that basically obliterate questions of politics and power and the structures which maintain them. These stories function as disimagination machines which reduce politics and serious concerns down to “Do you like these people in the movie? See, they're not too bad. Oh, they're just like us." That is just nonsense. 
They are “humanoids.” They are part of a system that wages enormous destruction on people's minds, their lives, their livelihoods, on their families, and on their quest to have a life filled with dignity. I am not interested in evil being humanized. Instead, I am interested in understanding the ideological and structural forces that actually produce evil. 
What does it mean to be a full human being? How do we make the distinction between a “humanoid” and a full human being?  
A humanoid is a person who no longer occupies a moral universe. A humanoid is an individual who has removed him or herself from any sense of ethical and social responsibility to others. The process of making people into humanoids turns people into a type of machine. It turns them into something deadly. It turns them into people who don't feel. It turns them into people who are basically immersed in a culture of cruelty — and in some ways these humanoids even seem to enjoy the pain and rage and the separation and despair they perpetrate on others.  
Humanoids are people who are basically sadomasochists, who function in a way that aligns their own personhood with a system which says that questions of compassion, justice, caring, love, courage and social responsibility are a liability. 
In total, humanoids both produce a culture of cruelty and misery but also literally occupy its center. 
(--from, Democracy fatigue and how to fight it: Philosopher Henry Giroux on life in the age of Trump Are we human beings or robotic "humanoids"? For Giroux, fighting fascism is about being fully conscious and awake, by CHAUNCEY DEVEGA, JANUARY 7, 2020 12:00PM (UTC), Salon)
It occurs to me that this explains my hesitation when someone says "I'm only human." My response, typically, is "No, it's a matter of not yet being human."

Listening to aggrandizing political rhetoric by an indisputably unqualified leader, one recognizes the example of aggressive not-yet-human on display for all to see.


When it arrives, we'll know.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Много благословений! (many blessings!)

The Russian Orthodox celebrate Christmas today, 7jan20.

Поздравляем с рождением Христа!
S rozhdyestvom Hristovym!  
(“Congratulations on the birth of Christ!”)

not present, not absent

He words this in a way new and intriguing:
With the dead, for example, you can say they're not present, but that doesn't mean they're absent, that they live in some middle space between those two extremes. 
(--Pico Iyer: Inside Japan as an Outsider, Tricycle Talks podcast, April 29, 2019)
Between present and absent.

A common unknown field. 

'ishah nevi'ah

Where is our "prophet woman"?

In this age of male ignorance and calculated stupidity, surely there will arise an 'ishah nevi'ah who will speak forth truth and act with wisdom during this time of crisis and irrational faith in a severely damaged man and similarly damaged institutions of governance.

Speak forth truth.

Pray it will be heard.

And we (might) have the courage to act -- with intelligence, kindness, and cheerful gratefulness.

hospice for those in last few days


Sees trump

As a dead man

Sees nothing


(deep bow)

Silence is

Not what you think

It is

Monday, January 06, 2020

a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something

I have come

to see you

as you

not me


as you are


...   ...   ...

< Late Greek epipháneia, Greek: apparition, equivalent to epi- epi- + phan- (stem of phaínein to appear) + -eia -y3


  • (initial capital letter) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day. 
  • an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity. 
  • a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience. 
  • a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.  (Dictionary.com)


What did the wanderers find?

We call it Epiphany.

What did the so-called Magi find?

And what does such revelation mean in a time of dark ignorance?

Yes, dark ignorance.

It threatens the destruction of almost everything — look at it — it smiles and swaggers.

What did they find?

What was their experience?

Where do we go?

Where wander?

Sunday, January 05, 2020


Light snow (yes) but no morning hospitality today.

The chief cook and bottle-washer ain’t right yet.

Yes for Sunday Evening Practice.

what are you looking at

Two thoughts:

We see God

By looking through

God’s eyes

At one another

We get to see God

By looking at

What God is

Looking at

Through our eyes

Saturday, January 04, 2020

meditate on this

"The days of killing are over. We do not kill people who kill people to show that killing is wrong."    (-John Dear, Ankeny, Iowa, Catholic Peace Ministry, Bishop Dingman Peace Award ceremony, 2016, 55seconds in) 
Peace now.

Sanity now.

Damn the fools and unbelievers, the power hungry and narcissists who fail miserably with their unfeeling unloving arrogance. They have nothing of value to teach us.

two by adrienne rich, one by robert creeley

Both at Friday afternoon Quarry Hill’s Poetry, Tea, and Thee, and Friday Evening Conversation at the hermitage, these poems took us far and deep.

What Kind of Times Are These

There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.

I've walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don't be fooled
this isn't a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.

I won't tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

And I won't tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it's necessary
to talk about trees.

(--Adrienne Rich, "What Kind of Times are These" from Collected Poems: 1950-2012. Copyright © 2016 by The Adrienne Rich Literary Trust.  Copyright © 1995 Adrienne Rich.)

...   ...   ...

The Mirror

Seeing is believing.
Whatever was thought or said,

these persistent, inexorable deaths
make faith as such absent,

our humanness a question,
a disgust for what we are.

Whatever the hope,
here it is lost.

Because we coveted our difference,
here is the cost. 

(—Poem by Robert Creeley)

...   ...   ...


My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,
with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.

(--#463, Singing the Living Tradition
Original source: From Dream of a Common Language, 1978)

Friday, January 03, 2020

the coming war with anybody


Are in

The air...

Like a

Coin trick



Right in

Front of

Our eyes

Thursday, January 02, 2020

leonard and thomas sound us

Ring the bells that still can ring.*
"Bells are meant to remind us that God alone is good, that we belong to Him, that we are not living for this world.  
"They break in upon our cares in order to remind us that all things pass away and that our preoccupations are not important.  
"They speak to us of our freedom, which responsibilities and transient cares make us forget. 
"They are the voice of our alliance with the God of heaven.  
"They tell us that we are His true temple. They call us to peace with Him within ourselves."                
  (-- Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, 67) in louie,louie
Thats how the light gets in.*

...   ...   ...
The future is no excuse for an abdication of your own personal responsibilities towards yourself and your job and your love. “Ring the bells that still can ring”: they’re few and far between but you can find them. 
This situation does not admit of solution of perfection. This is not the place where you make things perfect, neither in your marriage, nor in your work, nor anything, nor your love of God, nor your love of family or country. The thing is imperfect. 
And worse, there is a crack in everything that you can put together: Physical objects, mental objects, constructions of any kind. But that’s where the light gets in, and that’s where the resurrection is and that’s where the return, that’s where the repentance is. It is with the confrontation, with the brokenness of things.
* Leonard Cohen, in The Anthem. See LIGHT IN THE DARK