Monday, May 22, 2017

is there, you ask, something wrong with the world


There is a choice

Lies or truth


Remain locked, or

Walk free

Whether enclosed or

Wandering open

Sunday, May 21, 2017

again,,.the blindness?

Memory. "The Keepers".

The awful ignorance and pathetic complicity of abuse.

Makes the thought of avenging reciprocity against perpetrators surprisingly attractive.

No authority can be trusted.

We are stopping into a very dangerous deficiency.

The perverse are no longer safe.

Nor are the compromised.

Why, again,,.the blindness?

Saturday, May 20, 2017



When two

Need one

To transcend conflict

Beyond, dancing


Birds don't care about politics.

Morning comes, they sing.

They fly to feeder & eat.

It is spring.

Green grass & budding leaf.



Friday, May 19, 2017

untidy pachyderm





Why not

Start now

Thursday, May 18, 2017

two ways of finding out

if I

I wake


From the Netherlands: 
"And now we are very tired and we must find the way to normal life again." (WvdB)
After a death. A home vigil. A cremation service.

A new and empty space.

Domine labia mea aperies et os meum adnuntiabit laudem tuam

Mourning Doves at first hint of light

Monk-chant the morning

Recitative dawn voices background

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

we're still a nation of laws, right

Turn the page

The story changes


Molasses cookies and coconut milk ice cream

A temporary turnaround

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

this is not a typical situation

The future of this country

Moment by moment is called into question

Except for three men who whistle past the graveyard

Mr Ryan, Mr McConnell, Mr Trump

It is nighttime

nada más

Question Zen; there's no answer.

Question God; no One answers.

Question Self; one knows nothing.

Ask no question; get no response.

Monday, May 15, 2017

no, we can’t see

We might think the least of our worries is a president who lacks the ordinary skills of a united states president.

But it could be more.

That’s what some are frightened about.

If it is intentional -- the destruction of trust, the annihilation of governance, the sabotaging of people for the gain of the powerful -- then we have a serious conceit and deceit infiltrating civic stability.

Maybe the course of this country has been run and is exhausted.

How impotent our elected officials!

What will be next?

oh, that’s what happens

At 8:24am at Saturday Morning Practice, the following was said:
“The thinking mind having exploded in the mouth.” (SH)
Says it well. 

a minute ago

I do not hear ghosts

Nor God

I hear rain

On porch roof

4:09 am

Remembering 3:16

And wondering what 'giv-

ing' one's 'only son'


Sunday, May 14, 2017

m (om h) ère

she brought



God's name

is "here"

so tell me,

if one's mother

makes here


how can anyone

say they've

never seen


no accounted for

When I wasn't

a monastic,

Nothing mattered.

Now a monastic

Nothing matters --

The difference?

I disappeared


Present and

Of no account-

ed for



No is not


Saturday, May 13, 2017


Maybe it doesn't matter what the politicians say or do in Washington.

Maybe it does.

In the middle of the muddle they manufacture it is hard to tell.

Friday, May 12, 2017

a vision softly creeping

We need a new language.

Let's call it a language of presence.

It speaks and hears experience.

Beyond words, emotion, and thought.

It resides in the intelligence of the present moment revealing itself to those with ears and eyes.

It is the place where particular languages abandon their differences in order to empathetically become that which is beyond difference.

Our new language is the next sound we hear.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

elsewhere life is here


what we call

death is




an ancient enmity

Against Certainty

by Jane Hirshfield
There is something out in the dark that wants to correct us.
Each time I think “this,” it answers “that.”
Answers hard, in the heart-grammar’s strictness.
If I then say “that,” it too is taken away.
Between certainty and the real, an ancient enmity.
When the cat waits in the path-hedge,
no cell of her body is not waiting.
This is how she is able so completely to disappear.
I would like to enter the silence portion as she does.
To live amid the great vanishing as a cat must live,
one shadow fully at ease inside another.
(Source: Poetry Foundation; Jane Hirshfield. After. Copyright 2006 by Jane Hirschfield)
As is.

Source of learning.

One seeking wisdom.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

this is water

This is my favorite part about philosophy:
There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how's the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes,
“What the hell is water?”
There, in a nutshell, or small pond, is our study.

between certainty and the real hides presence

Feels like heart is stopping.


Give it a rest.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

watch this white house

Is it a coup?

Or revolution?

Or a cornered brat?

Monday, May 08, 2017

it's the right thing to do

Are you

Get some

I will

Sunday, May 07, 2017

if we define what the true and the false are

These are good words:
Aristotle defined truth in words of one syllable: "If a man says of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, he speaks the truth; if he says of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, he does not speak the truth." Defining truth is easy, finding it is harder.) 

ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ μεταξὺ ἀντιφάσεως ἐνδέχεται εἶναι οὐθέν, ἀλλ᾽ ἀνάγκη ἢ φάναι ἢ ἀποφάναι ἓν καθ᾽ ἑνὸς ὁτιοῦν. [25] δῆλον δὲ πρῶτον μὲν ὁρισαμένοις τί τὸ ἀληθὲς καὶ ψεῦδος. τὸ μὲν γὰρ λέγειν τὸ ὂν μὴ εἶναι ἢ τὸ μὴ ὂν εἶναι ψεῦδος, τὸ δὲ τὸ ὂν εἶναι καὶ τὸ μὴ ὂν μὴ εἶναι ἀληθές, ὥστε καὶ ὁ λέγων εἶναι ἢ μὴ ἀληθεύσει ἢ ψεύσεται: ἀλλ᾽ οὔτε τὸ ὂν λέγεται μὴ εἶναι ἢ εἶναι οὔτε τὸ μὴ ὄν.At vero nec medium contradictionis nihil esse contingit, sed necessarium aut dicere aut negare unum de uno quod>cumque. Palam autem primum quidem diffmientibus quid  verum et * falsum. Dicere namque ens non esse aut hoc esse falsum *, ens autem esse et non ens non esse verum *; quare et dicens * esse aut non verum dicet aut mentietur; sed neque ens dicit non esse aut esse neque non ens,Chapter 7But on the other hand there cannot be an intermediate between contradictories, but of one subject we must either affirm or deny any one predicate. This is clear, in the first place, if we define what the true and the false are. To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true; so that he who says of anything that it is, or that it is not, will say either what is true or what is false; but neither what is nor what is not is said to be or not to be.
--Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book 4, Ch.7
We need simple words. We need new words. So to be able to speak what is revealing itself constantly before our faces in our seeing and in our hearing.

This is why we study. This is why we converse.

What is true matters.

What is false matters.

And the courage to distinguish.

is silence nothing

I ask myself: Would I be interested in living a life of prayer?
"Souls of prayer are souls of great silence "-Mother Teresa
My self, having become more stupid and ignorant than I can remember, thought a minute.

Then another minute.

Is there anything you wish to say?

(Nothing is heard.)

Saturday, May 06, 2017

whether Heidegger’s Being and Time, or Dogen’s Time-Being

Uji: The Time-Being, by Eihi Dogen 
Translated by Dan Welch and Kazuaki Tanahashi
from: The Moon in a Dewdrop; writings of Zen Master Dogen

An ancient buddha said:
For the time being stand on top of the highest peak.
For the time being proceed along the bottom of the deepest ocean.
For the time being three heads and eight arms.
For the time being an eight- or sixteen-foot body.
For the time being a staff or whisk.
For the time being a pillar or lantern.
For the time being the sons of Zhang and Li.
For the time being the earth and sky. 
"For the time being" here means time itself is being, and all being is time. A golden sixteen-foot body is time; because it is time, there is the radiant illumination of time. Study it as the twelve hours of the present. "Three heads and eight arms" is time; because it is time, it is not separate from the twelve hours of the present. 
Even though you do not measure the hours of the day as long or short, far or near, you still call it twelve hours. Because the signs of time's coming and going are obvious, people do not doubt it. Although they do not doubt it, they do not understand it. Or when sentient beings doubt what they do not understand, their doubt is not firmly fixed. Because of that, their past
doubts do not necessarily coincide with the present doubt. Yet doubt itself is nothing but time. 

God; Zen: definition

Perhaps it is the old -- ‘We are made in God’s image’ that is the reason that people fall into the extreme vanity of imagining that God looks like them. (DP)

Responding to student:
At times I imagine the definition of God and the definition of Zen are the same: [God] [Zen] is this moment revealing itself for all to see. (--bh)

Friday, May 05, 2017

cheers, Lydia

Lydia, at 101, dies.

A regular at poetry group for 8 years, she read poems about cats.

Today we read Milne, Oliver, Sandberg, Rumi, and two others.

We happily listen to the voiced words.

And to the words without voice.

Thursday, May 04, 2017


Here's what's new:

There are too many people not worth much.

They don't deserve to live.

Do I have that right, Republicans?

transmigration of soles

If last sound I hear is car rolling down hill between ragged and bald mountains then I'll wonder myself into that car and greet driver looking out window to road side newly green grass where discarded aluminum can mud splattered on side by broken branch snapped at final snow plowing converses with fresh dirt unearthed ant mound volcanoed outward alongside layered asphalt edge of which deer tracks imprint unseen passage of dusk migration to brook running strong after days of rain our May sun here at last.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

speaking of treachery

Russia helped Trump win the election.

That's what's being said

Trump doesn't like it said

Nor do we

Like it


And done

60 years ago today, signed treachery

May 3, 1957Discussions between officials of Los Angeles, including City Attorney Roger Arnebergh, and Walter O’Malley were held at the Statler Hotel. The result of this meeting produced a document known as “The Arnebergh Memorandum”. The memo is as follows:
At a conference today, held at the Statler Hotel, discussion was had involving the possibility of bringing Major League Baseball to Los Angeles. It was indicated that the City and County should be prepared to make an offer containing the following provisions:
  1. City and/or County to acquire and deed to the Major League Baseball club 350 acres in Chavez Ravine, including the present 257 acres now owned by the City, the additional acreage to be adjacent thereto. Such 350 acres to comprise an approximate circle, if possible. 
  2. City and/or County to provide access roads. 
  3. City and/or County to superficially pave parking roads.
  4. City to accept dedication of circumferential roads. 
  5. The 350 acres, together with improvements, etc., to go on tax rolls. 
  6. There should be no deed restrictions on use of such 350 acres except that a modern major league stadium will be built and Major League Baseball brought to Los Angeles.
  7. Major League Baseball club, at its sole cost and expense, to build modern baseball stadium and bring major league team to Los Angeles.
  8. Wrigley Field to be deeded to City and/or County in present condition as partial consideration for said 350 acres, with restriction against Major League Baseball being played in Wrigley Field. 
  9. Major League Baseball club, as further consideration for said 350 acres, will agree to construct, maintain and make available to the public, free of charge, various recreational facilities such as tennis courts, junior league baseball field, basketball courts, etc., these to be more specifically determined later.
  10. As further consideration for said 350 acres, Major League Baseball club to agree to admit, at specified times, juveniles to ball games free, as an aid to the City and County in combating juvenile delinquency, etc.

The only good part was that some Los Angeles kids, at those “specified times” would get in free.

Meanwhile. We Brooklyn kids, some of us, looking around, saw the end of loyalty to any sport team for any time to come.

That day the Dodgers died.

I have a blue Dodgers cap with white ‘B’ that stays with me. I used to go to wakes often. It is a memorial.

When Boston fans nod and smile in some fraternal solidarity, I nod as one would on being asked how your mother is who died 10 years before. They have the wrong information, the wrong ‘B’.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

a limited life-span

Two die in car crash yesterday morning on Route 1 in Warren.

An hour later, a half mile from their terrible wreckage, I turn in Warren toward morning philosophy class at the maximum security prison.

We enter the experience of the class:                                                                                                                                                 
     “see everything 
       and ourselves in everything  
               healed and whole 
   (--Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies, Eight Elegy) 
Sorrow rises from that moment and that roadway.

In an instant.

Things turn.

In class we speak about Pierre Hadot, the Epicurians, and the Stoics.

Epicurius’ disciple Metrodorus wrote:
Remember that, although you are mortal and have only a limited life-span, yet you have risen, through the contemplation of nature, to the infinity of space and time, and you have seen all the past and all the future. (Hadot, 1995, p.266) 
We live in the cosmos.

Some, now, more so than before.


people wonder

about heaven

they worry

about hell

I don’t

heaven is where

hell isn’t

and no



knows any-

thing about

what isn’t where

they are

Monday, May 01, 2017


The word ‘affright’ came to mind.

And I remembered:
         Saint Teresa
 Lines Written in Her Breviary 
Let nothing disturb thee, 
Nothing affright thee 
All things are passing; 
God never changeth; 
Patient endurance 
Attaineth to all things; 
Who God possesseth 
In nothing is wanting; 
Alone God sufficeth. 
H. W. Longfellow (translator).
From: Hispanic Anthology: Poems Translated from the Spanish by English and North American Poets. Collected and arranged by Thomas Walsh. G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York, 1920.
There are nights when nothing matters.

When nothing is wanted.





Sunday, April 30, 2017


thank the


ident for


of service

the da-


of clarity

and wor-



hurting hearts




so m-


are deep-




watcher, Kieslowski’s gift

He was there again. In Dekalog 8. In the ethics class. As Elzbieta told story. And Zofia listened. He watched. Looked to one. Then the other.
I do so like this watcher. He gazes. Saying not a word. Just eyes. At junctures of pivotal human moment. He looks. And, maybe, he sees.
I wonder if our engagement with life, with ethics, with one another begins with the foundation of looking.
And listening.
The ground of presence.
So much is unaccountable in human behavior. We hardly know what we will do in any situation. How we will respond. How we will think.
I like this character Kieslowski gives us. He seems gentle. His eyes seem compassionate. 
Even if we wish he'd intervene and save us from drowning, making choices that are troubling, deceiving another -- these wishes belong to us, they are not the purpose of his character.
It is enough for us to contemplate someone is there with us -- a benevolent, if incomprehensible, watchfulness...

Saturday, April 29, 2017

he was a friend of ours

Warren — There is no foul play suspected in the death of a 53-year-old Maine State Prison inmate Saturday morning. 
Deane Brown died shortly before 8 a.m. at the prison in Warren .
The article pointed out that Brown suffered from severe diabetes.

So says Village Soup & Bangor Daily News


you must remember this

Selfless patience.

That was in the Buddhist reading this morning at practice.

Selfless patience.

The willingness and ability to suffer no-self.

As time goes by.

morning haiku

mist, heartbroken fog

wanders Bald Mountain -- will sun

return to hold me

Friday, April 28, 2017

looking for something else, I find this

An email at dawn from night before -- google leaves me orphan.

Instead, this:
Having seen that I was not capable of using all my resources in political action, I returned to my literary activity. There lay the the battlefield suited to my temperament. I wanted to make my novels the extension of my own father's struggle for liberty. But gradually, as I kept deepening my responsibility as a writer, the human problem came to overshadow political and social questions. All the political, social, and economic improvements, all the technical progress cannot have any regenerating significance, so long as our inner life remains as it is at present. The more the intelligence unveils and violates the secrets of Nature, the more the danger increases and the heart shrinks.
  • As quoted in Nikos Kazantzakis (1968) by Helen Kazantzakis, p. 529
 Looking for something else, I find this:

The third duty derives from the failure of the mind or the heart to ultimately satisfy his thirst for meaning, or god.
The moment is ripe: leave the heart and the mind behind you, go forward, take the third step. Free yourself from the simple complacency of the mind that thinks to put all things in order and hopes to subdue phenomena. Free yourself from the terror of the heart that seeks and hopes to find the essence of things. Conquer the last, the greatest temptation of all: Hope. This is the third duty.
Yet the rejection of hope does not imply passivity—we still should strive. “We fight because we like fighting, we sing even though there is no ear to hear us. We work even though there is no master to pay us our wages when night falls.” This should remind us that we are radically impermanent:
I revolve for a moment in air, I breathe, my heart beats, my mind glows, and suddenly the earth opens, and I vanish … Say farewell to all things at every moment … Look about you: All these bodies that you see shall rot. There is no salvation. Look at them well: They live, work, love, hope. Look again: Nothing exists! The generations of man rise from the earth and fall into the earth again.
How should we respond to all this? He answers, as usual, with beautiful prose:
The endeavors and virtues of man accumulate, increase, and mount to the sky. Where are we going? Do not ask! Ascend, descend. There is no beginning and no end … What is our goal? To be shipwrecked! … Without hope, but with bravery, it is your duty to set your prow calmly toward the abyss. And to say: “Nothing exists!” … Neither life nor death. I watch mind and matter hunting each other like two nonexistent erotic phantasms—merging, begetting, disappearing—and I say: “This is what I want!”
We don’t ask where we are going; we proceed; we ascend; we find meaning in the struggle. He concludes this section with what will be his epitaph:
I know now: I do not hope for anything. I do not fear anything, I have freed myself from both the mind and the heart, I have mounted much higher, I am free. This is what I want. I want nothing more. I have been seeking freedom.
(--from, Summary of Kazantzakis’: The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises)  --by John G Messerly,  KazantzakisPhilosophy-Academic)