Monday, November 19, 2018

a particle of love

A man I know has died. His wife had been reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace to him all summer. In the last week she had whittled the novel down to the final 20 pages. They remain.

He died yesterday morning.

They’d just gotten to, she wrote, Prince Andrei’s death and Pierre’s experience on the battlefield and his thoughts on death.

I find this excerpt:
“Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.”
Leo Tolstoy -  (from War and Peace, thoughts of Prince Andrei)
Nor had we finished reading Charles W. Eliot’s John Gilley, One of the Forgotten Millions (1899).

We left Mr. Gilley on Baker Island.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

six from saturday hospice



A hearing presence
Is what I heard —
She might have said healing



End-room is
Vacuumed is
Room end


Smart phone

Rings on table
Of man nearing death
— no one answers



Pink doggy at head of bed
White Minerva in unclutching hand
Just watching, only being held



She’s left the room
I sit with who she’s been
Where she was


Not now

When it happens
It will
H will happen

Saturday, November 17, 2018

saturday morning practice

God is the profound and intimate connection between all beings.

Then, two quotes from Rohr’s blog:
In Thich Nhat Hanh’s words, “Enlightenment for a wave is the moment the wave realizes that it is water. At that moment, all fear of death disappears.” [1] 
And in Stephen Levine’s:
But water is water, no matter what its shape or form. The solidity of ice imagines itself to be its edges and density. Melting, it remembers; evaporating, it ascends. [2] 
So do not be afraid. Death to false self and the end of human life is simply a return to our Ground of Being, to God, to Love. Life doesn’t truly end; it simply changes form and continues evolving into ever new shapes and beauty.
(—Friday, 16nov18, Richard Rohr)
So too, the voice and ear from Maryland attends with us today this practice.

urge for going

The lyric, as sung by Joni Mitchell or Tom Rush said: I get the the urge for going. Here, Richard Rohr quotes Kathleen Dowling Singh:
I have come to believe that the time of dying effects a transformation from perceived tragedy to experienced grace. Beyond that, I think this transformation is a universal process. Although relatively unexamined, the Nearing Death Experience has profound implications. Dying offers the possibility of entering the radiance, the vastness, of our Essential Nature, at least for a few precious moments. . . . 
The Nearing Death Experience implies a natural and conscious remerging with the Ground of Being from which we have all once unconsciously emerged. A transformation occurs from the point of terror at the contemplation of the loss of our separate, personal self to a merging into the deep, nurturing, ineffable experience of Unity. 
My experience is that most people who are dying have no conscious desire for transcendence; most of us do not live at the level of depth where such a longing is a conscious priority. And, yet, everyone does seem to enter a transcendent and transformed level of consciousness in the Nearing Death Experience. . . . It is rather profound and encouraging to contemplate these indications that the life and death of a human being is so exquisitely calibrated as to automatically produce union with Spirit.  
Reference:Kathleen Dowling Singh, The Grace in Dying: A Message of Hope, Comfort, and Spiritual Transformation(HarperOne: 2000), 14, 15. (From Richard Rohr 12nov18
The lyric muses that although we get the urge for going — returning, while alive, to the ground of being — we never seem to go.

Friday, November 16, 2018

snow, here

In maximum security prison, of a Thursday, we read and speak of Berry’s poem:

        by Wendell Berry

Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest. 

Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight. 

                            The sky
is gray. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
not quite. 

                      What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly
falling, and is pleased.

(“VII" by Wendell Berry from This Day. © Counterpoint Press, 2013) 
Even in me, carrying wood in from barn, the echoes of Schubert’s Ave Maria. I am thinking of the lad who will travel back to Vermont through the storm in a few hours.

I am thinking of the man whose hospice room I left, his family gathered, no longer struggling to say the simplest phrase, nearing his death.

Here is what has always been.

And here is what will always be.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

no, really



no names


what is


no more than this

 From St Joseph’s Abbey blog:
I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. 
Whatever you may do, I thank you: 
I am ready for all, I accept all. 
Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures. 
I wish no more than this, O Lord. 
Into your hands I commend my soul; 
I offer it to you 
with all the love of my heart, 
for I love you, Lord, 
and so need to give myself, 
to surrender myself into your hands, 
without reserve, 
and with boundless confidence, 
for you are my Father.
It is 14° degrees outside.

I chant into frigid air at barn door a blessing of name and loving kindness.

I bow to the possibility — the already here and yet to be.

I bring wood in for firebox.

“We are poor passing facts” — wrote Robert Lowell.

We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name. 
(—from poem, Epilogue)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

outside barn at dawn

This from louie, louie, beth cioffoletti’s blog:
Meister Eckhart, the German philosopher, mystic and theologian said, “There is nothing in the world that resembles God as much as silence.”
In essence, Eckhart is saying this: Silence is a privileged entry into the realm of God and into eternal life.  There is a huge silence inside each of us that beckons us into itself, and the recovery of our own silence can begin to teach us the language of heaven.
What is meant by this?
Silence is a language that is infinitely deeper, more far-reaching, more understanding, more compassionate, and more eternal than any other language. In heaven, it seems, there will be no languages, no words. Silence will speak. We will wholly, intimately, and ecstatically hold each other in silence, in perfect understanding.
Words, for all their value, are part of the reason why we can’t do this already. They divide as much as they unite. There is a deeper connection available in silence. Lovers already know this, as do the Quakers whose liturgy tries to imitate the silence of heaven, and as do those who practice contemplative prayer. John of the Cross expresses this in a wonderfully cryptic line: “Learn to understand more by not understanding than by understanding.”
Silence does speak louder than words, and more deeply. We experience this already now in different ways: When we are separated by distance or death from loved ones, we can still be with them in silence; when we are divided from other sincere persons through misunderstanding, silence can provide the place where we can still be together; when we stand helpless before another’s suffering, silence can be the best way of expressing our empathy; and when we have sinned and have no words to restore things to their previous wholeness, in silence a deeper word can speak and let us know that, in the end, all will be well and every manner of being will be well.
“There is nothing in the world that resembles God as much as silence.” It’s the language of heaven and it is already deep inside of us, beckoning us, inviting us to deeper intimacy with everything.
-- Ron Rolheiser OMI,
Silent trees listen to morning chant outside barn at dawn this Wednesday morning as logs are carried in for wood stove.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

where begin where end

white dog
climbs stairs
end of day —
each breath 

the joy of 4am



the sound

of it

Monday, November 12, 2018

thank you veterans

wood stove


Panikkar kitchen

this cold night


first light

easterly turnng

beyond bamboo

Sunday, November 11, 2018

jamais plus la guerre

War is never the answer.

Soldiers, Airfolk, Sailors, Coastguards, and Marines — they all know this.

The wrong questions by the wrong people with the wrong motives are tossed like political confetti over the right questions and the lives of our armed forces.

No more!

Jamais plus la guerre!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

the possibilities

 This from, “Ipseity and Illeity, or Thinking Ethics without the Other of the Other,”
 by Taylor Adkins:
The conversation about the “there is” begins with a contrast between the conceptions of Appolinaire and Heideggerian ontology: it designates neither the abundance or joy of being nor the ‘es gibt’ of Being to Dasein. Going beyond the limitation of givenness to Dasein, a conception which could very easily found a humanist Heideggerianism, Levinas stresses that there is no “generosity” in the “there is” because the latter constitutes an impersonal dimension of being, a silence that is simultaneously a noise: “neither nothingness nor being” (48). 
One of the most fascinating statements concerning the “there is” occurs very early in the conversation and posits its primacy in relation to the conditions of existence: “[The “there is”] is something one can also feel when one thinks that even if there were nothing, the fact that “there is” is undeniable. Not that there is this or that; but the very scene of being is open: there is. In the absolute emptiness that one can imagine before creation—there is” (48). What can we unpack from this passage?
To begin with, what should first be identified in this concise passage is the presence of the “there is” as a feeling, an affect, but also a faith based on an ontological claim. The scene of being is open and not foreclosed means: existence necessarily is. This statement is undeniable in two senses: first as objective claim or matter of fact, then as the basis for a belief or matter of faith. Levinas is trying to describe an ontological state of affairs that is not reducible to any particular thing but is the pre-individual, impersonal, and universal permeation of existents by existence. Yet the belief in this ontological claim almost seems to turn Being into the always-already given, and thus to save it from any real disaster that would threaten the sustainability of this givenness. In other words, it seems to be a faith in the fact that things will always exist, and that even if the existence of particular things is contingent, existence itself is necessarily absolute. 
It would be wrong to see this ontological belief as an argument based on a personal God. If there is a God in Levinas, it comes through the Other’s face or leads beyond Being. What I mean to say is that the thought of the “there is” is meant to be the horror that the persistence of impersonal existence wreaks upon the individual. This impersonal aspect bears affinities with Heidegger’s thrownness, in that existence only comes to the things that are thrown into the totality of the “there is,” as though gladiators into an arena to wage the war that existence demands of itself. This is the Heraclitean/Nietzschean image of Being as the cosmic struggle where things are always ontologically at war through their own becoming and struggle of forces. If ontology’s prerequisite is the war of existence/being, what leads beyond this struggle and allows an access to the requirement of ethics as first, indeed as first philosophy that henceforth subordinates ontology to it?
The Other’s face.

Seen through No Other’s face.

The possibilities!

object permanence

This poem, at Friday Evening Conversation, captured our attention:

Object Permanence
      —By Nicole Sealey  
(For John)
We wake as if surprised the other is still there,
each petting the sheet to be sure.

How have we managed our way
to this bed—beholden to heat like dawn

indebted to light. Though we’re not so self-
important as to think everything

has led to this, everything has led to this.
There’s a name for the animal

love makes of us—named, I think,
like rain, for the sound it makes.

You are the animal after whom other animals
are named. Until there’s none left to laugh,

days will start with the same startle
and end with caterpillars gorged on milkweed.

O, how we entertain the angels
with our brief animation. O,

how I’ll miss you when we’re dead.

how to be annihilated

“Nothingness is who God is".

"Nothing is one of the greatest activities there is."

                   (—Thomas Keating, OCSO. 7mar1923–25oct2018)

(—from “A Life Surrendered to Love “ — Thomas Keating). (Time: 18:58)

Friday, November 09, 2018

as if words mattered

I can’t tell who wrote this.
Been thinking about civility. Looking forward to the next president. It will be good to see ‘civilitas’ — conversational integrity — revisit American politics again. Let’s disagree with an intelligent person again, and not be saddled with snide apodictic arrogance prevaricating. 
(—tweet, Friday morning, 8:16am)
 Who quotes Latin words with loose translation inerudition?

what do poets know

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. 
(—opening lines, Song of Myself, by Walt Whitman)

There is no unconnected separate self.

We are each other attempting to become what and who we are — distinctly, alone, together.

worlding, unity differentiates

This, from  Cynthia Bourgeault on Teilhard and Rilke:

We can look to our own hearts to tell us more about what Teilhard sees as the essence of the complexification/consciousness process—hence of evolution (and hence, of love): his insistence that “union differentiates. 
We often think of love in terms of merging, uniting, becoming one, but Teilhard was wary of such definitions; his practiced eye as an evolutionist taught him something quite different. True union . . . doesn’t turn its respective participants into a blob, a drop dissolving into the ocean. Rather, it presses them mightily to become more and more themselves: to discover, trust, and fully inhabit their own depths. As these depths open, so does their capacity to love, to give-and-receive of themselves. . . .
The poet Rilke (1875–1926), Teilhard’s contemporary and in many respects kindred spirit, is on exactly the same wavelength. He asks in his Letters to a Young Poet:
. . . [F]or what would a union be of two people who are unclarified, unfinished, and still incoherent? It [love] is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person. [2]
To become world in oneself for the sake of another. . . .” Hmmmm. Does love really ask us to become world? Does love make worlds? Is that what love does?
(—from, Unity in DifferentiationFriday, November 9, 2018, by Cynthia Bourgeault)

Thursday, November 08, 2018

all alone

I look forward to the Mueller hearings before a House Committee in January 2019.

I’ll wear a grey beret, hand grind coffee beans by stove, toast an English muffin, take from new refrigerator an individual Yoplait yoghurt, and settle back into blue recliner in front of glass door showing birds swooping in to feeder hanging on line stretched between barn and kitchen.

Yesterday three cord of wood were dropped in dooryard by Belfast woodman. We talked about his dad, 90, now in mechanized wheelchair, cancer spreading, dispirited at not being able to assist with wood deliveries.

For the current president there will be no graceful way to exit the office. He will, no doubt, slam and slander, mock and maul any and everyone he perceives as threat to ego, business interests, family members, and, least of all, his version of America held tightly among a wider circle of xenophobic and racially alert loyalists.
Love Poem 
It's so nice
to wake up in the morning
all alone
and not have to tell somebody
you love them
when you don't love them
any more. 
(—poem by Richard Brautigan)
All things change. All things end. All things lack a separate self.

And as for greed, anger, and delusion — their poison swiftly course through bodies unaware.

Let us pray, therefore, for an awareness that recognizes, and is equanimous with, the passing of our fragile existence!

Poem at dawn’s twilight:
Alone in kitchen,
scent of coffee, toasted bread,
the wonder of birds
flying with seed 
to cedar branch
over dropped wood!   

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

selective service

Fear turns and stares at the president.

War is declared on justice.

The draft begins.

that’s that

Let no one commit seppuku. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

nameless, imageless, going somewhere else

 As if.

Something might change.

And yet, we vote.

Love [people] even in [their] sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. —Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [1]   
God refuses to be known in the way we usually know other objects; God can only be known by loving God. Yet much of religion has tried to know God by words, theories, doctrines, and dogmas. Belief systems have their place; they provide a necessary and structured beginning point, just as the dualistic mind is good as far as it goes. But then we need the nondual or mystical mind to love and fully experience limited ordinary things and to peek through the cloud to glimpse infinite and seemingly invisible things. This is the contemplative mind that can “know spiritual things in a spiritual way,” as Paul says (1 Corinthians 2:13). 
What does it mean when Jesus tells us to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind (not just our dualistic mind), and strength (Luke 10:27)? What does it mean, as the first commandment instructs us, to love God more than anything else? To love God is to love what God loves. To love God means to love everything . . . no exceptions.
 Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation

The lad writes from Vermont with some trenchant advice:

Keep all media turned off for 48 hours. Take some nice walks, read books no more recent then 300 years old. On Thursday, take fifteen minutes to scan the internet to take stock of the landscape. Then shut everything off for another two years.
The invitatory for divine office plays. “Give thanks to him and bless his name.” 

I wonder — what is ‘his’ name?

I also wonder what your name is? Or mine?

Write-in the nameless.

Look at, and as, the imageless.

My vote goes to love.

Raindrops fall from roof edge onto sun porch clear see-through ribbing. 

Tires splash road water. 

Everyone is going somewhere else.

Monday, November 05, 2018

to fight this hatred

Philosophy could help.
Letting the other be other in the right way is, of course, no easy task. Our contemporary culture in particular exploits our deep ambiguity towards the death instinct, displacing our fearful fascination onto spectacular stories of horror, monstrosity and violence. Julia Kristeva captures this point well in a dialogue we conducted on the subject in Paris in 1991:  
The media propagate the death instinct. Look at the films people like to watch after a long tiring day: a thriller or a horror film, anything less is considered boring. We are attracted to this violence. So the great moral work which grapples with the problem of identity also grapples with this contemporary experience of death, violence and hate. 
And Kristeva goes on to suggest, quite correctly in my view, that this expresses itself in extremist forms of identity politics:  
Nationalisms, like fundamentalisms, are screens in front of this violence, fragile screens, see-through screens, because they only displace that hatred, sending it to the other, to the neighbour, to the rival ethnic group. The big work of our civilization is to try to fight this hatred. 
(—from Strangers, Gods and Monsters: Interpreting Otherness, by Richard Kearney)
 Tuning out could help.

you can live transparently

Amid so much to rue, the Dalai Lama brings us through:
Be honest, truthful, and altruistic. If you concern yourself with taking care of others, there’ll be no room for lies, bullying and cheating. If you’re truthful you can live transparently, which will enable you to establish trust, the basis for making friends. (—Dalai Lama tweet, Monday 5nov18, 05:29)
Tomorrow is Election Day.

Would that transparent decency were our first place pick.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

nuff said

Duterte, Trump, Kim Jong Un, Bolsonaro, Putin, Xi Jinping, Orban —-

Fill in commentary

at your peril

haruspicating time

Where did that hour come from?

Someone said, let there be one hour earlier placed into our agreement about time.

And there it is.

Words, again, haruspicate our being-in-the-world.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

love is the question


Question God.

No, really — I think that’s God’s name.

“Question” is the first name.

“God” is the family name.

When we question god we acknowledge a reality beyond ordinary understanding.


Here’s a theory about everything:

All there is, is love.

That’s it. Love is “all there is.”


The question of existence is

the question of love:

“Who am I?” “What is this?”


I believe in nothing but the question

This is who I am

Love everyone ...

You can

Friday, November 02, 2018

love in this disturbing time.

When is one and one not two?
But to love another as a person we must begin by granting him his own autonomy and identity as a person. We have to love him for what he is in himself, and not for what he is to us. We have to love him for his own good, not for the good we get out of him. And this is impossible unless we are capable of a love which ‘transforms’ us, so to speak, into the other person, making us able to see things as he sees them, love what he loves, experience the deeper realities of his own life as if they were our own. Without sacrifice, such a transformation is utterly impossible. But unless we are capable of this kind of transformation ‘into the other’ while remaining ourselves, we are not yet capable of a fully human existence.  
(-- from Disputed Questions, by Thomas Merton)
When we realize our fully integrated human reality in this existence.

One and one becomes the description and definition of love in this disturbing time.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

yes you were

Where were you? The Lord God asked Job. Where were you when I created the world and everything in it?

Job was silent.

The Lord God waited. Waits. Still waits.

When, the Lord God wonders, will Job come to the koan response?

When will Job realize and respond —- I was there.

I was there.

At which point the Lord God will stare at Job, then, suddenly, soften, lighten gaze, and say — Yes!

Yes you were!

Yes you are!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

let it be yours

A saint is someone with no opinion separating them from seeing, hearing, touching, scenting, or tasting the permeating yet beyond-detectable reality of God in the presence of another and others wherever and however they appear within immediate experience.

And engaging with care.

Tomorrow is All Saints Day.

Let it be yours!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

dark indictment

Chris Hedges, talking in Waterloo, Ontario, sends me to Engels.
— 1 — What is Communism? 
Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat. 
— 2 —
What is the proletariat?
The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor – hence, on the changing state of business, on the vagaries of unbridled competition. The proletariat, or the class of proletarians, is, in a word, the working class of the 19th century.[1] 
— 3 —
Proletarians, then, have not always existed?
No. There have always been poor and working classes; and the working class have mostly been poor. But there have not always been workers and poor people living under conditions as they are today; in other words, there have not always been proletarians, any more than there has always been free unbridled competitions. 
(— by Frederick Engels, from The Principles of Communism,)

Elsewhere from a review in The Washington Post, the following:
A relentlessly dark indictment of global capitalism
     By Thomas Carothers, September 14 
Thomas Carothers is senior vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 
Building on several previous books presenting damning critiques of American society, in “America: The Farewell Tour,” Chris Hedges lays out his full manifesto: a comprehensive account of what he believes to be the devastating effects of capitalism on the United States and in fact the entire world. The book stands more vividly as a window into one of the renewed tribes of American politics in the Trump years than as a persuasive, cogent argument based on careful deployment of evidence and analysis. 
The tribe in question is the anti-capitalist left, enjoying something of a moment these days in response to the political gains of the populist right. Its main tenets are the same as in the last heyday of this outlook, the 1960s and 1970s, updated to match today’s socioeconomic and political conditions. Central among these is the argument that capitalism is an inherently destructive force that rots and ruins every arena of American life. 
The corporate state that presides over this destructive capitalist economic system is ruthless and relentless. “It practices only the politics of vengeance. It uses coercion, fear, violence, police terror and mass incarceration as forms of social control while it cannibalizes the nation and the globe for profits.”   

This scourge is all-consuming. Once-liberal institutions, including “the press, labor unions, political third parties, civic and church groups, public broadcasting, well-funded public universities, and a liberal wing of the Democratic Party,” have all “collapsed under sustained assault during the past forty years of corporate power.” Today, there are “no institutions left in America that can authentically be called democratic.” 
It is terminal. “Short of a sudden and widespread popular revolt, the death spiral appears unstoppable, meaning the United States as we know it will no longer exist within a decade or, at most, two.” 
And it is worldwide. “The malaise that infects Americans is global.” Global capitalism is responsible for all misery and the metastasizing of violent rage from many different sides, from jihadists and neofascists to far-right militias and antifa. 
Hedges portrays this nightmarish situation as the fulfillment of Karl Marx’s prediction of the eventual end of capitalism. This vision of capitalism’s demise is slightly puzzling, given that in his account, capitalism seems to be steamrollering everything in its path. 
But he argues that all this winning is only serving to make clear capitalism’s fundamental hollowness and deceit, which represent the seeds of its ultimate destruction.
What is the tipping point for us? 

What is the unpredictable thing that will push the America’s people over the edge? 

What event will find the elite, the politicians, and the generals, finally, to walk away and allow what next must happen to, indeed, happen. 

Here is hedges’ talk:  The Collapse of the American Empire. It was held at Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), 67 Erb Street West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2, Waterloo, Canada

Stark and sobering.

Not unlike death and poetry. 

and weep

America’s president sends military to southern border to stop poor migrants from crossing into this country.

The prophetic tradition implores us to welcome the stranger and show compassion to those needing help avoiding harm and danger.

Worshippers are gunned down in a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Political ignorance, politician and right wing media hatred, contribute fear and paranoia to a people ripe for racist and bigoted response to the cynical provocations of president and his political crony cowards.

And for Christians, Jesus has died in their churches.
Three days later, three weeks, three months, three decades later, the stone is fixed solidly in place and no emergence has taken place. They have sealed the wise one in to a catafalque of complicit complacency aligned with a deeply flawed and critically disturbed pattern of expedient thinking and acting completely antithetical to supposed mission statement and human decency needed.

Hope has retreated into desolate hiding place.

The nation’s capital — both financial and human — has been turned to self-aggrandizing self-import hoarding, leaving out in the damp and cold night the vast and uncertain majority who once believed in a loving, inclusive, and neighborly promise and potentiality.

Behold what is within without!

Look upon what has been made of us, and weep!

Monday, October 29, 2018

with another towards no other.

If what we call “God” is what may be, possible — then when we dream to create an expression of what is coming after God, perhaps the God-reality beyond concept and formulation, we move with another towards no other.

I learn that Thomas Keating OCSO died last Thursday.

Silence is the primary language. We must learn this expression.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

game, series, over


שְׁמַע...why can we not hear

Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one" 
(Hebrew: שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד׃)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

the “now” with God

The cell is the body.
The monk in his cell sleeps, reads, makes prostrations, prays, and is simply present to God as God is to him, forgetting all the past, not planning the future, but being in the "now" with God."  (-M. Basil Pennington, OCSO)
The “now” is the awareness which enfolds and embraces all beings, all things, all places, all circumstances.

dodgers in the 18th

Turns out I went to bed 10 innings too early.

Friday, October 26, 2018

blinker, turning

So many cars

So lucky

To arrive


Thursday, October 25, 2018

where shall we look

Zu den Sache selbst

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

watch your words: we are listening

He who lives by the slur will be decried by it.

unobsequious obsequy

For my obituary:

Bill Halpin died as he lived -- he took a nap and, you might say, failed to wake.
He didn't battle cancer, though it accompanied him.
He wasn't plagued with a heart condition, though he looked for his heart all his life.
His diabetes did not slow him down, he was always slow.

He died of life. He always felt that the single greatest cause of death is birth. If there was no birth there'd be no death. And, no. the opposite of life is not death. Life has no opposite. That's a wisdom that doesn't show up in advertisements between innings of the World Series.

Bill Halpin did three things during his 74 (or so) years:
   1. He wore ragg socks and wool berets;
   2. He sat in silence from time to time;
   3. He felt poetry and pondering were the ways we learn about words, the world, and wisdom.

Apart from that, he tried to love those who were part of his life: his son, his companion, those he alienated, his sister's progeny, those he sipped coffee with, those he conversed with in prison, in the elderly residence, in hospital, in hospice, and in the Raimon Panikkar Conversation Kitchen at foot of Ragged Mtn.

He was pretty much a fool. Didn't hold jobs well. Couldn't teach university courses over 30 years worth a lick. Never made a profit in 13 years of harbor-side bookshop & bakery. Never settled in to child welfare, residential treatment centers, alternative high school education programs, training staff for each of these was of suspect worth, and, finally, was an imposter to the helping profession believing that poetry and philosophy were valuable assets in the spy game of mental and emotional health.

He was a categorical and calculative failure through the years.
He pretended to be contemplative.
He couldn't sustain a single prayer or find any trace of God in places listing God's address.

Still, on route 90 Friday mornings on way to maximum security prison for open conversation, he'd hold up his toasted English muffin to the oncoming traffic and say, barely audible, hoc est enim corpus meum, and he believed every word of it true.

And so, he died as he lived, watching breath depart and return. Only, this last breath decided to go off into space for a walkabout, leaving him, wondering: What now?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Time to buy a hat

Red Sox versus Dodgers.


Is the Lord just? Will he defend the poor?
   A thousand ages in your sight / Are like an evening gone;   Short as the watch that ends the night / Before the rising sun. 
   Time, like an ever rolling stream, / Bears all our lives away; /    They fly, forgotten, as a dream / Dies at the opening day. 
   O God, our help in ages past, / Our hope for years to come,   Be now our guard while troubles last, / And our eternal home.

               (--from, "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" Hymn, office of readings)

Good men have vanished from our midst.

   It is you, O Lord, who will take us in your care   and protect us for ever from this generation.   See how the wicked prowl on every side,   while the worthless are prized highly by the sons of men.          (--from, psalm12)
 Bald Mountain turns to gold as October leans toward its end.

 Faith, I suspect, is fragile in this age of presidential mendacity and pusillanimous petulance. We are bereft of  enlightened leadership, and receive a strategy of diminishing light and encroaching darkness.

Is God in the lies?

Or have we reinvigorated the ancient teaching that this world belongs to the prince of lies?

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and lead us to life (everlasting), Amen

Monday, October 22, 2018

no teaching authority

I have the stick he used

when he’d sprained his ankle.

It is my zen stick.

He was my father.

His continuation day

Sunday, October 21, 2018

start there

Not anything, I said.

She’d asked about creation spirituality. What was left out?

Not nothing. Not anything.

Just like God. Start there.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

bitte für uns

 Mechthild of Magdeburg writes of the oddness of presence and absence. 
God’s Absence  
Ah blessed absence of God,
How lovingly I am bound to you!
You strengthen my will in its pain
And make dear to me
The long hard wait in my poor body.
The nearer I come to you,
The more wonderfully and abundantly
God comes upon me.
In pride, alas, I can easily lose you,
But in the depths of pure humility, O Lord,
I cannot fall away from you.
For the deeper I fall, the sweeter you taste.

- Mechthild of Magdeburg
Translated by Oliver Davies. From Beguine Spirituality: Mystical Writings of Mechthild of Magdeburg, Beatrice of Nazareth, and Hadewijch of Brahant.
How sweet the falling away!

How bitte für uns the arrival!


nineteen years ago
I fell asleep —

has been the same
nor changed

Friday, October 19, 2018

into fresh air

I left prison today

A better man
For having

Been there

Thursday, October 18, 2018

worst of all possible worlds


Kant would say human dignity is compromised.

America will have to decide.

The future is behind us.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

nothing to do but see

In waiting room waiting for surgery and wound healing to empty chairs where 87 year old man in orange baseball cap runs commentary on who comes in who goes out, his red suspenders and red Nike sneakers matching, his impatience toned a little by 77 year old wife whose walker is parked before them as when he told his sitting neighbor she has something not curable, now 10 minutes to eleven (tsk tsking) “we’re still here” as receptionist opens door, looks around, goes back in alone.
Another Elegy ["This is what our dying looks like"]
This is what our dying looks like.
You believe in the sun. I believe
I can't love you. Always be closing,
Said our favorite professor before
He let the gun go off in his mouth.
I turned 29 the way any man turns
In his sleep, unaware of the earth
Moving beneath him, its plates in
Their places, a dated disagreement.
Let's fight it out, baby. You have
Only so long left—a man turning
In his sleep—so I take a picture.
I won't look at it, of course. It's
His bad side, his Mr. Hyde, the hole
In a husband's head, the O
Of his wife's mouth. Every night,
I take a pill. Miss one, and I'm gone.
Miss two, and we're through. Hotels
Bore me, unless I get a mountain view,
A room in which my cell won't work,
And there's nothing to do but see
The sun go down into the ground
That cradles us as any coffin can. 
Jericho Brown, "Another Elegy (”This is what our dying looks like”)" from The New Testament. Copyright © 2014 by Jericho Brown.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.Source: The New Testament (Copper Canyon Press, 2014)
These interior offices without windows.

These doors opening.

These elderly folk just sitting facing another door that says, 
Not An Exit 
For Privacy

Please keep door closed 
Thank you.
“I don’t know,” he says, not so happy as someone else goes in they have not been taken.