Sunday, February 17, 2019

are you kidding

It occurs to me that truth is not attractive.

There seems to be an attraction to lies.

I know, it seems odd.

So this is called the post-truth age.

It is, some still say,  wrong to prefer lies.

Still, many, if not most, do prefer lies.

No kidding.

Seems strange.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

let's change the direction this country


our paralyzed stare

Having just finished Unspeakable: Talks with David Talbot about the Most Forbidden Topics in America, By Chris Hedges and David Talbot, (2016), I am again cast into that penumbral space that Chris Hedges, Daniel Berrigan, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton toss me. 

Richard Rohr lights this place a bit in his words:
If you pay attention to the text, you’ll see that the Apostle John offers a very evolutionary notion of the Christ message. Note the active verb that is used here: “The true light that enlightens every person was coming (erxomenon) into the world” (John 1:9). In other words, we’re talking not about a one-time Big Bang in nature or a one-time Incarnation in Jesus, but an ongoing, progressive movement continuing in the ever-unfolding creation. Incarnation did not just happen two thousand years ago. It has been working throughout the entire arc of time and will continue. This is expressed in the common phrase the “Second Coming of Christ.” Unfortunately, this was often heard as a threat (“Wait till your Dad gets home!”). It could more accurately be spoken of as the “Forever Coming of Christ,” the ongoing promise of eternal resurrection and the evolution of consciousness into the mind of Christ.   (from, Seeing Christ EverywhereWednesday, February 13, 2019, Richard Rohr)
Rohr, the day before, asked:
What if Christ is a name for the transcendent within of every “thing” in the universe?
There's a shadow over my comprehension. The sound of it rings true. But where is it calling me to?

Annie Applebaum in The Washington Post, writes about this penumbra for me:
In truth, we know far more about these camps, and about the accompanying repression, than anyone in 1933 knew about the famine in Ukraine. They have been extensively described in the world’s media, including the New York Times and The Post . Government bodies have studied them, too. Canada’s Parliament recently produced an account of the suppression of the Uighurs that is far more comprehensive than anything Jones ever wrote. The report is one of many to describe the massive surveillance program that China has imposed in Xinjiang, using not only old-fashioned informers and police checkpoints, but artificial intelligence, phone spyware and biometric data. Every tool that a future, larger totalitarian state may use to control citizens is currently being tested in Xinjiang.
Under “terrorist” legislation in Xinjiang, anyone can be arrested for anything — for expressing an allegiance to Uighur culture, for example, or for reading the Koran. Once inside the “re-education” camps, arrestees are forced to speak in Mandarin Chinese and made to recite praises of the Communist Party. Those who break the rules receive punishments no different from those meted out to prisoners in the Soviet Gulag: “They put me in a small solitary confinement cell,” said one former prisoner cited in the Canadian report, “in a space of about two by two meters. I was not given any food or drink, my hands were handcuffed in the back, and I had to stand for 24 hours without sleep.”
As in the 1930s, there are explanations for the world’s lack of outrage. Newspaper editors are distracted by bigger, more immediate stories. Politicians and foreign policy “realists” would say there are more important issues we need to discuss with China: Business is business. Xinjiang is a distant place for people in Europe and North America; it seems alien and uninteresting. None of that changes the fact that in a distant corner of China, a totalitarian state — of the kind we all now denounce and condemn — has emerged in a new form. “Never again?” I don’t think so: It’s already happening.
Earlier in the opinion piece, Applebaum wrote:
The audiences I speak to are sometimes unsatisfied with these answers. They want to talk about the perfidy of the Left or the New York Times, or they want to blame the U.S. president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt. But blame is easy. Far more difficult, both for them and for me, is to admit something more profound: That precisely the same indifference, and the same cynicism, exist today. (from, ‘Never again?’ It’s already happening. -- By Annie Applebaum, The Washington Post, Feb.15,2019) 
This indifference and cynicism, what Hedges and his cadre write about, is the obfuscating shadow lingering over awareness of what is happening, what is the truth, and what is our paralyzed stare into the headlights.

I love these writers. They disturb me. In that disturbance, the sound of a horn, the need to leap immediately from the crushing crash of ignorance and ignominy -- to the side, the side leading to the woods, warned and frightened, signaling what has to be done not to be someone else's catch.

Friday, February 15, 2019


No practice gatherings will be held this weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

the world itself was pure

Thinking about Shinkichi Takahashi, poems and zen:
In his 50th year he was married and finally achieved a period of great happiness and serenity as he lived out a quiet life with his wife and two daughters. Such a state of peace seemed unlikely in his younger days. In 1985 he produced what is probably considered to be his most famous piece of work – Triumph of the Sparrow: Zen Poems of Shinkichi Takahashi – and this was translated into English and published in the year 2000, thus giving people all over the world the chance to appreciate the art of Zenist poetry. Here is an extract from one of his poems:
 His work was known much earlier though in both the United States and England. One American art critic, writing in the Hudson Review in the 1970s, wrote the following about Takahashi:
 The poet had a view, typical of a Zenist, that the world itself was pure and was only “fouled by our dripping mind-stuff”. Art and life, for him, where one and the same. His early years of turbulence taught him the valuable lessons from which he learned to write in a unique way. 
Shinkichi Takahashi died in June 1987 at the age of 86. 
What we listen for.

What we look for.

final uneasiness

I bought his book of poems at the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal in the 1960s.

One poem,  since then, has chagrined: 

The Warning
For love—I would
split open your head and put
a candle in
behind the eyes. 
Love is dead in us
if we forget
the virtues of an amulet
and quick surprise.
Where was I going that day spanning Hudson River between Washington Heights and Fort Lee? Invariably, as lost-in-place then as now.

The book of poems, For Love: Poems 1950-1960, by Robert Creeley, still with me somewhere in my mess of books, was published in 1962 by Scribner.

Attending poetry readings in Manhattan during the 60s and 70s, the voices of Waldman, Levertov, Snyder, Hecht, Ginsberg, Strand, Kinnell, Corso, Edson, Ferlinghetti, Berrigan, Rich, Lowell, Stryk, Paston, Mariani, Berry, Everson (Bro. Antoninus), Gregg, Harjo, Koch, Merrill, Olds, Pinsky, Ashbury, O'Gorman, and Hazo. Delighted, I listened.

Then there is this:
The Rain 
All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it

that never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent—
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.
Robert Creeley, “The Rain” from Selected Poems of Robert Creeley. Copyright © 1991 by the Regents of the University of California. Reprinted with the permission of the University of California Press.
Somewhere along the line, the words came for me, pointing out that:


is being


toxic loops


we want things

to be


in accordance

with fact

or reality

Once so


as "just

like this"

what is true

is breath to




toxic loops



Wednesday, February 13, 2019

hearing an old word new

This new understanding of 'kin-dom' is well worth the price of a recent subscription to Sojourners.

I've never been comfortable with the concept/metaphor of 'kingdom.'
In the 37 times that Jesus describes the reign of God in the Gospels, not once is the kingdom of God like a kingdom of earth. Thirty-seven times Jesus reshapes the imaginations of his followers. Thirty-seven times Jesus tells them a story to help them remake the only world they know. 
The world of the disciples is one of domination and violence. Their world is one in which the wealthy and powerful rule over the weak, take advantage of that weakness, crush it under the boot, and lash it with the whip. It is a world in which Caesar is both king and god, a cruel, irrational tyrant who takes vengeance against his enemies.
Ada María Isasi-Díaz was visiting her friend, a Franciscan nun name Georgene Wilson, when she heard the word for the first time: kin-dom rather than kingdom. I imagine that as she sat with this word, turning it over in her mind, something clicked about her own life. For Latinas, she would go on to write, kin-dom offered a description of liberation that was “self-determining” within an interconnected community, seeing God’s movement emerge from la familia, from the family God makes. 
Kin-dom became the language she used to describe God’s libertad, the liberation of God at work among people, the good news for those who suffer at the hands of kings. Isasi-Díaz dedicated her life to the work of mujerista theology, where the center of theological study is borne from the experience of Latinas. She wrote that, for Latinas, this liberation emerges from opening up space where love invites us into kinship, invites us to join others at a table that grows. Liberation is found not in hope deferred to another world, to life after death, but what can be created now.
(--from, The Kin-dom of Christ, in Sojourners, COMMENTARYBy Melissa Florer-Bixler 11-20-2018) 
New relationship, with one another, with God.


With gratitude to Ada María Isasi-Díaz (1943-2012).


Can we be sure if anyone has ever existed?
Though we can’t be sure if he truly existed, Bodhidharma is the legendary founder of Zen Buddhism in China. He is said to have arrived in China about 520. (Buddhism had by then been known in China for about 400 years.) He was soon summoned to the emperor, who had questions for him. 
“According to the teachings, how do I understand the merit I have accrued in building temples and making donations to monks?” the emperor asked. 
Bodhidharma, usually depicted as a scowling, hooded, bearded figure, shot back, “There is no merit.” 
“What then is the meaning of the Buddha’s Holy Truths?” the emperor asked. 
“Empty, nothing holy,” Bodhidharma replied. 
Shocked, the emperor imperiously asked, “Who addresses me thus?” 
“I don’t know,” Bodhidharma replied, turned on his heel and left the court, to which he never returned. He repaired to a distant monastery, where, it is said, he sat facing a wall for nine years, in constant meditation. 
(--from, What Is Zen Buddhism and How Do You Practice It?  BY  
Seems to me that constant meditation is where you go when existence is called into question. 

desperate times, desperate measures

I take refuge in West Wing on Netflix..

Balm for a troubled spirit.

niege matin


comes daylight

veiled white

viper's poison seeping toward heart

I've never liked the point of view that the world is corrupt. That 'sin' and 'evil' prowl and slerk, seeking the ruin of souls.

Easier to understand is ignorance, not-yet-awake or not-free from narrow self-absorbed and self-limited myopia, intentional and willful narcissism intent on defining the world as one's specific orbit, detached from what is the reality, namely, the overlapping interconnection of each thing/being with all things/beings.

Yet, the word corrupt applies. As does sin. So too evil.

Even if they are not considered as supernatural tropes evoking battle narratives of good versus evil, God versus Satan, or whatever other antipathies come to mind -- there is a common recognition that something binary and antithetical is actively at issue.

I see the current president of the United States as perpetuating falsehood and divisive antipathy. He cannot, it seems, help himself out of his sullen, mocking, crude, bullying, intemperate post-truth attempts to actively destroy good-will, compassion, and kindness in the populace he influences.

It is beyond frustrating to watch him. It is, rather, the experience of decadent fiction and designer falsehood become mainstream normalcy.

It unnerves.

And enervates.

A viper's poison seeping toward heart.

While we watch.

And wait.


what cannot be


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

rethink the day

A post-truth presidency. No objective facts. Only emotion and belief and opinion based on self-interest and self-aggrandizement.

It dawns on us.

the transcendent within

It's time for this emergent thought: 
What if Christ is a name for the transcendent within of every “thing” in the universe?        (--Richard Rohr,, Another Name for Every Thing, Tuesday, February 12, 2019)
Now ... 

we're listening! 

and may your loving kindness descend upon us

It's 6° outside

At barn door I chant morning invitatory

Firewood and far stars in antiphonal stillness

Monday, February 11, 2019

for no one's benefit

In imagination, the journey is to sylvan monastic solitude, the arc of day and night following itself (Itself?) through demarcations the human mind has made of cycles of gravity and motion.

In fact, the biopic is plebeian, inconsequential, the transcript of failure and impertinence.

And yet, here I am typing these words to an empty space in a meaningless construct recording nothing of value for no one's benefit.

It is a great joy to be so doing.
“Numquam se plus agere quam nihil cum ageret, nunquam minus solum esse quam cum solus esset.” 
“Never is he more active than when he does nothing, never is he less alone than when he is by himself” 
(Cicero, attributing Cato, in Arendt The Life of the Mind, p.8 1971, 1981))
I finish the book Doing Time With Charlie by Kay Page. I knew him at Maine State Prison in 2006. I liked him. He allowed as how no one had ever asked publicly what he or others thought about matters of scripture or theology or spirituality in the context of a Saturday Service. I suspect the notion of dialoguing is unpopular among those whose certainty and proselytismic reflex urge unquestioning following of the proselytiser's set and doctrinaire message. He was pleased to have been asked.

We were thinking together.
Thinking does not bring knowledge as do the sciences 
Thinking does not produce usable practical wisdom. 
Thinking does not solve the riddles of the universe. 
Thinking does not endow us directly with the power to act. 
(--MARTIN HEIDEGGER, in What is Called Thinking, p.168))
It's no surprise so few find thinking attractive. Easier to bask in opinion and belief.

Of course, I don't know what thinking is. It has something to do with presencing.

Manifesting the coming-to-be of what is most real.

Without engaging in opinion or belief, what is most real?

I remember reading Sertillanges (1863-1948) in school:

“Friendship is an obstetric art; it draws out our richest and deepest resources; it unfolds the wings of our dreams and hidden indeterminate thoughts; it serves as a check on our judgements, tries out our new ideas, keeps up our ardor, and inflames our enthusiasm.”
― Antonin Sertillanges, The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods 
“It is a painful thing to say to oneself: by choosing one road I am turning my back on a thousand others. Everything is interesting; everything might be useful; everything attracts and charms a noble mind; but death is before us; mind and matter make their demands; willy-nilly we must submit and rest content as to things that time and wisdom deny us, with a glance of sympathy which is another act of our homage to the truth.”
― Antonin Sertillanges, The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods
Doing nothing.

By oneself.

Finally, Jean Anouilh's words toward end of his play Becket:


BECKET. [ . . . . ] It is not for me to win you round. I have only to say no to you.  
KING. But you must be logical, Becket!  
BECKET. No. That isn't necessary, my Liege. We must only do—absurdly—what we have been given to do—right to the end.  
KING. Yet I know you well enough, God knows. Ten years we spent together, little Saxon! At the hunt, at the whorehouse, at war; carousing all night long the two of us; in the same girl's bed, sometimes . . . and at work in the Council Chamber too. Absurdly. That word isn't like you.  
BECKET. Perhaps. I am no longer like myself.  
KING. Have you been touched by grace?  
BECKET. Not by the one you think. I am not worthy of it.  
KING. Did you feel the Saxon in you coming out, despite Papa's good collaborator's sentiments?  
BECKET. No. Not that either.  
KING. What then?  
BECKET. I felt for the first time that I was being entrusted with something, that's all—there in that empty cathedral, somewhere in France, that day when you ordered me to take up this burden. I was a man without honor. And suddenly I found it—one I never imagined would ever become mine—the honor of God. A frail, incomprehensible honor, vulnerable as a boy‑King fleeing from danger.  
 [p. 112]

SOURCE: Anouilh, Jean. Becket; or, The Honor of God. Translated by Lucienne Hill. New York: Coward-McCann, 1960. 128 pp.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

note: no practice, Sunday 10feb19 & 17feb19

Email sent today to those whose emails we have:
Our dooryard is just too hard-ice to walk or drive on.
Hence, we will not be having practice tonight.
Also, we will be away next weekend. Hence no practice the 17th.
The next Sunday Evening Practice will be 24feb19.
Thanks, and good cheer!
See you on the 24th. 

white cup, V8 juice

Our wonderful conversation —

He breathes, I breathe, he breathes.

Perfect understanding, simply, there 

Saturday, February 09, 2019

then what happens

The work, the rabbi says, is soul finishing with dead body

The grief it feels

The way forgetting drips, very very slowly, from hard hard ice

friday mornings

 These numbers are harsh.
Even with all the attention it receives, the scale of incarceration and punishment in the United States can still be hard to comprehend. On any given day, about 1.5 million people are in state and federal prisons; another 750,000 are in county jails (most still awaiting trial); and over 4.5 million are on probation or parole. Over the course of a year, over 600,000 people enter prison, and roughly the same number are sent home; and over 10 million people are admitted to jails annually. About 2.5 million more enter or leave parole or probation. 
Put differently, the United States is home to about 5 percent of the world’s population but holds over 20 percent of the world’s prisoners and nearly one-third of its women prisoners. The only countries with rates even close to ours are places like El Salvador, Turkmenistan and Cuba; allies like Canada, France and Germany have rates on the order of one-tenth ours (yet have similar crime rates and substantially lower homicide rates). Ours is a massive experiment in punitive social control that imposes disproportionate costs on people of color and those who are poor—and one that is nearly impossible to justify even remotely, at least on public safety grounds.
(in, Why today’s criminal justice reform efforts won’t end mass incarceration, by John PfaffDecember 21, 2018, America Magazine)
We sit together.

It's not much.

But it's something.



In prison, CJ gives wood sculpture
book on stand, poems and quotes
laser engraved -- "Was gonna write
on it 'Good riddance'."  I wondered
aloud how much I could get on eBay.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

calling out

I can’t help but wonder

how to survive the stupidity

that man sets to drowning 

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

leave the mud, stand up

We are encouraged to stand up.

It takes effort.
Blowing through the heaven and earth, and in our hearts and in the heart of every living thing, is a gigantic breath — a great Cry — which we call God. Plant life wished to continue its motionless sleep next to stagnant waters, but the Cry leaped up within it and violently shook its roots: ‘Away, let go of the earth, walk!’ Had the tree been able to think and judge, it would have cried, ‘I don’t want to. What are you urging me to do? You are demanding the impossible!’ 
But the Cry, without pity, kept shaking its roots and shouting, ‘Away! Let go of the earth, walk!’ 
It shouted in this way for thousands of eons; and lo, as a result of desire and struggle, life escaped the motionless tree and was liberated…. 
Animals appear—worms—making themselves at home in water and mud. “We’re just fine here,” they said. “We have peace and security; we’re not budging!”
But the terrible Cry hammered itself pitilessly into their loins. “Leave the mud, stand up, give birth to your betters!” 
“We don’t want to! We can’t!”
“You can’t, but I can. Stand up!”
And lo! after thousands of eons, humans emerged, trembling on their still unsolid legs.
The human being is a centaur; our equine hoofs are planted in the ground, but our body from breast to head is worked on and tormented by the merciless Cry. We have been fighting, again for thousands of eons, to draw ourselves, like a sword, out of our animalistic scabbard. We are also fighting—and this is our new struggle—to draw ourselves out of our human scabbard. Humanity calls in despair, “Where can I go? I have reached the pinnacle, beyond is the abyss.” And the Cry answers, “I am beyond. Stand up!” All things are centaurs. If this were not the case, the world would rot into inertness and sterility.
(--in, Report to Greco, by Nikos Kazantsakis, 291-292) 

As the nation hears tonight one man's version of the State of the Union, hundreds of millions who sit skeptically at the edge of their seats, ready to rise, quietly pray --
“Leave the mud, stand up, give birth to your betters!”  

nothing of the already made

What we think of God, what we think God is, is not God.

We cling to the already. God is not yet.

Approaching God is a process of movement, action, and contemplation.

Ours and God's.
Everything is obscure in the idea of creation if we think of things which are created and a thing which creates, as we habitually do, as the understanding cannot help doing. We shall show the origin of this illusion in our next chapter. It is natural to our intellect, whose function is essentially practical, made to present to us things and states rather than changes and acts. But things and states are only views, taken by our mind, of becoming. There are no things, there are only actions. More particularly, if I consider the world in which we live' I find that the automatic and strictly determined evolution of this well-knit whole is action which is unmaking itself, and that the unforeseen forms which life cuts out in it, forms capable of being themselves prolonged into unforeseen movements, represent the action that is making. itself. Now, I have every reason to believe that the other worlds are analogous to ours, that things happen there in the same way. And I know they were not all constructed at the same time, since observation shows me, even to-day, nebulae in course of concentration. Now, if the same kind of action is going on everywhere, whether it is that which is unmaking itself or whether it is that which is striving to remake itself, I simply express this probable similitude when I speak of a centre from which worlds shoot out like rockets in a fire-works display-provided, however, that I do not present this centre as a thing, but as a continuity of shooting out. God thus defined, has nothing of the already made; He is unceasing life, action, freedom. Creation, so conceived, is not a mystery; we experience it in ourselves when we act freely. 
(--Henri Bergson. "On the Meaning of Life -- The Order of Nature and the Form of Intelligence", Chapter 3 in Creative Evolution, translated by Arthur Mitchell, Ph.D. New York: Henry Holt and Company (1911): 186 - 271. 
A lecturer told about the dark night of the spirit.

It is when what we imagined and thought God to be disappears.

We are left with nothing familiar, nothing resolvable, nothing at all.

Then, you can say, begins prayer. 

Monday, February 04, 2019

s w i g

At Sunday Evening Practice, in the quiet composure of a roomful of shikantaza practitioners sitting at hermitage, the following occurs to mind as what we are doing:





Reading the room, and following the words, slowly and carefully, a few times -- a revelation of various things.

It's what practice does. 

alea iacta est

Now that America's most solemn, hermeneutically analyzed, and religious event of the calendar year is over --

Go in fervor!

Sunday, February 03, 2019

for their new Han

       (welcoming neighbor)

Standing at barn door —
From across mountain foot water
Insistent call from cousin wood
To practice morning


“Who knows anything?”

“I do,” says Place looking at Time.

Time says nothing.

Looks at Place, looks away, and does not stay.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

only for a while

Overheard words from hospice nurse to respite care person unhappy to be there:
You're not going to be here forever. 
Only for a while. 
Then you will go home.
Those words could be a card sent to every human being showing up on earth in this existence.

Sounds right to me.

Wherever home is.

present itself; a presentation of presence


LK 2:22-40 

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to 
to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. 

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. 
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

"Now, Master, you may let your servant go 
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel."

The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
"Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
Band you yourself a sword will pierceB
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
There was also a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

...   ...   ...
What is the mystery of presence? 

When that-which-is becomes what-is-itself in ordinary immediacy.

Without the hoopla, Groundhog Day and the feast of the Presentation collapse wonderfully into seeing the next face that appears and nears us

Friday, February 01, 2019

words just show up

Something haunting and delightfully solemn about traditional Latin Compline.
APERI, Dómine, os meum ad benedicéndum nomen sanctum tuum: munda quoque cor meum ab ómnibus vanis, pervérsis et aliénis cogitatiónibus; intelléctum illúmina, afféctum inflámma, ut digne, atténte ac devóte hoc Offícium recitáre váleam, et exaudíri mérear ante conspéctum divínæ Majestátis tuæ. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. R. Amen. 
Dómine, in unióne illíus divínæ intentiónis, qua ipse in terris laudes Deo persolvísti, hanc tibi Horam persólvo. 
V. Jube, Dómine, benedícere. 
Benedictio:  Noctem quiétam, et finem perféctum concédat nobis Dóminus omnípotens.  R. Amen. 
Lectio brevis, 1 Petri 5, 8-9
FRATRES: Sóbrii estóte, et vigiláte: quia adversárius vester diábolus tamquam leo rúgiens círcuit, quærens quem dévoret: cui resístite fortes in fide.  Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.  R. Deo grátias. 
V. Adjutórium nostrum in nómine Dómini.  R. Qui fecit cælum et terram.
(--Compline (Latin) · The Monks of Prinknash Abbey) youtube
I must concede the saying that showed up at my feet a long time ago:
on revient toujours a son premier metier 
As did this fragment:
hasta esto momento nohay absolutimente cambio alguno 
Words, in whichever language, just show up when aware or unaware, listening or ignoring.

They stay.

These two instances, over life span decades wandering, aporia wondering, alone-with-others eremetic communality, are proof positive of the unfathomible creatus/creans of the ineffable and wholly effective utterance of word.

when does the first become the one

February one --

will greed-hogs see

their portfolio reflection

in eyes of poor brothers/sisters

Thursday, January 31, 2019

then tuna on cheese bread

poet sends winter hokku —

white dog in freezing wind

carries brown stick to black car

what do you see

The Italian speaker says we are not our body. We are not our brain.

We are the extended physicality — we are relative consciousness.

He says: "We are the world we perceive.' (—Riccardo Manzotti)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

as snow falls

Yoghurt at 2am

Wood into stove

500mg acetaminophen with water

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

time will tell

Maybe this will pass.

What is this?

an excerpt

pain is tedious
like sleepless hours
middle of night —
staying put

Sunday, January 27, 2019

objectless awareness

Bell is invited.

<<<   b o n g   >>>

Everything is born.

Reverberation fades.

>>>   s i l e n c e   <<<

Everything dies.

Still, the bell is still here as it was before being invited and after reverberation fades.
To return to your original state of being,
You must become a master of stillness.
Activity for health’s sake,
Never carried to the point of strain,
Must alternate with perfect stillness.
Sitting motionless as a rock,
Turn next to stillness of mind.
Close the gates of the senses.
Fix your mind upon one object or,
Even better, enter a state
Of objectless awareness.
Turn the mind in upon itself
And contemplate the inner radiance.
- Anonymous (
Bell is life itself.

No birth, no death.

Sound when it sounds, silence when it falls silent.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

morning light, dawning

In prison yesterday remembering a card with four squares and the words “you are not alone.”

How the first letters (ya na) seem to ask question, “yes?”, “no?”
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. (—Matthew 14:23)
The thought occurs— you are not alone, god is alone.

If we elide “alone” from either side of the comma, it reads— you are not, god is.

You are not — alone is.

Only alone.

So it goes!

Perhaps this is why so few people have faith in god, so few people actually believe, and move, and have their being in god,

God is all there is. God is “here.” Here is all there is.

I hear, differently, Gertrude Stein’s “There’s no there there.” Every there becomes here to someone thinking they’re going there.

Every child on a trip, so goes the meme, asks “Are we there yet?” Parents lie and say, “Almost!” Or “Soon!”

But there is no-there there. Here is no-there.

Or, perhaps, “here is not-here.”

The absence of god becomes clearer.

The death of god, to our thinking, becomes present.

God is present in this absence.

We are all alone; we are not alone.

We are all; we are not.

The objective disappears.

Nothing other appears, and there is nothing to be seen.

Matthew says, “...he was there alone.”

And so, you are not alone. You are not there.

Jesus did there in.

You are here.

“Here” is the name of god.

Goethe wrote: Names are but noise and smoke / Obscuring heavenly light.

Outside this window, morning light, dawning!

Friday, January 25, 2019

announcing temporary end to senseless shutdown

Wallman perseverates

his repetitive
his repetitive
his repetitive


and again.

God help us, this is so tedious!

friday afternoon haiku

Winter tree —

Scarf of snow wrapping trunk

Bare ground, January thaw

Thursday, January 24, 2019

lies and liars

Thinking about mendacity and this country's leader(s):
Big Daddy: Now, why do ya drink?!   Brick: Give me my crutch.  .Big Daddy: Tell me first.   Brick: No, you give me a drink first and I'll tell ya.   Big Daddy: Tell me first! First you gotta tell me!   Brick: All right, disgust!   Big Daddy: DISGUST WITH WHAT?   Brick: You strike a hard bargain.   Big Daddy: Boy, do you want liquor that bad?   Brick: Yes, sir. I want liquor that bad. [Big Daddy hands him his crutch]           Big Daddy: Now tell me, what are you disgusted with?   Brick: Mendacity. You know what that is. It's lies and liars.   Big Daddy: Who's been lyin' to ya? Maggie? Has your wife been lyin' to ya?   Brick: No. Not one lie, not one person. The whole thing.          Big daddy: Mendacity. What do you know about mendacity? I could write a book on it...Mendacity. Look at all the lies that I got to put up with. Pretenses. Hypocrisy. Pretendin' like I care for Big Mama, I haven't been able to stand that woman in forty years. Church! It bores me. But I go. And all those swindlin' lodges and social clubs and money-grabbin' auxiliaries. It's-it's got me on the number one sucker list. Boy, I've lived with mendacity. Now why can't you live with it? You've got to live with it. There's nothin' to live with but mendacity. Is there?   Brick: Oh, yes sir. [Lifting his glass] You can live with this.   Big Daddy: That's not livin', that's a-dodgin away from life.       Brick: I want to dodge away from it.   Big Daddy: Then son, why don't you kill yourself?   Brick: 'Cause I like to drink.   Big Daddy: I can't talk to you.  Brick: I'm sorry.
(--from Cat on the Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams) 
It is a despicable time of American presidency. 

this existence brings

We are all afraid. We don’t know.

The only choice is to be frozen stiff with fear, or

Move step by step through fear to the next arriving place.

To move is to exercise faith.

To remain frozen is to enshrine fear.

This is our fate.

What to do with the fear being alive in this existence brings?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

how is the patient

"The bomb can't be used unless civilization dies first." (--in Harlot's Ghost, by Norman Mailer, ch.33)

that which is moving and adopts

What endures?

Bergson suggests, our self.
As the new school year of 1901-1902 began, their desperate search was rewarded when Charles Peguy led them across the street from the Sorbonne to the Collège de France to hear Henri Bergson lecture, and in Bergson's elegant lectures they heard the beginning of the message they had been waiting for. When they listened to him they understood him to say, as Raissa put it, "that we could truly, absolutely, know what is." That Bergson was speaking not of the intelligence or reason, but a faculty that he called intuition that was opposed to the intelligence and its concepts did not matter to them then, but later it was to become a critical issue. No doubt they were hearing words like the inspiring words that were to fill Bergson's essay, "An Introduction to Metaphysics" which was to appear in the Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale in January of 1903: " absolute could only be given in an intuition, whilst everything else falls within the province of analysis. By intuition is meant the kind of intellectual sympathy by which one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible. (9) ... There is one reality, at least, which we all seize from within, by intuition and not by simple analysis. It is our own personality in its flowing through time - our self which endures. (10) ... What is relative is the symbolic knowledge by pre-existing concepts, which proceeds from the fixed to the moving, and not the intuitive knowledge which installs itself in that which is moving and adopts the very life of things. This intuition attains the absolute." (11) 
(--Arraj, James (2011-11-06T22:58:59). MYSTICISM, METAPHYSICS AND MARITAIN: On the Road to the Spiritual Unconscious . Inner Growth Books and Videos, LLC. Kindle Edition.) 
 Yes, Bergson's words :"...intuitive knowledge ... installs itself in that which is moving and adopts the very life of things."

All aboard! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

after the religion medal at 8th grade graduation at St A's

An excerpt, sixty two years later:
 It is not that "I am empty," but rather, that "emptiness is I" (Masao Abe, Zen and Western Thought, 13) 
To be religious is to live from the standpoint of emptiness
Carter [Robert E. Carter, in The Nothingness Beyond God] quotes the following well-known epigram by the 9th century Chinese master Qingyuan Weixin: 
Thirty years ago, before I began the study of Zen, I said, ‘Mountains are mountains, waters are waters.’After I got an insight into the truth of Zen through the instruction of a good master, I said, ‘Mountains are not mountains, waters are not waters.’But now, having attained the abode of final rest [that is, Awakening], I say, “Mountains are really mountains, waters are really waters.” 
At first, mountains and waters are just mountains and waters, real objects out there in the world. Then, they are no longer mountains and waters, just names. For the awakened, mountains and waters are again mountains and waters, but “lined with nothingness.” Both real objects and names at once, to be seen through the “double aperture,” which is two and at the same time one. This again is the meaning of the title Carter chose for his book on Nishida: The Nothingness Beyond God. The reference here is to Meister Eckhart, whom Nishida read, along with the most significant Christian thinkers, who posited a Godhead he saw as nothingness above God the Creator, acknowledging a deeper Dao-like source of non-being out of which God created the world of being. Nishida’s disciples, Nishitani, Keiji and Ueda, Shizuteru regarded Eckhart as close to Buddhism in his interpretation of Christianity. Ueda spent time in Germany to write a doctoral dissertation on Eckhart. In his last writings, Nishida seems to have hoped that the West finds its own way to his philosophy of nothingness through a recovery of its own religious tradition. He suggested parallels between Christianity and the Pure Land School of Buddhism, which are both devotional, that is, relying on the “other power” of a deity. In Japan, the two paths, Zen’s reliance on “own power,” and Pure Land’s reliance on “other power,” are seen as equally able to lead practitioners to awakening. Could Christianity learn to see itself as the same as Zen? Could philosophy and science see being and reason as enveloped by a broader “religious” logic of the place of nothingness? I wish I could believe that it can happen. The East, however, which has mastered Western ontology and objective thinking, while most of the West is still happy to remain ignorant of Asian nothingness and the concrete experience of actual reality in the present moment, will most probably get there before the West does!
(--by Nick Bea, from Kyoto School of Philosophy website,) 
It has always intrigued me, the question: What holds us together?

Now, nothing.

Monday, January 21, 2019

who will care for the baby

Red hats
Native American drums —
many versions Rashômon the air

Looking and listening
silently —
what a fool I am

can nothing be something

There's missed calls everywhere

black men shot by police

banks taking homes from poor

women overpowered by men

bodies defeated by cancer

institutions crushing individuality

     a missed call in a championship football game

what's not right is never made right, not

by assertion or saying what's done is done

nothing's done

it all slip-slides down the road

folded paper in back pocket

documents placed in courthouse folders

     there is no defense for what's not right

what's right

is each time

created new

when what may be

comes about

in our seeing

     what has never been


what is  

now here

where faith

reduces everything

to unknowing yet caring gaze

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Saturday, January 19, 2019

this is true face

Morning practice at hermitage.

After sitting and chanting, this:

A Teaching from Zen Master Jinen,

Original face is just this.

Truth is facing this without concept.


What once was called marrying God, or called heiros gamos, or called becoming a bride of Christ, or any other designation of mystical union with the divine -- was the longing to overcome the perceived and felt separation/alienation common to the experience of distracted, disorientated, or dispersed human beings. It occurs when subjects became objects, and thinking objectification became rife in everyday experience.

Last evening's conversation brought us to the primacy of listening, the primacy of pure looking.

This morning: iiwwii 
Another way to imagine one's way into that which is correlationally, authentically, inchoately whole within and without.

That which is, I suspect, original and current real reality before belief in artificial separation.

Friday, January 18, 2019

absurd: (surdus=deaf, dull)

We're meant to listen to one another in the same way we are meant to listen to the resonant energy flowing -- which we call God.

Listen up!

Don't be dull!


and the music...

"Faith is twenty-four hours of doubt and one minute of hope." (--from film, "The Innocents")

Stark, haunting, and heartbreakingly beautiful.

And the music...

he preached himself through the fear of death

Between 15jan (MLK birthday) and 4apr (MLK deathday) I find a new interstice of holy and intense wonder.

This piece was 11 years ago.
'He Took Us to the Mountaintop'"Many of us, grown men, were crying," Kyles tells Renee Montagne. "We didn't know why we were crying. We had no way of knowing that would be the last speech of his life. And then he took us to the mountaintop ..." 
 "Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything, I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.                                                (— the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.)
Kyles says he's "so certain" that King "knew he wouldn't get there, but he wouldn't tell us that. That would have been too heavy for us, so he softened it." 
Afterward, "we had to help him to his seat behind that powerful, prophetic speech,"Kyles says. "He preached himself through the fear of death," Kyles says. "He just got it out of him. He just ... dealt with it. And we were just standing there. It was like, what did he know that we didn't know?" 
A Dream Partially Fulfilled
Kyles, who still preaches in Memphis, says that while much of King's dream has been realized, there's much more to do.  
When he speaks to people who were not alive or too young to remember King, Kyle says he tells them, "we're not going to get to the place where we can say, 'Dr. King's dream has been realized. Now we can go to the beach.' That's not going to happen. Much of it has been realized, but there is so much to do. But each generation will have its portion, and that helps to keep the dream alive."  
(--from, King Remembered on 40th Anniversary of DeathApril 4, 20084:00 PM ET, Heard on  All Things Considered)