Friday, January 11, 2002

First the highway falls away. Then cushion. Then faces saying something I cannot comprehend, that maybe doesn't need to be said. Then a book fills my hands -- about history and indeterminacy, Mary and the odd matter of miracles. For two days the dog breathes, the cat purrs, pages turn. Rodents dart to sunflower seed. Ladybugs on book page, on lamp stand, under driftwood. Everything else is frozen.

Computer freezes. Mind freezes. A great locked stillness encloses God. The Bodhisattva of Compassion averts eyes from unmoving and shivering stillborn unawareness.
January, no place remains but the beginning, again. Ordinary time. Ordinary mind. Hiatus without promise of anything other than itself. Brrr!

Breaking Through Solid Ice
Oh lonely boat, advancing, breaking through solid ice! Out of the blur of towering, frozen waves, from the desolate winter light of that isolated region, weathered dark with sadness, you small black whaleboat. The compass needle of the boat, adrift in the deserted surroundings of the sea, and the single sharp prow of will, how they cleave and shatter the hard ice of winter.

(-prose poem by Sakutaro Hagiwara, translated by Lane Dunlop)

Will the woman in Pennsylvania make it through her second bone marrow transplant? Will the man in New York recover from pneumonia and spots on his lungs? Will the elderly woman looking at candles on her tree decide her memories more comforting than what used to compose them?
Will the looming empty space across the river from Brooklyn entrance to Battery Tunnel ever be felt as anything other than burial space for three thousand surprised souls?

We are in the season of questions -- a hard-frozen sorrowing sea of holding-fast questions!