Saturday, August 01, 2015

thesis; poetry sive utterance

Why poetry has to do with liberation, creative expression of true nature, and essential communication.
Since my house burned down,   
I now own a better view       
of the rising moon                               
                     --(Masahide, 1657–1723) 
Poetry is what has become of religion and spirituality once they abandoned freedom, the individual undivided, the divine intercommunication. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue moon and Ignacio

July ends.

It's only a moon.

Rising over Hosmer Pond.

Where white dog stands.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

return to yes


No more killing trophy big game animals. 

No more bullying or shooting people for diddly mistakes. 

No more political or religious posturing.


To yes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

course of nature

Cats stalk chipmunk in front room.

It's just a fact.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

where did the cat go?

Maria Popova relates the story of Zen Master Soen sa Nim speaking to a young child after the death of a cat.

“What happened to Katzie? Where did he go?” 
Soen-sa said, “Where do you come from?” 
“From my mother’s belly.” 
“Where does your mother come from?” Gita was silent. 
Soen-sa said, “Everything in the world comes from the same one thing. It is like in a cookie factory. Many different kinds of cookies are made — lions, tigers, elephants, houses, people. They all have different shapes and different names, but they are all made from the same dough and they all taste the same. So all the different things that you see — a cat, a person, a tree, the sun, this floor — all these things are really the same.” 
“What are they?”
"People give them many different names. But in themselves, they have no names. When you are thinking, all things have different names and different shapes. But when you are not thinking, all things are the same. There are no words for them. People make the words. A cat doesn’t say, ‘I am a cat.’ People say, ‘This is a cat.’ The sun doesn’t say, ‘My name is sun.’ People say, ‘This is the sun.’
So when someone asks you, ‘What is this?’, how should you answer?”
“I shouldn’t use words.” 
Soen-sa said, “Very good! You shouldn’t use words. So if someone asks you, ‘What is Buddha?’, what would be a good answer?” 
Gita was silent. 
Soen-sa said, “Now you ask me. “ 
“What is Buddha?” 
Soen-sa hit the floor. 
Gita laughed. 
Soen-sa said, “Now I ask you: What is Buddha?” 
Gita hit the floor. 
“What is God?” 
Gita hit the floor. 
“What is your mother?” 
Gita hit the floor. 
“What are you?” 
Gita hit the floor. 
“Very good! This is what all things in the world are made of. You and Buddha and God and your mother and the whole world are the same.”
Gita smiled.
Soen-sa said, “Do you have any more questions?” 
“You still haven’t told me where Katz went.” 
Soen-sa leaned over, looked into her eyes, and said, “You already understand.” 
Gita said, “Oh!” and hit the floor very hard. Then she laughed.

She also tells the rest of the story:

As she was opening the door, she turned to Soen-sa and said, “But I’m not going to answer that way when I’m in school. I’m going to give regular answers!” Soen-sa laughed.

Monday, July 27, 2015

a time being; in mind of

We have to learn to read.

To understand stories.
The Buddhist myth about Siddhartha’s fateful encounters with an old man, an ill man, a corpse, and a renunciate can be taken as historically factual, or as an imaginative way to represent why Siddhartha left home, or as a literary device that may have nothing to do with the actual life of the Buddha. Yet the myth is an effective way to story his teaching. Understood symbolically, this polyvalence is not a problem, because that is how myths work. It is not a matter of literal truth or falsity. As Rabbi Akiva Tatz writes in Letters to a Buddhist Jew, “All my stories are true. Some happened and some did not, but they are all true.” 
A better way to evaluate a myth—a symbolic story—is to consider what happens when we try to live according to it. The most important criterion for Buddhism is whether a story promotes awakening. A myth that is interpreted for me still needs to be interpreted by me, by what I do with it—and what it does with me. A story about the suffering of old age, illness, and death challenges the stories with which we try to ignore our mortality: the importance of money, possessions, fame, power. Letting go of those preoccupations opens up other possibilities: different stories, and perhaps a different relationship with stories.
(--The World is Made of Stories, --byDavid Loy)
I have nothing to say; words do not appear to grasp it. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

poems sent to place miles away

And at conversation we spoke about "mind" -- how there is joy in realizing we share the same one.

Like the Small Hole by the Path-Side Something Lives in

Like the small hole by the path-side something lives in,
in me are lives I do not know the names of,

nor the fates of,
nor the hungers of or what they eat.

They eat of me.
Of small and blemished apples in low fields of me 
whose rocky streams and droughts I do not drink.

And in my streets—the narrow ones, 
unlabeled on the self-map—
they follow stairs down music ears can’t follow,

and in my tongue borrowed by darkness,
in hours uncounted by the self-clock,
they speak in restless syllables of other losses, other loves. 

There too have been the hard extinctions, 
missing birds once feasted on and feasting.

There too must be machines 
like loud ideas with tungsten bits that grind the day.

A few escape. A mercy.

They leave behind 
small holes that something unweighed by the self-scale lives in.

Source: Poetry (September 2012).

And "fado" is "a type of Portuguese singing, traditionally associated with pubs and cafés, that is renowned for its expressive and profoundly melancholic character."


A man reaches close
and lifts a quarter 
from inside a girl’s ear,
from her hands takes a dove
she didn’t know was there.
Which amazes more,
you may wonder:
the quarter’s serrated murmur
against the thumb
or the dove’s knuckled silence?
That he found them, 
or that she never had,
or that in Portugal,
this same half-stopped moment,
it’s almost dawn, 
and a woman in a wheelchair
is singing a fado 
that puts every life in the room
on one pan of a scale, 
itself on the other, 
and the copper bowls balance.

Source: Poetry (September 2012).