Saturday, January 11, 2020

not yet here

Every conversation
is an appointment
with the unknown

If we listen
we hear
What Is to come

Some call reality
God — the not yet
coming to be

You are not just
what God is doing —
You are not yet here

Friday, January 10, 2020

nothing more than names

Friday Evening Conversation was all annoyance.




Apropos of nothing, this:
We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth from whatever source it comes to us, even if it is brought to us by former generations and foreign peoples. For him who seeks the truth there is nothing of higher value than truth itself.
—Abu Yūsuf Yaʻqūb ibn ʼIsḥāq aṣ-Ṣabbāḥ al-Kindī1 
“East” and “West” are nothing more than names applied to this or that place according to the situation. There is no such thing as occupying the center and determining East and West. If we do not respect the Way of the Buddha because he is a barbarian, then shall we also not respect the ways of Shun, who was born among the Eastern tribes, and King Wen, who was born among the Western tribes? Can we disparage a person’s Way just on the basis of his being foreign?
 (— epigraph to Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in Early Twentieth-Century German Thought, by Eric S. Nelson)
I’ll settle for truth itself.

It is always at home wherever it visits. 

Thursday, January 09, 2020




describe it —

I’d say

more like


the kind





from which it came

              (to remind myself) 

Make a place to sit down. 
Sit down. Be quiet. 
You must depend upon 
affection, reading, knowledge, 
skill – more of each 
than you have – inspiration, 
work, growing older, patience, 
for patience joins time 
to eternity. Any readers 
who like your poems, 
doubt their judgment. 
Breathe with unconditional breath 
the unconditioned air. 
Shun electric wire. 
Communicate slowly. Live 
a three-dimensioned life; 
stay away from screens. 
Stay away from anything 
that obscures the place it is in. 
There are no unsacred places; 
there are only sacred places 
and desecrated places. 
Accept what comes from silence. 
Make the best you can of it. 
Of the little words that come 
out of the silence, like prayers 
prayed back to the one who prays, 
make a poem that does not disturb 
the silence from which it came.

(—Poem by Wendell Berry) 

from outside the huckster and barker tent

 Illusionists mesmerize us into looking away from what is actually there. It appears politics in Washington DC is conducting a carnival shifting attention from desperate need.
We Americans are locked in political combat and focused on President Trump, but there is a cancer gnawing at the nation that predates Trump and is larger than him. Suicides are at their highest rate since World War II;  one child in seven is living with a parent suffering from substance abuse; a baby is born every 15 minutes after prenatal exposure to opioids; America is slipping as a great power.   
We have deep structural problems that have been a half century in the making, under both political parties, and that are often transmitted from generation to generation. Only in America has life expectancy now fallen three years in a row, for the first time in a century, because of “deaths of despair.”   
“The meaningfulness of the working-class life seems to have evaporated,” Angus Deaton, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, told us. “The economy just seems to have stopped delivering for these people.” Deaton and the economist Anne Case, who is also his wife, coined the term “deaths of despair” to describe the surge of mortality from alcohol, drugs and suicide.  
(--Who Killed the Knapp Family?  Across America, working-class people — including many of our friends — are dying of despair. And we’re still blaming the wrong people. By Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, NYTimes, 9jan20)
Thank you, Kristopher and WuDunn, for this reminder from outside the huckster and barker tent.


In middle
of night
Dog, moonlight —

Coat on, off
on, off

He barks
at bald mountain
in wind white 

Wednesday, January 08, 2020


There are moments

When moonlight on snow

Is all we know

human; dignity

 This fragment from interview in Salon between Chauncey DeVega and Henry Giroux:
What are your thoughts about the professional centrists and other “mainstream” voices in the news media? They dance around the dire realities of what Trumpism represents because they are invested in giving their public some false hope. As an example, the most prominent opinion-makers took almost three years to finally describe Donald Trump as what he is — a fascist, a serial liar, a racist, a misogynist, corrupt, mentally unwell and a demagogue. But guess what? Over the following days and weeks they just moved on. There is little if any follow-through and commitment to the truth.  
Their ethical frameworks are organized around very specific economic and political interests. Those professional centrist pundit types are basically showmen and show-women. They are examples of a politics of disengagement and a politics of theater. Politics is emptied of any substance. It's all about the spectacle.  
Therefore, any questions of social or ethical responsibility are made meaningless in relation to their own complicity in the system. These professional centrists have a stake in the system. They benefit from it. Do you really think that they care about the social costs that the system produces? They could care less. 
These people are nothing more than charlatans who defend the system by making the claim to be opposed to it, when in fact they are not opposed at all. They're basically complicit with it.  
A prime example of the politics of theater and distraction is the new movie “Bombshell,” which is about Fox News and its sexual harassment scandal. The political work being done by such a movie is very dangerous because it attempts to humanize the agents of fascism.  
I'm not interested in personal stories that basically obliterate questions of politics and power and the structures which maintain them. These stories function as disimagination machines which reduce politics and serious concerns down to “Do you like these people in the movie? See, they're not too bad. Oh, they're just like us." That is just nonsense. 
They are “humanoids.” They are part of a system that wages enormous destruction on people's minds, their lives, their livelihoods, on their families, and on their quest to have a life filled with dignity. I am not interested in evil being humanized. Instead, I am interested in understanding the ideological and structural forces that actually produce evil. 
What does it mean to be a full human being? How do we make the distinction between a “humanoid” and a full human being?  
A humanoid is a person who no longer occupies a moral universe. A humanoid is an individual who has removed him or herself from any sense of ethical and social responsibility to others. The process of making people into humanoids turns people into a type of machine. It turns them into something deadly. It turns them into people who don't feel. It turns them into people who are basically immersed in a culture of cruelty — and in some ways these humanoids even seem to enjoy the pain and rage and the separation and despair they perpetrate on others.  
Humanoids are people who are basically sadomasochists, who function in a way that aligns their own personhood with a system which says that questions of compassion, justice, caring, love, courage and social responsibility are a liability. 
In total, humanoids both produce a culture of cruelty and misery but also literally occupy its center. 
(--from, Democracy fatigue and how to fight it: Philosopher Henry Giroux on life in the age of Trump Are we human beings or robotic "humanoids"? For Giroux, fighting fascism is about being fully conscious and awake, by CHAUNCEY DEVEGA, JANUARY 7, 2020 12:00PM (UTC), Salon)
It occurs to me that this explains my hesitation when someone says "I'm only human." My response, typically, is "No, it's a matter of not yet being human."

Listening to aggrandizing political rhetoric by an indisputably unqualified leader, one recognizes the example of aggressive not-yet-human on display for all to see.


When it arrives, we'll know.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Много благословений! (many blessings!)

The Russian Orthodox celebrate Christmas today, 7jan20.

Поздравляем с рождением Христа!
S rozhdyestvom Hristovym!  
(“Congratulations on the birth of Christ!”)

not present, not absent

He words this in a way new and intriguing:
With the dead, for example, you can say they're not present, but that doesn't mean they're absent, that they live in some middle space between those two extremes. 
(--Pico Iyer: Inside Japan as an Outsider, Tricycle Talks podcast, April 29, 2019)
Between present and absent.

A common unknown field. 

'ishah nevi'ah

Where is our "prophet woman"?

In this age of male ignorance and calculated stupidity, surely there will arise an 'ishah nevi'ah who will speak forth truth and act with wisdom during this time of crisis and irrational faith in a severely damaged man and similarly damaged institutions of governance.

Speak forth truth.

Pray it will be heard.

And we (might) have the courage to act -- with intelligence, kindness, and cheerful gratefulness.

hospice for those in last few days


Sees trump

As a dead man

Sees nothing


(deep bow)

Silence is

Not what you think

It is

Monday, January 06, 2020

a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something

I have come

to see you

as you

not me


as you are


...   ...   ...

< Late Greek epipháneia, Greek: apparition, equivalent to epi- epi- + phan- (stem of phaínein to appear) + -eia -y3


  • (initial capital letter) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day. 
  • an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity. 
  • a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience. 
  • a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.  (


What did the wanderers find?

We call it Epiphany.

What did the so-called Magi find?

And what does such revelation mean in a time of dark ignorance?

Yes, dark ignorance.

It threatens the destruction of almost everything — look at it — it smiles and swaggers.

What did they find?

What was their experience?

Where do we go?

Where wander?

Sunday, January 05, 2020


Light snow (yes) but no morning hospitality today.

The chief cook and bottle-washer ain’t right yet.

Yes for Sunday Evening Practice.

what are you looking at

Two thoughts:

We see God

By looking through

God’s eyes

At one another

We get to see God

By looking at

What God is

Looking at

Through our eyes