Saturday, February 27, 2021

le compte rendu

February will end tomorrow night. Today it rains. Inland, snow. It feels winter might be winding down. Less than a month by calendar.

Coffee and donut by Rockland harbor earlier. Met prison librarian on main street. Brief catchup. Been a year since last physically there. 

They say I'll be called when vaccine is ready for my age range. They've gone sixteen and a half years under mine. They say.

I'm ready. If I get covid I'll die. No reason in particular. Just the panoply of vulnerable conditions. It doesn't seem to phase me.

In New York Review of Books, this: “People evangelize because they fear that the belief to which they have committed themselves may not be true.” (T.M. Luhrmann, anthropologist) 

The urge to convince and convert seems a natural outgrowth of one adopting a particular belief as one's own. The desire to have company is strong.

Woman during conversation said that Vipassana meditation was the one that the Buddha practiced in India. To see things as they really are is a good thing.

On revient toujours a son premier métier. (One always returns to one's original calling.) The prayers and Latin from childhood and early adulthood reemerge. 

The poetry and zen and philosophy and theology and religious studies of university time sit next to me more and more often these days.


Graduate course on Yeats' poetry in late sixties with Marjorie Perloff at Catholic University in DC. 

Graduate seminar on Heidegger with John Macquarrie at Union Theological Seminary in NYC. 

Graduate course on Bhagavad Gita with Thomas Berry at Fordham University in Bronx NY. 

Graduate course on Vedanta and Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras at The New School in Greenwich Village Manhattan by a swami from India.

Graduate course on Phenomenology with John Caputo at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.

I've been reading and studying since first attempt at college in 1961. I've been teaching as adjunct for The University of Maine at Augusta for thirty three years. Philosophy and Humanities. A great many of those courses at Maine State Prison's college program. (Two students from a course in 1988 are still there.)

Today a book arrives, Degrees of Givenness: On Saturation in Jean-Luc Marion (Philosophy of Religion), Oct.22, 2014, by Christina M. Gschwandtner.

I enjoy learning. And conversing. 

Sitting Zazen.

Listening to books via Scribd. Podcasts. Subscribing to NYRB, LRB, New Yorker, Plough, Vanity Fair, Sojourners.

Reading NYTimes, Washington Post, additional news feeds daily. 

Listening to monks chanting liturgy of hours from France. Praying Universalis from Great Britain. Divine Office from Utah. 

The political noise on radio and cable. The political noise. Cacophonous.

Après le bruit, l'écoute.

And the silence.

Walking silence.

Reclining silence.

Watchful silence. 

Realizing everything, in its own time, falls into silence. 

Le compte rendu

Friday, February 26, 2021

other days the bear eats you

 There are days when darkness arrives too early.

There’s a very bright moon tonight.

I notice that

Still, the darkness

Thursday, February 25, 2021

laetitia mane

 What if each word were an angel?

Each book a covey of temporary residence for messages ready to light up minds upon opening?

Would we cease our foolish antagonism toward truth and fall in love with what is revealed to our heart?

Cor mundum crea in me, Deus.

Redde mihi lætítiam salutáris tui.

(A pure heart create for me, O God.
Give me again the joy of your help.)

(Ps 50, 12a. 14a)

What is revealed is reality ready for itself.

Tat tvam asi!

A message longing to be read and said and felt throughout.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

because he did not care

 So many have died

Too sad to remain angry —

A fool was in charge

friends show up

 When needed

Different, but lovely, slants of light.

am in i are in you

Stay right here

See, hear, now

Don’t tell stories

You’re finally as you are

Fine as such.

(I’m kidding about the stories.

Tell another one.

I’ve plenty of time.)

And when you stop

I’ll still be listening

Just like this

As a last line of a short story

Always feels 


Waiting for 

What comes next

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

a cosmogonic glance

Of a Tuesday morning

When celestial body looked into room

Traveling 92,955,807 miles

Brother sun —


Monday, February 22, 2021

stirb und werde


It seems right that a chair would have its own feast day.

Sit well!

Feast Of The Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle 

“‘And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah,” (Mt. 16:17-19). 

Also, seems right that “no one” is to be told he’s the messiah. “No one” (is this a Chinese name No-Wan?) doesn’t seem to know who they are. 

Tell them! Tell them!


Such a thoughtful, provocative, and meditative wording, “die and become.” Or, “die and so to grow.”

The Holy Longing

poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,

because the mass man will mock it right away.

I praise what is truly alive,

what longs to be burned to death.


In the calm water of the love-nights,

where you were begotten, where you have begotten,

a strange feeling comes over you,

when you see the silent candle burning.


Now you are no longer caught in the obsession with darkness,

and a desire for higher love-making sweeps you upward.


Distance does not make you falter.

Now, arriving in magic, flying,

and finally, insane for the light,

you are the butterfly and you are gone.

And so long as you haven't experienced this: to die and so to grow,

you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.


Translated from the German by Robert Bly 


It’s a long and varied trail from being no one to realizing who you are with everyone. In a paroxysm of infinite discovery we come to markers showing way up mountain and through wooded turns.


“How do you make love to a physicist? With your whole self, quivering, lush, unafraid.” So concludes Deesha Philyaw in her short story in The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, 2020.


When we practice, we are enlightened. When we are enlightened, we practice. That's what Dogen Zenji tells us.

To be enlightened, as far as I can surmise, is to see things as they are.

And that's good.


So, let go. And become what we, at heart, are -- quivering, lush, unafraid.

monday morning, aspiration, multivalent

Only Breath

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu

Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East

or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not

composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or in the next,

did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace

of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two

worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that

breath breathing human being.


(—Rumi, 1207-1273) 

Sunday, February 21, 2021