Saturday, September 11, 2021

passing through

 names names names names names

ears ears ears hearing these names —

no name no name stays

arriving sorrow

 Suddenly, surprise

Something happens — bang, boom, Oh

No — comes grief trailing

a great fall

The losses
Every day for twenty years
Lives, integrity, face —

War and deceptive character
Turn away a nation
Dishearten a people

Still, we remember the planes
The fires, the awful 
Death and destruction, and are sad

But the other — the cynical making of
Other, the lies and cruelty — America 
Turning on its integrity and itself —

Twenty years of smoke and dust
Making eyes burn and sight fade —
We have been broken, broken in half

Friday, September 10, 2021

the teaching of 9/11

 Please be seated. There’s something I want you to hear.

 Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.

–Henry James

Any questions?

Thanks for showing up.

Andiamo in nome di dio!

Thursday, September 09, 2021


Don Delillo, at end of novel, this phrase: “… arms waving like nothing in this life.”

Then, novel ends.

Second time reading it.

What good phrasing.

Seeing this.

qui tacit, temporibus

A Thursday of quick responses: 


Ama Nesciri | Camden Maine

So well worded. Yes, of course they won. From the "banquette full of blondes" to "covered forever with a bit of the ash," we are reminded of the sometimes absurdity and oftimes haunted character of American culture and life.  


This anniversary, and the military abscond from Afghanistan, are poignant visitors, ghosts trying to awaken us to things gone by and things to come, if only we could welcome what is real and what is for the good of everyone. 




Ama Nesciri | Camden Maine
While I concur "Religion is American society’s last taboo," I add its penultimate muted topic is evil done in the name of good. When philosophers suggest that Moral Law is an evolutionary stage of becoming human, that the consideration of what is good and right versus what is bad and wrong pivots us toward a future worthy of human effort, we were not warned that calling one the other -- good-evil, evil-good -- would be the rhetorical hurdle too high to clear. 

Pick your stance on this one. Is choice, not compulsion, good? Is state demand, not individual preference, evil? From vaccines to masks to abortions to truth-telling by purported political celebrities -- we are bombarded with mentally compromising munitions telling us one thing is the other, up is down, our saviors are our executioners. 


We've got to practice the difficult art of clear thinking, seeing through inauthentic speech, and be/become caring for one another. 




Ama Nesciri | Camden Maine

I stepped over a penny in the parking lot of a thrift store yesterday. I figured it was safer where it was, rather than picking it up and sending it as donation response to fundraising request.  


If kids still delight in finding coins on the ground, I support their cheerful discovery over the greedy con of political professionals using every ploy to enrich their cloying agendas.

 Silence would be a better behavior.

But I do not consent.

transparent, at least at first glance



The poetic character of thinking is still covered over... But a poetry which thinks is in truth the landscape of being. 

The poem...[is] a vortex that snatches us away. Not gradually, but...suddenly... We are forcefully drawn into a conversation.

(- Heidegger)

 (Heidegger and Poetry)

Don't try to convince me.

Surprise me. 

In the introduction to Poets Thinking: Pope, Whitman, Dickinson, Yeats  (Harvard University Press, 2004), Helen Vendler writes:

Poetry has often been considered an irrational genre, more expressive than logical, more given to meditation than to coherent or defensible argument. The “proofs” it presents are, it is judged, more fanciful than true, and the experiences it affords are emotional and idiosyncratic rather than dispassionate and universal. The additional fact that poetry is directed by an aesthetic imperative, rather than by a forensic or expository one, casts suspicion on the “thinking” represented within and by poetry... Unlike the structure of a perspicuous argument, the structure of a poem may be anything but transparent, at least at first glance.

    In short, the relation of poetry to thought is an uneasy one.

    Some law other than the conduct of an argument is always governing a poem, even when the poem purports to be relating the unfolding of thought. On the other hand, even when a poem seems to be a spontaneous outburst of feeling, it is being directed, as a feat of ordered language, by something one can only call thought. (1-3)

“Intellectuals” and their “ideas” (invariably expressed in prose) occupy at this moment a privilege in academic and popular discussion which is (absurdly) denied to poets and poems—as though poetry and responsible ideation could not, or did not, overlap. “Great books” curricula, while including epic and narrative poetry, have on the whole suppressed the very presence of lyric in Western literature, as though lyric poems had nothing to contribute to thinking. (6)


Why not tell me, in our conversation, in poetry, something I don't know.

Tell me nothing. 

I will, carefully, listen.

remaining stem

 early downpour nips

considered morning walk bud

leaving shoes on rug

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

remembering 9/11

 the losses they drift

through our hearts slowly with grace —

word by word by word

considering my death

 this bright ninth month day

noting breath in and out, late

 summer fading green

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

ראש חאשנה שמח

 It is Rosh Hashanah.

Happy New Year!

This beautiful Tuesday.

Such weather!

Of course, my mother would say at her Bensonhurst kitchen table, מזל טוב Mazel Tov!

what can be seen

Jesus, says Marcus Borg, must be seen in the light of what is said of him in the New Testament.

He posits:

"He's not God, but the revelation of what can be seen of God in a human life."  (Marcus Borg, in ch.9, in Days of Awe and Wonder: How to Be a Christian in the Twenty-first Century)

Also see:

Was Jesus God? No. Not even the New Testament says that. It speaks of him as the Word of God, the Son of God, the Messiah, and so forth, but never simply identifies him with or equates him with God. As John's gospel puts it, he is the Word become flesh - that is, he reveals what can be seen of God in a finite human life. To say, "I believe Jesus was God" (as some Christians do, or think they are supposed to) goes beyond what the New Testament affirms and is thus more than biblical. He is the Word incarnate - not the disembodied Word

Did some of his followers experience Jesus as a divine reality after his death, and have some Christians had such experiences in the centuries since, including into the present? Yes. These experiences led to the conviction that Jesus was "one with God," "at the right hand of God," and ultimately to the doctrine of the Trinity: that God is one (monotheism) and yet known/experienced in three primary ways (as God, the Son, and the Spirit). This is the context in which it makes sense to praise and pray to Jesus. But this doesn't mean that Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus during his historical life, was "God." (Marcus Borg: A Letter About Jesus, Saturday July 12, 2014, Day1)

I listen to books 

as I walk.

I ponder what I hear.

It is good to be able 

to do 

all three.

not man apart


What did you say?


Yes to what?

To all of it.

I think you’re mistaken.


Yes what?

I am mistaken.

That’s not much…

Much of what?

…of an answer.


  The Answer   

     by Robinson Jeffers

Then what is the answer?- Not to be deluded by dreams.

To know that great civilizations have broken down into violence,

      and their tyrants come, many times before.

When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or choose

      the least ugly faction; these evils are essential.

To keep one's own integrity, be merciful and uncorrupted

      and not wish for evil; and not be duped

By dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams will

      not be fulfilled.

To know this, and know that however ugly the parts appear

      the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand

Is an ugly thing and man dissevered from the earth and stars

      and his history... for contemplation or in fact...

Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness,

      the greatest beauty is

Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty

      of the universe. Love that, not man

Apart from that, or else you will share man's pitiful confusions,

      or drown in despair when his days darken.  

(From THE COLLECTED POETRY OF ROBINSON JEFFERS, edited by Tim Hunt. Stanford University Press. Copyright 1936)

Monday, September 06, 2021





being nothing in order to enter

 The less said about God, the better.


Don’t ask. (The answer is unsettling.)

As is God.

 Since it is God's nature not to be like anyone, we have to come to the state of being nothing in order to enter into the same nature that He is.  [Meister Elkhart, German sermon 7, trans M.O’C. Walshe]

God is nothing like what we think of God.

Not even close.

What, then, do we do about God?

You might say God matters. (Literally, God causes to be that which becomes matter.)

What’s with matter? (‘What is’ is with matter.)

We are what is with matter. (We are with God. God is with us.)

‘With’ is the unspoken name of God. 

What’s with you? (The answer is in the question.)

I have nothing to say about God. 

That nothing, that unsaying, is middle of the night zen.

You ask, ‘Do I believe in God?’

What’s with that question? (What is, with, that question.)

Water drops from eaves onto sun porch roof. I hear this. Silence holds it within itself.

Out across Penobscot Bay in Pulpit Harbor a sailboat rides anchor or holds mooring ball in the moist morning after-rain quiet. 

(Dreams lift and laze hull and soul before dawn lifts tide and tone of faint light.)

They and you — God be with you! (God be-with you.)

May we each experience bewithing. 

(A zen enlightening act of being.)

God is no parenthesis.

(Rather, God is nothing sounding itself with silence.)

Nothing, sounding, itself, with, silence.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

alles ist gut

 Labor Day, the work

of zen consciousness — stirb und

werde — immersion

avoir l'intention, 自体 (itself)

 Ah, intentional 

life looking through what is seen

becoming … itself