Saturday, April 22, 2023

to depart . . . to arrive

 Between cognition

And cosmology — a gap —

Abduct and adduct 

web of ideas

Enemies surround

Inner word and outer word

Which will you pronounce

who art in

 Earth is


You don’t have to die

To get there

Here is

Where you long to be

But you can’t



You are

as cardinals build nest in yew bush outside kitchen window

 I never thought I'd 

live this long -- so every breath 

remains a wonder

falling and falling and i wanted to keep falling

 Letter of apology to earth by V (formerly Eve Ensler):

Dear Mother,

It began with the article about the birds, the 2.9 billion missing North America birds, the 2.9 billion birds that disappeared and no one noticed. The sparrows, black birds, and swallows who didn’t make it, who weren’t ever born, who stopped flying or singing or making their most ingenious nests, who didn’t perch or peck their gentle beaks into moist black earth. It began with the birds. Hadn’t we even commented in June, James and I that they were hardly here? A kind of eerie quiet had descended. But later they came back. The swarms of barn swallows and the huge ravens landing on the gravel one by one. I know it was after hearing about the birds, that afternoon I crashed my bike. Suddenly falling, falling, unable to prevent the catastrophe ahead, unable to find the brakes or make them work, unable to stop the falling. I fell and spun and realized I had already been falling, that we have been falling, all of us, and crows and conifers and ice caps and expectations — falling and falling and I wanted to keep falling. I didn’t want to be here to witness everything falling, missing, bleaching, burning, drying, disappearing, choking, never blooming. I didn’t want to live without the birds or bees and sparkling flies that light the summer nights. I didn’t want to live with hunger that turned us feral or desperation that gave us claws. I wanted to fall and fall into the deepest, darkest ground and be finally still and buried there. 

But Mother, you had other plans. The bike landed in grass and dirt and bang, I was ten-years-old, fallen in the road, my knees scraped and bloody. And I realized that even then nature was something foreign and cruel, something that could and would hurt me because everything I had ever known or loved that was grand and powerful and beautiful became foreign and cruel and eventually hurt me. Even then I had already been exiled, or so I felt, forever cast out of the forest. I belonged with the broken, the contaminated, the dead. 
Maybe it was the sharp pain in my knee and elbow, or the dirt embedded in my new jacket, maybe it was the shock or the realization that death was preferable to the thick tar of grief coagulated in my chest, or maybe it was just the lonely rattling of the spokes of the bicycle wheel still spinning without me. Whatever it was. It broke. It broke. I heard the howling. 
Mother, I am the reason the birds are missing. I am the cause of salmon who cannot spawn and the butterflies unable to take their journey home. I am the coral reef bleached death white and the sea boiling with methane. I am the millions running from lands that have dried, forests that are burning or islands drowned in water. 
I didn’t see you, Mother. You were nothing to me. My trauma-made arrogance and ambition drove me to that cracking pulsing city. Chasing a dream, chasing the prize, the achievement that would finally prove I wasn’t bad or stupid or nothing or wrong. Oh my Mother, what contempt I had for you. What did you have to offer that would give me status in the market place of ideas and achieving? What could your bare trees offer but the staggering aloneness of winter or greenness I could not receive or bear. I reduced you to weather, an inconvenience, something that got in my way, dirty slush that ruined my overpriced city boots with salt. I refused your invitation, scorned your generosity, held suspicion for your love. I ignored all the ways we used and abused you. I pretended to believe the stories of the fathers who said you had to be tamed and controlled — that you were out to get us.
I press my bruised body down on your grassy belly, breathing me in and out. I have missed you, Mother. I have been away so long. I am sorry. I am so sorry. 
I am made of dirt and grit and stars and river, skin, bone, leaf, whiskers and claws. I am a part of you, of this, nothing more or less. I am mycelium, petal pistil and stamen. I am branch and hive and trunk and stone. I am what has been here and what is coming. I am energy and I am dust. I am wave and I am wonder. I am an impulse and an order. I am perfumed peonies and the single parasol tree in the African savannah. I am lavender, dandelion, daisy, dahlia, cosmos, chrysanthemum, pansy, bleeding heart and rose. I am all that has been named and unnamed, all that has been gathered and all that has been left alone. I am all your missing creatures, all the sweet birds never born. I am daughter. I am caretaker. I am fierce defender. I am griever. I am bandit. I am baby. I am supplicant. I am here now, Mother. I am yours. I am yours. I am yours.
Eve Ensler


Friday, April 21, 2023

when, at end, there’s no other place to go


What other choice is there?

Speak of it no more

dialectical resolution

If you come to see this identity, keep it to yourself. Nobody wants to hear you say you are dying in a hospice room, sitting in jail cell after killing four people, listening to Cormac McCarthy novel about southwest hard times, watching dogs play on snowmelt mountain. 

"In the latter work2 Sekitõ speaks of Buddha as the "Great Hermit" (daisen3); the meaning and foundation of all things he calls the "spiritual source" (reigen4). The dialectical resolution of the dualistic pairs of opposites ji5 and ri6 and light (myõ7) and darkness (an8) into a higher unity, developed by Sekitõ in the Sandõkai, can be regarded as the foundation of, or first step toward, the later doctrine of the "Five Ranks" (goi9) in the Sõtõ Sect." (The Development of Chinese Zen After the Sixth Patriarch 6-7) 

(—Harmony of Difference and SamenessRTs'an-t'ung-ch'i, By Ch'an Master Shih-t'ou Hsi-ch'ien)

In mind I live in monastery. Sit zazen for three hours breathing what remains of life in otherwise silent room. Sip orange juice and eat single cookie in eucharistic completion of time. Drive route one observing speed limit to chicken, rice, asparagus and watch 1923 Yellowstone prequel the day I finish Infinite Jest nine years after purchase and seven years after beginning it.

Don’t ask who you are.

It’s too easy a question. 

Ask who you’re not. 

And wait.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

ataxia rolling dice

 In hospice room two

men breathe at dusk — neither one

knows who will go first

and what have you done

Open your mouth and die.

Shut your mouth and never be born.


First readingActs 5:27-33 ©

We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit

When the officials had brought the apostles in to face the Sanhedrin, the high priest demanded an explanation. ‘We gave you a formal warning’ he said ‘not to preach in this name, and what have you done? You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and seem determined to fix the guilt of this man’s death on us.’ In reply Peter and the apostles said, ‘Obedience to God comes before obedience to men; it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, but it was you who had him executed by hanging on a tree. By his own right hand God has now raised him up to be leader and saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins through him to Israel. We are witnesses to all this, we and the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.’
  This so infuriated them that they wanted to put them to death.

Of course, kill them. 

If you lie, you live.

Death is the benefit of telling truth.

Truth speaks.

Lies shut up by mouthing inanity and jackhammer percussive aphasiac noise.

Tell truth and die.

Shut up and live.

Who are all these unspeaking unsaying unarticulating  populating this mute unsounding vacuumesque simulation so densely inhabited by noise devoid of lucidity or cogency.

 σοφία παρευρεθείτε! σοφία μίλα!  

(sofía parevretheíte! sofía míla) 

wisdom attend! speak wisdom!

no life is where yes goes when nothing left to say walks away

 What is “no life” — tell

Me — I will — no life  merely

Stands up and walk off

Down road, not turning to look

Back, just going on, face front

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

life is bare(ly) pronounced

 I cannot write an

autobiography, there

Is no life in words

point me to the door, leaving, no forwarding address

 Where do I sign? Give

Me the forms. I resign from

White stupidity

Take my badge and keys, my loud

Mouth, camaraderie smile

shooter brings maine into the conversation

Was it luck to not

Take I-two ninety five north

To Augusta yes-

terday from Scarborough same

Time shooter pulled the trigger

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

the thing about opinions





noch einmal, bitte

 The story of


Jesus is

Placeholder for 

Wholing and Healing





Monday, April 17, 2023

from mentality into diaphaneity

 Questions about the nature of reality and consciousness. Listening to Bernardo Kastrup's  The Idea of the World: A Multi-Disciplinary Argument for the Mental Nature of Reality, c.2019

It's a Monday. Earlier morning walk along Cornell Road, its stone walls and winding curves in light mist past Angeline Brook to Crape Myrtle tree fully blossoming at my turnaround point.

The uniform of the day includes yellow reflector vest, white Tau hat, black zip hoodie, two Black Diamond hiking sticks, and in my ears the final chapters of Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace, a novel I began to read in 2017. As the Rockport artist, Herb F. used to say to me, "You're slow, but you're inefficient."

 I take note that Republican Judiciary Committee is on a field trip to NYC to begin a 50 state tour emphasizing how miraculously unguilty their former president is of any and all crimes he committed, and how racist, corrupt, and un-American is any grand jury or district attorney or investigator daring to consider evidence of wrongdoing and bring indictments as though this country practiced that ridiculous notion that all citizens are subject to the law of the land.

Also, as with Tennessee, two weeks ago, Kentucky last week, this past weekend in Alabama, someone with a gun massacred a number of people, again. According to The New York Times:

Here is a small slice of the year’s mass shootings. 


April 15: Dadeville, Ala.

Four people were killed and 28 others were injured in a shooting at a birthday party in the Alabama city, officials said. 


April 10: Louisville, Ky.

A 25-year-old man shot and killed five colleagues at the downtown bank where he worked, the police said. Eight others were wounded in the attack. The suspect was killed by the police after exchanging fire with them. 


March 27: Nashville

A heavily armed assailant shot and killed three children and three adults at a private Christian elementary school. The shooter, who the authorities said was a former student at the school, was shot and killed by the police. 


Feb. 19: Memphis

Eleven people were shot, one fatally, at two separate crime scenes that the authorities said they believed were connected. 


Investigators said they had identified three people of interest who they believed could be involved in the shootings. Their names were not made public. 


Feb. 17: Tate County, Miss.

A 52-year-old man went on a shooting rampage at multiple locations in rural Mississippi, killing six people, including his ex-wife and two siblings who were both in their 70s, the authorities said.

The United States, it is commonly held, is a fine country with a few flaws. One such flaw is the unwillingness to put any restrictions on the sale of assault weapons to its citizenry. There's a belief that if the cost of being able to walk around towns and cities openly carrying weapons once utilized only in overtly sanctioned wars is the frequent slaughter of citizens by those so inclined to murder on a mass scale, well, so be it. 

I understand the NRA and assorted gun manufacturers and lobbyists feel that their bribes, overt and covert donations to politicians and influential players in the legislative game, is a legitimate counterpoint to the belief of the populace they should be safe in their communities.

There's no arguing, some hold, with stupid. Nor with crisp thousand dollar bills wrapped in winks and nods and handed out in plain sight.

For my part, I am against assault weapons. I'm also against the silliness that passes for legislative grandstanding and carnival protestations of innocence on the part of bald-faced lying criminal public figures intent on fleecing their minions and those whose job is herding the errant cats committing injustices.

There was a time we thought we knew what was right and what was wrong. No such equation of jurisprudence is in effect these days. What matters now is power and influence, wealth and dogs of law peeing on legal briefs and motions lining the halls of justice wreaking havoc and reeking of urine and excrement. 

From One Center Street in Lower Manhattan to the Supreme Court Building at One First Street NW in Washington DC fissures have opened up under them, walls are cracking, ceilings are lowering, and personnel are rending their robes crying "scandal, scandal" pointing fingers in all directions as portraits of emeritus and emerita historical judges and justices slip from their frames and fall to marble floors to be stepped on by shoes worn by vacating feet seeking exits from an unstable edifice buckling and creaking under weight of unsustainable impropriety and unreliable materials of character deficiency.

And the rest of us?

As poet Richard Hugo wrote, "We're seldom better than weather." (in poem, Villager) (Note: if you follow link, scroll up then down again to see whole poem)

How will any of it hold together?

When you go out, keep an eye for magazines protruding from AR-15s and carried by confident killers intent on making hay while the sun shines and planting bodies in the pouring rain. 

It's our daily bread now.

If you pray to be delivered, there's a perfectly good pizza house nearby. Our Republican brothers and sisters are just itching to send you their thoughts and prayers after one of your loved ones has been shot. Count on it. They pray. A lot. And we, well, we are their beneficiaries. 

Cynicism is on sale on every website.

It doesn't cost as much as it once did.

Go ahead, make an offer. You can get three politicians or deranged partisans for the price of two if you act right now. No shipping fee -- they're nearby -- just outside your door, in your letterbox, email cache, and tv news. Don't bother trying to call them on the phone, they're on the other end of the couch, the other side of your bed, the other edge of the table. 

I must confess -- I'm going to pass on the offer. I'm fasting. Giving up poison and perverse thinking for the remainder of this Easter Season. 

Sure, let's say it. The proto-mythical story of a savior of humankind and all creation being killed by the efficiency of political-religious enthusiasts, then slipping the inevitable bonds of death and material corruption, is, let's agree, both as charming and fantastic as it once was confusingly comforting. But I'm not sure the story works any more. It feels like it lacks a vibrancy and poignancy it might once have possessed. Let's not ask whether it is true or untrue. Let's wonder whether it speaks verition.

Aperspectivity is the "verition," the "awaring in

truth" of the whole and consequently of its

spiritual manifestation the diaphainon inasmuch

as the whole is perceptible only as transparency

wherein origin, also containing the entire future, is

time-free present.


 To attain this consciously, without abandoning the

"earlier" consciousness structures, is to overcome

rationality in favor of arationality and to break 

forth from mentality into diaphaneity (EPO, 412).  


(see The Ever-Present Origin, by Jean Gebser)  (in, Gebser, Verition and Metaphysics: The Integral SkepticMichael W. Purdy)

I don't know.

Perhaps some tea and toast will help.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

sound keeps coming out of the flowers

Why say anything at all? 

Everything is already being said. 

Why not become the one who listens with the one? 

The Buddha cautioned against gossip because he saw the suffering that this kind of unskillful speech causes. There is an old Hasidic tale of a villager who was feeling remorse for the harm his gossip had caused his neighbor. He went to his rabbi to seek advice. The rabbi suggested that he go to town and buy a chicken and bring it back to him, and that on the way back he pluck it completely. When the man returned with the featherless chicken, the rabbi told him to retrace his steps and gather every one of the scattered feathers. The man replied that it would be impossible; by now the feathers were probably blown throughout the neighboring villages. The rabbi nodded in agreement, and the man understood: we can never really take back our words. As the Zen poet Basho wrote:

The temple bell stops but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers. 


. . . 


The most important step in developing skillful speech is to think before speaking (or writing). This is called mindfulness of speech. Few things can improve the nature of our relationships as much as the development of skillful speech. Silence offers us, and those around us, the spaciousness we need to speak more skillfully. When we speak with greater skill, our true self—our compassionate, loving self—emerges with gentle ease. So before you speak, stop, breathe, and consider if what you are about to say will improve upon the silence. 


(-- from, Skillful Speech, By Allan Lokos, Tricycle, Winter 2008) 


 Psychologists and other folks interested in our healthy participation in human company, personal cohesion, and growth relate how important it is to allow the individual to be heard, to be permitted to express how they feel, what they think, and where their journey is taking them. 

To be heard.

Sometimes in zen practice, in zazen, shikantaza, kin-hin* there occurs what might be called no-hearing, no-sound, no-person, no-other. Sound is no longer noise. Silence is no longer absence of sound. 

Mind becomes imbued with the resonance of what is sounding through the meditative practice and there isn't anything that is other than what is itself moving through the surround of the practice. Whether it is a pebble hitting against a bamboo stalk, an eighteen wheeler applying jack-brakes coming down a hill, or ships-bell clanging into early morning sleep -- each sound is nothing other, is there, is invitation to hear things wholly within themselves.

This morning I sit in quiet basement hours away from Maine and the disheveled hermit cell by Ragged Mountain. Chant strains of French Benedictine Tierce through EarPod in left ear, a pulsing attentiveness from books on wall, sofa against partition, desk at shoulder, rug under feet, tv screen like black obelisk above blue, green, red ghost lights indicating readiness to project images. The French monastery is reverberating the ancient liturgy of suffering and healing and mystery that bespeaks the human-divine theater of inquiry into the predicament of animate existence on a small planet in a vast cosmos beyond comprehension, calculation, or consideration of compassion as crux and contingent revelation.

In this silence there is nothing revealing itself and nothing that isn't.

It might be called an emptiness withholding nothing and presenting what is nothing's transparent face through which all landscape, portraiture, and incomprehensible yet deft squiggles of oil, acrylic, carbon, and fiber wend way into and beyond the aesthetics and ethics of aware emergence.

It is our(s)


Of morning





All at


...   ...   ...

*The term kinhin consists of the Chinese words , meaning "to go through (like the thread in a loom)", with "sutra" as a secondary meaning, and , meaning "walk". Taken literally, the phrase means "to walk straight back and forth."