Saturday, January 13, 2024

not right not wrong just truth

 Just because

I practice zen

Doesn’t mean


 Holiness sees

All things

In their own


(when) {i am} becomes {nothing} (to see)

 Ocean will splash over harbor edge insinuating doors and floors of buildings leaning near.

It is said ocean is rising. When storms come edges are swept over.  

I have become unedged.

Nothing keeps me safe or separated from wide sweep of inevitability.

I would be happy to meet you there.

But, as someone pointed out, there is no there there.

So, I’ll be here.

Where nowhere gathers itself invisibly spreading itself over everywhere in an act of desperate compassion.

You won’t see me there.

I am gone.

I am (is) gone.

There’s nothing here to see.

trivium poeticum

 There’s the thing

There’s the thing experienced

Then there’s the thing-in-itself.

First is the poem.

Then the reader’s impressions of the poem.

Finally the inner unyet-disclosed nascent intimations of the poem 


Friday, January 12, 2024


 Because we care, we fret,

Ask — is this right? Wrong?

If we didn’t care

We wouldn’t ask

the bread we break is sacrament,

Seems to me today could be the feast of the holy family.

And so:

Every Family Is a Holy Family

Every family is a holy family, if you look closely enough,
Because every person bears the breath of God.
Isn’t that the wonder of the incarnation?
It’s Joseph who waits in a cold parking lot,
Hoping for a day’s work to feed his family.
It’s Mary who cradles a crying Jesus
Under the blue tarp of a refugee camp.
It’s Joseph, too, who changes your oil,
Mary who scrubs your toilet,
Jesus who plays hide and seek
In the crowded aisles of your laundromat.
Just as the holy family sought admittance to an inn,
So these holy families seek admittance to our hearts.
May we not only gather them in,
But may we accept their welcome, too.
And as we dine together, at their table, at ours,
May we know that the bread we break is sacrament,
The communion between us—something sacred.

(—Poem by Cameron Bellm)

It's one thing we talked about in prison this morning. It was refreshing after lengthy run at morality versus ethics, Nietzsche vs Rawls.

A significant calming and reflective discourse followed Bellm's poem.

As each breathed easier, a fond family sacrament, the bread of conversation.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

les derniers mots

Someone, in response to DJT's rambling in court:

Cuban adage: “El pez por la boca muere.”

Translation: The death of a fish is caused by its mouth.


" Who does Not Know the Truth, is simply a Fool... Yet who Knows the Truth and Calls it a Lie, is a Criminal."      (~ Bertolt Brecht )

ipse dixit*

I'm taking 


off to die

...   ...   ...

*Greek: autos ephor (Pythagoras) -- "he himself said it"

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

its uninterrupted gaze

From Bernadette Roberts: 

As a Christian, I saw the no-self experience as the true nature of Christ’s death; the movement beyond even his oneness with the divine, the movement from God to Godhead. Though not articulated in contemplative literature, Christ dramatized this experience on the cross for all ages to see and ponder. Where Buddha described the experience, Christ manifested it without words; yet they both make the same statement and reveal the same truth — that ultimately, eternal life is beyond self or consciousness. After one has seen it manifested or heard it said, the only thing left is to experience it.

It is far more than the discovery of life without a self. The immediate, inevitable result is an emergence into a new dimension of knowing and being that entails a difficult and prolonged readjustment. The reflexive mechanism of the mind -or whatever it is that allows us to be self-conscious — is cut off or permanently suspended so the mind is ever after held in a fixed now moment out of which it cannot move in its uninterrupted gaze upon the Unknown.

(--Bernadette Roberts, in The Experience of No-Self)  cf. What Jesus Christ and The Buddha Unearthed within Themselves);

also, see: 

an empty name

 I've forgotten my name.

No, thanks, I don't need to borrow yours.

I'll just stand here.

Don’t seek fame or fortune,
Glory or prosperity.
Just pass this life as is,
According to circumstances.
When the breath is gone,
Who is in charge?
After the death of the body,
There is only an empty name.
When your clothes are worn,
Repair them over and over;
When you have no food,
Work to provide.
How long can a phantom-like
Body last?
Would you increase your ignorance
For the sake of its idle concerns?

--Tung-shan, (dailyzen)

 I could live forty more years. (Ha!)

It's just as likely that God will be realized by everybody.

Although he studied assiduously at Nan-ch'uan's monastery, he grew dissatisfied with what he found, and without even so much as hinting that this centre lacked anything, he moved on in search of inward realization. Eventually he arrived at Yun-yen's monastery, where he found a doctrine and method that profoundly stirred him. He studied and practised all these methods Yun-yen offered him and in time emerged as his most accomplished disciple. When he decided that he should again take up his journey, Yun-yen appeared to protest:

"After you leave," Yun-yen said, "it will be very difficult for us to see each other again."

But Tung-shan answered, "It will be difficult for us not to see each other again."

Then Yun-yen said, "You need to be very careful, for you are carrying a great thing."

Tung-shan was puzzled by Yun-yen's enigmatic farewell statement, and he thought about it a great deal while he travelled. Then one day, while crossing a relatively placid body of water, he beheld his image reflected in it. Suddenly he understood his teacher's words.


Make no mistake, the only reason to be alive is to realize life, its origin, and its wholeness.

Rain and wind dance with prayer flags hanging between yew and house. 

wind and rain wend way down mountain

Before today’s rain, yesterday’s snowy frozen brook.

After today's rain:

Welcome to Maine.

the opposite of addiction is connection, he said

Thirty three years later he leaves prison. Done the time. All set. Someone we like. We shake hands, bring it in shoulder to shoulder, single thump on each’s back. Some words. He’s off. He’s out. On to sober house.

A good Monday morning serendipitous encounter.

After, we sat in silent meditation. Finally one, then another, plus a third appear and meetingbrook’s Monday morning at Buldoc Correctional Facility meanders through Epiphany poem confirming that the opposite of addiction is connection.

How we go on.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

if so, then so


No thought, no ego?

No ego, no thought? 

Who would have questioned that a thought is caused, that the ego causes the thought? 
(--Freidrich Nietzsche, in The Twilight of the Idols)

No ego, no thought, no self?

No self, then Christ?

No self, then Bodhisattva? 

If so, then so!

Monday, January 08, 2024

don’t fill it, diminish it, or avoid it

 In prison this 


God is 

  • the hole, 
  • the whole, and 
  • the holy 

within us.

Sunday, January 07, 2024

have you seen me

 I’m disappearing 

Can’t see where I am, have been, 

Going — merely gone

is it good for us to be here

So much talk about plagiarism in the news today.

We need more conversation about Pelagianism.

(Take that, Augustine!)

There’s nothing original about sin.

Go on — choose what you will — try not to lose focus — and get lost.

lowering and clearing nothing

Placing wood in stove at 4AM. Glass of chocolate milk. A few sugar nuggets from Mrs Dunster's Bakery. Step outside to no snow yet. Snow Bowl making snow. It is 190. Real feel, 9o. Car accelerates up Barnestown Road. Bamboo climes rattle outside window. Fire glows orange behind glass doors.

Occurrence on Washburn Avenue

                                    BY REGAN HUFF 

Alice's first strike gets a pat on the back,   

her second a cheer from Betty Woszinski   

who's just back from knee surgery.   Her third—   

"A turkey!" Molly calls out—raises everyone's eyes.   

They clap.   Teresa looks up from the bar.   

At the fourth the girls stop seeing their own pins wobble.   

They watch the little X's fill the row on Alice's screen—   

That's five.   That's six.   There's a holy space   

around her like a saint come down to bowl   

with the Tuesday Ladies in Thorp, Wisconsin.   

Teresa runs to get Al, and Fran calls Billy   

at the Exxon.   The bar crowds with silent men.   

No one's cheering.   No one's bowling now   

except Alice's team, rolling their balls   

to advance the screen around to Alice, who's stopped   

even her nervous laugh, her face blank and smooth   

with concentration.   It can't go on   

and then it does go on, the white bar   

reading "Silver Dollar Chicken" lowering and clearing   

nothing, then lowering and clearing nothing again.  

(-Poem copyright ©2008 by Regan Huff and reprinted from the "Beloit Poetry Journal," Vol. 59, no. 1, )

There is a moment when you realize something is happening that you are part of, that you are doing, that is happening through you.  It cannot be thought, nor plotted, nor pencilled as diagram on tabletop to be put to vote, like a legislature framing a bill that will change things.

In the United States the smiles have fallen from faces when they talk about the coming election. No competing candidate, no legislature, no attorney general, no court of appeals, no Supreme Court will help shield the cause of democracy from the man who will become the next president. 

In the dream I am cycling through a devastated section of city, wrecked and gutted like pictures of Kiev or Gaza. I am trying to get back to recognizable street. Nearly hit by fire engine, alongside kid who I know has pinched my wallet, I am lost in Washington DC.

In the dream I'd been talking to Donald Rumsfeld, trying to make some point I knew was flat and uninspired. He points me to someone he called a great interviewer. I am unimpressed but alone in my attempt to try to remember what I was trying to convey.

I've never bowled a perfect game -- if that's what's going on in the poem.

It's been over sixty five years since I last rolled a ball. Nothing curves back into pocket sweep.

Good for Alice.

And those near her.

And for a poet taking the time to not spare us.

Trump has repeatedly called those January 6 insurrectionists “patriots.” 

Biden yesterday called Trump out for “trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election.”  

Indeed. The insurrectionists at the Capitol were not patriots. They were trying to overthrow the government in order to take away the right at the center of American democracy: our right to determine our own destiny. Commemorating them as heroes is the 21st century’s version of erecting Confederate statues.

The January 6th insurrectionists were nothing like the community at Valley Forge, made up of people who had offered up their lives to support a government pledged, however imperfectly in that era, to expanding that right. When faced with hunger, disease, and discord, that community—which was made up not just of a remarkably diverse set of soldiers from all 13 colonies, including Black and Indigenous men, but also of their families and the workers, enslaved and free, who came with them—worked together to build a force that could establish a nation based in the idea of freedom.    (--Heather Cox Richardson, 6jan24)

When I left theological studies in the nation's capital in late fall of 1968 I'd had my fill of assassinations and notable deaths and Vietnam War. It seemed there was no place to go, no sanity that would return.

I decided a different graduate studies in religion and philosophy in the Bronx amid Florentine spaghetti and coq au vin and ideas that turned corners and blew hats off.

There was the company of poets. Summer in the city. The collapse of what no longer sustained.

The perennial alley down which a concentrated activity of attention and measured backswing needs focus.

Rolling toward a devastated Bethlehem to be unborn.