Saturday, April 13, 2024

ecpc -- "e contrario-poetica-cogitatio" --welcome to american zen

At Friday Evening Conversation, this:


God give you pardon from gratitude

and other mild forms of servitude—

and make peace for all of us

with what is easy.

(—poem by Robert Creeley, {1926-2005} p.186, The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 2008; originally in For Love, Poems 1950-1960)

From time to time, usually at Tuesday Evening Conversation, the question has been raised as to what American "Zen" will ultimately come to look like. We know Indian Buddhist meditation (dhyana), Chinese (chan), Japanese (zen), Korean (seon).

After last night’s (wonderful) conversation I’m beginning to think it will resemble something like 

"e contrario-poetica-cogitatio" (ie, on the contrary-poetic-thought) —or, as the acronym of the Latin  

"e contrario-poetica-cogitatio" would look like “ecpc” — (phonetically: easy-peasy).

Friday, April 12, 2024

Thursday, April 11, 2024

what comes this way will stay

In 1971 this date was Easter.

Outside NYU chapel in Greenwich Village a street person smiled from a small group on their way back to Brooklyn -- and then, fewer, on to highway west. 

It was spring.

Bend down and there it is:
No need to wrest it from others.
With the Way in complete agreement,
The mere touch of a hand is spring:
The way we come upon blooming flowers,
The way we see the year renew itself.
What comes this way will stay;
What is gotten by force will drain away.
A secluded person on an empty mountain,
While rain falls, picks some blades of duckweed.
Freely feeling the flash of dawn:
Leisurely, within the celestial balance.

–Ssu-k’ung T’u (837-908)

Life together.

Curious, isn't it?

It's less a promise than a fact.

That's what life is -- even when seeming separation tries to convince the opposite.

What seems to be is no substitute for the depth of what is.

one thing / done, the / rest follows. (creeley)

Cats fed

Now look around

Where morning nap

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

no sound from bamboo chime

rain again

sitting alone

dusk lowering

cracked open

sunflower shells

on wood walk

when sound is heard with the eye

Trying to see.

Where would I go?

Anywhere, everywhere, is a teacher pointing to something worth considering, a deepening of the dharma, a telling of the gospel, a recitation of torah, a poetry of creativity, one final glimpse of a vanishing cosmos whispering sweet melody through empty space.

How amazing, how amazing!
Hard to comprehend that
Nonsentient beings expound Dharma.
It simply cannot be heard with the ear,
But when sound is heard with the eye,
Then it is understood.

—Tung-shan (807-869)

Whoosh of cars passing along Barnestown Road.

In the dream two dinghies swept under waterfront (my childhood church?) are suddenly gone as I try to figure how to get them up and out to be used again. 

Then they’re not there. My socks wet and torn in the grisly bottom of receding water trying to avoid shards of iron, glass, and ragged stone now exposed.

There’s no floating away. No air pump to inflate the no longer there green edged inflatable.

The childhood wooden church was torn down leaving demolition site between 61st and 62nd street just up from Bay Parkway. I’d spent many hours in silence in that creaky snap-settling building after shutting it down evenings after working answering door and phones in rectory during school years.

The red candle in sanctuary.

The bicycle ride home in the dark along 21st avenue.

The smell of Lima beans from Nana’s stove lingering up basement stairs.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

instanding near

 too visible

I lose interest

looking up names

I've known

everyone wants

to be known 

it's the ones

not found


near, undetected

time to dash off

What is


This is

What is

Taking place

Between us…





now that moon blocked out sun, rebound

 I’m nearly ready

To die

All I have

To do

Is pick up

Pile of

Laundry from

Behind door

Clear off

Desk in room

Where no

Poems litter

Old pens

Dried ink in

Dusty cans

Pistachio shells

Vacant abandoned

Behind unread book

Body checking

Out going off

Across road

Where crumpled

Debris in ditch


By house with

No letterbox

Monday, April 08, 2024

askance sighting

 With back to sun

dooryard sumie strokes

high trees on gravel-dirt

don't look at god

look at what god is

looking at

tell me when it’s happened

Someone said there will be an eclipse of the sun.

I wonder if it’s ok not to care…

Wonder is good.

least ourselves remembering

Math is not my strong suit.

Hardly anything adds up.

Here's e e cummings: 

one's not half two. It's two are halves of one:

one's not half two.  It's two are halves of one:

which halves reintegrating,shall occur

no death and any quantity;but than

all numerable mosts the actual more

minds ignorant of stern miraculous

this every truth-beware of heartless them

(given the scalpel,they dissect a kiss;

or,sold the reason,they undream a dream)

one is the song which fiends and angels sing:

all murdering lies by mortals told make two.

Let liars wilt,repaying life they're loaned;

we(by a gift called dying born)must grow

deep in dark least ourselves remembering

love only rides his year.

                          All lose,whole find

(Poem by e.e.cummings) 

Last line cheers. 

Lose it all, find the whole. Lose all, find whole. When everybody loses, the whole is found.

In prison today, gelassenheit.

A good word.

Sunday, April 07, 2024

non et sic

No, I don’t believe in god.

Yes, I do dwell in god.

without words, it snows

 God is

What is


No belief




Bless you —

Thank you




home is never left

The church I attend

Has no walls

Has no preacher

Nor takes collection

The church I attend

Is the earth

Each step each bird

Each tree in the wind