Saturday, April 20, 2024

ecpc — as friday gives way to saturday — stephen dunn

Poetry as door to the invisible. 

Here and Now

            Stephen Dunn 1939 –2021

            for Barbara

        There are words

I've had to save myself from,

like My Lord and Blessed Mother,

words I said and never meant,

though I admit a part of me misses

the ornamental stateliness

of High Mass, that smell

        of incense. Heaven did exist,

I discovered, but was reciprocal

and momentary, like lust

felt at exactly the same time—

two mortals, say, on a resilient bed,

making a small case for themselves.

        You and I became the words

I'd say before I'd lay me down to sleep,

and again when I'd wake—wishful

words, no belief in them yet.

It seemed you'd been put on earth

to distract me

from what was doctrinal and dry.

Electricity may start things,

but if they're to last

I've come to understand

a steady, low-voltage hum

        of affection

must be arrived at. How else to offset

the occasional slide

into neglect and ill temper?

I learned, in time, to let heaven

go its mythy way, to never again

        be a supplicant

of any single idea. For you and me

it's here and now from here on in.

Nothing can save us, nor do we wish

to be saved.

        Let night come

with its austere grandeur,

ancient superstitions and fears.

It can do us no harm.

We'll put some music on,

open the curtains, let things darken

as they will.

From Here and Now, published by W.W. Norton. Copyright © 2011 by Stephen Dunn. 

Where nothing can save us. 

Nor do we wish to be saved.

Friday, April 19, 2024

a world view

Is it 

Our choice —

Good or evil?

Thursday, April 18, 2024

what is behind nothing

Kerry Ellen, 

Becca & Megan, 

and Lisa Jean

in Rockport Harbor

of a Thursday

After coffee milk

And blueberry lemon


Next to white van

Topped with green canoe

Driver listening

To some audio novel

As I do to Dr No

by Percival Everett 

It occurs to me

We are each


As if from


What is in front

Nothing Being written 

by the nothing that is

And the nothing

That is not — call it

Creatio ex nihilio

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

and that's that

winter is winter
spring is spring

each belongs
to itself

and one-

if there are 
no questions

I'll say 

in this dreamworld


At the sound of the bell

in the silent night, 

I wake from my dream 

in this dreamworld of ours. 

Gazing at the reflection 

of the moon in a clear pool, 

I see, beyond my form, my real form.

—Kojisei (circa 1600) 


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

by their sweet questionings

Chris at Tuesday Evening Conversation brought up revealed truth.

Perhaps, that which can’t be reached by ordinary thought or logical inference.

What is it?

Try this . . .

If Reality is a unified extension of Being, (or vice versa) and if what is whole is the background Source of What Is, do things emerge out into appearance as surprising isomorphic realizations of already inter-existing relational phenomena whose form and formlessness blink on-and-off, in-and-out, throughout time and space, dimensions and imagination revealing Itself by means of Attention and/or Ritual Faith?

Theologians have their word, transubstantiation. One thing becomes another thing even as appearance seems to indicate it is what it was, and (let’s call it) faith seems to hold that it is now what it really is.

“Hocus Pocus” is a diminutive phrase coming from “Hoc est enim corpus meum,”  the words traditionally used at the consecration in Catholic liturgy. One level of reasoning, however incomprehensible, is that bread is no longer bread, wine no longer wine, but, now, body and blood of Jesus the Christ. This contention, patently absurd on its surface, haunts the imagination of nonduality and non-separative wholeness of being.

Perhaps, in effect, the reality of transubstantiation is not really about change, but rather, about pointing to the very nature/fact of what something is.

We acknowledge ordinary temporal and spatial change. Winter becomes spring. Bare trees flower. Youthful bodies become aged bodies.

But what of non-temporal and non-spatial metamorphosis? “Form is emptiness, emptiness form.” The Heart Sutra also claims there is “no old age and death and also no extinction of them.” 

Night becomes day, day becomes night. Things change, we say. 

Woodpecker dismantles tree trunk. Dozens of cars occupy the same space only seconds apart. The 18 year old who rebounded and jump shot is now the 80 year old watching the Warriors end their season with bad shooting losing to the Kings with Klay Thompson 0 for 10 and scoreless in defeat.

But let's re-translate plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, an epigram by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in the January 1849 issue of his journal Les Guêpes (“The Wasps”).(wiktionary) -- usually translated "the more things change, the more they stay the same"

Let's put forward this translation: "The more a thing changes, the more it becomes itself."

Hundreds of thoughts and emotions occupy the same physical emotional intellectual space only milliseconds appending in tandem.

Cats are hungry and watchful at same time. Dog stares and pees at same time. What we call (in ignorant appellation) human and divine, matter and form, one and many, this and that, mine and yours — are separative words for one reality done distinct and believed to be different.

Which brings me back to transubstantiation. Our personal preference hubris makes of one two. (See e.e. cumming’s poem.) Still, I am confounded as to how singularity, morphic resonance, and quantum entanglement figure with the notion that each thing is each thing — and yet each thing is part of and belongs to Itself-as-Itself, one thing as another, another as one thing.

Separation is a great excuse for war, injustice, crime, and punishment. 

Metaphors abound. Is “the body of Christ” a metaphor for what is whole, entire, without beginning or end,  eternal (no time), infinite (without boundary) and non-imaginal (without an image)? 

Our imagination creates worlds. God’s, we say, created this world. (Explain that to someone sitting in a cafe with a New York Times.)

Let Wallace Stevens have his stanza:

She says, “I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?”

(From poem, Sunday Morning, by Wallace Stevens)

The mystic looks without discrimination. 

Mystics see what is there to be seen.

Is that awkward word "transubstantiation" a finger pointing to what is, being, revealed?

settling arrears

 Do I think

There’s anything

After death?

I won’t know

So why


Lights out

Fire ashes


If I owe you

Five bucks

Check coin can

Monday, April 15, 2024

where to live

Dwell here

Go nowhere





it comin’, رِدَّة (ridda).

Let’s consider

Nobody cares

In 100 years

Earth be ridda 


Shaken off

Sunday, April 14, 2024

de die in diem *

We dwell from day to day. *

Word is brought back about a gathering at Camden Opera House for Dean J. this afternoon.

Images and music, videos of his singing opera pieces, incidences of his theatre work, stories by those who knew him. It was lovely, I'm told.

What is it about those who sing? Even if, when asked, say nothing about the religious implications of their song?

I suspect the very act of song is value dispersed and dispensed throughout, over, and within those surrounding that which is sung.

Dean was an aspergent.

Earlier the contemplative nuns from Neumz set out this Missa--Coommunio:

Cantáte Dómino, allelúia:
            Sing to the Lord, alleluia:

cantáte Dómino, benedícite nomen ejus:
            sing to the Lord and bless his name: 

bene nuntiáte de die in diem salutáre ejus,
            Announce his salvation from day to day,

allelúia, allelúia.
            alleluia, alleluia.

Had they sung it at his memorial, he'd nod his head at their art. 


Altar ego 

Lives in monastery

Coming and going

To chant of hours

Clumping of feet

Into wooden stalls

Each of us

An occursus

Of who we are and

Who we really are

persistent inquiry

Woodpecker telephones 

from tree

It rings and rings 

through morning light

brrdrrdrr brrdrrdrr brrdrrdrr

Does not go 

to answering machine

No one home 

No one

wishes to pickup