Thursday, April 30, 2015

Practicing Presence

To empty your mind 
of all contrivance
get your body still
then will to want not
a thing in the world
but the world thou art 
when you let go that
self you seem to be
yet are not apart 
from what not, thou art.

Leave your mind alone
but look while it weaves
its web of worry
and flurry and want.
Keep thy focus still,
thy intent composed,
then relax in thy
repose.  Resist not
your wobbly focus
or your tired intent.

Accept whatever
your mind may offer
except the one pose
that will do you in:
sleeping at the wheel.
Thou must be present
to practice presence,
constantly aware—
whether awake or
asleep or dreaming.

When you see you are
sleeping at the wheel—
not at one with what
be arising—just
return to practice . . .
which does not make you
what thou art always
already, but is required
by your forgetting
who thou truly art.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

From Me to We to All

We all begin as a me—
self-centered, ego-manic.

Barring some sticky wicket
“me” evolves to embrace “we.”

From being bare, unsocial,
we grow to care, some, craving 

not-me . . . our family, faith, 
race, country, corporate tribe.

Most of us do get stuck there, . . .
leaving our blood, sweat and tears

there.  But a few, not so rare, 
enlace the expansive all

of be-ing, bearing witness
to the emptiness of yore.

These cling not, not even to 
not-clinging, by relaxing,

dying to own self-being
afore their allotted time.

Then they call all to follow 
some practice of the presence.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Facebook Mirror

You do get a rundown of 
current affairs, politics,
and the latest music scene.

This very morning I am 
awestruck by the sheer volume
of friends’ creativity.

Photos and paintings galore
deck the homepage with such rich
color for my poor insight.

I am struck, too, by the fact
that most of my close friends live 
away—so I do wonder . . .

is it: a word I did say? 
simpler to abide at bay? 
No need to comment, okay?

’Tis not that I’m overly
sensitive, only I am
my world . . . that seems far away

today.  Still I remember
that mirror—in which objects 
are nearer . . . than they appear.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weathering Heights

Facing a blank page
awaiting a word to rise
the feet will to dance

but the forefinger 
keeps shying away from my
opposable thumb.

Wind swishes through trees
like the belle of a grand ball 
waltzing with sorrow.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Leave No Poem Unread

One morning over coffee
four writers joined up to talk 
of writing and its sway on 
all under the bless-ed sun . . .

when they could have been writing.

Classic complications got 
taken up and more or less 
addressed and yet one was left 
dangling, the edge of my mind . . .

when I could have been writing.

Words dwell in dictionaries 
till worders order them to
come alive but where they go
to die, comes up while writing . . . 

words die in poems unread.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hang Son Doong

World’s largest known cave
happens to be in
Vietnam, you know,
where all that napalm 
got dropped in our name.

Just goes to show, we
homo sapiens
will not keep nature
from her balancing 
light act: plight, delight.

Friday, April 24, 2015

From A Porch I See

Some unsettling news:

man loses his head 
to a sword;  with help 
airplane falls from sky;  
gulf shore waters yet 
reel from five-year-old 
oil spill;  house fire kills
family of four.

All the while, all round:

tied to fan whirring 
high above my head
chimes sing; as dove roosts 
in the ligustrum 
robin is nesting 
in the camellia;
on the porch I sit 

making a poem.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Will of Words

Little words do come
to me in my wake
from my sleep, my dream.

Together they haunt
me till I put them 
in order their will.

Dictionaries do keep
all distinct, none 
in the least discrete.

The particular
derives its meaning 
from ev’ry other.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sleep Wordiness

Once upon a time I slept 
eight hours a day, so a third 
of life got spent unconscious.

Even in daylight I walked 
around unaware, just like
a corpse . . . but I was moving.

At some point in time I slept 
a mite less.  Even when I
got to bed I would not sleep

soundly for nightly heartburn,
a few trips to the toilet,
little words begging to be.

The time came when I did deign
to sleep on my left side and
the acid reflux vanished.

With the Kegel exercise
I suppressed the bladder’s need
to be relieved at bedtime.

Still, no matter what I try,
the little words persist in
having a mind all their own.

They appear in my sleep and
pellucid dreaming serves but
to bless their rage for order.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Utter Kinship

Observe an event in your life right now.
Then imagine how many events must
happen in order for the prime event
to occur at all as your life—here, now.

The true answer is, ev - er - y other.
All events happen as any happens 
by glad virtue of the integral din 
of all that do rise and all that do not.

Some events have turned to dust (come the past)
to make room for what now must and will yet
come into being, that state of be-ing
always already in utter kinship.

All the scriptures say the same, {A, ~A}.

Monday, April 20, 2015

All Things Apposite

I sit to put some words in 
order, all rising to mind 
randomly.  Yet  afore I 
can get on them a handle
a nagging thought arises,
what all else has to happen 
for this poem to be born?

Directly I see clearly,
what must happen is, 
all else.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Passing the Buck

The less of me that
comes to be, the more
I see my great faults.

However vague, each
from my ignorance
begs my remembrance.

I cannot say I 
was but unaware,
least I knew better.

Take the time that plagues
the most, when I hurt 
my father’s feelings.

He’d borrowed from me
some money that I
asked him to repay.

The sum I did not 
need, I just had to
set right the ledger.

So he took from his
wallet the money
and threw it at me.

It was the only 
time my dad and I
had a falling out.

I had insisted, 
he had resisted —
we both well knew why.

Mom, the love of my Dad’s life had just died.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Older, Happier

The older I come to be 
the happier I sure am.

’Tis not because I have more,
though I have more than enough.

’Tis not that I know more, since
I forget more than I learn.

’Tis not for family . . . friends,
yet god knows I love them all.

If happiness comes not from
my belongings, my knowledge,

or my most intimate kin,
then where is its origin?

Beneath the skin, where I feel
in relation I belong

to all that I am not, . . . no
longing, no clinging, no thing 

separating me from that 
which is my birth, my own death.

The older I come to be
the less me there comes to be.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Human Capital

Why do you guess so many 
great businesses were started 
inside somebody’s garage?

From outside you can induce
others to work faster and 
more reliably by just
offering them more money. 

To inspire others to be 
more innovative you have
to reach them on the inside, 
letting the work be more fun.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Saying the Unsayable

Monkpoems are expressions of a felt integrity
lying at the deep end of things, their innermost be-ing.

There, all things are apposite with their utter opposite.
This is an apperception, not a refined metaphor.

From contemplation this view rises clear, self-evident.
It can be replicated, likewise, by contemplation.

From the direct perception by persistent focus and
consistent intent, relaxed notice comes, effortlessly.

Saying this unspeakable occurrence, necessitates
an odd logic of its own, the grand gesture: {A, ~A}.

Like any software you might download from the Internet,
this gesture must be unpacked.  That begs some hermeneutic.

Which must line up with direct apperception of what is,
intuited in living waters of experience.

No thing has own self be-ing.  Each thing is, by virtue of
being related to all it is not, a rad kinship.

We can then posit this jewel, every thing is distinct
(as an individual) yet not discrete (separate).

The grand gesture points thus, the empty set of empty things, 
each thing at once at one with its radical opposite.

This poem is influenced by Harold H. Oliver, “A Theological Paradigm of Perichoresis,” in Metaphysics, Theology, & Self: Relational Essays (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2006), ch. 5.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 15

Why would anyone mind paying taxes?
How else will we get what’s coming to us
from the government—clean air, fresh water,
sound roads & bridges, good schools for children,
right retirement for elders, like me, now.

All of this and more, not for profit but 
for the common wealth. I mean, imagine,
depending on some big conglomerate
to sell us what we need, so it can get 
rich. I would really mind that, a great deal.

In fact, that defines the worst deal ever.
You never want your needs to be met by
those whose sole need is to profit from yours.
Big government best meets common needs in
a democracy where you, I govern. 

Self-reliance? That’s why we pay taxes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Afore Yore

In the beginning is that 
word with god which is god and 
through which all things come to be.

To get to that beginning,
there from the get-go with god,
there can be no self semblance
no separateness aware.

No discrete thing has yet to 
go there for none is let to, 
but still, all things still, get to.

Monday, April 13, 2015


The bread sits still, unmoved and unmoving
on the counter in the corner yet thinks
not and not thinking it remains plain there.

Without thought the bread rests deep and silent
like the smile on a stone buddha and like 
a stone buddha’s smile it feeds my hunger.

The bare thing is what it seems and in its
seeming abounds without belief or grief
but dwells in bliss a reverent matter.

The bare thing conceals more than it reveals
my longing for things pleasant but it does not 
exhaust or extinguish my true craving

to quit all craving and accept what is.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pointing To What Is

‘Tis hard to tell the difference between 
monk poems and others. I do sense this.

Poems draw out feeling, monk poems still 
all emotion, point to a thing’s true birth.

True birth is what a thing is, as own self
slips away — if we let go our grasping.

Right now, look around you.  What’s there to see?
If blind, what to hear? If deaf, what to touch?  

Then go inside to sense what you feel, think 
or will there. What you can sense, you are not.  

Taken to its utter end you are what 
senses.  And to sense is to be aware. 

You are the awareness that lets you sense 
anything at all.  That Which lets all be.

All things void of own self being swim in 
consciousness, itself empty, at once full 

of all that swims there, naked. And yet in 
relation, these naked things do make up 

an ocean of emptiness. That is sheer
generosity, for from this comes life

that is full of grit, that is full of grace.
From the grit we do find ground to grow on.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bare All

At the foot of my bed hangs
a painting of a bald monk, 
bearded and heavily robed.

The monk does not move yet moves 
me to notice the fat staff 
resting on his right shoulder,
steadied by his right-hand grasp.

The still monk holds the staff still,
disturbing nothing at all
yet knowing its good use as 
a weapon, were need to rise.

The monk directs his gaze as
two dragonflies swim mid-air
surrounding the staff’s forward,
one above, other beneath.

Now mirrored in the framed glass 
of the sumi-e painting:
the bare face, a bare poet.

Friday, April 10, 2015

All One, One for All

Homo sapiens be in a pickle.
We upright beasts are facing a  heap of 
hardship and eventual extinction—or so it appears.

Witness: there are too many of us at 
any one time, on a spaceship that’s
more like a hot potato heating up.

D-day is coming when each of us has 
a smartphone that can be linked to any
WMD to match our ADD.

So it may appear.  On the other hand,
did you see the game between the Barons
of Birmingham and BSC Panthers?

At first blush it looked like a rout, and yet
what potential those youngsters did show when
confronted by insurmountable odds.

That is what the future is all about,
our latent capacity to grow up,
and we are moving in that direction.

We can wake up and make peace with ourselves
or end it all tomorrow.  Either way
the heavens are full of experiments.

Still the true solace is not in knowing
the cosmos does not depend just on us;
it is in seeing the true face of That 

Which alone is, yet is never lonely.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

You Alright? She Asked

Leaving a baseball game, seventh inning,
to avoid toes of people in my row
I go to hurdle my stadium seat.

My shoe gets caught in the slats of seat's back
and I take a tumble.  On the way down 
I see a woman’s face, sheer agony
from fear I might be undone by the fall.

The woman shows empathy for a true
stranger, without knowing that in falling
his mind is calm, nonresistant, grateful
for her caring concern and compassion.

In flight he loses his purchase, all sight
of self, as though he were but a witness
to the event without an interest 
in the outcome . . . oh, only the slightest.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

St John’s Gospel, A Riddling Point of View

Once upon a time I gave to my sister a riddle,
“If God made the world, what made God? “ 
To which she did reply,

“God is Love Unborn, always forever 
in the world but before it, and not of it.”
I pressed her, “So where is Love?”

She gave me back a riddle,
“Without Love, nothing you see could ever be, 
but you will never see Love, just its sign.”

Whereupon she hugged me nigh unto her.

Today, sixty years after,
I recall sister’s riddling 
response to my cleverness
whenever I see people 
who seem to love each other
shamed by others for sharing 
very Love.  My heart screams out,

Fret not, for you are so loved, as the world.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Homeland Terrorists

Some of us believe other
people have no right to act
contrary to our beliefs.

Yet under democracy
all of us have rights just as
persons, no other reason.

Unless you can show that your 
other is not a person, 
you got to quit your terror.

None gets to hold one’s own faith 
against any other in
the name of supremacy.

Unless of course you are on
the Supreme Court and believe 
corporations are people.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Peaceful Uprising

Waking up dripping
with words

like a cool sweat from
a walk

I must do something
to still

the living waters
that stir

so I scribble down
the words

in order of their

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Once Upon a Time

I sat the sunset 
admiring Mount Hood

then came down off my 
dreamy high horsey

bemired in this, that
hundreds of thousands

of contractors all 
make a living from

your, my taxing pool
at the Pentagon.

Now it’s enough I
wake up with these words.

If ‘tis all a dream
I stand for balance . . .

come April fifteen 
ev’ry blasted year.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Humdrum Matters

Making a grocery list, I sit at a desk that rests
in front of a window from which hangs, as a thin curtain,
a faded pastel cloth, once used to cover a table
that served a listening post.

Said table would be adorned with bread from a bakery
and grapes from a grocery, with a book for me to read 
while I sat there waiting for no thing in particular, 
ears attuned to passersby.

Located in a hallway of a student center of
a large university, my job for an afternoon
each week was to be an ear for any passing by who
sought to unburden a self.

I provided this service for eight years and overtime
I met friends for life, from one who was my first customer,
on the way to take his life, to one who had found hers as 
a faithful Hindu swami.

The first, I talk with now and then, as we walk the same streets.
Of the swami I’ve lost track, as she moved on from serving 
the post with me to holy matters other side the earth, 
leaving me a pastel cloth.