Saturday, December 17, 2005

Zenkoji Morning

Zenkoji morning
Snow fills the space of my dreams
I chase home the Ox
Coursing deeper ground
To step beyond each moment
Absent destiny
My hands toss incense
To let the smoking belly
Empty me skyward
Binzuru is still
His face decaying as mine
Rubbed away by time
Prayer wafts through my soul
Winds breathe past Zenkoji gates
I am but vanished

Nagano, 1998

wish-granting gem

"All the wealth you've acquired
from beginningless time until now
has failed to fulfill all your desires.
Cultivate therefore this wish-granting gem
of moderation, O fortunate ones."

--Milarepa, "Drinking the Mountain Stream"

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


''Her body is not so white as
anemone petals nor so smooth-- nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with a purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand's span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish. Each part
is a blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to its end,
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty, a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over--
or nothing.''

-- William Carlos Williams

Sunday, December 11, 2005

west yellowstone

snow brings me
to her whole sky

spread nets across the vault
spindling each a kaleidoscope

crystals swirling
to every speckled farflung

donating out of her washed
gray domes

falling to arms, eyes

each needle speaking back
pulling strands of silver-lit hair
drawn for wintry ages

solemn rows of trunks, they summon
an army, self similar, growing
arching and sincere

blunted suddenly, subsumed
crisp green and breathing
resigned to slumber

secreted from storms

churning, sliding into place
vast without moving, sentient
only half blindly to infinite forests
arrayed beneath her stature

swaying a wide embrace, lace robes
offered as one, mine, this
long snowy cloth to a panorama

white and frosted and transparent
as is any will to dress
freeing branches

are her lasting bosoms

towering and generous, quieting masses
urgent jagged lines softening
under open reaching sheets

tenderly draping
evergreen magnificence

a stony picture of breathless
unrelenting love

replenishing downward
fundamentally within
radiating a sacred silence

as she herself drops
holy pale bread to my mouths

brings the same downy blankets
to fill in around us
pulling down our limbs, cold and grave

stilled pines
surrendering to darkness
taking our own smaller shape
to folds of her vast cloak, forcing
a hushed future

bowed in glacial worship

hewn, as my numb hopeful face
in the direction of a dampened sun

why should things bind?

"I like to walk alone on country paths, rice plants and wild grasses on both sides, putting each foot down on the earth in mindfulness, knowing that I walk on the wondrous earth. In such moments, existence is a miraculous and mysterious reality.

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child--our own two eyes. All is a miracle."

-Thich Nhat Hanh, "Miracle of Mindfulness"

Saturday, December 10, 2005

truth to power

"Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America's favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as 'low intensity conflict'. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued – or beaten to death – the same thing – and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer."


''The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.

''Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it.

''It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

"I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner."

-- excerpts from Harold Pinter's Nobel prize for literature acceptance speech, Dec. 7, 2005.