Zen Curious

The archer's faulted for its lack
Subgenius craves it—calls it slack

Potter shaping mound of clay
Seeks wabi-sabi, so they say

Outnumbered by the many foe
Kung Fu's the only way to go

The Koan reaches eager ears
Throws a wrench into the gears

Like pyramids, real power now
Though no one knows exactly how

An author knows this very well:
Slipped in the title, book will sell

That certain something thought of when
You don't know what to call it: Zen

Just for fun, search “Zen and the Art of” and see all the various suggestions offered by your search engine. (I recommend DuckDuckGo as a privacy oriented search alternative to the big guys. I do not use Google anymore.) Turns out that Robert Pirsig was riffing on another book’s title when he published Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: which was Zen in the Art of Archery, by German philosophy professor Eugen Herrigel, published in 1948.

Kyūdō: Bows are called Yumi (, lit. “Bow“)

Something striking to me about Western culture is that it’s thoroughly grounded in materialist orthodoxy but is endlessly fascinated with the ‘Mysteries of the East’ like Zen and martial arts. Everybody doesn’t like something, but nobody doesn’t like Kung Fu.

Four Seasons Total Satisfaction

The election results are now clear
And loser, you're out on your ear
We wish you the best
Just kidding, we jest
Now choke on this summons, you hear?

I am embarrassed by my own ill will here, but damn I’m tired and I don’t feel well. What should be a joyful win for decency is soiled by the fact that we are still a country with 70 million MAGAs who are not going anywhere. Who will be the next fascist fuck these grousing lack-wits glom onto? He’ll be a smart one next time, none of this keystone cop coup d’etat bullshit. He’ll have a major political party behind him again too, just like his predecessor.

Am I wrong? Please tell me I am wrong.

America is a Cop Show

The Ballad of Knee-jerk Holler

America is a cop show
That started way back when
A slave took off and got away
And they fetched him back again

America is a sitcom
Where life is neatly framed
The laughs are prerecorded
And the foil neatly blamed

America is a racket
A scheme that is sublime
It lets the rich stay filthy rich
On someone else's dime

America is an advert
Tells you how to spend the buck
You worked so hard to pocket
At that job you got by luck

America is that famous city
Shining on a hill
That once belonged to someone else
The ones we had to kill

America is a voter
Empowered to enthrone
The one who keeps the system rigged
Who tosses you the bone

America is a grifter
Who lied his way to power
That many still support him
Is a situation dour

America is a system
Designed to self-correct
It barely pulled it off this time
It very nearly wrecked

America is a dreamer
Full of hope and faith and cheer
Who takes his knocks and gets back up
To face another year

Signal Soup

The blind embossed words
are all but hidden unless
the light is just right

Squinting in candlelight 
I angle the board edgewise
to the flame and see it

Worded like the stark declaration
of a law suit

The Hopelessness
of Things Ending
As Rooted in
The Heartlessness
of Things Beginning
      VS.
The Suchness
of Things et al

It is case law and
the basis of endless appeals
to the adjudication of
this issue, or that
ladled out of the cauldron 
of a steaming signal soup

The volume itself
is filled with children's
crayon scribbles
illustrating what no lawyer
could ever decipher
and is always left open
to biased interpretation

Addendum:

At some point, humans learned to make shoes.

Now we marvel at the pleasure
of going barefoot.

Image by Mari Kanezaki from Pixabay

Coup

With solid red states turning blue
They're throwing out votes by the slew
Sow confusion and doubt
To suppress the turnout
What elsewhere the folks call a coup

A Pandemic of Authoritarianism

“The world does face today a pandemic of authoritarianism, which debilitates human life in distinct but interrelated ways. Given our global connections and the importance of our shared humanity, there are reasons for us to be seriously concerned not only about our own country, but also about others, taking an interest in problems all over the world. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in 1963, in a letter from a Birmingham jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It would be hard to find a more urgent social need today than global resistance to growing authoritarianism across the world.”

—Amartya Sen, from a recent speech upon receiving the German Book Trade’s annual peace prize.

—via Anand Giridharadas, The Ink