As If It Is – (four tanka)

AS

beautiful sunshine
pain lodges in a shoulder
weary and aware
wonder at the cause of kinks
life of a mischief-maker

IF

being this and that
vast gathering of causes
wind tickling leaves
gusty augury of rain
weather precedes the weather

IT

pebble in a shoe
statue chipped and crumbling
earth touching mudra
we all circumambulate
offer mantra and blisters

IS

fever dreams at night
in the daytime distracted
single-use body
prayers muttered, beads fingered
moon eclipsed by this fat head

The Guru Rinpoche Rehab Clinic in the Sky

Sober, now and then
the color of copper makes
a halo behind things.

Molecules of alcohol bond happily
with any old synapse, but not me.

In group, I do nothing but argue.

But salute! A toast to this nature
that outwardly would cling to sobriety.

Inwardly, it was never
drunk on anything, nor has it
ever sobered up.

Externality TV

we sentient beings
following our impulses
meeting and parting

~

enchanting display
conjoined with experience
sterile, yet pregnant

~

externalities
are appearance as the mind
they do not persist

 
 
 

(illustration by me, 1990s)

Spinners

an innocent thought
effects follow like shadows
drought and flood alike

~

karma ripening
shaping on its potter’s wheel
goblins of the night

~

conceptual frames
stacked together so neatly
this game has no end

 
 
 

(illustration by me, 2009)

Fetch

“When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once.”—Milarepa

Source: Wildmind

Lake After Lake

a lake is just a lake
lakeness is the burden
you carry from lake to lake

(man with a floppy hat
covered in fishing lures
—what will he do next?)

so when you see a lake
you don’t really see a lake
you see lakeness and then say “lake”

(launch the row boat
see the lily pads hoola dance
in its wake)

lakes are empty of lakeness
they’re not even really lakes
they’re just “that”

(a child points and says “that”
it could be anything
—a bullfrog maybe?)

Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe is the Buddha

I don’t like pink
but my stapler is pink
my stapler is the Buddha

To the mind, appearance
is like that stupid screen saver
with the flying toasters

Marilyn really was the Buddha
you could tell just by
looking at her

Photo credit: I stole it off the Internet. Don’t judge me. Instead, look carefully, deliberately, at your own mind. What do you see?