Existendencies

I’m accused of believing in deities
like an irrational dummy, while
the material world in every direction
teases our intellects into a
puzzle-solving mania, clamoring
for the victories of knowing
and having known.

Happily, these elaborate conceptions
serve as a handy basis for making
offerings to the deities.

And they do supply the
handholds we’ll need, if we’re
determined to get a grip.

Beyond that, I don’t much bother
with ‘that is’ or ‘this isn’t’
unless I have to.

Every conclusion is a
leaf on the winds of inquiry.

Ephemeral as a raspy little fart.

Being There

a thing thrown in your face
so come back quick

jump, lurch, twist aside
the snap of teeth, a happening

elsewhere, the future is collapsing
into the past, but your name

it never comes up

The Chameleon’s Dish

At Breakfast
I interrogate objects
for their hidden meanings
suspecting that everything is
a sham, though not to
the point of paranoia
I forget to eat

By Lunchtime
the objects no longer appear
as an organized effort to
accomplish existence, more
a plate tectonics masquerading
as real estate, a hint of confession
in the chaos yet not enough
to justify a declaration of suchness
I am, by now, very hungry

In Midday
my need for food is sounding
peculiar song-like drones
but there’s silence as well
like a cosigner to the deed
conspiring with a growling gut
this calling, this appetite is making
arguments that seem capricious
and I wonder if the eating
might not cause more problems
than it solves

At Dinner Bell
my stomach is a gust of craven mara
despot of my being, and I yield
ladle out some stew
sitting in the sand upwind
of the cook fire, where
all these elaborations dissolve
under waves of taste sensation
I know I must realize precisely
this, or I’ll have to get up
and do it all over again
probably, tomorrow

Come Evening
a pine branch pops
in the embers and the sparks fly
up, absorbed like nourishment
into the hungry black
belly of night

Title is from Shakespeare, Hamlet III.2 :

CLAUDIUS
How fares our cousin Hamlet?

HAMLET
Excellent, i’ faith, of the chameleon’s dish. I eat the air,
promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so.

Alternate title: A Day in the Life of a Neophyte Yogin

The Thingularity

my barber asked if I believed in evolution
“I didn’t come from no ape,” he said

I told him he came from his mother
that we all come from our mothers
although it is the paternal line
that everyone seems to focus on

my own mother, Christian, a Catholic
settled the matter when she said
that God used evolution to create us

she was a peace-maker, not a theologian

I do not have the body of my ten-year-old self
any more, but it does look a lot like
the one I had yesterday

the world of appearances percolates up
from somewhere, one supposes, in
a kind of maternal line with things
pregnant with the possibility

of thing-cum-thing, of change itself
whatever on earth that means

I get suspicious of things
when they start to seem too important
and I remember, one day a stranger

saw me all worked up and rushing around
in an aggravated bustle
and said, “relax”

Whistle

the curious idea of
a dream within a dream
occurs to clever thinkers
safely outside of the dream-time conundrum

and fixation requires
a reliable point of reference
or, by golly, we will
panic and make one up

it’s easy to whistle, though
just put your lips together
and blow

Dharmas

decoding the cipher of dharmas
the pecking order of eggs and chickens
the solution is found resting
on the back of an elephant

ask an Englishman if it’s tea time
or if the sun will set on his empire
Atlas who bears the weight of it all
has to stand somewhere, in this maze of

endless Russian nesting dharmas, and
it’s elephants all the way down
so set aside your decoder ring
and let’s have a spot of tea, shall we?

Grace Hopper

(An urgent knock at the door. A telegram!)

SIR ​★ ​HOW DO CLOUDS FORM WHEN CLOUDS ARE FORMLESS ​★ ASKING FOR THE SKY ​★ BRILLIANT AND PIERCING BLUE ​★ WHAT ARE FOG BANKS ​★ REPLY WITH PHOTOS ASAP ​★ THERE ARE CHILDREN HERE WHO HAVE NEVER SEEN FOG ​★ WILL YOU SAY THE NAME OF RAIN WHEN THE ROOF GUTTERS SAG ​★ AND THE DOWNSPOUT SHUDDERS WITH A MADDENING NOISE ​★ CAN YOU HEAR THEM ​★ CAN YOU HEAR THE INDIVIDUAL RAINDROPS ​★ RUNNING TOGETHER LIKE WARRIORS OR A LYNCH MOB ​★ LIKE SOAKING WET PEDESTRIANS RUSHING THE SUBWAY STAIRS ​★ AND THEIR FILTHY GLISTENING WET FOOTPRINTS ​★ FORM THE ROSETTA STONE OF OUR OWN MYTH ​★ EXCLAMATION POINT

DOES TIME REALLY PASS ​★ CAN WE LOOK BACK ​★ WILL THE ILLUSION OF RAIN DAMPEN THE LIGHT WE SEE BY ​★ THE VERY LIGHT THAT SHINES ON TIME PASSING ​★ OH HOW OUR OWN MINDS DO FUCK WITH US CEASELESSLY ​★ THE WEST DOES NOT KNOW ​★ THE EAST CANNOT SAY ​★ THESE SCHOLARS WEAVE BASKETS IN THE SUN ​★ AND REPORT EACH DAY AT FIVE ​★ TO THE BARRACKS FOR THEIR WHIPPING ​★ ABANDONED BIRD CAGES LITTER THE STREETS ​★ LIKE BRITTLE CHRISTMAS TREES IN JANUARY ​★ LETS ALL LOVE FOR THE SAKE OF LOVE ​★ WITH THESE CLOCKS AND CALENDARS ​★ LIKE PEEPING TOMS LEERING AT OUR WINDOWS

GRACE HOPPER WITH YOUR NANOSECONDS ​★ BEAT THE LIVING TIME OUT OF THESE MOMENTS WITH YOUR NANOSECONDS ​★ YOU STARK RAVING ORIGINAL ​★ NONE WILL TURN IN THEIR GRAVE WHO TURN IN LIFE ​★ WHO TURN IN LIGHT ​★ MAY FATE AND GRACE PRESERVE YOU ​★ THE LIGHT ​OF DAYS ​★ THE FOOLISH HOPES ​★ THE LOSS AND GAIN ​★ THIS PRECIOUS SELF A TRINKET IN THE YARD SALE OF THE DHARMAKAYA ​★ THERES NO GETTING OFF IT SO LETS GET ON ​★ START THE WORLD WE WANT TO GET ON ​★ THE GONG STRIKE SETS THE TONE ​★ LET THE BUSTLE FLICKER ON YOUR SCREEN ​★ SUSTAIN AND RELAX INTO SILENCE

STRONG LETTER FOLLOWS ​★ FULL STOP