Flattering

Always check that the cause of the puncture
be it a nail, a thorn, a shard of glass

An inconsiderate remark, a petty theft
a selfish motive, a hankering for revenge

Has been removed from the treads
before changing the tube. If not, the air

Of all your effort will burst and flee
with a pish and a slew, ardently pressed

To get even with your atmosphere, and
there you’ll be, a lump on the shoulder

In a cloud of gnats, that proud upper hand
grips the frame, this bicycle built for none

Your former comrade in the righteous cause
of flight and mobility, now a fanged partisan

For the higher truth of gravity, you let a
recalled sense of decency bid you be humble

Well, it’s a tough row to hoe, to walk
it all back, in the heat of disguised blessings


Image by Etienne Marais from Pixabay

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

A Medical History

The last 24 hours: six a.m. eating breakfast I bite my tongue really hard on the side and it hurts quite a bit. I finish breakfast contemplating mindfulness in general and mindful eating in particular – I am thinking about mindfulness, mind you, not actually being mindful.

There is a pain in my jaw from the day before that can’t decide if it is a toothache or a headache. My memory of it calls forth the actual sensation – don’t think about it! My tongue hurts for the next eight hours. At lunch I eat some junk food and feel full of stomach and depleted of spirit – my tongue seems acutely aware of the nearby gnashing teeth, fresh is its memory from this morning and it is still sore.

After lunch I develop a thick feeling in my throat and it is awkward to swallow – I ignore it and do my job all afternoon, preparing some items for a shipment with a nagging irritability lurking around my work area.

Early evening I have no appetite. I watch some of the film called Babel and when Cate Blanchett is struck by the bullet, which has a complicated history, I think about how many causes lay hidden in the scenery of our plodding days, unbeknownst to us. I visualize myself as the Medicine Buddha for a moment and become a light-filled mandala hosting every living being, human in form, Buddha in essence, from the past, present and future, and everything functions as medicine, even poison. Back to the movie. Everyone in the film is either making bad decisions or dealing with their consequences – this goes for the one watching the film too.

I have no known allergies to any medications. Check. My maternal grandmother had diabetes. Check. My deductible on prescription medicine is outrageous and I relive a bad memory in which I accused, in an unpleasant phone call many years ago, an insurance rep of malfeasance after receiving a letter saying my policy would not cover a condition which they had determined I was susceptible to: I stopped short of calling the man a heartless grifter, however, in a follow-up email I did suggest to him that he seek an honorable line of work before it was too late – deathbed regrets are not a treatable condition.

At around nine p.m. I head to bed, my bodily condition seeming like a profound irrelevancy. My aches, pains, worries and anxieties, complaints in general, are like a ship full of waving vacationers leaving the harbor, setting sail on the ocean at large in a vessel lighter than water, heavier than air, and stocked with delightful amenities.

As I drift off to sleep I wonder briefly what the weather will be tomorrow.

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)

ILBCNU

pristine, it means untouched
by loving hands, or brandished

weapons, be all astound
my enemies in this life

reflect a broken bond of love
in a previous tour of this round

and we, who believe in karma
are not much crazier than you, who

keep living it, I have found

Bonehead

boxer shorts, a warm night
for all the stink of me
wearing yesterday’s shirt
with my little fan running

call to bare knuckles
formed to shape angry thoughts
in the shadow of all kindness
surely bestowed saintly on a fool

who turns proud, pacing, grinding
nibbling, nips dark in the brain silo
bonehead cache of saids and dids

the beacon of remembered slights
steering the someday ships
straight into the rocks

I ask myself: did you see that?