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 :

How fares our cousin 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

How to Meditate

when my thoughts, ever
busy with their endless make-work
finally dissolve back into whatever
they had arisen out of to begin with
—but immediately come rushing back

(before that brief, fresh, empty
non-experience can raise its bashful little
Oliver Twist head and ask for more)

—to inform me urgently
these elevator rushing, airport
concourse sprinting, squad car
siren squealing, subpoena slapping
officers of the court, these
offense recounting, defect enumerating
braggarts and ex-smokers, these
pointless hectoring memories and
the things I should have said
and the things you shouldn’t have
these thoughts, like parrots
trained to say etcetera over and over

these thoughts (they’re just thoughts!)
come flying back to me, giving
that rare moment’s peace the bum rush
these type-A personality, mind encumbering
blasted damn thoughts, come
rushing back to say:

how awful it
must have been
without us

and it’s perfectly alright
because (I’ll mention this again)
they’re just thoughts, and there’s
not a single one of them substantial
enough to buy you a drink, or
bail you out of lockup, and will
each and every one, shrink away
like a sun burned fog should you
stop egging them on

the gospel of the marked

talk about your wordless moment
every move an escape from the present

and we worry about oppression
as if it comes from without

those imprisoned for their ideas
were already imprisoned by them

there are no false moves
only moves falsely accused

there is wordlessness and long cons
and not much in between