thin skinned fur poachers
look what all we traded
to be brainy enough
to have worries.
Shivers are the hoarse song
poking in to the tune of life
where our molecules shudder
and shrink and malfunction
in the sluggish low frequencies
that will withdraw
the very beats from our hearts
should our adaptations fail.
Here in Texas we are maneuvering our way back to normal after a shock of extreme weather knocked things about. The agency here that governs power grid management is more aligned with Enron-style market games than it is with the public good, so wish us luck.
Photo: Northern Mockingbird on a cold morning, (CC-BY-SA) 2021, G. Paul Randall
So how much would you likely pay
to have yourself a sunny day?
We'd like to pay the bill in cloud
if that might somehow be allowed.
As currency a cloud is very
like the dollars that we carry.
All puffed up with value there
but marking what is actually air.
All pomp and cheer when we have money
but when it's gone it's not so funny.
We go to pay the tab that's due
what now? Your wallet's clear and blue.
Photo: close-up of an avocado, with effects. (CC) 2021, G. Paul Randall
I slammed the car door in anger
and then I thought about that crazy machine
that slams car doors all day long
so automotive engineers can see
which component fails first
after a lifetime of being slammed
by mad-as-hell people like me
and maybe some of you…
They could've asked if they wanted to know
it's always the patience that's first to go.
un-baffled exhaust ports
of an unseen muscle car breathe
noisy fire, roar, then idle down to a purr
abrupt report of a pistol
then shifting gears as the motor fades
into the distance, like self-conscious years
writing their way to a halt
at the index of a history text
all the unprovoked thoughts
run adrift, then assemble at sleep's door
as the novel loses its thread
just like a life lived in earnest
innocent as a forgotten thing
its power to provoke all played out
on a Saturday night in Houston
A rotten orange and this magic wand
some bones to hold
the lump erect
A starter pistol barks for the ready wheels
all thrust and penetration
A fire burns until it's out
without much worry
Impermanence (Tib. metakpa)
The magic wand is the appearance of a fixed reality in the orange before it rots. Bones give structure to thoughtless agency. Onward, into the fog. Impermanence is demonstrable, what use is its contemplation? Born into bodies, we had to invent the wheel. This is not the problem. We are like plankton feeding ourselves to the whale of endless craving. We are fire, burning through everything we desire, and suffering pain and loss is the inevitable smoke of this burning.
“In horror of death, I took to the mountains – again and again I meditated on the uncertainty of the hour of death, capturing the fortress of the deathless unending nature of mind. Now all fear of death is over and done.”
Light, upon young skin
I noticed you by the grace of it
and the rays of it glancing off
of everything you touched.
the duality of particle and wave
we, spinning and wobbling
like fresh formed planets
in a steady stream of it.
But the Sun of these better days
had yet to rise:
It was dark the hour we met
and that poor Sun probably burns
knowing now that I had seen you first
and by its own light
that it had carelessly loaned
to the Moon that night.
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.
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.
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 Hopelessnessof Things EndingAs Rooted in
The Heartlessnessof Things BeginningVS.The Suchnessof 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
illustrating what no lawyer
could ever decipher
and is always left open
to biased interpretation
At some point, humans learned to make shoes.
Now we marvel at the pleasure
of going barefoot.