Dec 17, 2015

In Paranoia of Joy

They’re gonna make an example of me.

What the hell is the difference
between a vision and a thought?

Existential detective,
just putting together everyone’s stories,
trying to see what they’re saying.

Can you ever really know what life’s like for someone?

I’m here in the basement pushing a pen.
When am I not possessed?
Where do these voices come from?
What are they trying to do?
Am I robot?
Is there a microchip in my brain,
a microchip in my brain,
a microchip in my brain?
Am I a fountain of cells?
Am I a spirit guide?
Am I a brain inside
a hundred pieces you can name,
a fleshy vase,
a lava lamp of bone and skin,
an organ holding electric net of jewel-encrusted molecules.
Am I dolphin leaping out
                                               and splashing in
ov                   er                  a
      er         ov      and      er    gain?
          and                   ov

Am I a puppet of the universe?—
wide fur-lipped muppet mouth flapping on about the state of things.

Let the furniture tell the story.
Where you put your clothes,
how you make your bed.
What kind of ice cream you like
and where you bring your dog
or first dates to walk.

Where’s the best place to watch the sunrise?
Your spirit lingers there,
cross-legged on some boulders
in your favorite sweater.
You like to be talked to
by someone who talks about what they know,
or vise-versa.

And then the don’t-know amusements
splash up on the rocks
as the water gets tangerine and pink.
This is how you want to be remembered by me.

This is how I want to be remembered, too,
us here, making each other laugh
in the cold dark morning
waiting for this light.

I just want to know
if you’re actually enjoying this
or if you’re just pretending.
I want to believe this is real and
it passes by just like a dream does.
The memories from either are no more real
but life’s a dream that persists for longer,

and when we are gone
it’ll be the same as dream
us sitting here on the rocks

examples to each other
of how to act in such circumstances,
examples to any passing squirrels,

the splashing lake,
the strangers and stars
of how two humans are

and what matters to us
at this moment.

Dec 3, 2015

Why Meditate?

You sit down on the cushion
hoping to find a temple
bell hanging in your chest.
Snow is on the deck
outside your window.

The furnace blows.

In the powder yard there are
so many branches, sticks, twigs
you haven’t raked up.

Deep Breath In.

Here come the gunmen

crashing into the concert hall
opening fire.
Here drone the pundits pointing fingers
consulting experts who say

Breathe In.
In. Release
the madness unleashed,
fifty toothsome rabid dogs with spiked collars
venomous fangs, red stormy eyes
barking at you about your
childhood, all the shitty things you did and didn’t do.
Mom’s getting old now and still thinks
she runs you, you
really blew up at her on the phone yesterday
when she wouldn’t stop questioning your job,
are you making enough money,
when are you going to
Breathe in.
In. Re-
crease! Those new dress pants
are upstairs on the floor,
they’re gonna get ruined if you let ‘em
sit there like that,
maybe you should get up and fix ‘em.
You can fix ‘em if you do it mindfully, just

okay, Breathe in as you stand up,
Release as you up the stairs.
Very. Slow and gradual
hold out the hanger,
slip the pant legs through
perfect lines folded on the creases,
find the perfect balance
so they won’t fall out.
Downstairs the cushion knows
you’re gone.
Upstairs, you’re all upstairs
as you take slow, mindful steps and your toes
knock over the glass of water
you left two days ago
sitting by the door to bring downstairs
Haha, idiot, but
this is just like all those Zen stories
of the monks who felt their minds opening and then
WHAM! they tripped on a rock
carrying the bucket of water,
and suddenly they got enlightenment
so huuuuuhhh, maybe
this is it.
This is it as you
Breathe in, find a towel
Release, pat the water of the floor.
Feel the cold stain rise to your fingers.
Breathe in.
Yes this is it.
Ha ha.
This is it.
I’ve done it!

You’ve been taken.

There’s no you.
And the AK-47s are still being bought and sold
and fired through heads.
Some heads saying, “Insha’Allah”
others screaming, “God No!”
others holding thoughts of their loved ones
as they bravely raise their hands answering
“Yes, I am a Christian,”
“Yes, I am a Jew,”
“Kill me,”
and where are you


Somewhere in the hallway,
now through the kitchen,

back to the living room,
back down on the cushion

to finish your half-hour,
and I hope you learned something

to benefit all beings.

I hope you

found some