DUSK

As the afternoon fades,
the gray of the sky deepens,
the crows gather
in the highest branches
of the older trees,
until the leafless branches
seems suddenly burdened
with great black leaves.
As the already waning light fades
they take up their hymns
to the passing day, approaching night,
and we wait patiently
amid the cacophony
for the final refrain
of this solemn Mass,
when the oak and maple pews
will again sit starkly vacant.

SIGNS OF AGE

1.
I wrote a note
to remind me
to remind you
of that thing
you didn’t want
to forget, but
I can’t remember
where I put it.
Have you seen it?

2.
I am rapidly
approaching that point
when counting black hairs
on my head is easier
then counting years.

3.
This year I finally
remembered your birthday, now
if I could only think
of your name.

4.
In the mall last week
I walked excitedly
into “The Body Shoppe”
only to find they
don’t sell replacement parts.

CANYON

He stands  on the edge
of the canyon and peers
into the river etched below.
At first you think
he is considering jumping,
but his gaze is too studious,
as if he is waiting
for some particular moment.
You are correct,
he is waiting
for a particular moment
and when it arrives
he shouts at the far
canyon wall, entreating God
and the ghosts
that inhabit the nearby
cliff dwellings.
God answers
in the man’s voice, echoing
his plea, and the ghosts
take up the chorus.
He smiles
and retreats
from the precipice
certain that he,
and all who are holy,
sing in harmony.

DRAGON HOWLING IN A WITHERED TREE 正法眼蔵 二十八

Cut the hook off the line
and throw it into the lake,
dump the bait container
onto the damp soil
along the shore.
Now sit silently
in the oarless boat
in the middle of the lake
and drop your line and wait
for the dragon to bite.
And when it does,
yell at it, hear it howl.
The lake is a withered tree,
the fish a proud dragon.
Who will you be?


Reflecting on Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye) case 28

HISTORY AS IT WAS?

The reason the Jews
spent forty years wandering
in the desert had nothing to do
with bad directions, or
generational turnover, according
to Larry’s father who worked
in advertising. It was
quite simply because God
got really pissed off
at Aaron’s marketing plan,
“A Golden Calf, my ass!”
is what he probably said.
“I had better start working
on a few alternative faiths if
I want to increase
my market penetration.”