In the middle of a rouund of zazen
I hear the bells of a nearby church,
although I am nearby no church.
Zen teaches you to be present
in each moment, to be immersed
in and not witnessing life around you.
The bells break my struggle
to not think, they introduce time
again where there should be none.
Just as soon, the bells are silent,
and the silence of 1300 miles away
pervades our small zendo,
so just perhaps Zoom, or the ability
to control its transmission, is
after all, a mindful Buddhist tool.
Are you serious? You have the temerity to ask me if I am sleeping? Seriously? If, for a moment, you thought that I was sleeping, why in hell would you jostle me and then ask me if I was sleeping? And how many times do I have to tell you that I never liked the name John. I am Jack and you know damned well that is what I want to be called, by everyone. It is not that hard. Here’s a hint, I was sleeping until you woke me. You realize if we weren’t family what I would be doing to you right now. But mom and dad would have a fit, so just consider yourself lucky, but know that someday I will get even with you. Remember I was there when you were a baby, so I have seen it all. And if the bells didn’t wake me, why should I care if they are ringing? Answer me that. Now go away, preferably forever.
The afternoon sun
glares off the polished roof tiles
the bells strung on the pagoda
of the small temple
tinkle in the wind.
There are so few
birds in Osaka.
First Appeared in Japanophile, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2000.