THE GIRL COMES OUT 無門關 四十二

She sits undisturbed
Shakyamuni by her side.
You can wave at her, she
will pay you no mind.

You cannot grasp her mind
and maintain a hold
on your own, you will grow
deaf from the chatter
but a child can curl
at her feet and she
will stroke his forehead
in perfect Samadhi.


A reflection on Case 42 of the Mumonkan (Gateless Gate)

TOOTHLESS BODHISATTVA

He will tell you
that the distance
between a tear
and a laugh
is the span
of a mother’s arm.
He knows the duration
of sadness is identical
to a shnork*.
He cannot understand
how you could
have forgotten all this.
He doesn’t know
why you cannot recall
that enlightenment is
no more than a giggle.

*shnork (n.): the sound a grandfather makes as his nose approaches,  then just touches that of his infant grandson.

EMPTY SACKS WILL NEVER STAND UPRIGHT

There are nights
when the song
of a single cricket
can pull you away from sleep.
She says that she has heard
that not all Angels have wings
and neither of them
is sure how you would know
if you met a bodhisattva.
He searches the mail
every day, for a letter
from an unknown birth father,
but none of the credit cards
he ought to carry
offers to rebate his dreams.
Each night they lie
back pressed to back
and slip into dreams.
She records hers
in the journal she keeps
with the pen, by the bed.
He struggles to recall his
and places what shards he can
in the burlap sack
of his memory.