A HELL OF A CHOICE

But what if Heaven operates
like a restaurant, closed
each Monday, so you had
better die on Sunday, but
that doesn’t work because
God is resting and there
is no getting in on the sabbath.

That leaves you five days
from which to choose
to die, but God also is
the ultimate physician,
so Wednesdays the office
is closed, so that day
is out unless you can
arrange to die on a golf course.

Given the limitations
it is probably best
to become a Tibetan
Buddhist, do your stint
in the Bardo and be
reincarnated, hopefully
as a house cat, that
is the next best thing to heaven.

First Published in Half Hour to Kill, August 2022
https://halfhourtokill.com/home/a-hell-of-a-choice-by-louis-faber

DON’T BLAME ME

On the day after I die
there is a real possibility
that the sun will refuse
to rise, an appropriate
effort at mourning
which would be appreciated
if I were only there
to not see it.

So I will just take it
on faith, and as for those
of you who survive me
I will apologize in advance
for your day of darkness,
although we both know
you probably had it coming.

GOZO AND THE FOURTH ANCESTOR 正法眼蔵 語十一

If you sit
I will bring you a flower
but it will fall.
If you walk
weeds will grow up
between your toes.
Flower, weed and you
are born and die
each feeding
all of the others.

A reflection on case 51 of the Shobogenzo Koans (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)

HEAVEN CAN WAIT

A Rabbi once told me that
if you want to get to heaven,
something Jews don’t believe in,
you must atone to those you
have harmed, or injured
before you die.

I’ve started making a list,
and it feels like I am in
some wierd version of
High Fidelity, but mine
is more than a top five.

I’ve made a few efforts,
some accepted, some not,
but I have come to realize
that if I don’t believe in heaven
and I was a lawyer for years,
there is no way I am
getting in, atoning or not.

WALLS

It is one thing
to build a wall
that others
stop and admire,
yet make it
high enough
they don’lt think
of climbing over it.

Walls are meant
to keep, in
or out is never
clear, and actually
it is always both,
for a wall
takes no sides,
a silent sentinel.

And no wall
is impenetrable
and unscalable
save that surrounding
the heartless ones
who are destined
to die alone
in anger.

RECYCLED NEWS

The newspapers pile up,
their headlines scream
out, sections of business news
or the arts, and a half
completed crossword.,

They sit patiently, knowing
much has happened that we
ought to know, but we
have grown tired of death
and so each week we

place them in the bin
where they are taken
to the dump where
the lessons of the news
go to die forgotten.

UMMON’S THREE DAYS 鐵笛倒吹 六十八

What were you doing
three days ago
and what will you do
three days from now.
Are you the same person now
as you were, will be?

While your face in the mirrorKoan
seems much the same
each day you die a bit
each day you are reborn.
A thousand days
a thousand years
a passing moment,
how do they differ?

A reflection on Case 68 of the Iron Flute Koans