It is all well and good to believe
that you will know it when you find it,
that it will be so obvious you could not miss it.
You’ve been down that road before,
and on several occasions were certain
that you’d found it in her face, or hers,
in her smile, or her laugh, or one
of their soft touches and caresses.
You were wrong each time, a facsimile
at best, an avatar if you wish, so you
are determined to be prepared this time,
for there must be a this time you are certain.
You have read all the best books, consulted
on the internet, careful to sort the wheat
from the chaff, skimmed the cream of the offerings,
and have practiced reading the tea leaves.
You dare not miss it so you maintain a high
level of vigilance and a focus that is not
easily interrupted, ready to spring,
but know that it defies logic, that the mind
is useless in its presence, and that it is
the heart not the head that feels true love.
On the razor edge of dreams
the periphery of consciousness
a face appears, and I am left to wonder
who this person is, who he might be.
At first he is a child
with a pixie cut, a bowl placed
over the head, the bangs cut
without considering the face peering out
and others peering in.
But, as sleep washing the last
sands of consciousness out
to the sea of Morpheus,
the face morphs and
it is Science Officer Spock
who is peering back at me,
his ears pointed to the heavens
reminding me, as I slip
into Morpheus’ orbit
that I can yet
live long and prosper.
The most interesting thing about visiting
websites from foreign news services
is that so many offer content in English
and how deaths that occur locally seem
to invoke the same sadness, horror, belated honor,
and that local disasters take precedence
over our own disasters not merely because
it happened there and not here,
but because the losses are greater, the damage
far worse, the faces far less white.
We hold the world up to the mirror often,
but is only our face we see, and those like us
standing behind, and we are blind
to so much of what goes on around us,
because this color blindness is of the sort
that disables seeing at all rather
than seeing all in monochrome.
You want holy teachings
boiled down, synthesized
digestible in bites
so dine on the holes
look at me, at a window
as you do a mirror
a familiar face
the face will depart
yours or his
you will awaken
to endless absence
A reflection on Case 1 of the Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku)
It was the other evening,
the first of two this month, they say
This only happens once in a blue moon
or a couple times every two or three years
and often twice in the same year,
So once in a blue moon isn’t that long
but she said she could feel its pull,
everything threatening to topple over
and she moved very cautiously.
I have to admit I didn’t feel very much,
but I come from the people for who
the lunar cycle is the norm, so the moon
really proceeds as it should, it’s face
having little to do with my time or tide.
The moon will be full again later this month
and I will pay careful attention
to what I’m certain I will not feel then
but will affect me in so very many ways.
He often comes to me in dreams.
In most he is faceless, but intently present,
speaking in a voice I instantly know,
nothing like mine and totally mine.
On occasion his face appears, blurred,
as if seen through a scrim, back-lit,
vague, an actor in some film I have seen,
but yet not that person, that character.
For a while I saw my own face, but I knew
that was just my wishful mind filling in a gap
which has yet to be filled, knowing
that it likely never will.
Once, not long ago,
a river meandered
through our town.
Actually, there was
never a river here,
and our town is really
a small and shrinking city.
But the wistful look
on your face when I
mentioned the river is
reason enough to have one.
So now I have to move
somewhere in Connecticut
or Massachusetts, or start
digging a large channel
Hand me a shovel,
I hate New England.
You believe this is how, and where, it begins,
but that is only your conception of it.
You believe the mirror shows your face
each morning, but it is merely polished glass,
and you mind sees what it perceives to be you
in the glass, while the glass is empty.
It has no real beginning, at least not one
that you or I can hope to identify, it has
always been and it will never be, but we
will perceive it to be as it has been,
perceive it to have begun at some point
in time, but time is also a perception, a way
we can try to define our perceptions.
You may well doubt all of this, but know
that doubt is the beginning of understanding,
so you have begun to walk along the way,
which is where you are and have always been,
if you can only conceive of it that way.
The epiphany comes,
he says with a smile,
when you first discover
the puzzle within the puzzle
and the hidden logic
finally triumphs. It is
always there, she notes,
right in the title
as clear to the eyes
as the nose
on the face of
who has no mirrors.
If a poor man offers you
the finest diamond
do you take it, and what
of the gift of a crust of bread
from the wealthy man.
Each gift, in its way,
is worthy of rejection.
Once I grasped at great thoughts –
now I can forget my own name
and wonder whose face it is
that I see in the mirror.
A reflection on Case 70 of The Iron Flute (Tetteki tōsui).