Do not ask me to recite the Dharma When I am breathing there is only breath in and breath out. Be like the poor man lost and wandering going nowhere, each breath the only breath. Having nothing, simply being.
A reflection on case 3 of the Book of Equanimity Koans
Paper is at once both the cruelest invention a writer may have stumbled across and also her salvation.
The blank page invites, often demands the pen and is unjudging, yet the poet may change or delete but the paper retains the original and throws it back in his face.
The computer, many say, changed all of that, backspace or highlight and delete and that mistake, misuse, misadventure is gone forever, but with a wrong keystroke all you may have is a blank screen and your words so well shaped, thoughts perfectly expressed can be lost in the ether.
Linking things is a human need, tenuous forces barely holding across synapses easily broken or lost, never to be replaced.
Ithaca is forever joined with Galway City, and I still have not figured out how to get the two people together as together is obviously what they should be.
She sits at a small table in the Commons, staring, waiting perhaps for a writer or lover who may be both, to come down from Cornell and join her, while Oscar waits patiently on a marble bench, hat by his side, telling Eduard of the woman he expects to arrive, trying to determine how to tell her that her friendship means everything, but it can be nothing more than platonic.
In my world they meet, she listens, fights back tears and promises always to be there, friends frozen in time and bronze.
I will soon enough be in mourning for literature and philosophy for the moment is approaching when they will be lost, or I suppose simply subsumed, swallowed up in a cloud appearing momentarily then gone.
The day is rapidly approaching and if you doubt it for even a moment, go to your local library, if it has not closed, and note the diminishing number of books, replaced by computers, where everything can be found while the power is on, but just try and read there when a candle is the only light.
On this night he walks silently into her dream uninvited, but she is used to the incursions. On other nights it is she who sidles up to him in the depths of dreaming, each slipping away ahead of dawn. On rare nights each enters the dreams of the other, paths crossing at the synaptic border. On those nights she looks for him, he for her, each grows fearful the he or she will be trapped, alone, when dawn arrives and the body gently wakes, she or he wandering lost in a familiar alien reality.
He cannot be certain when he lost it. He isn’t even sure where he lost it. He knew he had it, had it for years, and then, once when he looked for it, it was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t all that upset at the loss. It was more that it was familiar, that he was accustomed to it, not that it had in intrinsic or extrinsic value. In fact, he had already replaced it the moment he noticed it was missing. Still he couldn’t help but wonder where it had gone, and why he hadn’t noticed its loss at the moment it occurred. Or had he? But ego could be like that, and it was comforting to know the replacements were stacked up and waiting.
They gather this time every week, they would feel lost if they did otherwise. The don’t do it out of any sense of duty or higher calling, and they expect nothing in return for having done so. They aren’t even following directions or obeying some unwritten rule. They object to most rules, demand logic before even pausing to consider requests for action. Holidays do throw off their schedule but they work around them as best they can. Theirs is a joyous group and only the swings groan under their laughter as their feet reach up to kick the clouds, before night falls on the playground.
In my dream last night, I was lost in a city of mostly dogs, but what was odd is that they were all standard poodles who only wanted to lick my hand and cheek. I tell you this not because the dream was unusual, it was in fact rather mundane. I didn’t awaken with a damp face, and there was no indication I had been visited by a dog’s tongue. I tell you this because you must imagine how truly strange it was for all of those dogs to meet but a single human lost in a dream that they couldn’t hope to comprehend.