En route to Buddhism, I must admit
I stopped at numerous philosophical
way-stations, none quite as equipped as I
would desire and so I moved on.

Buddhism was my solution, no demands
other than I be present, knowing
I had no real choice but to do so,
all in the recognition of that fact.

I did consider other faiths and -isms,
and each but one had something
to beckon me, but each was incomplete
and I was looking for a full solution.

The easiest to reject was nihilism,
for while it was the simplest to adopt,
asking, no demanding, nothing from me,
assuring me all was nothing in the end,

I knew it would fail me in the most
essential way, for I discovered there
were no great nihilist poets, how do you
write when there is nothing real to say?

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You assume you know the answer,
and wait patiently for the question
which is not forthcoming.
This becomes your dilemma.
You have acquired a catalog
of answers, all awaiting questions
that never come forth.
Of course it isn’t fair, you
know that full well,
but that, too, is an answer that must
await a question for which
there is no questioner, so you must
ask yourself why
you accumulate answers,
and that is one question
for which you have found
absolutely no answers.



We arose from water,
crawled forth and inhabited the land
and claimed dominion
and the land appeared
to cede itself to us,
knowing better
and caring even less.
We return to the water
feel its pull
but immerse ourselves
only partially, willing
to risk only half drowning,
the land and air
usually silent, knowingly
laugh for they know
that a fish
out of water
eventually drowns
in a sea of air.



The philosopher
sits on a rock
overlooking a pond
with a single water lily.
To defeat your enemy,
you must have his mind.
To have his mind,
you must be him.
To be him, you must
cast off self-loathing
When there is no loathing,
he is not your enemy.
If you have no enemies,
you may sit on a rock
and look over a pond,
but only if there is
but a single water lily.


The meeting occurred by chance,

two old men sitting in the same park

staring at the same empty chess board

as the waves of the Stygian Sea

lapped against the break wall,

the ferryman now at the helm

of the great cargo ship.

“So,” said Hillel, “you come here often?”

Old, bent Buddha paused

“as far as I know, I have

always been here, or perhaps

I am not here now, never have been.”

“I know the feeling” the ancient Rabbi said

“I’ve been here so long, I too

have begun to doubt my very existence.”

Buddha rubbed his great girth

and smiled placidly as a black bird

alighted on his shoulder.

The Rabbi stroked his beard

the stood on one foot,

only to have two bluejays

land, one on each arm.

“Would you care to join me,”

he asked, “for a meal at Ming’s

or if you prefer, we can do take out

from the Dragon Palace,

whatever suits your mood,

in any event, my treat this time.”

The saffron robed old man

unfolded himself, and erect

and bowing, said

“It would honor me to dine with you

but if you wouldn’t mind

I’d much prefer a bowl

of chicken soup with kreplach

and a pastrami on rye.”


Where I live we have hills. Mostly we have hillocks, but here they call the very high hills mountains so we have to call the hillocks hills. It is a question of relativity. Einstein understood relativity.   He was born near Feldberg which rose nearly 4900 feet up. He lived in New Jersey where you could find the Kittatinny Mountains, reaching a majestic 1800 feet. My brother in law lives on a quiet mesa, flat and so often desolate, with mountains in the distance. My brother in law doesn’t look down on Einstein though he could from his house at 7000 feet. But he looks nearby at Wheeler Peak at 13000 feet and feels relatively small. Einstein never visited Wheeler Peak. I have never visited the Kittatinny Mountains. Einstein and I both have climbed hillocks. Relatively speaking.