Our cat has become a conversationalist. Her vocabulary grows larger each day. She seemingly shares her every thought with us, and admittedly we talk to and through her with some regularity as well. She does grow frustrated when we don’t immediately understand what she is saying, what she wants in a given moment. That is our assigned task, she will tell us. We ask for a cat dictionary and she scoffs. I may speak in cat, she says, but I certainly think in human, so figure it out, I am not that much smarter than you humans.
We have now forgotten what
it is like to take flight, to seek,
to finally find a true freedom
from an always grasping land.
Once we did it out of necessity,
lives incomplete, prisoners
who committed no crime
save those of thought and faith.
Now we only claim to admire
those who seek what we
once did, watch them with
mock awe, but deny them
perch when the journey
for them could end, and even
the birds now shun us, for our
lack of compassion and memory.
I imagine I am the creator
I imagine I am the created
and I am the creator
and I am the created
I am both, I am neither.
I exist because I think I exist
so I have created myself,
just as you exist to me because
I think you exist, I am creator.
I say I can touch you so you
must exist, but I touch with my mind
so I cannot prove your existence
only the thought of your existence.
When I die, I will no longer exist,
and you will no longer exist
as far as my you is concerned
and that is the only you I can know.
and Schrodinger’s cat-
are they one
and the same?
Leave the lid
on the box
of the mind.
the half life
of a thought?
A reflection on Cse 114 of teh Shobogenzo (Dogne’s True Dharma Eye)
I spend considerable time thinking
about what it is that I am, what is I,
whether Descartes’ God or Spinoza’s
could possibly exist, or must if I can have
meaning beyond self-reflection, needing
a godly mirror, and image reflected.
Cogito, on what basis can I draw that conclusion
what logical proof, carefully constructed will
not fall under the weight of the axiom, cogito cogito
but of what? Keys that spit words that fade
under a misplaced finger, she caught in the web
twisting, unable to pull free, staring at
an approaching holiday of praying forgiveness
Vidui, as though to posit God is to validate
emotions, control impulses which leap synapses
and flit and fade, I have sinned and transgressed
I have violated laws and statutes and I beg
forgiveness that I might live, this I, this cogito
who has no external reference save God
which makes all things real, all illusion.
It is comforting knowing in death the soul is
carried on, thought lingers, or does it cease
such that I am not for I think not, yet why should
I fear, for when it is done, I will not have been
save as a reference point, a linchpin from which
may hang ornaments of a life, a tidy sum.
Publsihed in These Lines, Fall 2020
Again today I am inside this so called
box, unchanged perhaps, but who
is to say, not you, still Schrodinger’s cat.
Don’t bother to ask if I am dead
or alive, for like the Master Daowu, you
can bet that I won’t say, so there.
And do not assume I know what I am,
for if I were dead, I’d hardly know it
and what guarantee is there that
I’m actually alive merely because
I think I am, or is it that I think
I think that I am, it’s all so Descartean
that I’m never quite certain, so let’s just
assume that old Schrodinger was right,
I’m alive and dead, and leave it at that.
He awoke this morning, and was
surprised to be there, he said,
because when you are ninety,
and can’t get around at all,
you don’t look forward to tomorrow,
for it will simply be a repeat
of today when nothing will happen.
And it is harder still, he says,
because he can’t remember much anymore,
so it’s hard to say if today
is any different than a week ago
or a month ago, though they say
he was in the hospital then,
but he don’t know why he was there.
When I stop for a visit the next day
his is surprised to be there, he says
as though it was a new thought
that just came to him in the moment.
It has a certain heft
that says something substantial
lies within, waiting to be freed.
It glides easily, suggesting an
effortlessness you know is a tease,
that labor still waits.
Still, it does said comfortably,
is appealing to the eye,
has the deep jade green
along its barrel, the knots interwoven
top and bottom that say what lies
within cannot be easily unraveled.
As you draw it across the page
you hope that somewhere in Neamh
old Robbie will look down on you,
smile and share a thought or two,
but that you know, is for another day.
He never wants to leave this place.
He never wants to leave
wherever he is at that moment.
Moving is the hardest thing
for him, arriving is easy.
She points out that you
cannot arrive here
without leaving there.
He reminds her that
something being easy
is not the same thing
as something being desired.
He can and does arrive, but it
is easy only by comparison
to the greater pain of leaving.
She says, I am leaving now,
but you can join me.
He says I cannot even bear
the pain of that thought.
When it all ends,
just what will you
the moment before.
Of course you cannot
know, for you have
no idea just when
it will end. And
if it ends as a result
of your actions,
then you won’t know
that it is your action
that is ending it,
so that is no winner
in this game.
And before you
get lost in thought,
ponder this simple
concept deeply first.
Since I haven’t told you
what it is, you
can’t know even
when it ends.
And by the way
it just did.