Wednesday, August 21, 2019

"One should not neglect one's own welfare for that of someone else, however great..."
Dhammapada 12.166

Monday, August 19, 2019

GozoCiné “奄美フィルム―ミホさん追悼 Amami Film: In Memory of Miho-san.” 2007, 14 minutes. Courtesy of Osiris. Special thanks to Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. English subtitles: Mizuno Sachiko. © 2014 Yoshimasu Gozo.

The World: Even if previously careless, when one later stops being careless, such a person illuminates the world, like the moon breaking away from a cloud.
Dhammapada 13.172

The demolition of the Baldoni house began today. At seven in the morning, the crew arrived. First, they cut down the two pines that flanked the front door.  The air smelled of them all morning, better than the candle by the bed I burn these cool nights. More trees followed. 

The front door removed and, sledgehammers in hand, three men entered to battle plaster, wood, and metal.

Grim work, killing a house.

Later, after workers left for the day, I thought back on those who had lived in that old, honest house. First I recalled an aging Italian immigrant, landlord to a young couple. Childless, he left the house to them in his will.  That couple, the Baldonis, came from a family of local accordion makers. They raised children in that house, planted fine old red roses, and the twin front pines. Landlords then themselves, they let to a Vietnam vet, an amateur actor. Upstairs lived an assistant soccer coach and his lonely girlfriend, who departed separately. Then followed a long and blurry succession of engineering students, recent graduates, and office workers. Sold to its present owner, a bank, the house was vacant for a few years.

An old brick place I have called neighbor since moving here blinks once, twice.

Its doorless front entry now gapes, wide and toothless. Windows have been wrenched out for resale or refuse.  I am watching its decomposition over days.

It's a noisy process, this blinding, muting, gutting, shunting the domestic into the ground.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Evil: If a person does good, let them keep on doing it. Let them create an inclination to it.
The accumulation of good means happiness.
9.118 Dhammapada

Full sleep changes mornings.
I awake without an ache,
mind clear, hear, as always, birds.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

children play in a park,
a mouse runs for tall grass
empty nets
shrugged off by trees
these are moments from yesterday's class
Children share
their own ideas about
insects, frogs
listen, look, do,
few predictable

Monday, August 12, 2019

Navvies channel water, fletchers fashion arrows, and carpenters work on wood, but the wise disciple themselves.
Dhammapada 6.80

What I wish is this
that threads
don't lead
but weave.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Something truly upsetting happens, is revealed.

To whom do I turn?

Do I turn at all?

The first anxiety rolls in like the tide.

I ride it by walking.

Then adrift like a ship, I sift and sort through.

New situation.

Find quiet.

Float out.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

It may be that what we want
and what we need
exceed perceptions,
are glitched into obscurity
by the recurrent insecurities
of our characters.

Am I good enough?
Am I a failure?
These are useless preoccupations,
Let go.

Sometimes in walking and watching a fine day unfold, I stumble.
Tests of physical coordination perplex me.

Last night I sat in a dark room, listening to the wind
run through the studio,
pushing against paper paintings,
passing through the glue bottles,
fussing over tabletops.

Later, I made ink from Japanese charcoal.
Crushing tree with a stone against glass, I passed water and ash through a cloth,
stirring in white vinegar,
drop by drop.
The ink looked thin, malnourished, a flop.
I stopped.
Today the grey of yesterday turns black,
back to char, usable if a little gritty.

The cardinals, male, have been singing quite a lot this morning.
One sweet fellow accompanies snare-brushed sounds
found around the intersection at the bottom of the hill.
It's a good day for a song,
with long cooler hours ahead.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Dhammapada says no sorrow, no fear.
It's clear I have a long way to go.

What miracle am I waiting for?


(Dhammapada 16.215)

Thursday, August 1, 2019


In her dream,
a yellow dog,
made of water,
is a
at her.

After that,
she's in a spat
with an angry man
who is repeatedly hitting her.

The waterdog,
leaps from his stream,
down and into the water
this man drowns.

Then her saved women's soul rolls over into the dog's.

Thank god,
she thinks,
for odd
a soggy dog.

new moon

a rabbit runs
another done
to bone and fur
near the plum
two goldfinches spar
are lit by the late sun
one more daylily
opening in the cool morning air
at the edge
of summer