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Category: Buddhism

POEM: rowboat

Zhuangzi

rowboat

you are in a rowboat
floating
on the surface of a
still
pond
I am swimming toward you
slowly
steadily
I am not trying to surprise you
but your eyes are closed
so you don’t
see me
coming
when I reach your boat
I grab the side
to pull myself in
you sit up
startled
but I was so peaceful, you say
I’m sorry, I say
I just wanted to share it with you

16 April 2013
Auburn, AL

/ / /

This poem is very loosely based on this famous parable by Zhuangzi. As retold in this dharma talk by Josh Korda.

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My newly decorated ukulele

I’m a big fan of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger as people, as musicians, as activists, and as decorators of instruments. Woody had this on his guitar:

20060417-woodyguthrie-killingfascists

And Pete has this on his banjo:

"This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender."

I thought for quite a while about what to write on mine. I decided to use a phrase from Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh on the front, and then drew a lotus on the back. You can click to see larger images:

IMAG6389

IMAG6392

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POEM: eating Oreos with the buddha

IMAG6337

eating Oreos with the buddha

The Buddha came over today
we ate Oreos and drank rice milk
I played him a song on the ukulele
he told me his most popular story
(spoiler alert: it was mostly
about him sitting under a tree)
he comes by most Sundays
because I get the New York Times
and he likes to do the crossword
(“what’s a seven-letter word for satori“?)
a couple weeks ago I asked him
to meditate with me for a while
but he said he doesn’t do that anymore
he told me to practice the ukulele instead
“it’s pretty much the same thing”

24 February 2013
Auburn, AL

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POEM: morning meditation

morning meditation

letting the idea of you rise
from my stomach into my chest
like the memory of fields
carried on the steam
from a cup of tea

Buddha dances on the wall
to the beat of the candle flame
until he’s stopped for a moment
by a frozen flash of lightning
this morning I awoke!

with a desperate need to poop
had to wait for two other people
to use the bathroom
hopping from foot to foot
such is life

21 May 2012
Brooklyn NY

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POEM: monkey mind

monkey mind

“Matt, this is Chris.”
“Chris, this is Danni. With an ‘i.'”
“Danni, this is Nicole.”
“I think we met at the book club.”
“David, this is Stacy.”
“Hi, these are my parents. They’re in
        from Sweden.”
“We’re here for 20 days.”
“C.C., there are no eggs over there.”
“Someone go tell C.C. that all the eggs
        are over here.”
“Honey, we hid them so we know
        where they are.”
“What time are you guys starting
        your Easter egg hunt?
        Because we were going to start
        around 11 and we don’t want
        to get in your way.”
“I think we just lost some of our eggs
        to the competition.”
“Kids, go to the doggie park. The
        doggie park. Go to the
        doggie park.”
“I think that guy is meditating.”
“Oh, that’s a good idea.”

8 April 2012
Prospect Park
Brooklyn, NY


It’s National Poetry Writing Month! A poem a day, each day in April. I meditated in Prospect Park today in what started as an empty field and became an Easter egg hunt.

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