Tag Archives: philosophy

Morning/Mourning Prayers



I’m not Jewish, but I find holding on to traditions/rituals comforting. I noticed that some white people find comfort in Japanese/Asian rituals. Perhaps it’s a way of associating death as a foreign concept. I don’t know.

I look for answers on Google for where my Lover could possibly be. Sometimes Google’s not dependable.

Except one article in the NYT mentioned a study on complicated grief:

when patients with complicated grief looked at pictures of their loved ones, the nucleus accumbens — the part of the brain associated with rewards or longing — lighted up. It showed significantly less activity in people who experienced more normal patterns of grieving.

“It’s as if the brain were saying, ‘Yes I’m anticipating seeing this person’ and yet ‘I am not getting to see this person,’ ” Dr. O’Connor said. “The mismatch is very painful.”

This mismatch. This pain. This I know.

So You Want to be a Buddhist Monk, I mean, a Writer?


The first step is recognizing the Noble Truth: that some dissatisfaction comes into our lives and alternatives are sought. For many, there is something that registers as ‘interesting’ – or even inspiring – and we all come back to writing.

The process of training a monk or nun or writer is one that involves time and is not just about ‘learning the rules.’ There is much that can only be learned by patient observation.

The new novice is expected to commit to a stay of one year’s training under the general guidance of the sangha (Mentors). The ordination ceremony itself is quite simple. It would usually be in the evening on a full moon day, as part of the community’s usual observance, and the candidate would have had help learning the necessary chanting and the ‘choreography’ of the ritual. (I was planning on editing this out, but it’s actually true–chant and perform away young novices! You’ll be amazed how it can affect your writing!)

Respect for elders is a significant part of defining the monastic ‘container.’ As a novice, or junior member of the sangha, one obviously arrives with a range of preferences and views. In a mentorship life, there must always be a readiness to relinquish these and ‘bow’ down to the lead suggested by more senior members of the sangha.

The general process is one of patience, calmness, and humility. Monasteries and mentorships are blessed in that they don’t have production quotas, and training is able to be seen as a lifetime’s work. There is no hurry. Relax. Write. Create.

How I Feel About Poetry Today

Dog-paddling in a soup of aimlessness

My poems today–blech!

Rules for Insects

I don’t like my insects to do unexpected things–no jumping for beetles, or flying for roaches, or modern dance with grasshopper wings. They do have permission to buzz, and suck, and hiss, and tweet, and a salsa twitch when expiring. I don’t even mind if they snore, or croak, slither and slurp. They should abide by the rules of human expectations.

Doing it Heming’s Way

EH's longest sentence found at Michael Wood's Ernest Hemingway's site.

In celebration and kick off to summer, I proposed and answered my own Hemingway challenge, and came up…short. That’s okay. I know a Hemingway I’ll never be, but I do reserve the right to return and amend if I ever feel the need to put my size six feet in a pair of big shoes!

My version reads:

That desiring something I cannot yet determine its sincerity but knowing the level of the desire is a genuine wanting from those unknown or unconnected who dismiss the option to comment on liking the subject nor scrutinizing what’s before in order to know its value, yet you know truly its inherent affirmation and absolute originality cannot continue to regenerate on an island of isolation, when, in the darkness, you are alone with the ebb and tide of technology lapping at your fingertips, to distract or enhance, to inspire or to procrastinate, and know that the Mistress of Fame which you desire and flirt with has courted many before and after you, on screen and before screen, enticing you to answer her calls beyond the limits of your island, becoming susceptible to the undertow of trends versus the beauty of truth and originality, and those who have cohabitated with her, have basked in her brief suntan, which proudly and initially glows, burns uncomfortably between  bed sheets, distractingly peels over time, leaving you marked and lonely, unconfident and unsure about protocol, and an unmentioned fear of being stood up for your next date with her, the pressure, the disappointment, the disclosure rationalized, resurrecting the sweetness of her scent, the dampness of her skin, with newly injected adrenaline to approach with confidence and pour the five-minute wine of wisdom into everyone’s  hour glass, half full or half empty, the purists, the Buddhists, the non-believers, the activists, the passive aggressors, the likers and non commentators who will leave  you swaying in the shadows of your mistress for yet another ride of fame.


Bear and Booby and the Hero Child

Bear and Booby are making their way through the winding streets of Augusta, where clinking of glasses and raised voices can be heard in the surrounding pubs.

BEAR (following Booby): What do you mean by “You’re not that special.” That’s a horrible, hurtful thing to say.

BOOBY (partially overlooking her shoulder and moving evasively past yet another pub entrance):  I didn’t mean it to be hurtful. Everyone has bones in their backgrounds they’ve overcome. You’re not that special.

BEAR: But overcoming brainwashing, breaking out of the circuit, and going cold-monkey on reinforcement eating, doesn’t overcoming those pathetic addictions in my life make me special?


BEAR: (stops walking). No?

BOOBY: Haven’t you heard of the Hero….

(BOOBY realizes BEAR is no longer following her, retreats a few steps toward BEAR).

BOOBY: Haven’t you heard of the Hero Child?

BEAR: (slowly shakes his head left and right)

BOOBY: The Hero Child is everyone’s first born. He or She does, gets everything right, feels entitled to every offer by the world. The child arrives at a perfect time in a union to save it, help it move forward, thus high powered microscopic focus is favored upon this Hero Child.

BEAR: What does THAT have to do with me?

BOOBY:  Nothing. You’re not the Hero Child.

BEAR: (looking absolutely dumbfounded and ready to cry) Oh.

BOOBY: I’m telling you this because you’re not the first child. You’re the second born, therefore the Rebel Child.

BEAR: (looking absolutely dumbfounded and ready to cry again)

BOOBY: (scratching her head, inhaling a deep breath of patience) The Rebel Child is predisposed to bio, social, and psychological characteristics which make them, ergo YOU, more susceptible to falling victims to addictions, drugs, eating disorders, and everything else you survived. Get it?

BEAR: You mean a LOT of second borns have gone through what I’ve gone through?

BOOBY: (gently grabbing BEAR’s arm, moving torward to the end of the street) Yes, maybe not exactly what you’ve survived, but statistically yes. Second borns
have a higher tendency to get caught up in things like that.

BEAR: So all this time, I’ve been a living statistic? Every horrible challenge I faced could have been avoided if only I knew about this birth order rules or guidelines or whatever you call them?

BOOBY:  Probably. Maybe. Maybe not.

BEAR: (Pulls BOOBY to a halt) Wait. How do you know this?

BOOBY: It’s on the Internet.

BEAR: What’s that?

BOOBY: (turns, heads down another street while talking over her shoulder) Well, I don’t know exactly, but it’s like how we passed the temple yesterday and saw many praying for good fortune and seeking guidance?

BEAR: (continues walking) Uhm, yeah.

BOOBY:  It’s like that, but not on your knees.

Bear and Booby and Reincarnation

Both Bear and Booby are resting on their backs, squinting at the bright sky through the thick monkey pod tree branches.

BEAR (looking at the sky): Do you believe in reincarnation?

BOOBY (looking at the sky also): Yeah.

BEAR: But I don’t get it.

BOOBY: What don’t you get?

BEAR: A thousand years ago, there were less of us on Earth. Now we have billions. Where are all the souls coming from?

BOOBY: What do you mean? Where are they coming from?

BEAR (turns his head toward Booby): Back then there were 1 billion souls being reincarnated; now we have 10 billion. Where did the new souls come from?

BOOBY: Well, I think, they always existed.

BEAR (returns to looking at the sky, then looks at Booby’s feet, then back to they sky) : Really?

BOOBY: Yeah. Not everyone gets a chance to be reincarnated.

BEAR: So they wait?

BOOBY: Wait and ponder.

BEAR (still trying to avoid looking at Booby’s feet): Wait and ponder. Ponder about what?

BOOBY: Oh, about this and that.

[15 seconds of silence pass]

(BEAR grunts and tries to sit up quickly. Looks over at Booby)                     BEAR: So these ponderers could be sitting and thinking under the tree where we are right now?

BOOBY (looks over at Bear and back at the sky. She knows Bear is staring and she’s trying not to let her irritation grow): Sure.

BOBBY: We’re probably two physical beings amongst a thousand invisible souls who chose to ponder in the shade for a bit before moving elsewhere.

BEAR: Well,  I think that’s fascinating. How many souls do you think exist in the Universe?

BOOBY: See, that’s the thing. There is no finite number. Your thinking is physical and limited. The Universe isn’t limited to the solar system we know. I’d imagine it’s an infinite number of solar systems with many beings in many systems. 

BEAR: Oh. That’s a lot of souls.

BOOBY: Infinitely so.