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poems, etc.

Zelda's Inferno exercise March 9: collage

Today's Zelda's Inferno exercise was to create a collage. Here's an attempt to flatten mine into a linear text:

anonymous middle-aged white business man
unfair battle
another anonymous middle-aged white business man
computer skull
amish wheelwright with pneumatic tools
how you survive
(words on fire)
best energy exercise
it's extraordinary special expanding satisfaction
all through the night take it...easy

the tree outside my window

the tree outside my window
is god

the sparrow in its branches knows this
the hawk that takes and tears and rends the sparrow's mate as it sits in the branches knows it too
sometimes I know it
sometimes the snow sitting on the branches tells me
sometimes drops of rain hanging pendant from the buds reflect the universe
sometimes its green shade protects me and my house, watching over us tenderly, a guardian, a savior
sometimes it is the dying and resurrecting god of a thousand myths

mostly I look past it, walk under it, without seeing
but every once in a while
every once in a while
it lets me Know

presidental poetry

The Times (London) considers presidental poetry and notes that Barack Obama "may be the best amateur poet to run for president since Abraham Lincoln, which is saying quite a lot." Obama had two poems published in a college magazine back when he was 19.

Zelda's Inferno exercise March 2: the coming of spring

Zelda's Inferno exercise: write about the coming of spring

not here yet but pregnant in the buds
leaves sleep curled like embryos

daylight lingers until almost 6pm again
and the promise of the return of warmth hangs in front of me
I follow it through the dregs of winter like a will-o-the-wisp

the dogs are shedding -
every time I pet them handfuls come off
and the carpet is becoming covered in fur

and back at the trees
you can see warm brown color returning to grey branch-tips
as the sap starts flowing again

and I can feel my own sap start to flow again

standing in line yesterday at the department store I remembered that my heart is broken

I hadn't thought about it in a while -
in the cold of winter it hadn't much mattered
cryonic suspended animation, the heart slows, stops
and winter ices the wound

but warmth and movement take away the numbness
brings back the pain -
and also the possibility of healing

rough drafts of sample chapters from "Why Buddha Touched the Earth"

Hi friends. As some of you know, for some time I've been working toward a book about some of my "Zen Pagan" ideas.

While there's still a long way to go, I'm happy to have rough
drafts of some sample chapters, and I've posted them on one of my
websites. If you'd be interested to take a look, your comments would be much appreciated.

(Please feel free to invite others to take a look.)


Zelda's Inferno, February 24: writing from a goofy rhyming wordlist

Today's Zelda's Inferno exercise: writing from a goofy rhyming wordlist. This was fun. The list:

dense, fence, pretense, Chincoteague, Grieg, blitzkrieg, wampumpeag, resign, align, divine, bill cosby, autopsy, dropsy, biopsy, necropsy, bumblebee, nominee, divorcee, android, unalloyed, hemorrhoids, asteroid, unalloyed, bookend, unbend, offend, transcend, floundering, boundering, foundering, dumbfounding, granite, planet, pomegranate, sandpit, dribble, nibbles, scribbles, kibbles, apocalypse, eclipse, tidytips, fish and chips

Zelda's Inferno exercise Feb. 17: radical self-acceptance

Today's Zelda's Inferno exercise: from a deck of phrases, draw a card or two and freewrite. on the phrase "radical self-acceptance":

radical self acceptance, I accept my radical self, the part that wants what it wants at any cost and right now

radical self acceptance, what we need now is a little more radical other acceptance. What the Buddha preached, and maybe Jesus too, was radical all-acceptance.

radical self-acceptance, radical self-acceptance, really what's the alternative? radical self-denial? moderate self-acceptance?

there is no self; accepting and understanding that, is truly radical. Then self acceptance is all-acceptance.

or is the radical self the radical notion of separateness? radical doesn't mean correct, after all. ("radical!" shouts a skate punk in my mind)

Zelda's Inferno exercise Feb. 10: claiming and defining words

Today's Zelda's Inferno exercise: claiming and defining words. Pick a few words from this list we came up with, and write about how they do or don't define you.

poet, criminal, artist, climber, activist, anarchist, transgender, atheist, zen buddhist pagan, beatnik, bouncer, actor, bohemian, mother, caretaker, sojourner, dreamweaver, songwriter, alien, time traveller, healer, patient, pacifist, shaman, soldier, gravedigger, gambler

Somebody asked me the other day, as I sat in the cafe with my laptop in front of me, a disorganized bunch of phrases slowly resolving into a chapter, if I wanted to be a writer.

Want to be? I am, I replied. I write, therefore I am a writer. Subspecies poet, wrangler of words in rhythm, transgressor of boundaries. Sometimes a songwriter, sometimes an actor writing my own lines for a performance piece. A linguistic anarchist, denying the rule of Webster and Oxford: for when I use a word, it means just what I want it to mean, no more, no less.

"Atheist" doesn't say what I am. I says what I'm not: not a theist. It's as descriptive as saying a thing is not orange - well, it might be grey, it might be blue, it might be pink with purple polka-dots, it might be transparent or submicroscopic and thus colorless (what color is an electron?) or rainbow-hued. So, yes, I don't believe in a big daddy in the sky who created the Universe because he was bored or because he wanted a bunch of worshipers or whatever. That doesn't tell you anything about what I do believe.

In this society, everyone is a criminal. No one gets through the month without breaking some law - a traffic law, a tax law, the zoning code, a copyright regulation, whatever. Given some of the laws still on the books in this state, I pity anyone who's not a sex criminal.

So, yes, I freely admit it - I'm a criminal, a law-breaker, and I take no shame in it. I don't let the legislature make decisions for me - though of course I try not to get caught. The state may have no moral authority, but it does have more guns than I do; I try to avoid it like I avoided bullies in elementary school.

things not said

if Heisenberg spoke the truth
if just looking can change things,
what might we destroy by speaking?

soap bubble moments that float on air
annihilated by a grasping hand

my father and i out in his car
on some errand I can't recall
me, home from college for a little while
becoming my own man -
not necessarily in my father's image

neither of us knowing anymore
who the other was

but "Johnny B Goode" on the radio
and both of us quietly singing along

I've never spoken of that moment
I feel that it would shatter if I asked
if he recalled a song we sang together
a moment when i saw my father
as a man of love, and confusion
and song, and breath
the same as me
I remember and I smile, but do not speak

leave my drink alone; me, my dad, and Johnny B. Goode

Promotions at the dojo today...didn't have any students going up, but spend the day helping out. Think I wrenched a muscle in my back, so I've come down to Leadbetter's for some muscle relaxant and some tunes.

Now that the smoking ban is in effect, they have these little card you put on your drink if you go out to suck on the penis of corporate America. It says "Out smoking - Leave my drink alone". Which seems a good phrase for a writing exercise:


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