Sometimes when I think about all the suffering, greed, selfishness, stupidity, and ignorance that I perceive in people, especially in America, I get really upset.
So much suffering seems unnecessary, easily avoidable. People seem to lack vision, to not see the big picture, to not see that their actions and lifestyle have effects on people, animals and the environment all over the world.
I see a society in the midst of committing mass murder-suicide, especially ecologically. I see people who would never think of being mean to a cat or dog, ordinary, otherwise nice people, with blood dripping from their hands, responsible, unthinkingly and indirectly, for the most horrible cruelty perpetrated on the animals they eat and the animals drug research is done on. The issue to me is not so much that animals die, but how they live.
Political correctness has become a thing to ridicule, the butt of jokes, but it is accurate when it points out our responsibility, and our power to make the world a better place, just by making better choices about what we buy and eat.
It’s very easy to get angry. Often I have started accusing, blaming, condemning, and attacking, both mentally and verbally. I’ve sometimes even gone so far as to say that this is an asylum for criminally insane sociopaths. Pretty harsh stuff, huh? It doesn’t do anything except make me miserable and destroy my health and peace.
I know that people are not transformed by condemnation and blame, but by love. I try to lift my energy to my third eye, to see with the eye of spirit. The spiritual texts say that the world is perfect. I try to reconcile this higher perspective with the suffering I percieve, to try and truly feel in my heart “forgive them lord, for they know not what they do”, and to see the ultimate perfection of the world. It’s hard.
In that spirit, I hope that you, the reader, can see past the attack,
to the love.
If we only knew
being and becoming
What’s in a life
It never ends
Wrestling with the world
How long is a minute
scraps of paper
I live in a nice neighborhood
the people here are nice
the houses are nice
The cars, trucks and SUVs are nice
Each child has their own basketball hoop
They play with their fathers and mothers
not with each other
The garbage cans are filled
The water flows out of the taps and into the sewers
while the rivers run dry
There are no sidewalks, but who walks anyway?
Not too far away there are nice stores
filled with nice things and nice people
standing in long lines with big shopping carts
It’s all very nice
The schools are very nice
The students mostly white, middle class
with the occasional dark skin
There is a police curfew on the children at night
they must not be on the streets after ten
and, after all,
there’s nothing for them to do anyway
except get into trouble talking and smoking
It’s all very nice
People are very polite, while around the world
billions of other people are kept down, animals are tortured,
and the environment is raped
so that everything can all be
I’m Ok, and you’re fucked up
and everybody else who’s not like me,
when I’m not like I want to be
I’m fucked too
Nobody is OK
Every one of us is so vulnerable
Naked, a thin layer of clothing and walls
anything can happen at any moment
The old saying
“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”
for our own protection
we need to be aware of the consequences of our actions
actions which fall into the world like stones into a pond
the ripples eddying out in greater and greater circles
What goes around comes around
We all live in glass houses
Without even realizing it
We have thrown millions of stones at people we’ve never even met
will never meet
Those stones were boomerangs
the glass crumbles into a fine dust
and suffocates us
IF WE ONLY KNEW
If we only knew the full consequences of our actions
If we only knew how the animals we eat had lived
how they died,and
how the rest of our food is produced
If we only knew what happens to the rivers we get our water from, and the plants and animals that need the river
and what is put in that water
If we only knew
all the poisons in our daily environment
what happens to our garbage
how people around the world starve
so that we may get fat
If we only knew
all the suffering caused to
by our disrespectful lifestyle
We know, but
we don’t want to know,
so we pretend we don’t know
because knowing is very inconvenient
because then we have to change
How will we live?
What will we eat?
Where will we work?
How will we get around?
How will we get a sense of self worth and superiority?
If we’re not busy, important, affluent people?
When World War Two ended the German people said
“we didn’t know”
Cute baby calves
Cute baby lambs
Cute baby pigs
Cute baby chicks
cute baby steak
cute baby lamb chops
cute baby veal cutlets
cute baby hamburgers
cute baby mutton
cute baby porterhouse
cute baby rib eye
cute baby sirloin
cute baby T-bone
Clothes are heaped all around
The kitchen is a mess
Dishes dirty piled high
The bathroom floor is wet
and have no energy
The music is playing
in my head
Passing the time
Fuck you, and the horse you rode in on, if you don’t like it
but anyway there’s nobody here but me
If it didn’t make me sick I’d get drunk
instead I have to content myself with caffeine
what difference does it make, because any escape from life is temporary
The title of my new novel, which I’ll never write
Sentenced To Life: Prison Planet Earth
I must have done something really fucked up to deserve this
That attitude ruins my life
but it won’t go away
and since I really do believe in reincarnation
I just have to live with it
Welcome to California, where the American Dream is dead
Work hard, play by the rules
end up with nothing
unless you are really good with computers
or some other high paying profession
in which case you get a heart attack along with the capital gains
One bedroom, one bath house,
five hundred thousand dollars
how much do you need to make to buy that?
of course you can always pay rent, high rent, foreverand end up with nothing
Woody Guthrie said, “if you ain’t got the do re mi, better stay right where you are”, except that, sooner or later,
it’s probably going to get to you, too, right where you are
Maybe it’s national karma for what we did to the Native Americans
Maybe it’s just bloodless capitalism
or maybe it’s just the way it is
but whatever it is
You’re driving along and
you keep going and going and going
you admit to yourself that you’ve missed your turn
it’s so dark ,you can’t see any signs
traffic is moving 100 miles and hour
your gas tank is on E
and god may not even be home
Which is a greater miracle?
Walking on water, or a drunkard sobering up?
Spontaneous remission of cancer, or a closed heart opening?
Living for a thousand years, or loving those that hurt you?
Turning lead into gold, or ordinary people becoming bodhisattvas?
The world as it could be, or this world as it is, as it was, as it shall be,
world without end
BEING AND BECOMING
I hope to be a human being
Most of my consciousness is a human doing
A lot of that time is human becoming
Sometimes I’m a human having
There may be other things to be, but I’m not aware of them
I’ve had moments when I felt a part of all-that-is
but I couldn’t hold it, couldn’t keep it, couldn’t attain it
although I sure have tried
other times I’ve felt utterly bereft, empty, suffering. That is hell.
Most of the time I function and feel not great, not awful.
A 46 year old
walking past the house I lived in when I was 23
There is nothing to weep for, my life is much better now
Going into stores, looking at the stuff
There is nothing I need, and I don’t even want much anymore
What could I buy that would change my life in a deep way?
What great bargain could I find?
I still look, it’s a habit, comforting in it’s familiarity
My material ambitions are falling away
replaced by the ambition to be peace
rather than to do the things which would bring me peace
to be secure
rather than to work towards security
to be love, loving, lovable and loved
An old man no one sees does Tai Chi in his garden
outside, a wind of harmony blows
WHAT’S IN A LIFE?
People, places, things
thoughts, emotions, actions, reactions
Animals, insects, plants
Beginnings, endings, completions, and incompletions
Pleasure and pain
illusions of loss and gain
and so much more, and all for
A good night’s sleep?
Breakfast in the morning?
Work in the day, sex in the evening, golf on Saturday, church on Sunday, death at 80, or 90, or 40?
IT NEVER ENDS
In our lives
there will always be more dishes to wash
there will always be more bills to pay
there will always be…..
there will always be…..
there will always be…..
Living in a world of bright lights and television ,it’s hard to imagine
light a candle, stay up late, look at the moon and the stars and
many things seem possible
WRESTLING WITH THE WORLD
At some point in every life the day comes when we try to make sense
of this world we have been born into, especially our fellow humans
The tool we use is important
Using the mind to look at the world
is like trying to see the sky through a microscope
by this road many highly intelligent people have gone to despair
because their self interest and emotions clouded their minds
yet for some jnanis this is the way
Using the heart to embrace the world
is like picking up the edge of the sharpest razor
with your tongue
a death of a thousand cuts
raw and bleeding, you cry out, yet, somehow
you must use your heart
but it’s not enough
Using the spirit
an ephemeral thing
which for most of us is a concept, not an experience
using the spirit to unite with the world
to interpenetrate it, to become it, to feel it, to perceive it on the deepest levels, which deepen as we deepen
and then to find that the world is a mirror
it requires infinity to grok infinity,
and in the end,
in some way this poet can only suspect at this point
the world is infinite
and we are too
HOW LONG IS A MINUTE
How long is a minute?
60 seconds, stupid, obviously
but how long does a minute feel?
A minute waiting
a minute watching TV
a minute watching your child suffer
a minute at work, at 4:59
a minute making love
a minute having sex
a minute lying on a sunny beach, drunk
You get the point
How long is a year?
How long is a life?
Can a nineteen year old have lived longer than an eighty one year old?
or is that absurd?
To quote a cigarette ad
“it’s not how long you make it, it’s how you make it long”
What and who are you being in your life?
SCRAPS OF PAPER
Scraps of paper
are better for writing poems than clean
neat notebooks because
life is not clean and neat
Alone with my mind, which will not shut up
which needs distraction
This is boredom
this is torture
this is truth
I have been looking for something for a long time
Many years ago I found what I was looking for
but I did not recognize it
so I kept on looking
Now I find, that all this time
it has been here, by my side, and all I have to do
is to say
How many lives have I lived
how many problems have I had
how many times have I gotten drunk
here I am
I sit and drink tea in a new home
where I will be for one week
one in a series of many
the cats play, and I have my books
and a meditation cushion
the tea is good
That empty place you’re trying to fill
ain’t nothing ever gonna fill it
not food, not sex, not chocolate, not alcohol, not drugs
not all the daily narcotics of TV, newspapers, politics, empty words and conversations
not the high power distractions of romance, ambition, dedication, sacrifice, success, anger
and all the other feelings and emotions
not writing poems like this
ain’t nothing ever gonna fill that empty place in you, except
because the only thing which can ever truly fill emptiness
give it all up
get it all back
and give it up again, and again, moment by moment
again and again, moment by moment
you will be full-filled
I picked up my watch and caught it going backwards
it thought it had me fooled
but I caught it
I thought these days felt very long
maybe it’s two hours forward and one hour backward
so even though only one hour goes ahead on the clock
it’s really three hours
that’s it, so really
I’m already well over a hundred
and I like it that way
who says that time passes fast
in this house
every moment is eternity
SEEING THE WORLD IN A GARDEN
I sat in the garden and saw the whole world
A butterfly, buds, birds, cats, spiderwebs, rotting wood, sun, and spirit
Looking at my face in the bathroom mirror
hot water runs, the glass fogs, I begin to disappear
all that’s left are dark patches of eyebrows and hair
and in a hundred years, probably not even that
I’ve accomplished so much today
I woke up
I took a bath
I ate breakfast
I watched my breath
I took a nap
I read a book
I fed the cats
I watched a movie
and now, after a full day
I’m going to sleep
Waking up from a dream that has lasted my whole life
the fog rolls away, the morning is clear and warm
The cat cats, the people people
all is perfection
Crossing the ocean of samsara on a very small raft
Fortunately, along the way there are many small islands with delicious ripe fruit
The other shore is a long series of short steps away
and even the dark night does not last forever
Krishna plays his flute
the gods and goddesses dance
The gopis spread their legs and
assume their favorite positions
flowers burst forth in orgasms of color
bees happily buzz
nature is fulfilled
Everyone in the world has exactly what they need
there is perfect justice
So much suffering the mind cracks open like an eggshell
and the baby emerges
There is nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to become
As the gunas ceaselessly engage in activity
Why haven’t I let myself taste all the joy of the world?
Why have I chosen to gorge my mind on pain and suffering, instead of dancing to the flute of divine love?
Why haven’t you?
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