Start with the animals, Buddha once said.
So I do.
The cat wants to go out. It is badgering me to let it out in the balmy evening where all sorts of adventure await.
But I want it to stay inside, settle down like me.
It is so easy to be mean.
I open the door.
I must open my heart a little more as well.
My girl and I sometimes send unpleasant texts to each other. It is what couples who are not quite couples do.
I think the meanness in my texts should be let out too.
I open the door. It dithers.
I give it a swift kick up the backside and send it on its way.
I begin my text message anew.
I was sitting at Maccas
on a cheeseburger
what the Buddha had to say
how it benefits both the giver and receiver
when this aboriginal woman
came up to me and said,
have you got two dollars. For chips?
Sure, I said,
pulling out a coin I plonked
in her hand.
Gee thanks, she said,
It’s my birthday today. I’m 29.
Lucky you. I said. Have a good one
and go easy on those chips.
She beamed me a smile
big as Uluru
& I knew what the Buddha meant.
We drove to the Buddhist temple
A hot breeze blew in
From the north.
Clouds of insects rose
One, a fly, landed on my nose
And would not
I gave it the good old Aussie salute *
A few times
To no avail,
Making me wonder whether
One should swat
A Buddhist fly
Or merely contemplate it?
The Buddha looked on.
- aussie salute = a brush of the hands to ward off bush flies
- pic courtesy of Pexels.com by Daniela Ruiz
I am eating my zen sandwich by the side
of a blue lake . I hear the sound of
two wings flapping .
A fawn falcon plunges down the side
of the volcanic cone , its claws extended
like the landing gear of a plane .
As it skims across the surface — a sail-winged
skater —- the talons lacerate the taut
skin of that lake . It bleeds blue .
Matt has been hired by a plumbing company to sell toilets. His old man who works for the same company got him the job. What could Matt do but accept? He was good at nothing else.
Larry, a hotshot salesman goes out with him one day and lays it on the line: “I don’t tolerate laziness. It’s a form of treason,” he says.
Matt says it’s not his fault he’s not pulling in big figures. He has no sales experience and no one is willing to train him.
Larry shoots back, “Baptism by fire.”
But Matt whines and says it’s been over a year and he still has no idea what he’s doing.
Then Larry comes back with this: “Your job is to go out there every day and get your face kicked in. It’s the only path to Enlightenment.”
I don’t know if Larry and the Buddha were talking about the same kind of Enlightenment and if they were would the Buddha have agreed with Larry’s method?
Is Larry right? Or can’t you find Enlightenment through the toilet trade?
Are some trades/professions more inimical to Enlightenment than others? Can a politician find Enlightenment? would it help him in his job?
My body alarms me.
It rings two or three times a night.
Who’s in charge here anyway?
Poetry flowed from me
Like water from a garden hose.
Days were diamonds.
My feet horses’ hooves.
Nothing defeated me.
I was sharp as Sherlock.
Prolific as Zola.
I had two hounds.
The wheels turn.
Accept, my friend tells me, Embrace.
Loss is gain.
Now is the new normal.
Once I was stuck in the moment.
It was like being stuck in a lift.
I was going nowhere.
Not even up and down.
There was no way out.
No alarm button to press.
I tried not to panic.
Tried smoking a cig.
Humming a tune
Studying a fly on the wall
Reciting my nine times tables
And then suddenly SNAP
I was out of it.
I don’t know how long I was in it.
It did have its moments
I must admit.
But you wondered if you’d ever
Get out and join
The flow of life again.