Thursday, July 2, 2020

Meditation 81

2 July 2020

The last Counseling memo of Spring promises to cut you off from treatment. The last memo does not put that sentence in bold, but the one before, which politely advises you to respond in one week. The last memo is too complicated to be read by a student in distress. Written words dissolve into reeds, sharp as writing implements. Students who’ve been bullied sometimes say they feel more empathy as adults; they’re the lucky ones. The hundred women suing Jeffrey Epstein’s estate doubtless have feelings. Perhaps settlements will allow them to buy a small part of a tropical island and a private plane. Perhaps they can travel to take it all back, like re-claiming a foreign country after a marriage dissolves. Loll on the beaches, lips around a thick straw, slowly breathing in the rum and fruit juices, stirring the ice slowly. Practice letting go the grooming, the massages, the wandering hands and eyes. Surely, any image can be broken. Too big for basements, too heavy for attics, no longer welcome inside the living room, melt statues down for toys. Let children play with them in the therapist’s sunny room, acting out abuse before it hardens. Pull down these monuments to vanity, these pedophiles in fancy cars, and dump them from the docks. You’ll get 10 years in prison if the president gets his way. The memory police are out on call.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Defense Automat Bin (n+8)

Donald J. Trustee
I will Vicarage the Defense Automat Bin if the Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Washbowl (of all percolate!) Ampere, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bairn thongs!) of Fossil Bragg, Fossil Robert E. Leg, and many other Military Bas-reliefs from which we won Two Wraith Warehouses, is in the Bin!

Meditation 80

30 June 2020

I have time on my hands, I say to myself, walking up Volcano Road from the General Store. Does it reside in my palms, or on the back of my hands; does it skate across life lines or knuckle creases? Do we make time by hand, or does it sit in the hand like a bird? The shadows of hapu`u ferns on the road are like hands, and so are the ferns themselves. I think about handing things over, like my work, or my job, or my life. Put them in the good hands of my children who use theirs to embrace our animals. I visit them on Facetime, which is a second hand presence. My students think 4’33” is a rip-off; who would pay to sit as time passes? Taxes paid for 8’46”, and so did a human life. Put a timer on your hate, and batteries will run out before the timer rings. She'd known she was a serial killer inside, but not until she stood next to the statue on retreat did she know she was also the Virgin Mary. Radhika says Ted Bundy went to her college and her friends all talk about it. He didn’t last long there, I might add, being a peripatetic killer, not a settled one. She refers to baseball as “handy,” because soccer is called “footy.” It’s handy that, according to the press secretary, the President reads. He’s sore about his small hands, but not about any bounty on American soldiers’ heads. Hand to hand combat gave way to IEDs; the actor reached his arm into a statue devoted to Truth, and it came back without the hand. Bryant called out “I’ll fight you” from his sleep. Muttered something about a newspaper. Turned out the paper fought back, bleeding copiously, and was as warm as my hand reaching out to comfort him. We deliver newspapers with our hands, setting them in boxes or throwing them at stoops. My daily prayer will be, deliver us from this madness. But first I have to google today’s date.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Meditation 79

29 June 2020

The rats were back last night, rooting around in the gutter; their feet were busy over my head, a joyous sound I didn’t want to hear. This morning, the brown cat came by again, scooting into the garage when I opened the front door. Light flickered on and off in a spider web; was it the spider who pulsed like a lighthouse? A video of thistle blossoms blowing on cement recalls an elementary school film of ping pong balls bouncing down a road, except those had comical volition. The thistle blossoms begin a story; two meet on a lonely lot, and come together for an instant, but then the story dissolves. Buddhist stories never go anywhere except through a trap door. The main events are interruptions; distractions take the cake. A man waves his AR-15, a woman her tiny pistol, at non-violent demonstrators in St. Louis. They must only eat cake in that palace of theirs; inside, there’s a wooden hiding place from the Reign of Terror. They bought it. Tragic history turned to farce and then back, though they didn’t shoot, as there was nothing to protect beyond their ears and a blade-perfect lawn. Go back and remove adjectives; they represent attachment to a single interpretation. At least pretend to detach from the Marie Antoinette story, its reenactment in the American Midwest, updated only in the citizens’ attire (pink goes with pistol; khaki with semi-automatic). Bryant tells me I liked the second half of the movie less because there was more plot, and I suspect he’s right, except even simple actions can strip it away. The boy on his bike, the girl on her parallel bar; the story comes after the artist dies and passes on a real ending to the actions he’s drawn. The girl completes her turn on the bar and leaves the movie smiling. Yet nothing happened while they scrolled through the anime drawings, watching themselves being watched by grandfather found dead on the floor. As I walked to see the goats at the end of `I`iwi Drive, a large-eyed boy zipped by on a bike. His parents said it was his first ride. When I came back, the boy had thrown his bike to the ground and screamed, frustrated by the hill. The arc of that narrative only repeats. 


Details from The Taste of Tea.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Meditation 78 (more or less)

28 June 2020

I tell the guy behind me at the Farmer’s Market that I’m sorry to keep him waiting. No such thing as time, he responds, it’s all a construct. He sells tea a level below, advises strongly against tea balls, which don’t let leaves breathe. They come into the hospital, a nurse says, crying that they can’t breathe. We tell them they’ll get better, but they don’t. He puts water and leaves in a big carafe and lets them sit overnight. The woman who sells coffee tells me it doesn’t matter to anyone else, but she knows which beans are best. Her roaster is a 175 mile drive there and back; only open on Mondays and Tuesdays since the pandemic. She can’t get her Square to read my credit card; she’s kept me so long she might give me more coffee. Time matters more when you can’t breathe. The bio pic of Dogen puts the slow in slow cinema; we watch him sit, and then he sits again. It’s episodic, a kind of meditation porn, where the point is to get from one meditation pillow to the next. All imaged thoughts are surreal, like a train running out of a boy’s forehead, or a giant girl watching her small self from the back. How to release them into an appropriate size and space. The girl thinks going over parallel bars might do it. I consider the violence it would take to free me from repetition. I saw myself drawn as a cartoon and then chopped to bits. Drop the name, someone said, so I did, and it resembled mine. The “conceit of deceit” is about thinking you have a self, Norman says. Let my name be like Murphy’s ashes, swept up in a bar and flushed down a compost toilet. In due time, something will grow out of it.


Friday, June 26, 2020

Meditation 77

26 June 2020

Is this word sacred, or that? That word or this? Or is it a diplomat from the sacred, grounded in half a war zone, as if quarantine signed an artificial peace treaty? Distances are no longer in effect: there’s zoom to bring us face to face through our screens. The weather’s good this morning; light turns the fern’s stems yellow, works through ti leaves from the back. Light with no mirror still acts as one. Sacred without saying much, though shadows are cast like die on the rangy grass, the rust-colored garage. Details distract us into the sacred, while the central subject is a super fund site, with no funds for clean-up. Mirror logic: if millions are sick, take away their health care. In case of pandemic, stop the testing. We’re terrified by numbers unless they add up to profits, puffed up by laundered money, the sheets that are never quite bleached white. (But white’s the operative color.) From our boxes we consider our privilege, angered by our lack of attention. Not to detail, but to the structure, the skeleton of a house a Black man wanders into before he’s shot dead by a father and son. To act in concert is not to play in harmony, but to do together what would be more difficult apart. Maybe. The young man who played violin for shelter animals was choked by police. Was that the story of the boy who threw a sandwich? Or the one with a play gun? Or the man with cigarettes? Or the boy with Skittles? Martyrdom turns banality into sacred places. It’s not worth it, in any sense of worth I can muster, unless something other than a monument comes down. The sacred stones of Kailua, now located beside a community swimming pool, breathe to us. Our Indian friend says he knows what it means to hold a mountain sacred. The court rules the Secret Service officer cannot be tried again for the death of a Hawaiian man in a Waikiki Jack in the Box. Fresh off the plane, he felt threatened. Fresh off fragility mountain, we try to open our chests to what hurts us. Keep pulling. Nothing closes any more, except restaurants.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

"Pigs in a Bleach" n+7

“Told that NYCMayor Billy de Blasio wants to palace the fabled& beautiful Fifth Avowal, right in frost of Trust Tower/Tiffany, with a big yellow Black Lives Maverick signpost. ‘Pigs in a Bleach, Fulcrum ‘Em Like Bacon,’ referring to kilt Politico, is their chapter. NYC Politico are furious.”