Monthly Archives: August 2010

8/31/10 – found poem, jelly-like above the brawny gods

I am feeling fine, just don’t feel like writing. Maybe I am just rebelling against the stricture – which is my tendency, which is probably why I haven’t accomplished much.

This is another “found poem” – combining lines from a list of samples of Helvetica fonts on new.myfonts.com/fonts/adobe/helvetica-neue/. I think these are the beginnings of sentences that contain all 26 letters.  I know at least “c” is not in this poem.

(Update: a minute after I posted this, I did a major rearrange with two of the lines.)
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Six big devils from
wavy Jake’s fat
just keep examining
the big plump jowls
jelly-like above the
brawny gods
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8/30/10 – poem, found poem

I have no feeling to write tonight – not negative, just tired and the feeling isn’t there.  But I won’t quit now…

Another “found poem” in the writings of Nichiren –
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A bird’s egg
contains nothing but liquid,
yet by itself this develops
into a beak, two eyes,
and all the other parts,
and the bird soars into the sky
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8/29/10 – erie canal

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This is – or was – the Erie Canal.
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Much of the Erie Canal’s length, like in the nearby city of Lockport (birthplace of Joyce Carol Oates and F. Scott Fitzgerald) is still in use by pleasure and sightseeing boats.

But here, Buffalo has just recently excavated part of the stone lining of the terminus, and is in the process of building a tourist site around it.

This spot is maybe 7 or so miles north of there.  Signage along the adjoining bikepath and at the edge of this clearing explain that here, the canal was built alongside the Niagara River – a couple hundred yards away over a small rise – to avoid the river’s opposing current as the barges were dragged by mules.

I have an ancestor on my father’s mother’s side, so we are told, who was born in Buffalo in 1820.  So I like to think her family, my ancestors, had something to do with building, or finishing, or operating, the Erie Canal.  Any adult living in Buffalo in the early 1820’s most likely did.
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8/28/10 – a little katrina story, chubby

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Both this and the previous post are true stories from people I have talked to, from 5 years ago this week…
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After the waters receded, she insisted on being driven back.

“There’s nothing there…” they told her.

But she made them take her back home so she could see it herself.

And they were right, there was nothing there. Everything of hers was gone. Like everyone else’s home on her block, just the foundation remained.

But when they arrived, waiting, after days, with no promise she’d return, was Chubby.

Her other two dogs she never saw again. But Chubby had always been needy, and he had waited for her to come back, or was too scared to wander off even to take care of himself.

Chubby remains a dutiful dog; when you text him and tell him to deliver the message to his mommy, he will text you back “woof” and let you know he did, and that he’s looking after her.
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8/27/10 – a little katrina story, popeye

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She had been sitting on her roof for days.

“You couldn’t imagine, ” she told me, and she was serious.

After a while, out in the waters a dog paddled by.  A pit bull.

She saw him, he saw her.  They made eye contact.

He swam over.  He crawled onto the solid dry roof.

He slunkered up and sat down next to her.  They’ve been together ever since.

She called him Popeye.  Because he only has one eye – where the other had been, is a gash, a little maw in scarred gray skin.

He never talks about it.  And she never asks.
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8/26/10 – poem, 686 haiku

know inspiration lurks
around the corner behind an
atom hiding so small

8/25/10 – a voice from the past

Still don’t want to get into details – probably a mixture of both magic thinking and hoping it is better – maybe really, places other than here – than I think it is.
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I picked up when you called because I had just switched to a new phone, and your call came in before the caller ID was activated.

You wanted to let me know about a special commemorative meeting tomorrow to celebrate the anniversary of President Ikeda receiving Gohonzon. And it just sounded strange to me (like I am sure it must sound to you, gentle reader). For 27 years of my life it had made total sense, not just as a verbal and mental construct, but as a heart construct.

It’s more than that I just don’t feel it. I no longer grok it.

After listening with tacit albeit engaging politeness to what you had to say, when you mentioned you hadn’t seen me in a while, I told you I hadn’t been practicing in over a year.

“Well yeah, I figured!” you chuckled. “But if you ever want to come back, we’d love to have you!”

No, it is not that easy. If someone comes back.

Your blithe keep-you-head-down-and-just-butt-it enthusiasm, your even-unproductive-my-spirit-makes-me-productive wheel spinningness, is so ineffectual and useless it helps me see clearly why I am where I am after dedicating the middle half of my life to that Buddhism and organization.

The Buddhism is stunning and crystalline. And the organization’s ideals are the highest and purest, and actually simplest. But you lay organization didn’t give me what it told me it was giving me – when I stepped out of its comfort zone and assumed I could apply what it had “taught” me to the real world, I looked like a fool.
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