Pete’s Zen Poetry

Kensho as the Sun God

I would like to talk about the Sun God.
I’m a twilight dweller. I live where the
Sun God never reaches its height.

Here, most of the year, the sun rests
below the horizon, and when it rises,
it traces a shallow arc and sinks again.

I no longer hope, or seek to see full noon.
These short unpredictable glorious dawns
are enough for me. You have no idea
what delight it is to see the Sun God rise
in your mind. To watch the twilight that
I am, vanish in a sea of light. Now, even
in the deepest night there is a glow .

Yes, I am the penumbra, but I am also,
the light, and I besiege all roosters in the
land to flap their wings and crow to call
the sun, to conjure the dawn.

Pete

The Skunk in the Fog

Went out for a walk in the fog.
Things were indistinct, yet spoke
clearly. Plants were intimate, but
wet. They dripped with affection
on the dirt. The soil remained un-
moved, but receptive. And, in such
discreet company, I walked along
feeling eternal, yet nonexistent.

What can I say! Things are, and they
are not. And this gives them the
pungent odor of Eternity. What is
disappears like a skunk in the fog,
but the feeling of eternity lingers
like its persistent smell.

****

Silence

Twisted old pines point
straight to my heart.
Water dripping rocks,
Among them, silence
Slithers like a snake.
****

After the rain,
herbs sweating
in the sunshine

****

Adoration

If you want to really pray,
Don’t say a word.
If you want to praise God,
Say not his name.
Don’t fall on your knees,
Neither stir, nor move.
Remain silent, mute,
let all language falter.
Let your presence burn,
let your absence be his altar.

****
Spring Attack

Tiny storm troopers in dazzling jumpsuits
Slaughtering thoughts, snatching attention—
Wild spring flowers cascading down a hillside.

****

Bark in the Night

A dog barks far away—faint, trembling with exhaustion
The bark reaches my ears translucent with distance.
It throbs like a heart or like rain on a window,
It sweetens the night with longing, with faint sadness
Like thoughts of broken homes, and friends, and lovers gone.

It stops and then begins again-barely audible,
Like a tattered memory, like a heartache,
That lonely mournful bark, so faint, so sweet, so sad
So far away, almost lost by the edge of silence.

****

Say IT

Say it!
Say what?
Say, It!
What to say?
Say, this
Which isn’t an It,
Or a what.
So what is it?
It goes like this:
There is a point
Where?
Ouside of Where.
What kind of point?
Non-dimensional
Get to the point!
I Am the point
I don’t get it
It can’t be gotten
So what’s the point?
There is no point!
So what are you saying?
Nothing!

****

The fugitive

Fleeing from self to self,
I returned to self-
Rocks are my bones,
Vegetation, my flesh,
The wind is my mind,
My soul, the blue sky.
No exit, no escape,
No refuge from self.
But just sitting quietly,
Being no thing,
In this selfish cell, I’m free.

****

It

When I show up, it withdraws.
When I leave, it appears.
What chance have I to see myself
not being here ?

****

Unattended Garden.

Wet rocks, brown grass,
A row of sparrows
on a gutted fence.

What used to protect me
has broken down.
Thoughts come and go
as free as birds.
To wind and rain
I say, amen.

****

Reflected Self

I saw a moth flying trough water
a sluggish, drenched, doomed flight.
And so, the moth and I
in a reflection flounder
and slowly perish
in an inverted sky.

****

Searching

When I don’t look,
It’s ‘I don’t know.’
When I look,
it’s ‘the stare.’
When I forget,
It’s, ‘who cares’?

****

A Glimpse

By the wooden shack,
bursting with pink,
flecked with green,
cascading from a pot-
the unnamed flowers.

****

The Golden Carp

I saw it swimming,
Yet not moving,
A splash of radiance
In a water dance.

I dipped my hand,
It was not there.
Against my skin brushed its scales
As the mud swirled in its flight.
How could I have been so fooled by its light?

****

The Coast

The horizon
is an elongated wish,
The sea whips up foam,
My face is wet,
My lips, salty.
I open my mouth
and a seagull cries.
The wind slaps me around
as if to awaken me,
It wants me to understand.
But what?
Maybe solitude,
Perhaps silence.

****

Understanding

So that is what I am?
Self dissolving in self
Ever more wispy,
Losing, finding,
forgetting, fading
forever.

****

Silver fish stillness-
the white heron,
the green reeds.

****

White oleanders
by the trash bin-
Nothing out of place

****

Watching the sky last night,
someone forgot to watch.
Alone and alive was the night,
Teeming with stars.

****

Another rock
gleaming in moonlight-
A naked skull.

****

Diurnal moon,
Dim, unassuming-
Just a floating
rounded cloud

****

When Nansen killed the cat, the cat screamed, “Meowwww!”
Josho’s commentary: that was the word of Zen Nansen was
looking for. Too bad the cat uttered it too late.

****

Emptiness
Stuff dreaming stuff
Stuff dreaming emptiness.

****

And in the belly of the dream
A dream dreams, “I’m awake.”

****

Olfactory Pointer
Green thumb
pointing to moon—
The smell of herbs
after the rain.

****

Carnal Pointer

Erect and attentive—
Dick pointing to moon.

****

Offensive Pointer?
Oops, did I offend anyone.
Where we draw the line?
Can the blind find
a line drawn in the sand?

****

Lost Geese

High flying flock of geese
Dark against white clouds.
Why do they keep on flying?
They are here. This is south.

****

Realization

Tadpoles singing-
Praise the rain, praise the mud.
Soon we’ll attain supreme
complete unexcelled froghood.

****

# 1.

The huge bronze Buddha,
Pearl strings of pigeon shit,
Dazzling in the moonlight.

****

# 2
Bathed by the moon,
The ruthless Buddha
raises the empty edge.
How cool the breeze
flows against my neck!

****

# 3
As the downpour
struck the river
fish scattered.

****

San Diego Rain

No lightning ever flashes
from this blunted sky.
The storm like a dumb beast,
pisses in the night.

****

Sutras

Old words gathering dust,
If we breath on them-
Dirt gets in the eyes.

***

The Call

I feel a tug, a gravitation,
Beyond the bleary moon-
Beckons the darkness.

****

#4
No wind blows,
Yet flowers fall-

****

#5
The Immensity-
the cosmos floats within it,
yet it cries over a broken toy.

****

I feel it for a moment, and then, I feel it not. Who could this be, who misplaces such an enormous thing inside my head?

****

Sky Dog

It doesn’t care for its own company.
Like an unfaithful dog, it wanders away.
And then gets lost, and seeks itself.

It abandons bliss like a rag, and goes
sniffing after pain. It barks at its
own shadow as if it were someone else.
What a crazy dog!

****

The wintry sky

The ancient courtyard
Now throughly empty-
Not Even God remains.

****

San Diego Winter

A seagull cocks its head-
My blue toes in the sand
looking like dead squibs.

****

Doing

Doing nothing is my thing.
Doing nothing, is being no thing-
Being as snow falling on water,
Like a river entering the sea.
Like the moment before falling asleep-
A surrendering to fading, a blissful not caring,
A slipping away.

****

Ending Words

To sink, to wane, to ebb, to fade, to wither, to obliterate, to eradicate, to blow way.

And so to be—

Peaceful, muted, muffled, quiet, still, silent,
dark, and somber.

And yet to be,

Clear, radiant, incandescent, and luminous.

****

#6
Leaning like a faded road-sign
to a ghost town-
The poet’s tombstone.

****

This
In the early morning,
A jacaranda blooms-
Just this.

****

Nothing Left

Morning drifting in vacuity,
Eternity floating in a now,
Not being rapt with being,
No thought left- only this.

****

What Is

I am that which is not.
How could that be
I don’t really know-
Nothing, acting weird,
Nothing, sprouting a leak,
Not being faking being,
Perfect vacuum going false,
getting weird, acting quarky.

****

Spring Attack

Tiny storm troppers in dazzling jumpsuits
Slaughtering thoughts, snatching attention—
Wild spring flowers cascading down a hillside.

****

Bark in the Night

A dog barks far away—faint, trembling with exhaustion
The bark reaches my ears translucent with distance.
It throbs like a heart or like rain on a window,
It sweetens the night with longing, with faint sadness
Like thoughts of broken homes, and friends, and lovers gone.

It stops and then begins again-barely audible,
Like a tattered memory, like a heartache,
That lonely mournful bark, so faint, so sweet, so sad
So far away, almost lost by the edge of silence.

****

Say IT

Say it!
Say what?
Say, It!
What to say?
Say, this
Which isn’t an It,
Or a what.
So what is it?
It goes like this:
There is a point
Where?
Ouside of Where.
What kind of point?
Non-dimensional
Get to the point!
I Am the point
I don’t get it
It can’t be gotten
So what’s the point?
There is no point!
So what are you saying?
Nothing!

****

Things

Like a premonition in the fog
Unseen, the murmur of the sea
A seagull flew above and was gone
A foghorn cried hoarse with distance
I shivered in the dampness, the mystery of things.

****

The Skin And bones Poem

Haiku is the fashion model of poetry, a heartbeat
away from being bare, being nothing. Hardly
any flesh there— all grace, all poise.

Dissecting a haiku is like dissecting a flower,
not much to see under the dazzling splash of
color. Then there is the syllabic skeleton:
five, seven, five. But that is a mere technicality,
haiku is not that calcified syllabic spine, the
essence of haiku is its soul. What is this soul?

It begins with muga. Muga, in Japanese,
means self-effacing. In no other form of poetry
is the poet so absent, so unobtrusive. In this
sense haiku is the best example of nondual,
and Zen poetry.

Then, comes hosomi. Hosomi is bareness,
slenderness. The poem is hardly a poem in
substance, it’s all spirit. It can be called a poem
only by an ineffable ” je ne se qua.”

“Summer lightning
Yesterday in the East
Today in the West.”
Kikaku

How can a poem be more unpoetic? It is sheer
shibumi (dryness) just a laconic weather report,
yet somehow, it drips ‘sabi’ ( loneliness.) The
awesome, beautiful, pitiless, loneliness of
nature. It has wabi (the beauty of poverty) and,
of course, yugen. Yugen is the mystery, the
depth, the darkness of things. It’s difficult to
attain a sense of yugen, but when we do,
common things reveal an unfathomable
dark translucency which, beckons us home.

****

God Is Kind

Inexorably, casually
The summer downpour
dismembers my roses.

****

Monochrome

Can you see the snowflakes falling
On the white fox’s pointed ears?
As invisible and quiet as him,
I move through this variegated world!

****

The White Fox Metaphor

Is he there in the snow,
the white fox, crouching,
watching me?

What does he see? Another
hungry predator just stalking a
dream?

What would I do with its pelt?
Wear it around my neck?
Would people even see it and
say, “Yes! It’s him, the wearer
of the immaculate?”

I just want him to follow me,
to fetch, to roll over, to do
tricks. But that’s not in the
nature of a fox. A fox to be a
fox, must be free.

So maybe, I am here to be killed,
so he can wear my sorry skin around
his neck.

****

The White Fox’s Bite

The albino fox, will I see him coming?
As an ivory blur, he will jump at my throat.
Will I feel his teeth sinking in my neck?
My blood will not stain the ground,
pale as water, cold as ice it will blend
with the wintery palor.My body will turn
translucent on the snow.
I will wander the world like a ghost,
unnoticed and unheard; being everyone, and yet
no one; full of secrets, but unable to speak;
loaded with gifts, yet unable to give.

****

White Tetanus

Like a mute bitten by a cobra, I frantically gesticulate,
yet no one understands. I pour streams of fancy
words, and craft shiny metaphors, all in vain.

The albino fox’s teeth are like rusty nails, my jaws
are shut tight. In desperation, I point here and there.
“It’s all right, it’s okay, we understand,” they say, but
they don’t.

Finally, I collapse in a corner, inert, like a discarded
glove. I, who dreamed of becoming a god, have turned
out to be, Kermit The Frog.

****

Is black a color? Black doesn’t vibrate.
What shades do microwaves have, radio,
and X rays? Is gravity somewhere between black
and gray? And what color do you turn while
floating in space?

****

Just …
A mountain brook in a summer vale,
Snow falling in a wintry day,
A frozen lake, the rain of May.
All different,  yet the same.
If you say, “That’s right.” you err.
Not different,  not the same.
Just snow, just ice, just rain!

****

Foolish Pretention

There is no thing more foolish than
a something pretending to be nothing.
Would a nothing parade as a nothing?
Only a something could claim to be
nothing. Only a something can conceive
of a nothing. Outside of something there
isn’t even the suspicion of nothingness.

****

When Dreams Die

Ah! Those dream cemeteries! It’s rumored there
is one under my bed. Late at night, strange cricking
sounds come from there, as if dead dreams are being
ground to dust by insatiable dark blades. Sometimes,
in the morning I go on my knees and look. And sure
enough! There is a lot of dust down there. Being a
true spiritualist that’s all the proof I need to believe
dreams, astral bodies, and an occasional stray ghost
are being ground to dust in that dream cemetery right
under my bed.

****

Anatta

Infinite mind–
A thought is born,
A thought dies–
Only emptiness.

****

Anicca

Sins, virtues, insights–
Snowflakes falling on magma.
No deed can carve this
petrified fluid nothingness.

****

Homeless

Darkness falls early, darkly,
As an untimely cruel demise.
Through relentless falling snow
A bent black figure trudges on
Hauling a bulging ancient trunk–
A warm sadness fills the night.
Quo vadis, my sister, my love?

****

That old brown dog
Sniffing the past along this trail,
What stories does he read written in dust?

****

Maybe

A sparrow alighted on a branch,
Burning with color a leave fluttered .
My mind grew still, as spacious as the day.
Maybe just the coincidence of things coming this way.

****

#7

Opening a book I see a letter move.
First it crawls, then senses me,
And with erudite wisdom it runs.
Such clever tiny bug disguised as an ‘i’.

****

What is poetry?

So what is poetry,
Is it the sentimentality of
emotion worshipers? Is it the verbal
fluidity of the cadence of words
striking an ear? Or is it the clarity,
the starkness of light illuminating
‘what is’ in its unbearable poignancy?

****

Wild Wedding

In deep woods, at the hour when sunlight
is crucified on the high branches, and
dies slowly in golden agony, a dove
softly called, and the green serenity
deepened, and incense rose smelling
thickly of wetness and dead leaves,
and its gray vapors danced with the light.
And I stood transfixed as a pagan priest
presiding over an arcane ritual, hearing vague
rustlings, faint footsteps, unknown grunting
sounds as if life and death were copulating
on a crumbling pagan altar set high and
hidden on that fermenting hallowed ground.

****

Stone Dogs

Stone dogs by the temple’s gate,
So pale in the moonlight.
Their bark congealed, petrified
into silence, yet more terrible,
more piercing than their teeth.
How that silence tears self’s
flesh from my phantom bones.
I have become that quietude
cascading from their jaws.

****

Zen

Zen is about forgeting mathematics:
neither try to add to, subtract from, nor divide
this present moment. Never think that it is equal
or lesser, or greater than the past, nor see it as
lesser than the future. Do not equate this
moment to zero, nor to one. Let it stand as it is,
incalculable in its uniqueness.

****

The Wordless Polyglot

To be fluent in water speak
is to be fluid and to flow with
things. To discern the loquacity
of birds is to soar with sound
into the purity of a thoughtless realm.

To be conversant in the language of
things is as meeting again our childhood
friends.

****

The Morning Ambush

It happened between brown hills
and among the sparse bushes
beneath the low gray clouds
and inside the drifting mist.

It was not like love or joy
or even bliss. It came
like a surprise, a jolt,
a shock, an intimate mystery,
a beauty so beautiful—
it was like an ache.

****

Say!

Say, is a smile a word?
Does a gesture disturb silence?
Is an unspoken thought a cloud’s shadow?
Is singing, thunder? Truth, electricity? I hear it coming—
The smell of rain riding on summer’s wind.

5 Responses to “Pete’s Zen Poetry”

  1. Matthew Gula Says:

    I didn’t worry about the meanings. I just let your poems take my mind where it was taken. Reading them I found some time for timelessness. I let the experience of them just happen as I might experience your barking dog (That one especially resonated with me). Thanks.

  2. Thanks, Matthew. It sounds like you’re a poet yourself.
    Perhaps you write stories too. If you do, I invite you
    to share them with my readers at:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/enlightenedfiction

    Pete

    • no poetry left inside me
      what is it that recognizes pure poetry?
      a leap inside

      Pete I loath syconphancy
      yet it’s painful I can’t say thank you
      so many many times. I have to learn to stop.

      yet how the universe continues to share
      with something so empty!

      Laurie
      ~~~~

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: