Hold It All

Philosophy/Poetics/Politics

Category: No Time for Poetry but Exactly What Is

Breakdown Precedes Breakthrough

Graham earned enough to be under the taxable limit
Because he didn’t want to pay for war

He couldn’t say “No” when someone asked
“Would you help us fight back?”

He gave and gave and gave some more
Rarely drank, but smoked like it was the 50s

He said his “career” was resistance
He said he’d been arrested 17 times

His world was often crowds, noise, speed
A friend told him to take a day off

“But the poor and the Muslims can’t take a day off”
And he kept on going Read the rest of this entry »

Bella Levenshteyn Engages with Her Critics/1

“Why are you people here?
Why are you making this fuss?”

“Sir, people are suffering, that’s why.”

“But people are suffering right here, too
I’ve got buddies who were sprayed
Why don’t you think of them or lobby for them?”

“Sir, if you know of any specific actions
we can involved in to care for our veterans harmed by Agent Orange”—-
Bella has the most poignant conviction pervading her face—-
“Let me know and we’ll join you”

The septuagenarian stood silent
Then Bella continued Read the rest of this entry »

Refuge

The budget for an already hyper-bloated Pentagon is being increased
I take refuge in Henry Nagler

The sneering sarcasm toward Palestinians struggling for freedom seems ubiquitous
I take refuge in Safa Khalidi

The people busy inflicting wounds on others act as if it is a exciting avocation
I take refuge in Bella Levenshteyn

–from work-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

How To Generate a Draft for a Book on Walking Adventures USA

Start out on a walk, with water, digital recorder, notebook and pen

G Start out on a walk, with water, digital recorder, notebook and pen

Go an hour, noticing what ever catches your eye and ear and nostril and recording on digital

Stop after an hour (or 42 minutes), and write for 20 minutes about the time peregrinating

Walk another half hour, more recording, when anything arises

Stop and write 10 minutes about the past half hour, anything goes: weather, pavements, feelings, dog threats, snatches of overheard conversation, people who detain you pleasantly or ominously for ten minutes

Make it a point (although you do this quite unthinkingly I know) of smiling or “hello”-ing 2 to 5 people while strolling

Repeat as inspired to do so  or as rigorously scheduled by you aforethought

Do variations on this in eight cities in USA over the next year

200 hours walking 200 hours writing

Type everything up over a fortnight

Reread and every ten pages recite Kerouac’s mantram–“You’re a Genius all the Time”

–from work-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

Gloria Emerson’s Rage, according to Cal

Dear Carla

Cal keeps sending me stuff
I keep sending it to you
With my slight adaptations…

Perry

I endorse her rage
I approve of it
Even though the Buddhist masters say
Anger is a poison

They’d tell Gloria Emerson
To cultivate such expansive compassion
That would include even
Secretary of “Defense” Robert McNamara

I  say, Fuck no
She was spot on in the decades after the war
When she had a vision
of how justice should be meted out to him

Because it would be unprecedented
Never has a U.S. war criminal
Been held accountable
Ever Read the rest of this entry »

American Fangs

Dear Carla

Twice I read Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram
Because of your enthusiastic recommendation

I was captivated
I was crestfallen

Thuy’s diary revealed her commitment
Comparable to that of Lan

The ardent Buddhist social worker whom I had read before
And assigned in my classes

But Thuy was overtly political
An unabashed Communist

Lan was committed to the Noble Eightfold Path
Which included Right Speech Read the rest of this entry »

Breakdown Precedes Breakthrough

Jorge earned enough to be under the taxable limit
Because he didn’t want to pay for war

He couldn’t say “No” when someone asked
“Would you help us fight back?”

He gave and gave and gave some more
Rarely drank, but smoked like it was the 50s

He said his “career” was resistance
He said he’d been arrested 17 times Read the rest of this entry »

How To Practice Buddhism in a Nation Perpetually at War

First, deal with your koan:
“Do not kill.
Do not let others kill.
Find whatever means possible
to protect life and prevent war.”

Second, deepen your breathing.

Third, most importantly, build the sangha based on the above.

–from novel-in-process, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

Hello, Dualism

Hello, Dualism
Come, have a shot of espresso with me

I know you’ve had a hard time
Working overtime nonstop can’t be easy

Everyone’s on to you
And wants a piece of you

You animate the far right
You galvanize the far left

And everyone in between
I’m surprised I’ve yet to see

You end up explicitly on a million t-shirts
Or a batch of  billions of Tweets Read the rest of this entry »

Something’s Happening to Madeleine Weil

After hearing Cal speak
Of his trips to Friendship Villages
Madeline Weil started missing classes

She’d rather read in the library
Than go to Business Law classes
She’d study the photos of the children

She checked out autobiographies and memoirs
From decades ago by people her granddad’s age
And something began to change

Without her even noticing it
Her eating habits became less compulsive
Less time-and-energy-consuming Read the rest of this entry »