Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Weekly Post #4

October 17

Changing diapers
bathing, reading books aloud -
Bodhisattva work.

October 18

Boddhisattva work:
eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind
bowing and sitting.

Bodhisattva work:
hands to hold, stories to hear
bills and debts to pay.

This mind is birdsong
is mother and child reading
wind and trees dancing

Earth and rain meeting
embracing, kissing in such
frenzied lovemaking.

Hard conversations
hearts stripped naked and blooming
in Kannon's embrace.

Shadows on the wall
and above the ceiling light
shines like the full moon.

Irritation is
a raincloud crossing the sky
the full moon still shines.

October 19

Drowsiness descends
like a blanket; still the child
refuses to sleep.

October 20

Moss, soil, gravel, grass
welcome the falling flowers
Just then a bell sounds.

Just then a bell sounds
from the neighbor's house, it seems
Mind is a bell's sound.

Mind is a bell's sound
a rooster's crow, the dance of 
tree leaves in the wind.

Tree leaves in the wind
are invited to come play
on this yoga mat.

On this yoga mat
the universe meets itself
Just this, nothing more.

Oh the pouring rain!
The many arms of Kannon
embracing the world.

Make love to me like
the rain falling from the sky
making rain-music.

Making rain-music
is just the rain's true nature
expressing as rain.

May I be the rain
that pours equally on all
embracing, loving all.

Sky, rain, earth are one
undivided flowering
rainy-day blossom.

Sky, rain, earth, me - one
undivided flowering

October 21

To sit as just this
undivided flowering
upholds the Precepts.

Everyone is here
and we are never alone

Late afternoon blooms
right before my very eyes
like a waking yawn.

October 22

Sun and watch can make
a moon shine inside the house
It's no magic trick.

It's no magic trick
this unfolding, flowering
undivided world.

Undivided world!
No tricks, just  this miracle
of livingdying.

October 23

seven o' clock sun
streams gently through the screen door
the dogs exchange barks.

The dogs exchange barks
as the seven o' clock sun
peers through the tree leaves.

Sunlight and tree leaves
form a backdrop for all the
orange-red flowers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weekly Post #3

October 9, 2012

What is this feeling
that pervades the noise and silence
this mountain sadness?

October 11, 2012

feet massaging back
we lie under the covers
outside the band plays

outside the band plays
and the night air hums along
droopy eyelids close

October 12, 2012

a single flower
lies on the pavement.  Inside:
the Friday morning.

Above the fan whirls
cooling mosquito-itchy
legs.  Sofa-sitting.

October 13, 2012

This bottle of beer
tastes of music and singing
and a gig well-played.

October 14, 2012

Late afternoon heat
clings tightly to sweaty skin
Boy eats his guava.

Boy eats his guava
and pretends to read aloud
Rooster crows nearby.

Sun, wind and tree are
making shadows on the wall - 
Afternoon ballet.

Sunday afternoon
wind and tree dance the tango
outside the window.

October 15, 2012

Scheming and restless
this monkey mind of mine is
Look!  A banana!

Look!  A banana!
A peach!  A thought, a daydream - 
Jump monkey mind, jump!

A toy in each hand
the boy sleeps curled to one side - 
a sleeping Buddha.

The urban night sounds
sing in harmony with this
monkey mind's ramblings.

monkey mind's ramblings
and outside, karaoke:
not two and not one.

I just want to melt
like ice cubes under the sun
into the mattress.

October 16, 2012

I could do without
your constant mantra

of "God will bless you"
whenever we talk

of money.  Are you
truly this naive?

Your mantra does not
warm or help me sleep

(I'm sure you sleep well

It's like listening
to a lullaby

sung off-key and loud
It's as if we were

lost at sea and you,
clinging to me tight

as I struggle to
keep our heads above

the water's surface,
try to cheer me on

when all I want is 
for you to shut up

and swim before we
both drown!

Sitting, sofa-dust
arises - interdependent

Sunlight and watch make
full moon appear on white wall
Child laughs in delight.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekly Post #2

October 2, 2012

Coughs pierce the silence
in this air-conditioned room
feverish child sleeps.

October 3, 2012

a happy picture:
young boy sits on the mattress
pretending to read.

pretending to read
he amuses his father
then, a sleepy yawn.

this is just BLAH BLAH!
the motorcycle's roar outside 
is more articulate


far more eloquent 
than this pretentious poet
are the bedroom walls!

October 4, 2012

Meds, ice, and water
nurse patient illness are one:
Sick-child Dharma.

Sick-child Dharma:
nurse patient illness are one
child sings in his sleep.

construction workers
kids playing - the sounds of life
and now: coffee time!

And now: coffee time
the brew tastes of monks farming
coffee and praying.

Coffee and praying
are two hands pressed in gassho
not two and not one.

Gray skies in puddles
raindrops, pine needles, litter
this trail walks me.

This trail walks me
the rough ground meeting my feet
with each step I take.

With each step I take
the mountain arrives bringing
gray skies in puddles.

October 5, 2012

My child in his sleep
curls up close to his mother.
Cloudy-sky mind.

October 6, 2012

Cloudy-sky mind
but whether cloudy or clear
sky is always blue.

Sky is always blue
be it clear or cloudy
dew drop reflects the moon.

October 7, 2012

branch leaves wind birdsong
sun cloud rain blue sky - just this
dance dancing itself.

The red bicycle
stands to one side while next door
the churchgoers sing.

Falling leaves descend
through the sunday morning as
the boy waters plants.

And so here we sit
sucking lollipops, watching
sun-sky-tree puddles.

Sun-sky-tree puddles
formed as you watered the plants
like the leaves falling.

I'm a begging bowl
humbly accepting these gifts:
tree, cloud, bird, sky, sun.

the laundry drying
TV telling its story
almost time for lunch.

October 8, 2012

The vendor's loud cry
contains the whole neighborhood
taho-ooo TAHO!

Hungry-ghost echoes
of illness death healing
these walls hear them all.

these walls hear them all:
hope, fear, health, illness, death, life
Thousand-armed Kannon.

Thousand-armed Kannon
waving her arms and dancing
in this corridor.

fan light and shadow
dancing together in time
to Kannon's music.

She lies on the couch
as he plays with his train set
a yawn engulfs me.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Honey Sutra: Dharma of The Hundred Acre Wood

Thus have I heard:

Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood
the stuffed bear was walking
while his tummy kept reminding
him that they were hungry
because - 
in case he'd forgotten - they hadn't had any honey.

He burst into song:

"Everything is honey
and life is very sweet"

This is no other than truth, as the Heart Sutra says
But take care:

Do not turn this matter into a Bisy Backson!

"The Backson!  Where?  Run!  Hide!" 
the stuffed animals cry in panic.


What did I just say about not turning this matter 
into a Bisy Backson?

Shush Owl and Rabbit!  Your minds
are bouncier and trouncier than

bouncy trouncy Tigger.  You would dig a pit
when all you need is to wake up and taste the honey.


Yes, Pooh.  Honey.  The taste of life is the taste of honey

It pervades the bitter, sour, spicy, salty and the bland.
It is the sweet/non-sweet, honey/non-honey

Not two and not one taste!

But hearing this an Owl would only make
a Backson -

"The Backson!"


And a Rabbit would only dig
a pit

And a Tigger would only bounce
on his tail.

Just taste this!

However little bear, take care:
Having tasted this, nevertheless

Do not linger here.
Go back to the Hundred Acre Wood

where your tummy
grumbles for honey

where Christopher Robin
and your friends long to play with you.

This is the Way of the Honey.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Weekly post

September 26, 2012

The crunch of footsteps
joins birds and crickets in song.
Workers head for home.

Workers head for home
and along the mountain road
vehicles roar by.

Vehicles roar by
the store owners sit and watch.
A single bird flies.

The fan's gentle whir
speaks volumes of poetry.
This heart is breaking.

This heart is breaking
in time with the evening's song.
The whole world is here.

The whole world is here
in the curtain's dancing to
the fan's gentle whir.

Lego bullet train
with animals riding on top
The young boy is engrossed.

September 27, 2012

The babbling babble
of travelers and TVs:
Buddha's very robe.

September 28, 2012

Such fragile dewdrops
we all are...

Oh such weariness!
While waiting to board the plane
Two hearts await me.

Two hearts await me
with arms outstretched in welcome.
Meanwhile, this long line.

A hand closes - look!
A fist!  A closed fist opens
Look!  An open hand!

The ocean dances
and waves rush to meet the shore
Gassho!  Bodhi Svaha!

City lights below
make up Buddha's very robe
Countless small stitches.

Such a fleeting thing,
this pretty flight attendant
passing through the aisle.

Passing through the aisle
with pearls in her ears, she smiles.
Such a fleeting thing.

Such a fleeting thing,
like the shining dew at dawn,
with her dazzling smile.

September 29, 2012

My drooping eyelids
carry the weight of the world - 
Stuffy-nosed dharma.

September 30, 2012

Sunday afternoon
is gray clouds, neighbors talking,
lying on the floor.

Lying on the floor,
cool tile under thin mattress,
the neighbors' laughter.

The neighbors' laughter
comes floating in, becoming
Sunday afternoon.

Just this, here and now
the fan drying my sweat:
this is my refuge.

This is my refuge:
the cold tiles under my skin
the blue sky outside.

The blue sky outside
is my very mind being
just this, here and now.

October 1, 2012

This heart is breaking
in the quiet evening air.
The stillness, it speaks.

The stillness, it speaks
of moon and stars and dark sky,
of the night's embrace.

October 2, 2012

Tiredness pervades
every inch of the dark night.
It will be dawn soon.

It will be dawn soon
the rooster says, and the mosque
chants in agreement.

Just This, The Bell's Song

Just this, the bell's song:
ringing sunrise, offering
flowers on a plate.

Flowers on a plate
are precisely the teaching
of butterflies' wings.

Of butterflies' wings
what can be said?  Ching!  Ching!  Ching!
Just this, the bell's song.

September 25, 2012


Welcome to my weekly poetry and haiku blog.  How did this come about?  Well, just last week I decided to commit to writing at least one haiku a day.  Needless to say that on that day I ended up writing the three above, plus one other poem (which I'll post below).  And I've been averaging more than one a day ever since.  Which is nice - although I don't doubt there will be one-haiku days every now and then.  Anyway, I have decided that every week I'll take what I've written so far and post it here.  Hope you enjoy, don't take it too seriously, there's nothing intellectual or "artsy" or "high culture" about this stuff.  In a way, it's just a part of my Zen practice, a way of ensuring that I pay attention to my life as it unfolds.  

Which sounds really mystical and Thich Naht Hahn now that I read this - no disrespect to Thich Naht Hahn, by the way, it's just that the last thing the world needs is someone who's not Thich Naht Hahn trying to sound like Thich Naht Hahn.  So my apologies.  Like I said, don't take this seriously.  Read the words, chew, swallow, digest, then shit them out and flush the toilet.

Rafael Ayala


It is closer than you think,
more intimate

How foolish to call this beautiful
and that ugly!

Like prying apart
hands pressed palm to palm

Or interrupting a couple's

Show some respect!
Bow down!

And when you forget yourself
then will this "YOU" appear

Actually it neither appears
nor disappears - rather

It is like opening your eyes
and seeing.

September 25, 2012