Monthly Archives: September 2015

James E.

4 tours in Vietnam
1 Iraq amphibious invasion
0 feelings
+ 1 guitar
= hope

Love Letter to Doubt

I see you. I walk into your sad closet
and sit down. A thousand waterfalls don’t
wear you away. Ten thousand miles inside
a mine shaft and there you are, sitting
cross legged like a vain, deaf monk
in maroon slippers. You have cords running up
through the ceiling attached to everyone.

You do not hear the world. Other deaf monks
hear with their feet and their fingers and
even their hair. You have been sitting
so long your whole body has gone deaf.

Your world is a circus train running
through a fog bank and all the animals a
and midway barkers have gone quiet. Soon
the only thing you will be able to do is howl.

What? You are afraid? Here, I will teach you!
Tip your head back until your throat
opens a channel directly into your bowels
and roll the world with your constricted love.

AhWooooOwOwOwooo!

No? Howl, you fool!

Indian Tricks

An old Indian trick:
dig shallow holes for the hip bones
when sleeping on hard or sloping ground.

Meditation is digging shallow holes
for the mind bones
when trying to refrain from sleeping
when the ground is moving beneath you.

Journal Entry 9/14/15

Last night in the yard I watched a lumbering insect with two sets of opposing wings and a body like a fuzzy barrel wobble and dip and turn and dive like a drunken clown on an invisible roller coaster. It seemed its sole purpose was to attract a hungry bat. Around and up and over and back it went making no headway towards a flower or shelter or a smudge of possible food. I felt almost sorry for this lumpy creature. Around it spun the vernal world of crows and chickadees and squirrels and hummingbirds and the frenetic bats that visit us at sunset. And just as soon as the clown creature appeared it was again gone. I will look for it today but something tells me it’s time to strut and fret and wobble across the stage of our yard has come and gone.

Open Plains

In the mountains of Nepal I once saw a water buffalo being killed for food by a man using the blunt end of an ax.

The buffalo did not run and did not go down. It just stood there taking blows to the head. Like it knew something I didn’t.

Beyond the mind there is a vivid emptiness. It may be visited, but is unaffected by our day to day actions, like a buffalo that never goes down.

Zen Death Poems For Modern Times

#1

Buddhas and patriarchs
only annoy now.
Zen is in the back of the throat.
Spit it out. Gaaack! The wine pairing is here!

#2

Henry is here. Henry is my friend.
Henry played tight end for Ball state. Love you too, man!
900 foot Jesus?
Fuhgetaboutit. Who let you in here?

#3

Where the Nestucca river meets the sea,
mussels cling fast to the rocks.
I will soon walk the sharp-shinned tide pools without flip flops!
Someone call master KC. What a dick.

Naming Mountains

The peaks around here look down
across the patched blanket of fields and forests
seeing all and seeing what lies beyond
the time of men and small shadows.

They see their own faces,
they know their own names
without being told:

Loowit of the lost sylvan shoulders,
Wy’ east of the pendant throat,
Klickitat of the white fox fur coat.

What maps know is what mountains forget
in the blink of a winter’s eye,
the storms washing their faces of any misgivings.