Sunday, December 29, 2013

(to be natural means not to force things)

Bill Porter, who sometimes writes under the pen name Red Pine, interviewed Master Hsieh, a Taoist monk, living on China's Huashan Mountain:

Lao-tzu said to cultivate tranquility and detachment. To be natural. To be natural means not to force things. When you act natural, you get what you need. But to know what's natural, you have to cultivate tranquility. Huashan has long been famous as a center of Taoism because it's quiet. There used to be a lot of hermits here. But now the mountain has been developed for tourism. The tranquility is gone, and so are the hermits. Yes. But before you can teach others, you have to cultivate yourself. You have to know something before you can teach something. You can't explain inner cultivation just because you know words in books. You have to discover what they mean first.

-- from the book "Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits" by Bill Porter

Saturday, December 14, 2013


I wanted to craft something beautiful and full of sorrow.

I will not make art I will make and wish for it to be art, and more than that wish for it to be whatever it is that I've made.

shuffle my boots downhill a path frozen and strange.

copper rose petals. cold back not window nor door. satanic mink hats beard pointed faces.

bounded. perambusyncopations. I straight, firm, narrow. I unashamed.

I use my voice (say it) I (say it) I say (say it) n.


arthritic lumbar sweep furiously. snow tumbles down. slide my fingers through hair in the shower. slide (hot) my fingers over calves in the shower. arms dangle. feel separate from arms. feel the shinbone milky and shaved.

my skeleton awakes. my skeleton leers. you are part of this thing, compulsory embodiment. you cannot, beyond a certain degree, use this body you live in to alter it. 

and what of transcendence? what if I breathe, deeper, and with more intention? and then?

towel to scalp, damp feet-walk cold to the bedroom. drip into closet floorboards, crumb cracks coated with DNA. once I lived in a uterus.

was I (me) the same I (me) then? was I scared? did I like the uterus? did I whisper to myself go bravely, child. the new world will be frightening, and beautiful. 

was it so different there? did I not struggle with loneliness and want? did I not at first think I knew all there was to learn about living? before sudden exposure to a new and different light.

I step from hot steam first the left leg then right. I face foggy mirrors on a woven yarn mat. My skin is damp. He cannot see me naked. Can the dog see me naked?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013