a Very Dear someone-I-know
likes to be called ‘I Am’
he says it’s the most powerful name
one can adopt
(the masters told him so)
I tease him and tell him to call me
he’s unamused; he’s very earnest about
his spiritual status and frequently
sends me to Coventry
for my irreverence
I’m probably over-pedantic
(blame it on my story as an ex-educator)
but from the moment it was seen
what ‘I’ is – when IT was fully unclothed
and revealed as naked Presence –
the ‘Am’ has been superfluous
so has the ‘Am Not”, strangely enough,
but kid sisters l-o-v-e to goad)
isn’t the “I am” statement the ultimate oxymoron?
it’s both incongruous and self-contradictory…
the only verb-form ‘I’ can logically take is an IS
for there’s nothing about ‘I’
that could be called personal,
given its inextricability from whatever ‘it’
knows or does
and yet, our entire manner of speaking insists
that we stand as separate objects
when irreducible BE-ing is all that
yes, it’s grammatically incorrect
(teacher winces, adjusts glasses)
but it’s unarguably accurate
in terms of one’s experience
my much-missed bro
when can I come home
and play with you again?
The sky is powder blue and cloudless.
Like a cartoon cut-out
defiant against the celestial foreverness
stands a tall straight palm,
its huge bracts lavishly festooned with nectar berries –
breakfast au plein air for birds, beetles, insects.
High above the bracts,
the palm fronds erupt into a wild dance
celebrating – as though their lives depended on it.
Behind the palm and the security fence
the surface of the swimming pool is tickled
by the quirky breeze. It trembles.
Nodding demurely by its edge
clusters of coral bougainvillea
saturate the eye with impossible tropical color.
This is ‘n’ – the thusness of now-this-here
in which quivers of yearning
and shudders of aversion
find no place.
exists as ubiquitous Presence
presenting Itself to Itself.
Vast Presence is always perfectly still.
And yet – as happened today – when a child is injured outside one’s gate and lies screaming in shock and pain, there is action. It is action unclouded by confusion, by conceptualization, by choice. Action simply acts. The child is held and comforted, first aid is applied. She is protected until her mother arrives.
Vast Presence does nothing but be present.
Isn’t it curious that we strive to live in the moment when it’s impossible to find any-where or any-when else but the vastness of the Present, this very moment? We are prisoners of this perfect Presence: there’s no need to seek it, and no possibility of escape!
See also – I’m prisoner of a presence
the sun rose
with no sympathy for a small-time insomniac
the heart sang
drowning out mind’s misery-mongering
an unavoidable Presence ‘watched’
aloof and impartial
and yet inextricably absorbed
within every thought and feeling and deed
(there was caring and cleaning and caring and cooking and caring
and shopping and caring and listening and caring and playing and caring
for the adorable ancients whose turn it is to be my toddlers)
the sun set
the heart sang
its little song of gratitude
I settle on my zafu
poised as the Presence
of a world displayed –
a world whose appearance
is wholly dependent upon
the sensory capacity
here, yet without location
I marvel that after turning up
for more than 300 mornings,
pen-in-hand and heart-at-the-ready,
words still spill themselves
out of the silent emptiness
on the other side of thought
as fresh and fecund as on day
There is no author here –
my authorship could never sustain such
freshness for even a fortnight.
I’d bore myself to tears and quickly move on.
Wild wideawakeness is simply singing
to itself in the mirror.
A small hand
holding an old-fashioned Waterman fountain pen
scribbles the opening libretto:
Everywhere I look
laid out in luscious
I’m cracking up at the audacity when out of nowhere a gleeful chorus pipes up:
It’s a new dawn
it’s a new day
it’s a new life for Me
and I’m feelin’ good!*
[Never will you meet such an unapologetic narcissist!]
*from Feeling Good, by Peter Schick
to strive for freedom
most in the know
prisoner of a Presence
that can never
where would I go?
the little sanctuary is full of packing boxes
I sit instead, in the bedroom
body-mind is stiff and weary from lift and shift
the impulse, Life-driven, is towards a new abode, cool and quiet