If you have an extremely like me, being a man with a voracious appetite for life, to be anywhere and do anything, and life somehow not wanting to accept that and pushing back hard with the time and chains of poverty, bad luck and illness, with every minute marked out for something and always running over into time marked for something else, or more often, the vast realm of impossibility, poetry and you are simply just not cut out for each.
But, nay, there’s the rub. For the more of life you are in, the better the poetry gets, kind of like never getting the best pictures because how in heaven are you able to reach for that camera or phone when even your two hands (never enough, I think) can barely manage to hold onto the oars and the boat to make it through and you usually end up overturning into the oncoming, never stopping water anyway.
I don’t remember much of what I read or what my teachers said in class as a young student, so naive and ignorant of the true ways of the world, but something I still believe as an immortal and unchangeable truth impressed me when a college professor compared the Roman writers, Ovid and Cicero, saying (most of you probably never heard of Ovid) that Ovid spent most if his time in the library while Cicero was put in life, among people, and of course a competitive reading of both authors is, as they say, history. I suggest you read both authors as I imaginr most of you haven’t.
Yes, poetry, thought and imagination, are always rude interruptions to the very thing which bore them, life itself. But, like our children, neither liking nor accepting the rules and schedules we arbitrarily impose on them, who either eventually subdue us and get their way and their freedom, or are borne down on so hard that we eventually break and turn into our corporate overlords at both ends of our paycheck a willing and submissive servant whose lights have been sufficiently put out to never question authority or peer pressure, poetry will either subdue us into it’s life of art or be snuffed out never to return, at least the idea it gave you. (There goes my blood sugar monitor alarming me and sniffing out this inspiration, like so many others that got lost in dark, invisible energy. Will have to leave off and return.)
I’m back. In 4 minutes, it will be time to wake up the kids and do gongyo. There goes poetry, like a mistress that comes in the night in a dream. I guess the interrupted nature of this piece will serve as an example worth 1,000 words. Besides, I’ll bet most of you are either impatient or already passed me on for someone else. At any rate, I use the time I chant to try to surrender any creative ideas while chanting daimoku (NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO) because NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO, being mystic (myo) is sublime and it makes both my chanting and my writing better so now what you’ve been seeing is my new enchantment.
Could be what appears to be the imminent presence of a new real woman in my life. I wrote the 600 pages of DNC Chairman when I was married, and my wife took care of many of my basic animal needs, so I could take care of my soul’s. I made myself write an hour a day and all day Sundays so I could get a masterpiece out before the 2008 Election. I often sat, from the scheduled, forced nature of it, in front of the computer screen, without a clue, because, as you know, if you’re still with me, poetry or art, does not like being on the clock. Nonetheless, I found with all that time which I don’t have the luxury of these days, that if you do force it, it starts to write itself. Besides, half the time or more, what I had written up to then, inspired me with so many ideas and spirit of what should come next.
At any rate, I’m 6 minutes for wake up and gongyo so
The full moon has finally come
through the fine web of meshes that keep me shrouded away from life which I thirst, parched for.
Soon, my meshes of liberation, the engine of my parachute,
will be ready for launch,
and all the bad meshes, the confining steel bars, will be broken.
I can feel my imminent freedom,
like this tired old moon, which returns month after month,
entering my life for the first time
and devirginizing me of my lifelong misery and despair.
The moon appears in the darkness before the dawn. I am so excited, so eager……….
As I approach my final preparations for my jump off the cliff,
The only useful and effective parachute is the Bodhisattva Way.
Be there for and acknowledge the true self of others and they will support you where gravity won’t.
Shortly before sundown
The landscape sparkles behind confining bars
Beckoning to the night, Saturday’s invitation
To the dance, To the love of the lovers,
To my dad’s birthday, imminent with celebration.
But, I, confined in before rusty steel bars,
Am going nowhere, one side gripped by stubborn illness,
The other by toxic work,
There is no fun permitted me.
3¼ hours of NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO
has cut through the suffering, the misery,
such a fate would sentence anyone to.
But not me! Yes the people and fun are phantoms.
But the peace has not and will not be robbed me.
Blow hell you steely smoke of charred pain!
You’ll never succumb me, might’s well surrender now.
I am the sunshine, the people, the party,
Turned around on you, my matrix bars bend I avow.
It’s Saturday night
when lovers are in each other’s sight.
but we can’t be together
because we have to work day and night.
Somebody was talking about money the other day when I mentioned my determination to do only my mission of creating great writing the other day so I figured I ought to enlighten those of you who are still hostage to money about value and worth. Money, like truth (as first SG Pres. Makiguchi said), has absolutely no value. Those of you who’ve been around a few decades, understand the truth of this when you realize that a dollar today can get you little more than a mere penny could get you 50 years ago.
What you should be focusing on instead of money is spending power. Spending power is basically a product of 3 factors: the value of the money you possess, the market conditions, which itself is a product of what people are actually willing to spend on any given item plus the fixed higher price sellers are able to get from an item irregardless of what people were originally willing to spend, and in this category fall all kinds of things which include taxes, fees, things which don’t even exist that people are told are necessary or desirable commodities, in other words, a whole bunch of nothings which are dressed up in fancy sounding but totally incomprehensible words, and, finally the 3rd factor of LIFE CONDITION, which is actually the primary factor that enables a person to increase his or her own value to others as well as spend only on what one considers to be of true value that either matches or doesn’t exceed its preset market value. A person with a weak and unself-developed life condition will have much lower both spending and earning power than a person with a life condition that’s been built up over time by rigorous practice, self-discipline and unswayability. A person who is able to dream and never lets go of their dreams and works hard and wisely towards realizing them is such a person. Every dollar that would be wasted on the lottery is instead spent wisely. That is the vast difference in spending power, which neither a stock market report nor price index can possibly tell you. Are you happy and truly satisfied most of your day? If so, you have good spending power. If not, your spending power is very weak.
When you get in front of the Gohonzon to chant NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO, you are resolving to give to life even if you may not realize it. The difference between trying to give from your mental image of giving and actually giving from your true self is as wide as night and day. The theoretical bodhisattva who may do some good but lacks the life condition to encourage anyone in so many instances is like one who gropes blindly in the dark of night, whereas the essential bodhisattva or bodhisattva of the earth, who just chants NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO first with a mind of determination and then lives based upon that determination is like one in the broad daylight who is actually able to give something whether tangible or intangible to the right person in the right way and at the right time. It is not that we put on a nice face and give something we’ve been told to give. It is not that we are a selfish person who changes into a nice person. People at heart are neither selfish nor selfless. It is that we are ourselves and our “higher” or deeper self or power manifests as, by chanting, we naturally discover and clear away our inner cobwebs of illusion and negative views of life so that our true, beautiful self can shine through and our wisdom, free of all those misconceptions we had been operating under, enables us to give to each person we encounter during the day in a very natural way. Of course we have to make some effort to take the correct actions but our strong life condition from chanting and studying Buddhist wisdom equips us such that this is an enjoyable effort and life is so enjoyable both for us and for those we encounter, even those who, blinded out their darkness by the dazzling light we emit, get negative and hostile to us like one we have disturbed out of their sleep.