Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Away from the Horizon

1. Hand to the Heart

The problem with arriving
Is that we can’t. We’re pulsing,
Constantly, literally,

Beating and throbbing with life,
Each and every one of us,
Whoever is now alive.

The sage is throbbing with life,
Unless he’s a piece of jade.
No saint is ever at peace,

Not even smiling skyward
And tied to the stake
As the flames lick at her face.

No wisdom’s ever at rest
While a heart beats in the breast.

2. Word to the Wise

As bodies, we get to die,
Be conserved, and reënter
As something new and other.

As selves, we don’t. Selves
Are never, themselves, alive
But come along for the ride.

In the right kind of body,
A self will not be denied,
And the right kind of self will,

Albeit only partly,
Often go out of its mind
To seed survivors outside.

But selves don’t circle with lives.
If your self panics, that’s why.

3. Five Minutes under a Maple

The Master had it backward
When scolding his disciple,
“You’re not yet able to serve
People—how could you serve ghosts?”

People are harder to serve,
And I think whoever spoke
Through Kongzi knew it.

People are more whole than ghosts,
Substantive, stubborn
Combinations of desires.

Ghosts are residues
Happy to inhabit you,
As Kongzi inhabits me
And a billion other hosts.

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