Apron’d Buddhas, Haiku Japan 2009

Haiku, Summer Ango 2009
Sagonoseki, Japan

the Japanese
always doing
what they are doing

morning swoosh
the sliding door
what form of enlightenment?

looking for a pen
yesterday I stole
crumbling in recognition

gazing at tokono
laughing Buddha
morning song of uguisu

monk prays alone
his chant strong
his silence stronger

worries over money
incense turns into ash
collects in golden bowl

one thought is
always more real
than the other

deep in zazen
the air becomes thick
with creatures

a child crying
for what he can’t have
something to learn in that

silence brings the birds
out from the trees
the care put into tatami

miracle of incense
suddenly—
nothing to worry about

the space
of country temple
going where it goes

more and more rare
the pure spirit
raking leaves

love on the knees
weeping for the kisses
of a lost dog

Buddhism without
open space of nature
not Buddhism

plans to emulate
temple shrine at home
not there yet

the true monk
never not
meditating

watching the monk
pick small weeds
amongst smaller rocks

okasan in the kitchen
wood floors sparkling
in morning light

the drip of kitchen faucet
even this
has purpose

apron’d Buddhas
in the sun
same as the rain

how things go
or how they end
never what we intend

music from phonograph
unable to hear
pick against pavement

what to do
dull moments of day
wash rice in water

zen humor:
queen chastising peasants—
“Let them eat breath!”

waiting to vacuum
temple tatami
much done already

concentration
do what you’re doing
that’s all

solitary in temple
the work of a monk
is never done

listening to ocean satori:
everything lives
and keeps living

evening walk with roshi
his sandals too small
for my feet

never so happy
speaking, hearing
asking, listening

traveling 10,000 miles
telling my story
to bare headed stranger

dreaming on old bench
soul to soul
rare–the sea crest!

Kyushu’s smoke filled ridges
tempt monkey mind
listen!

saying goodbye
to my precious person
rainfall on windshield

spider’s web
anchored to Buddha’s waist
or is it vice versa?

lone spider at work
breathes industry
the wind says fate

darting over shaded pond
boys chasing girls
at school recess

in stillness of afternoon
solitary fish
vacuums pond surface

getta heels
scrawl across patio floor
okasan at the well

amongst industry of spiders
fish and flies
I rub my eyes

the motionless spider
goes for a ride
in summer breeze

solitary spider
frozen in sun
yet to see two at play

Jewish reflection
after sutras:
God promises heaven—if

if the spider’s web
were wisped away by the storm
he’d still be free

walking Oita’s streets
one step further
the sea

Asia, Europe, Americas
Shambala muse
people the same

attempting to buy brush
Oita Kanji shop
words fail me

rolling off futon
spilled water finds shape
on flat tatami

squeals of shop clerks
customers dumb as herd
call and response

onsen culture
melting butter
down necks

Oh Japan! Outstretched
delicacies on every palm
on every tongue

Abraham wandering far from Ur
“Tadai ima!”
to an empty home

memory of best friend
behind café widow
welling tears

grey Kyushu skies
press down on people
stone on mackerel

stones from shore
washed from another world
kannon all

Japanese workmen
in blue jumpsuits
foundation stones

long haired American
slouches in seat
who raised him?

beautiful legs saunter past
even in Japan
heads turn

making a decision
then debating it
child drowning out man

clouds, no rain
men and women cart umbrellas
no exceptions

outlasting other patrons
a table lamp
amongst reflections

pulling weeds unnoticed
love—
in absence of two

okasan wounded on kitchen floor
primordial call
musukosan!

everything that suffers, ya
ah everything that suffers, ya
everything that suffers, ya

old lady at the piano
she’s forgotten everything
she knows

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