Jack Kerouac: Dharma, Zen, and Freedom

“I see a generation of Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they have to work for the privilege of consuming all that crap they didn’t really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars, at least new fancy cars, certain hair oils and deodorants and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution, thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks… Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason… and also by strange unexpected acts giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody.” – Jack Kerouac

Keith Waldrop: Tuning

Herr Stimmung—purblind—moves in corporeal time.
 
    Think how many, by now, have escape the world’s memory.
 
    Think, how all his wandering is only thought. Having once tried to
live in the quasi-stupor of sensation, now he picks his way through
areas of spilth, seeking the least among infinite evils.
 
    His hope: intermittent.
 
    To a person so little conscious, what would it mean to die? Though
he feels, true enough, death’s wither-clench. Thinking always of
something permanent, watching the while how everything goes on
changing.
 
    He has seen where Speed is buried. Eyes exorbitant.
 
    He has the tension of male and female: active, divided. Anger and
lust. What he eats tastes exactly like real food.
 
    He would search out interphenomena, if he could decipher the
interstices. The broken line. Immediate havoc. Circular heaven.
Square earth. He cries world world, and there is no world.
 
    He claims superiority over the other animals, being the only one
who can talk, the only one to have doubts.
 
    Herr Stimmung knows a whale is big. Its skeleton might shelter a
dozen men.
 
    Not existing, not subsisting—insisting. Not object, not subject—
eject. (He works within opposed systems, every one of them opposed
to system.)
 
    “Fillette”—in confusion he addresses himself—”n’allez pas au bois
seulette.”
 
    He knows who is allowed to wear what kinds of beads. He knows
how fruit trees are inherited. All his self-objects lie in the inoperative
past.
 
    Herr Stimmung springs from a long undocumented ancestry.
 
    He has a special attitude towards terror.

 

Keith Waldrop, “Tuning” from The House Seen from Nowhere. Copyright © 2002 by Keith Waldrop. 

Keith Waldrop: A Quote On Poetry

 

According to Waldrop, collage is a major mode of composition for him. He explains the process as: “a way to explore, not necessarily the thing I am tearing up, but the thing I am contriving to build out of torn pieces.” 

 

See more at: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/1575#sthash.p2XplZ17.dpuf

After the Stroke: by David Bottoms

By the time he’d hit eighty, he was something out of Ovid,
his long beak thin and hooked,
                                            the fingers of one hand curled and stiff.
Still, he never flew. Only sat in his lawn chair by the highway,
waving a bum wing at passing cars.

 

I was a timid kid, easily spooked. And it seemed like touchy gods
were everywhere—in the horns
and roar of diesels, in thunder, wind, tree limbs thrashing
the windows at night.

 

I was ashamed to be afraid of my grandfather.
But the hair on his ears!
                                   The cackle in his throat!
Then on his birthday, my mother coaxed me into the yard.
I carried the cake with the one tiny candle

 

and sat it on a towel in the shade.
I tried not to tremble,
but it felt like gods were everywhere—in the grimy clouds
smothering the pine tops, the chainsaw
in Cantrell’s woods—everywhere, everywhere,
and from the look of the man
in the lawn chair, he’d pissed one off.

 

A eloquent and emotional poetic visitation of Ash Wednesday.

Poet's Corner

Glen Brady alphaomegadigital.com Glen Brady  alphaomegadigital.com

These are the ashes of Wednesday

Charred remnants of yesterday’s hope

Broken branches that resound

With songs of impotent praise

     “Hosanna! Blessed is he who

     comes in the name of the Lord”

Palms now turned to dusty disappointment

Dry and dusty disappointment centered

not in the one whose praises we sang

but in the hollowness of our discipleship

These are the Ashes of Wednesday

Charred remnants of yesterday’s hope

These are the Ashes of Wednesday

Painful reminders of our humanity

Charred ruins of yesterday’s castles

Silent symbols that weep

     “Remember! Dust you are

     And to dust you will return!”

Children under the shadow of limitation,

Fatal and shadowy limitation set

not by the infinity of the Maker

but by the infirmity of the creature

These are the Ashes of Wednesday

Painful reminders of our humanity

These are the Ashes of Wednesday

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