Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It blew so hard last night
that, when I woke this morning,
I was afraid something might
be missing. Putting my hands
to my face I realized,

sure enough, my left eyebrow
was gone. Closer inspection
revealed that I had also
lost any conception of
the color yellow. Look

at these leaves strewn about
everywhere, like the hands
of saints, and I can’t think
of a single worthwhile
thing to say about them.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

emptied out
pouring out
to the 4 corners
of the earth
there’s no container
just the Great Way
with no barrier, it flows
both ways

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Leaning towards
the Southeast
take a step.
Something rests there.
Reach an open

hand into the fabric
and feel what
comes flowing up
out of the ground
to fill it. Take another

step and then another
eyes turned to where
cirrus clouds hang high
and cold in the
Northwestern sky.

Each step naturally
smaller and slower
than the last.
After proceeding
in this way for some

time it would be
hard to say I was
walking at all. Nor
could I really be said
to be standing still.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Godzilla IS the embodiment of the Law of Cause and Effect.
Here he is rampaging across my altar.

... and here's a link to my talk on the subject:
Dogen vs. Godzilla

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I hope by now
I needn’t tell you
there’s not even
a glimmer of hope.

What can you say
it’s a family matter.
The best way
to stop a hurricane

is to stand
in the middle
a paper fan.

The best place
to hide the evidence
is right there

on the kitchen
table between
the salt shaker
and the butter dish.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

That her voice
is a tumbling fountain
of glass.

That her table manners
are atrocious.

That she dances until
even the dumb
chairs are too dizzy
to sit.

These are
excuses we make
to account for the bare
truth that the body

is an instrument
no one knows
how to play. That

each time I open
my mouth,
a mountain wants
to fall out of it.

That it’s no wonder
we make a mess of things.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

There for all the world to see

like the imprint left on the side
of a building when its neighbor
is demolished - a square patch
of floral wallpaper, plumbing fixtures

clinging dizzily. Round we go
pursued by an endless beginning-less
train of carousel horses, sculpted
nostrils flaring, eyes wide as usual.

There’s the tired tiger, the gaudy
dragon with a chipped golden ball
between his claws. It’s not what I
was led to expect. I recall
Miss Oliphant always warned us

about swimming too close to
the really big fishes, and who has not
heard the old saying about looking
too long at a yellow-eyed dog.

It's not exactly that they were
wrong, but when you’re invited
in to dinner it hardly seems helpful
to refuse simply because it’s not

the invitation you were waiting for.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's Sunday after the 1-day sitting.

Dogen reminds us:
“The spring breeze and the autumn moon of five or ten years, unbeknownst to us, have the ring of emancipation beyond sound and form. This voice is not known to the self, not understood by the self. You should learn to treasure each moment of sustained practice. Do not assume that not to speak is useless. It is entering the monastery, leaving the monastery. The bird's path is the forest. The entire world is the forest, the monastery.”
and here's what I remembered:

A lifetime spent mapping
the intricate surface of a dust
mote. Swallowed over and over
again by your own ears. Way out
past the edge of town, the mountains

are singing their mountainous songs.
Styrofoam cups and candy wrappers
jump and jitter in the middle
of the street, while a whole gang
of Djangos strum Stormy Weather.

Secretly, it’s your birthday and
of course you’re the last to know
but that praying mantis clinging
there under the window ledge
seems to be onto something.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Meet Zachary Smith...
our Fall 2007 Practice Period shuso. Here we are hugging after my shuso ceremony last year which begs the question: "Who will Zachary hug at the end of his shuso ceremony and thus assuring themselves, bridal bouquet-like, a shot at being the Fall 08 shuso?"

Three things you may not know about Zachary:
1) He is a father of four!
2) He is a founding member of The Loud Family
3) He once built a teahouse in his back yard.

So it's with great pleasure that I pass this blog on to him and this new shuso on to you. He's very talented (see poem below) and quite dedicated and energetic. Example: Every morning save Sunday, he rides his bike from North Beach in order to ring the wake up bell before 5 AM. Ask him about his favorite coffee and donut joints along the way. Or ask him about the Hermit of Mystic Peak. Or how to build a teahouse. Either way, I'm sure you both will delight in the conversation that follows.
Dana V
Fall 2006 shuso

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Happy hour at the Lotus Cafe
and there it is, shimmering
like the glassy, sunlit face of a wave
towering over our heads.

Beneath the pounding
of the stereo and the clink
and chatter of the patrons
the silence is unshakable.

Staring at the bottom of my
empty cup, I discover
I’ve also drunk the future.
The King slowly winds his way

up Market Street on a
cheap mountain bike while
the man at the next table
leans forward and says I saw
the flowers on the moon