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Poetry Magnum Opus

Day 12


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The Sort of Human: In consideration of Joen Sensei’s Teisho
Con/Jur/d, 4/12/2021

I’m the sort of man dear reader, who will bow
to a vegetable, if I’m being honest, with you.

Who else can I be honest with? Please tell.
certainly not with myself, “Liar, cheat, coward.”

The thief claims that I am his servant, always
running by command, every way, this, and that.

After all this time he is still unclear what love is?
And he would make full bows before a squash.

The story, I was told of how it happened: a
certain Roshi on Halloween replaced himself.

In the interview chamber on the low chair with
his personal zafu, in its full orange magic glory.

He hid himself behind a curtain. And waited.
Certainly, teachers are very good at waiting.

The students, coming one by one as they do,
some saw the Jack O’ Lantern, laughed, left.

Others did full bows, presented their koans,
even waited for an answer before, leaving.

That, dear readers, he is me. Sure, I would
have defended my actions, despite a flush.

Again and again, our coaches train us to be
far, far more practical, important reminders.
The me, that is me, that is not he, but human
would have done the same,  without bows.

They would have entered the small room,
smelled incense and a vegetive darkness.

Despite the single candle flickering behind
a jagged toothful grin sense, joy, trepidation.

Do those crudely cut eyes, strands of viscera
blackening behind, greet with judgment or love?

Here, in this smallness, with a sense of being
stared at; a merciful barely suppressed giggle.

We come closer to the pumpkin and ask quietly,
But clearly, “ What is this?” Stop. Listen. Hear.

We already know the answer. Have been hearing
it every lived second, “This? Why, love, just love.” 

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