cold kitchen poems



Dead trees fall

and newborn trees fall

as seedlings or logs

though the ground is still

and fresh with snow

what makes phenomena

but this perception?


This one who dies

to enter into the life of robes

visits the local butcher

and offers his arm over the counter


so covered in dust and dreams

this one shaves his own head

and watches the dirt down the drain

spinning the wheel and saying the name

this one is red like Amida Buddha

but with no signs of a halo


bathing in coconut milk and rosewater

clean in creamy murky water, these feet

to go down and pay a visit to the temple

and end up crawling through a demons cave


Hey, look here at me!

At age 23, poverty!

No courtly positions to fill

no begging bowl to tip

cutting vegetables for the rich

they call it ‘organic’


a young girl says

“I can’t trust you by your past”

but having fled the burning house

past, present and future are left inside

so this one goes out wandering

and can’t recall the histories

of even the mighty Buddha


at 23 with a heaving torso

this one is either a hungry ghost

or a laughing Buddha

with no lineage to practice patience

more liken to an oxcart

deciphering bumps from straight roads

rides down the trail


having reached the realm of birth and death

keep going on into endlessness

with no form and no title

what is there to cherish?

The brightness of the full moon

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