Tao Te Ching #53


To walk and breathe deeply

and have enough to eat

and love someone

or many

then to keep walking,

that is the First Dream, before and  beyond the first illusions.

Detours and shortcuts, beckoning..

take us to darker places- thin of air, lonely, empty and rough,

where others are shouting

“Here! Now! No! Stop!”

It is there that the illusion becomes the Dream

and walking becomes a dissipating hope..

Tao Te Ching #49, I

In the space between me and you

there is no space.

Sometimes (oftentimes) I get in the way

and step back

or move aside

or kowtow

or threaten.

But then we breathe

and the breath of all beings

makes the space small again.


And when I leave,

the space is gone.

So I must practice



Tao Te Ching #46: Ploughshares

They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.

-Isaiah 2:4

Look beyond the earth-ripping, flesh-tearing tanks and the silent so-soft sliding of munition-laden drones  through springtime skies, pouring fire on enemies, wedding parties, and some guy standing there in the shade.

Look beyond- see beyond, imagine beyond, hope beyond- dirt and metal embedded  in the torn skin of young men with pictures of children in their wallets, and of young, such young women, bleeding.

Look beyond the desire for plastic bags, air shows, beach balls, Styrofoam cups, plastic forks, bead-filled shampoo, another car, another tv, another dress, more shoes, Styrofoam peanuts for the packing of plastic-wrapped plastic electrical replacement components for plastic encased computers on plastic counters, 73 degrees of warmth instead of 65 and a wool sweater, and hair gel.

Look beyond the 18.5 billion dollars being spent monthly on death and injury instead of water wells and pipes and salves and wind generators and schools and Alzheimers research and levees and bridges to somewhere.

Look beyond, see beyond, imagine beyond, and pray. Pray not for a supernatural miracle to appear in the eastern sky, but for the strength and the courage to cause one to happen.

Tao Te Ching #45, Ice Cream

Ocean, water vapor, cloud, rain,

grass, cow, milk, ice cream.


All are part of the other.

None are without the other,

except in name.


Mishka, Francois, Arlene, Jose,

Alberto, Lao, Jagathi, Roy,

Simon, Ki, Marisol, Christy.


Deliver us from the evil

of not-knowing

where ice cream comes from.

Tao Te Ching #42, Attachment

I know something of the Buddha;

that means I know very little.

I am very knowledgeable about the Christ;

which means I know almost nothing.

The more I know

the less I understand

and that is the way it must be-

it is the way that the universe moves,

It is the way I learned to walk,

it is the way the moon caresses

the oceans;

and it is the only way I know to pray.

What I know, I become attached to.

And attachment ends movement.

What I am free of, I can be curious about:

I can learn more, seek more,

love more.

Tao Te Ching #37, no Desire

Sitting beside an early-springtime lake,

the wind in my face is still a bit chilly

and the shore plants- reeds and grasses-

are now barely beginning green.


I try to imagine  what it would be like

to watch this lakeside world


I was the only one doing so.

To watch with

no anticipation nor anxiety but my own,

no memory nor regret

no lies

and no truths.

I would

(I also imagine)

hear only the unending echo of

“I Am.”

without Desire.

only Attraction.

and in some green-leafy,

insect-clicking, cloud-rolling


a very real Love.

Tao Te Ching #33, Mirrors

Qoheleth declared all to be


emptiness encased in

shiny superficiality,

marketed as meaningful,

but quickly forgotten in the glare

of that which is shinier,


and just beyond our reach.

Vanity, my name is Vanity..

until I learn my true name.

And that name can be learned


by leaning into the image of myself

in the mirror of a pine tree’s

sticky, sap-stained bark;

or in the mirror of a mountain range

where snow-covered peaks are hidden

behind winter’s-grey/golden clouds;

or in the mirror of a thousand soldiers’

graves at the edges of a

Pennsylvanian battlefield;

or in the mirror of flashing fish scales

or a red/yellow/blue/white supernovas

or in a drop of sidewalk rainwater.


I am, too:

in Meaning without words

in Reflection without plot

in Holiness without divinity.

And my true name?

My true name is that

I have

no name.

Tao Te Ching #30, war songs

Mine eyes have seen the glory

of the coming of the Lord

He is trampling out the vintage

where the grapes of wrath

were stored but now

are turned into land mines,

and buried.

On the third day

(or the second or the fifth,

or maybe some day years from now)

some unsuspecting chump

will step on a long-forgotten mine,


and ascend into heaven

on the loosed lightning of TNT,

in a smear of furious death.

I believe in the Holy Spirit:

I’ve seen him in the watchfires

of a hundred circling camps.

And I believe in the holy catholic church-

they’ve builded him an altar in the morning dews and damps.

I believe in the communion of saints

and the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of bodies,

(even blown-apart ones)

and life everlasting.

Even though

Our god

Our god

Our god is marching on.

other reactions to the TTC: http://taochow.wikispaces.com/

Tao Te Ching #29, gods and birds

Drawing a picture of the bird outside my window

gives me no control (none at all) over him.

No matter that the scarlet and ecru of the bird’s wings

are perfectly blended in an imagined water-color

flurry of feathers..

the bird is gone, flying away from the sound of my

commanding voice,

and beyond the reach of the prayers

with which I plead to the God of my bidding,

for the bird’s return.

Either God is not listening, or

I am irrelevant in Creation’s

thrusting toward tomorrow.

The bird doesn’t need me.

Nor, it seems-

at least in the way I believed it to be so-

does God.

I am free now to enjoy both.

Unencumbered by chains.