Zen & the Arts - Field Notes

Issue 5 • Fall 2020 Issue 5 • Fall 2020

Golden Delicious Qian – Everyone is Living Two Lives

John Tarrant

My two lives, my many lives, are simultaneous

Issue 5 • Fall 2020 Issue 5 • Fall 2020

Qian is Separated From Her Soul – The Koan Story

Zhangken had a single daughter

Issue 5 • Fall 2020 Issue 5 • Fall 2020

Make Me a Pallet on the Floor

Chris Gaffney

As the world heals, each person heals.

Issue 5 • Fall 2020 Issue 5 • Fall 2020

How I Became a Ghost & Back Again

Corey Hitchcock

Instead of Dante’s fearful inferno, I found the comforting warmth of a hearth.

Issue 5 • Fall 2020 Issue 5 • Fall 2020

The True Qian

Allison Atwill

Something immense is looking for us

Issue 5 • Fall 2020 Issue 5 • Fall 2020

Mario & the Fox

Mario Da Cunha

Whenever we are reunited with our soul others are involved

Issue 5 • Fall 2020 Issue 5 • Fall 2020

To Love Without Shelter

Sacha Kawaichi

She is always there

Issue 5 • Fall 2020 Issue 5 • Fall 2020

The Legend of the Blue Willow – Fairytale Qian

Corey Hitchcock

A twin pair of ever in love.

Special Issue • Summer 2019 Special Issue • Summer 2019

Goddess Dreaming

John Tarrant

The power of the valley never dies.

Special Issue • Summer 2019 Special Issue • Summer 2019

The Stone Woman Gives Birth

Rachel Boughton

I have a story to tell, and, like a birth in the middle of the night, there are no words for it.

Special Issue • Summer 2019 Special Issue • Summer 2019

Warm Pink Sea – Two Dragons

Mario Da Cunha

mapping the valley

Special Issue • Summer 2019 Special Issue • Summer 2019

Dreaming the Invisible

Joan Sutherland

Can we put down for a moment everything but our own naked grief, feel it all the way to the bottom, and find there what it asks of us?

Special Issue • Summer 2019 Special Issue • Summer 2019

Song of the Seed

Mario Da Cunha

seeds are moments of invention on the wind

Special Issue • Summer 2019 Special Issue • Summer 2019

House of Fire

Chris Gaffney

A letter from somewhere near Paradise, 2018.

Special Issue • Summer 2019 Special Issue • Summer 2019

Cloudy But Bright Inside

John Tarrant

… the starlight, the wind, and the sea pour through us …

Special Issue • Summer 2019 Special Issue • Summer 2019

Red Thread

Mario Da Cunha

it winds and weaves, I am never unbound

Special Issue • Summer 2019 Special Issue • Summer 2019

Invisible Ceremonies

Joan Sutherland

Perhaps it is not grief that weakens us, but all we do to avoid it.

Special Issue • Summer 2019 Special Issue • Summer 2019

Invocation

Dogo Graham

It always is / and it is never

Summer Lightning and the Goddess Dreams • Summer 2019 Summer Lightning and the Goddess Dreams • Summer 2019

Asking the Apricot Tree

John Tarrant

at dawn / still awake

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Birds Disappearing Among Clouds

Allison Atwill

Why am I growing old?

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Freely I watch the tracks of the flying birds

John Tarrant

When we meditate we rest in a universe that we did not construct…

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Tidepool

Steven Chabre

Carried.

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Kentucky

Kevin Garner

I felt sad, but not sad. It was as if something hidden had been tapped and now the energy was free.

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

The Bird Path

David Weinstein

“You go with no self underfoot.”

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

from Red Rosa

Kate Evans

He brings up the most impossible questions, then hurries to answer them himself.

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

The Things Women Carry

Lee Perlman Allen

Just to be in that field fully themselves, ourselves…

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Pinhole Image – Curved Light

Dave Klinger

We let the light in.

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Tracking a Wild Road, or Beautiful Speed Bumps

Corey Hitchcock

I discovered that the road did not ask for or imply movement.

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Cap’n Jimmy’s Eye

Jim Snarski Chris Gaffney

“This time I’m the fish, he’s the heron, and you are the person watching.”

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Often I Recall

Li Qingzhao

…we too drunk to know the way home

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Some Thoughts, While Meditating, for People of the Sky

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

Once / a towhee landed

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Out for An Evening Walk

Gina Fiedel

“raw, noisy conversations”

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

The Returned Gaze

Chris Gaffney

The swift and sharp seam a bird draws with its flight can leave my world rippling….

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Encuentro II

Pedro Cruz Pacheco

Lush yet weightless.

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Visitation

Nicola Bennett

After a silence, I turn to look…

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Can You Even Teach Meditation?

…what do you do?

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Post-Its

Mario Da Cunha

Wingbeats against a wall.

Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018 Issue 4 • Fall Winter 2018

Murmuration

Chris Gaffney

..a single being roiling and tumbling in the sky

Special Issue • June 2018 Special Issue • June 2018

Myths, Legends, Stories of the Path: Joan Sutherland’s “The Myth We’re In”

John Tarrant

We need stories that might have doors in them.

Special Issue • June 2018 Special Issue • June 2018

The Myth We’re In, Part One – Breaking the Spell

Joan Sutherland

The ancestors invite us to sit for a moment in the old tales of our tradition…

Special Issue • June 2018 Special Issue • June 2018

The Myth We’re In, Part Two – Initiation

Joan Sutherland

A time of humbling tests us mightily… It’s a bare field surrounded by leafless trees…

Special Issue • June 2018 Special Issue • June 2018

The Myth We’re In, Part Three – Exile, Home

Joan Sutherland

Can you love a broken world?

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

John Tarrant

We step from story to story and in each of these little worlds, life has us.

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Weaving Together the World

Rachel Boughton

What is the one charm to avert disaster?

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Red Doors

True Ryndes

Lava is its own lesson.

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Praise Song for the Goddess of Ferocity and Mistakes

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

After Enheduanna, poet and priestess of Inanna.

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Cowboy

Steven Chabre

Lineage can be surprising.

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

grange road santa rosa california

J. Randall

after fire birds know what to do, weaving / sonorous webs

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

The Words

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

white hot and insufficient / continue to fly

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Inextinguishable Fire

Chris Gaffney

A Science Guy report.

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Crossroads

Roberta Pyx Sutherland

tend the fire … ignite again

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

The Relatives

Sacha Kawaichi

Hey! You’re alive!

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Fire/Water/Flow: Notes on a Creative Reverie

Corey Hitchcock

Boats, leaves, alembics, amoebas … Comets, lanterns, stars, seeds

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

To Tower

Leon Trice

…there an opening, no name… The night horizon.

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

the earth speaks in tail of white cat

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

A poem.

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Redwinged Blackbird

Jim Snarski

We too are shaped by the whetstone of his voice.

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Stubbornness

Timothy Nonn

if it were only one / flower

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

From Ancestors, Mothers, and Muses: An installation

Piper Leigh

Stitching art and ancestry.

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Surprise

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

A poem.

With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames With Each Stitch, the World Spews Flames

Dongshan’s Hot Take

Jo Pickard

A poem for the way out.

More Everything More Everything

Avatamsaka—The Garland of Flowers Which We Are In

John Tarrant

The universe is alive in all its pieces.

More Everything More Everything

Until Further Notice

Sandra Anfang

Until further notice, I will celebrate everything

More Everything More Everything

Cracked

Trace Farrell

Praying with Christopher Smart

More Everything More Everything

Where Does This Dog End?

Michael Hofmann

“Doggy,” a painting.

More Everything More Everything

The Gossip Project

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

Regarding the art and perils of the human grapevine.

More Everything More Everything

Not It!

Sacha Kawaichi

On the triumph of not-getting.

More Everything More Everything

The Way of Way Too Much: An Excerpt from “The Hakawati”

Rabih Alameddine

Once there was and once there was not a devout, God-fearing man who lived his entire life according to stoic principles. He died on his fortieth birthday and woke up floating in nothing.

More Everything More Everything

Fox

Corey Hitchcock

Sometimes the remedy for “too much” is…more?

More Everything More Everything

How Many is All?

Trace Farrell Chris Gaffney

Let’s begin with everyone.

More Everything More Everything

Freight

Mayaan Strauss

“Pink Web,” a photograph.

More Everything More Everything

What’s Not a Copy of Myself

J. Randall

every molecular hand / takes another and never ceases / to explain myself

More Everything More Everything

BeMazed

Buffy Cribbs

Which way to turn when beginning and end are both lost?

More Everything More Everything

New Table of Non-Periodic Elements

Corey Hitchcock

A new self order.

More Everything More Everything

Counting to One, I

Chris Gaffney

The infinite writ large in Jorge Luis Borges’ Library of Babel.

More Everything More Everything

Tuning the Lambo

Michael Sierchio John Tarrant

On meditation: an interview.

More Everything More Everything

In Response to C.D. Wright’s “Questionnaire in January”

Samar Abulhassan

Suppose too much strength is not a good thing.

More Everything More Everything

Counting to One, II

Chris Gaffney

Infinity? Closer than you think.

More Everything More Everything

Radiolarian Love

Corey Hitchcock

Meet Ernst Haeckel.

Haeckel’s Dream

Lee Perlman Allen

Excess

More Everything More Everything

Spiders, Rats, and the Elegance of Strangeness

John Tarrant

What if the situation you can’t fix is also on your side?

More Everything More Everything

Dream Gate

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

A poem.

More Everything More Everything

Taking All Paths

Corey Hitchcock Chris Gaffney

Every path a being takes is fashioned by its interactions with other beings. An interaction between two beings (Chris Gaffney & Corey Hitchcock) leads to the triptych of pieces found here. Each piece speaks to the myriad and foundational nature of interaction in establishing being, whether the being in question be person or electron. Which […]

More Everything More Everything

The Electron and the Cart Maker

Chris Gaffney

The master cart maker makes a cart.
If she removes the axle and wheels,
What is vividly apparent?

More Everything More Everything

A Feynman Diagrammatic Analysis

Corey Hitchcock Chris Gaffney

This is what your brain looks like on koans.

More Everything More Everything

Stars at Noon

Corey Hitchcock

Sometimes, like the wizard revealed behind the curtain in Oz, the keenly relational genius of the universe shows itself plain.

More Everything More Everything

What To Do With It When It Comes

J. Randall

Love in the time of data centers, virtual shopping carts, and Louboutins.

More Everything More Everything

Warm Light (Another Lifeform)

J. Randall

Stereo or Quadraphonic Sound Installation for 100 Voices and Laptop

More Everything More Everything

As Above So Below

Roger Jordan

The art of change.

More Everything More Everything

No Road Is the Road

Antonio Machado

“Water and thirst are good”: from the proverbs of Antonio Machado.

More Everything More Everything

Waking up in Old Fangak, La Gonave, and Mwanza

Janice Boughton

I am an internal medicine doctor. In that capacity, I go to distant places, meet interesting people, and eat weird food. In these journeys, I’ve noticed how technology connects us, often awkwardly, with each other.

More Everything More Everything

Footsteps in the Hallway

Jesse Cardin

When the heart opens to longing, it opens a little bit to everything.

More Everything More Everything

Operation Whole-Heartedness

Edd Conboy

A letter from the Director of Social Services at Broad Street Ministry, Philadelphia.

More Everything More Everything

Hungry

Cate White Trace Farrell

One shows, one tells: two encounters with appetite.

More Everything More Everything

No End to It

Santoka

An introduction to Santoka’s way.

More Everything More Everything

Narratives

Ray Evanoff

The gift of less–a composition for solo clarinet.

More Everything More Everything

Tonight, the Rain

Timothy Nonn

Drenched in seeing.

More Everything More Everything

Water, Water

Corey Hitchcock

In a dream I heard: “Underground, all waters touch.”

More Everything More Everything

Montale at Monterosso

Alan Williamson

You were so near the origins / you had taken off your face.

More Everything More Everything

Refuge Ceremony

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

Holding vows as koans–and opening to your own life.

More Everything More Everything

Taking Care of the Name

Christy Lee-Engel

Finding a ripe and secret sweetness down at the bottom of this river.

More Everything More Everything

Are You Afraid Of This Happiness?

Dave Klinger

On holding loss–and more loss.

More Everything More Everything

Seed Pearls

Rachel Boughton

Sometime in the 1940s when my mother was growing up, my grandfather had a spontaneous transformation. It happened between lunch and his arrival at the Biltmore Health Club, I think.

More Everything More Everything

Trust

Cate White

Visualize getting it.

More Everything More Everything

Keep Sweeping

Michael Sierchio

Instructions for post-enlightenment.

More Everything More Everything

Nothing, Mostly

Arni Adler

Real life is choosing your socks.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Uncertainty as Companion

John Tarrant

Take a step from the top of the 100-foot pole. – Zen koan

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Lizard Society

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

I want to write a poem about / lizard society.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Two Monks

Allison Atwill

Ten years ago, koans began to form themselves into images inside me. From this time forward all of my paintings have been the lived visual record of my encounter with a koan, each piece an impression left after its passing, like a print in the earth beside a spring.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

The Possibility of Being Creative

Trace Farrell

These days, when I sit down to write, I’m afraid. That sentence, the one I just wrote, has taken me most of a week to produce. Lately I’ve attempted dozens, a hundred other sentences, all about what making a creative move feels like. This one is actually true.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Finches

Todd Geist

Something brought that pair together into the house. Together. Not apart. Together. Together, they came into the house and only one left. What brought them to such circumstances?

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Hollow Bodies in a Dyson Sphere

J. Randall

Loud, and in the dark.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Vales

Asa Horvitz

A sharp intake of breath — my whole body electrified, my hair stood on end — the salmon hovered just below the surface, tail flashing gold, and we stared at each other.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Bang! There Goes That Theory

Steve Walker Chris Gaffney

Steve wants to know whether our most recent cosmology points to a dark and lonely future. Chris, the physics guy with the union card (Ph.D.), lends a helping hand.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Dove/Star

Trace Farrell Chris Gaffney

Through a gate shaped like a bird, I enter a landscape of light.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Before The Law

Franz Kafka

John Tarrant introduces a celebrated predicament.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Meditation on Grasping and Clinging

Barton Stone

“…you are right to tremble… / for all things are void of self-nature and / your alkaline diet will not save you.” 

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Karmic Apple / Firewood

Michael Sierchio

Introducing Deh Chun, as strange a stranger as a stranger can get.

Issue 1 Issue 1

Defeat

W.H. Auden – From “For the Time Being” If the muscle can feel repugnance, there is still a false move to be made; If the mind can imagine tomorrow there is still a defeat to remember; As long as the self can say “I,” it is impossible not to rebel; As long as there is […]

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

The Apple Dream

Trace Farrell

It’s that whoa-whoa-whoa when the roller coaster, chain-hauled to its highest point, crests at last and suddenly, horribly, you’re facing vast space and a great plunge, inescapable.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Aubade for Self-Righteousness

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

It prefers the glare of mid-afternoon or the razor tooth / madness of bad dreams, because it’s a sharp thing.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Falling Together

Jesse Cardin

An excerpt on falling, helping, and Layman Pang from Jesse’s blog, “It’s Alive.”

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Parapraxis

Rachel Boughton

“Every snowflake falls in the right place” – Zen koan

Parapraxis: A slip of the tongue or pen, forgetfulness, misplacement of objects, or other error thought to reveal unconscious wishes or attitudes.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Misstep

Chris Gaffney

The Misstep is a most subtle step, as it’s on the inside, not the outside.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Bookmark

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

My daughter / pressed some / daffodils—

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

The Mistakes

John Tarrant

I can’t find one. / This seems alright.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Elysium Park

J. Randall

Through the trees I saw Downtown L.A. at sunset with its rose blanket of smog.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

In Praise of Folly

Amy Elizabeth Robinson

This is a story about trying to feel my way into a story, the pieces of which were never lost, but which was assumed to hold too many mistakes. It is a story about passing into and out of adolescence, into and out of mortification, into and out of something like foolishness, something like light.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Unimprovement

J. Randall

after we slept i felt sarah’s / lips on my arms and legs;

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Marvelous Error

Chris Gaffney

An old Zen teacher prompted, “Show me your face before your parents were born.” Modern biology also calls us to consider our true countenance. Which side is our best side may surprise us.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Reading Neruda While Waiting For An Ultrasound

Michael Sierchio

When I love you less than perfectly, it is the same.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

The Leaf That Is Not A Leaf

Trace Farrell

“Suddenly you discover that you’ll spend your entire life in disorder. It’s all that you have;
you must learn to live with it.”

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Welcome, Eden

Amaryllis Fletcher Jamie Kissinger

Now, what shall I plant in this overturned soil?

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Breaking Even

Stephen Doyle

Everything I do and everything I invest in my life give back just enough to keep going. Barely. 

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Falling Down

Rachel Boughton Arni Adler

In winter of 2004, at dusk one evening, my cross country skis slipped out from under me on the lumpy grey ice. I broke my tailbone and it really, really hurt and I lay on the ground wondering what possible good a meditation practice was in such a situation. Then, amused, I wrote this haiku.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Applied Uncertainty

John Tarrant

Uncertainty was the most disturbing thing.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Truck Ballet

Rachel Boughton

One afternoon I got to witness, from a not-so-safe distance, a dance of physics, reminding me that sometimes we get the chance to feel immortal.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Being Vassily Vasilyvich

Trace Farrell

Seattle theater On the Boards interviews Kristen Kosmas regarding her play There There, about “being the completely wrong person in the totally wrong place at the exact wrong time saying and doing all the most wrong things”. Trace Farrell relates.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Two Trucks

Milo Schaefer

A meditation on doing it wrong.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

If You Want To Dance Butoh

Denise Fujiwara

“If you want to dance Butoh, the first thing you must do is kill the self.”

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

The Battle

Peter Blue Cloud

By the time Coyote arrived the sides had already been chosen, the battle lines formed, and the smell of hate and future bloodshed permeated the very air.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

Vermont Journal

J. Randall

I step out onto a tidal river rock to meditate in the shade of the overhead bridge. As usual, I fail. I’m texting a friend a panorama of the river when a bird shits on my neck.

Issue 1: Doing It Wrong Issue 1: Doing It Wrong

The Blue-Eyed Mare

Trace Farrell

A poem.