Zen & the Arts - Field Notes

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

It takes me and lofts me to rough
and glittering places, where I can
be astonished by its correct view.

Those people, it says, don’t know the path. You do. 

And I love its certainty, its exactitude. Each time, 
it knows where to touch me. Its tongue rasps

the lip of my ear, and it slides a warm
finger past the walls of my heart. I can bear
the luscious pain, because I know it’s saving

lives. When I wake, make my coffee, turn
on the TV, it’s clear those bodies
move in light because of it and me.

They would be dead if they did not 
continually choose peace. 

When the screen is crowded with fire, I want 
to douse it with right action, right speech. 

But today there’s something
in-between. My mind
is crowded
with bodies, stretched 
and broken on cold concrete. The bodies flash
between me and the coffee, the cobwebbed 
window, the people passing on the street.

Look away, my lover whispers from the mind’s well-ordered eaves. 

It’s not your time, I fiercely think, and I know the bright
shakedown of release. I slip
for just a moment
into a wide
uncaring space. And when I rise, I see

whose anger I’ve been carrying like
bitter lemon on my tongue. And
why my lover loves to pour sweet,
easy sugar on the wound. I turn
and court the night. I sleep. I wake. I sleep.  

And now it comes to me in the early morning — just a light kiss 
of misunderstanding — and flees.

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