Issue 1 • Winter 2016
Doing it WrongTable Of Contents
Uncertainty as Companion
Take a step from the top of the 100-foot pole. – Zen koan
I want to write a poem about / lizard society.
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.
The Possibility of Being Creative
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.
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?
Hollow Bodies in a Dyson Sphere
Loud, and in the dark.
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.
Bang! There Goes That Theory
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.
Through a gate shaped like a bird, I enter a landscape of light.
Before The Law
John Tarrant introduces a celebrated predicament.
Meditation on Grasping and Clinging
“…you are right to tremble… / for all things are void of self-nature and / your alkaline diet will not save you.”
Karmic Apple / Firewood
Introducing Deh Chun, as strange a stranger as a stranger can get.
The Apple Dream
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.
Aubade for Self-Righteousness
It prefers the glare of mid-afternoon or the razor tooth / madness of bad dreams, because it’s a sharp thing.
An excerpt on falling, helping, and Layman Pang from Jesse’s blog, “It’s Alive.”
“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.
The Misstep is a most subtle step, as it’s on the inside, not the outside.
My daughter / pressed some / daffodils—
I can’t find one. / This seems alright.
Through the trees I saw Downtown L.A. at sunset with its rose blanket of smog.
In Praise of Folly
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.
after we slept i felt sarah’s / lips on my arms and legs;
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.
Reading Neruda While Waiting For An Ultrasound
When I love you less than perfectly, it is the same.
Now, what shall I plant in this overturned soil?
Everything I do and everything I invest in my life give back just enough to keep going. Barely.
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.
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.
Being Vassily Vasilyvich
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.
A meditation on doing it wrong.
If You Want To Dance Butoh
“If you want to dance Butoh, the first thing you must do is kill the self.”
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.
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.
The Blue-Eyed Mare