The Wolfku Garden - 21

Young man meets woman
  In a sexless
  equation
Do they still attract?

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On a distant desert planet in a galaxy far, far away, one young traveler, a boy—thirsty after days of little (and now no) water, meets another young traveler—a girl not so thirsty after days of ample water and at this point close to her destination.

Why is boy a boy and why is girl a girl?

On this planet a boy is a boy in that only a boy-kiss can make another boy or a girl split (amoeba-like) in two and so propagate the race of desert crossing, adventure-seeking boys and girls.

Let’s define kiss in this context. This is a spiritual race, and a kiss is much more than lips on lips (or forehead or hair or hand or foot or take your pick), it is a sudden invasion by the boy spirit into the body of the other boy or girl, a gushing a breeze a wind a settling of storm suffusing the body and by extension the spirit as well of the other, a lovely sharing of everything so intense and so embracing that the other now, atom by atom, cell by cell begins the joyful dance of replicating him- or herself. This is a slow process. Four full circles (ovals, actually) round the distant (reddish) sun, will culminate in a new boy (or girl) stepping out of the existing ditto to double the number of him or her. The copy (bad choice of words, I now, but it is true—in other words, the newly minted boy or girl is an exact copy of the original), usually takes a brief look at the original and seeing him- or herself mirrored laughs at the joy of creation and saunters off in search of his or her own adventure.

Age. No such thing, the copy is the same age as the original; probably because there’s no time on this desert planet, not as we know it anyway.

Death. No such thing either. No one dies here, or—let me clarify this—everyone lives for so long (tens and tens of thousands of trips around the sun) that death seems quite absent.

Overpopulation. Logically speaking, that should be the case, eventually, but very, very eventually. The creator made only two, boy and girl, and these two have slowly, over millennia replicated to a small tribe of identical boys and a small tribe of identical girls. They’re scattered over the whole (very large) planet in search of adventure and only occasionally run into each other, and if one of them is a boy, chances are that a kiss might ensue and four years later there’ll be another one looking for adventure.

At the current rate of population growth, the planet will not see its first city for another eight billion years. So, overpopulation? No.

Also, it should be said, kissing is a very civilized and polite thing. No such thing as a rape-kiss on this planet.

“Would you like to be kissed?” is usually the question.

“No,” is usually the answer.

“Okay,” is usually the answer to that.

“Any good adventures lately?”

And so it goes… All very civilized and polite.

So, is this desert encounter a sexless equation?

Yes and no.

Replication is a joyous thing, but also rather long and tedious, which is why the answer is usually no, making the equation sexless in all respects. Also, everyone (though there are hardly enough of them to qualify as an everyone) is usually on an adventure (or looking for one) and don’t want to disrupt it or give it up for replication (the official term).

Should the potential kissee, however, be between adventures, or (usually the case) have never replicated before and might view it as an adventure, then and to that small degree there might be the attraction involved with looking forward to growing a copy and so, yes, a flirtive glance or two might be cast in one direction or another, but that’ll be the extent of it as far as attraction goes.

This is a very peaceful planet.

They’re all vegan (there are no animals to kill—well, a few birds fly about, but they are all too large to ever consider killing if the notion of ending a life could ever occur to these boys and girls, which it cannot).

They’re all terrific runners.

They’re all terrific walkers (when they don’t run).

They’re not very good sitters (bores them).

But here’s the point: when boy meets girl its much, much more like traveler meets traveler or adventurer meets adventure.

So, in this case, “You look thirsty,” said the girl.

“I am,” said the boy. “Do you have any spare water?”

“I do,” said the girl. “Here,” handing him her canteen.

::

The Wolfku Garden - 20

I tread memory—
  Soft and treacherous
  carpet
Falling, falling through

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Memory is not solid ground. Although quite roamable—and we do roam, seemingly love to—have you ever tried firmly to plant your feet on any one memory spot, on any one plot of exposed memory ground?

The amazing thing is that you soon might find yourself free-falling, having punched a fallable-through hole in the memory fabric with your far too heavy memory foot. Even lighter feet will often burrow through (and the rest of you with them).

Sometimes memories arrive bidden (especially joyous ones), though mostly they—like pesky relatives—arrive unbidden with no intention of leaving anytime soon. It’s as if they hover in the air, all of our memories, surrounding us at variable distances ready to pounce at the slightest sign of an exterior commonality detail (sometimes crude, sometimes subtle), no matter how slight or un-pin-point-able—as in: how on earth did I wind up in this memory?

So, take heed: while the memory carpet is soft and treadable, it is almost always treacherous, and will leave you some temporal ways apart from where you started.

The notion or image of a bog comes to mind, or the thick and fecund mosses that sometimes cover and encroach on the surface of dark water (I believe the term is marsh), solid enough to tread up to a point, though one more step (as treacherous as memory) and you will sink through and into the strange waters below: such is memory.

At times, just for the hell of it, I have traced the path back—how on earth did I wind up in the Daily News (Dagens Nyheter) employee cafeteria watching a colleague taking a cigarette smoking break midway through his cheese omelet, the image as clear as anything? What triggered this one, what carpet hole did I fall through to land here?

It was an unpaid bill, not due yet by a long shot, just waiting for me to get around to it. These days I pay all bills electronically, but there was a time when bills were all paid by check, and a time before that (1960s) where I’d take the bill to the post office and paid it there, with cash—they gave me a checkbook once in 1969 but I was such an enthusiastic checkwriter (and such a bad record keeper) that they withdrew that particular privilege giving me very strange looks, the bank officers did; talk about a black financial eye, but that’s neither here nor there.

Still, this unpaid bill did create an unpaid-bills hole in the memory carpet and I saw myself first writing checks and licking envelopes making sure the check was in fact signed before I sealed it then digging through my pocket for correct change at the much earlier post office then digging through my pocket for correct change in the employee cafeteria, then wondering how on earth my colleague could stop half-way through his omelet to smoke a cigarette (Pall Mall was the brand), the half-eaten, wounded omelet oozing offended cheese on his plate, awaiting his return to the primary task at hand.

The thread of commonality between the current and the past and the earlier past and the earlier past and the et cetera past can be the craziest little thing, links seem to form on whims—but there is a commonality, there is a somewhat logical path that this rabbit hole takes as you plummet further and further back and sideways and down again before you finally wash up on the shore of the present wondering what that was all about.

Sometimes, if the water is deep (and interesting or captivating or plain ornery) you can be gone for a long time, and not ever entirely wash up on the shores of now, a little bit of you still down there, fighting for air but seemingly okay with drowning.

So, these days, when I see the memory carpet spread out before me, I take very light steps, one slow one after the other slow one testing the marsh’s floating moss to see if it’ll hold before shifting my weight. This way I’ll be sure not to fall through to find myself lost (unless I want to lose myself, of course—that happens, too: we call that reminiscing).

There was a time when I did not touch type, there was a time when we did not have laptops, there was a time when we did not have electric typewriters (IBM Selectric), there was a time where we hardly had typewriters at all… and here I go again.

::

The Wolfku Garden - 19

The two guides I trust
to lead me through
  this life are
Frugal and Simple

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 It seems to me that this is a universal truth: Unless you stay vigilant and pay constant and close attention life will complicate itself. And when it does, you lose sight of important things.

Important things like: Who am I and what am I doing here? Who are we and what are we doing here?

Looking back at my quarter of a century in Los Angeles leading my then gainfully-employed life, I see one day after another rushing by in a whirl of a thousand things to do from the very moment you awake to the very moment you finally fall asleep, not a quiet moment: a life constantly filled to the point of choking with things, things, things.

Of course, some things are more thingy than others. Some things are quite lovely, like wife and children and your very green back yard, while other more thingy things just pile up in their consumer-world insignificances as more and more things to buy and own and store in the house and then store in the garage and then eventually get rid of and one wonders what on earth…?

Some things are pressures, things you must do (or fake doing) to earn (or fake earning) that all-important paycheck to cover the mortgage and the car payments and the groceries and the thousand things she needs to buy and the thousand things the kids need and the thousand reports we have to write to keep our employer informed and impressed: barely time to breathe, and when you get home, there’s more work waiting to make those extra bucks to pay for those extra things you and yours need—yes, unless you stay vigilant and pay close and constant attention life will indeed complicate itself beyond the enjoyable.

I am proud and pleased to report that I have left that life behind now, though it still rumbles around (turning up stones) looking for me down in Los Angeles, but I am nowhere to be found in that end of the state. Yes, I have escaped, severed ties, found a life where I can pay close and constant attention, where I can be vigilant, and where I can be frugal and keep things simple. Zen-like in a way, and enormously refreshing.

Why I never thought of this before amazes me.

Or not.

::

The Wolfku Garden - 18

Pages, red pages
History: vast and pregnant
with man killing man

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Living as I do in the 21st century and during a stretch of relative world peace, and now of an age that I risk no enlistment in anyone’s army, it is so very easy to lose sight of the brutal, the near inconceivable violence of our human past.

I guess Cain is to blame for this trend—should we lean on the Bible as authoritative reference; though the notion, the utter blindness caused by hatred so deep that you would kill another human being (whether brother or not—and aren’t we all siblings, anyway), is so enormously alien and more than I can fathom as to not even belong to this galaxy.

I read somewhere that mankind—throughout recorded history anyway—has never experienced a single moment of total world peace; there has always been some conflict, some skirmish, some battle, some war in progress. There has always been some field soaked in red-turning-to-black blood of the often-still-alive-and-in-agony fallen.

So, History’s pages are all red, should all be red, should scream in anguish at all readers to for heaven’s sake wake up to the insanity of our pain-soaked past and look to what goodness we can find in our souls to make sure this carnage stops now.

But then a new story breaks and ISIS has slaughtered another village, the Syrian dictator has killed another countryside of his own people, and some lunatic decided to mow down forty-three people with a rented truck in a now-shocked metropolis.

All is not well with the world, seemingly never has been, and I wonder how history will view us who did little or nothing about it.

::

The Wolfku Garden - 17

Put in a small box
They named it me
  wrapped it tight
with soft steel ribbons

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I’ve been a home to this image for many years, this conviction (or notion, perhaps) that our planet Earth is nothing but a long-forgotten experiment gone terribly wrong—and with that in mind:

No, I don’t know who “they” are, but “they” did me/us no favors.

I don’t know if everyone travels the same route, whether everyone is shuttled along the same conveyor belt in bardo, but I have the distinct feeling of being red-flagged by the overseers and operators at my last death and bardo visit:

“Special treatment, this one,” stamped on my long karma-tail, “the knots are loosening, he’s about to slip out. Yes, give him the extra special, this one. Make sure he doesn’t go anywhere.”

I’m not saying that this was actually said or meant or done, but this is what I am saying: judging by the effect—my insistent and crazy desires and compulsions, all the way from just a little boy through adolescence, through young adulthood, man, older man, retired man, spitting-death-in-the-eye man—they must have given me the special treatment, making very sure I was well and truly messed up (and not escaping) this time around.

No, I’m not saying that this actually happened to me, but what I’m saying is that it would not surprise me one little bit if it did.

A wise man once suggested that unless the overseers did their bardo-job properly: one after another, we would, like the Buddha wake up to what is truly going on here and begin to loosen the fetters that bind us. Judging by what I see both within and without me, I think his suggestion was a good and true one.

I can still hear the splash when as a box I landed on open ocean with not so much as a “good luck” to see me onto nearest shore.

::

The Wolfku Garden - 16

Waiting for the sun
A thousand lilies, heads bowed
Listening for light

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It is a young summer’s morning along the Pacific. The actual field of flowers may or may not have been lilies, and they may or may not have been a thousand of them—perhaps they were only a handful or two, but they were definitely flowers.

Either way, when I see something like this—a field of flowers, or a group or a family of flowers, heads bowed (yes, heads were bowed and petals were unopened in this natural cathedral)—I easily and readily adorn the image with a poetic brush and they become lilies and, yes, a full thousand.

In truth, their posture is of those who listen very carefully.

And what would a lily listen for, so attentively? What would be of such importance to a flower? It struck me as so obvious: sunlight, of course. That far away source of lily-sustenance. They were listening for the rising sun, dreaming of her rising, wishing for her rising, anticipating her rising which would unfold their petals and straighten their necks to turn their faces toward the her.

Oh, yes, I was very, very sure of this.

And the sun, huge, warm, motherly, ever-so-slowly climbing, silhouetting the eastern tree line, seemed very sure of this as well.

The Wolfku Garden - 15

Too often these days
I don’t apologize, I
look for Control-Z

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It took quite a while (months, anyway) for my left-hand little-finger and long-finger to settle in the perfect motion of Control-Z, but now they can do it in their sleep.

And is there a more useful finger-movement combination on Earth?

You deleted the wrong file? No problem: Control-Z.

The formatting did not work. No problem: Control-Z.

You copied the wrong picture? No problem: Control-Z.

You added too much salt to the salad: Control-Z. Well, you wish.

You really should not have married her: Control-Z. Wish again.

Really, life should have a workable Control-Z, and each person born should be given at least a (non-transferable and non-inheritable) handful of them, to spend as they see fit in order to revers anything, and I mean anything that they regret or for whatever private reason (virtuous or not) intensely wish undone.

Yes, there needs to be a limit to how many Control-Zs each person gets. An unlimited supply just would not work (just imagine the havoc); I’d say five from birth, and then, by extremely good deeds one should be able to acquire additional ones but under no circumstances more than five more (i.e., never more than ten per lifetime). Also, there has to be a time limit on this thing. Any reversal must take place within, say, twenty-four hours, that’s my gut feeling. Longer than that and, again, havoc—say the guy who after thirty years of marriage decided to reverse: impractical would be the word. But within a day or so, manageable I would say.

 So, you threw away a winning lottery ticket: Control-Z. See, how handy is that?

So, over missed (as in overslept) a crucial job-interview: Control-Z. And this time you’re up on time and make it to the interview just fine. And wouldn’t you know, you got the job. See?

So, you realized you should have proposed last night, for now she’s mumbling about leaving town (and you) forever: Control-Z. And here you are, refreshed courage and ring and all, and she says yes. See?

As a lark, you voted for the most unlikely (and unqualified) presidential candidate ever, and OMG, he won!! Control-Z. And the world’s a better place for it. See?


The Wolfku Garden - 14

My morning poem
Alive from lack of this world
Come evening she’s dead

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 Quite often, I wake up in the middle of the night with some snippet of a poem or a suddenly urgent question or a nicely dancing set of seventeen syllables that claim to be a Wolfku refusing to let me fall all the way back to sleep until I make a note of it/them—lest I forget it/them come my four-a.m. morning.

To accommodate this, I have a ream or so of copy paper in my bedside stand drawer along with a trusted mechanical pencil, and these days I can reach out, pull the drawer open and select a sheet of paper (and fold it in half) along with the pencil (that I bought many years ago in a department store in Clearwater, Florida where the sales clerk categorically told me they absolutely had no mechanical pencils—ten steps after which I stumbled upon the display of them), and turn on my bedside lamp and without really waking up all the way write the snippet, question, Wolfku down. Then I clip the pencil to the folded sheet (facilitating reaching for the sheet and pencil again for the invariable revisions to sail into my head a minute or five or ten from now) and place it on top of the ream or so of still innocent sheets of paper.

Then I turn out the light, roll over onto my left side and try to re-enter sleep. An often-thankless task.

Yes, occasionally, I’ll drift back, but most of the time I muse the snippet or Wolfku a little and if I do I’ll invariably come up with something which I now have to write down, too, lest I forget it come morning.

So, I do: reach for the folded shee and pencil, turn on the light again and revise/add/refine/re-write, etc. the thought in question.

Then I return paper and pencil and try again to sleep, which more often than not leads to another revision.

Here, though, is the curious and often wonderful thing: The poem or the thought (since it is all that is going on for me at this hour of night), even if patently strange, makes perfect sense to me and strikes me as not only meaningful but perhaps important, too. Mankind needs to know of this (that’s why I cannot afford to forget these things, or so I tell myself).

My alarm goes off at 4 a.m. at which point I rise, silence the alarm and turn the cell phone off (I’m using an old, decommissioned but excellent cell phone as my alarm), brush my teeth, exercise, shave and shower, then do my morning sitting (Anapanasati Meditation). After that I usually read for an hour or so (Dhamma) and reflect on wise words uttered or written by wise people.

I then check/retrieve my night-time notes and enter them either in my journal or as a new Wolfku, etc.

Then it’s time to walk.

And still, even now, the night-time notes, the morning poem, my noted thoughts ring true, remain alive in me for lack of this awake (and very intrusive) world. Too much of the night still surrounds and permeates me (for meditation and reading and reflecting does not disturb that mood overly) to ruin the heart of the poem: yes, it still lives, and often I’ll worry it and revise a little during my walk.

However, upon arrival back from my hour’s walk, the awake world now makes a serious push for dominance as it arrives with its emails and blog posts and news and soccer scores and music to be selected to chop salad by, then the actual chopping and now the sitting down to the meal itself (it’s around 10 a.m., now, and this is my lunch).

And from there the day goes on. There’s yardwork to be done, there’s mail to collect, there’s shopping to do, there more email, there might be an article to write, and there is more and more awake world pushing out more and more night-time ditto, and by late afternoon or early evening, the poem has as often as not lost not only its meaning and importance but its breath, too. If I haven’t forgotten it altogether, it certainly seems no longer at all important.

As luck would have it, though, come next morning—the awake world cleared out of my head again, the poem (or one of its many siblings, newly born overnight or not) is alive and breathing again.

Perhaps I should never fully wake up, would that keep my poems alive? Or I should completely and forever wake up transcending all nights. Possibly the latter.