Sunday, April 30

walk in the woods

I went for a walk today to break in the hiking boots I got for my trip to Utah. Two things came of it:

Seeing shells, seeing bottles,
I learn the hunter's mantra:
beer then deer.

Feet, lost in forest:
one of the few times
when I know where I am.

The folly of "private property" occurred to me over and over as I wandered through land owned by various people. It was all forest. There were no boundaries there, no marks of any human kind (except for 100 year old, crumbling stone walls). I saw deer, I saw squirrels, I saw dried up streams and lively green ponds. I never wanted to "own" any of it; that would destroy the very thing that made the land so special. I simply wished to exist there, in the chaotic nest of creation, the thriving circle of death and rebirth. More traditional faculties kicked in, however, when I heard the sounds of a person not too far off; it sounded like they were revving a bike or quad engine or using some kind of power tool. I headed in the opposite direction. I left nothing behind me and took nothing with me, yet technically, I was breaking a law. For existing. Laws are funny.

I went to a book fair this morning and found the only three books that weren't about monotheism in the religion section; of them, I bought a historical look at buddhist development ("The Buddhist Tradition") and a collection of Zen stories ("Zen Flesh, Zen Bones"). The other book was about all the religions of India; it didn't particularly interest me. I also found a collection of Haikus (mostly Japanese) in the poetry section, so I've been playing with haikus in my head all day.

My uncle came over for dinner and I watched sports with him and my father. I don't typically watch sports, but I thought I'd try it today so I could be with family. By the end of the game I was even rooting for a side (Not wanting to spoil it, I didn't divulge my philosophy on sports: that every team is logically equivalent since players and coaches are swapped around incessantly) along with my dad and uncle. That side lost by a point.

Monday, April 24


I was sitting in Economics class before the bell and overheard two students talking behind me. A boy was chatting with the girl behind him about why he would be out on Wednesday. He said he was joining the Marines, and would be out for a physical test. He said he knew if he went to college he'd "drink every day and fuck up," so he chose the corps instead. I noticed that his head was shaved, unlike the last time I saw him, and his demeanor considerably less carefree. He hoped the Marines would bring structure to his life.

Tuesday, April 18


I made this a while ago and forgot, but I still like some of the poetry I wrote...
poetry by me

gudo nishijimi q&a

Monday, April 17

a park

Riding past the blooming trees to work today I remembered something I saw a few months ago, before I started this blog.

I was going out with L one evening and had time to kill before I picked her up, so I drove out to a sleepy little town a few miles from mine. I had been to the bookshop there recently to buy a book as a gift for someone and noticed a park that my mom used to take me to when I was younger. On this day, when time was my victim, I decided I'd go check it out. It was still winter and around 4:30 or 5, so I figured I'd be alone (no parents wondering why a tall bearded boho was hanging around near their kids). I parked nearby and walked in.

The park was just as beautiful as I remembered; at the front was an old brick wall with a large iron gate. It opened into several flights of cement stairs flanked by a small (mostly dried) pond and very tall trees. I walked up to the top and found the slide that I used to love - it is about 20 feet tall and spiral-shaped (it was a lot smaller than I remembered it - probably because I'm 6' now) - and new playground equipment to its right. A tall flag post - adorned with a flapping American flag - marked the center of the square and a beautifully shaded WWI memorial filled the left-side wall. Since the park was at the top of a hill it afforded an amazing view of the setting sun.

I strode around, pausing under the trees and reading the memorial. I watched the sun for several minutes. It was incredibly serene and peaceful. Before long life butted in and reminded me I had a girl to pick up, so I headed back down the stairs. Passing through the gate to the sidewalk I noticed an old plaque thanking a local benefactor for funding the park's construction, originally as just a WWI memorial.

At that moment I realized what the park was: A beautiful stage of peace funded by a capitalist to memorialize a terrible war offering a place for today's children to grow and epitomizing ebullient nationalism.

And should any of those parts be left out, it would not exist as it does now: a whole.

Friday, April 14

murder fountain

the fountain across the road from my building was the site of the most number of violent crimes in the city in one year at one point. It's a soldiers' memorial, solid white, and adorned with angelic figures. When turned on, it spouts out water in an interesting pattern; when turned off, it looks like a forsaken sink. It's flanked by a brick block of flats and a poorly maintained road; around it are large, black, naked trees. Throughout the fall and winter it was a desolate and ominous spot to pass by before and after work, especially after dark.

This week the trees blossomed; I don't know what kind of trees they are, but they now sport beautiful white flowers all over their branches. The whole fountain is surrounded by these flowery clouds, as is most of the city. Yesterday, someone was practicing saxophone in one of the apartments while people strolled under the trees. Kids from the townhouses down the street played by the benches.

Wednesday, April 12

moving truck

my car was behind a large white box truck on the arterial after work. I didn't pay much attention to it; on its back was pasted some lopsided signs and its sides were covered in graffitti. At the next stop light one of the signs - the lower, more crooked one - caught my eye; at the top it said "Moving for the needy - load your own truck" then a phone number, then "God love you." I followed the truck until the next red light, which it ran, leaving me at the front of the line of cars.

Monday, April 10


I meditated outside after work today. I figured that my parents think I'm crazy meditating - I don't ever talk about buddhism with them, they're not big on religion - so I walked out to the lot next to our house under the pretense of an afternoon stroll. It, like most of the area around my house, was part of the thick forest surrounding my town; there was a swamp here that used to capture my imagination when I was younger and streams and paths cutting through the trees. Whoever owned the lot, however, had decided a couple years ago that they'd fix it up to sell. The swamp - and most of the two acres around it - have been transformed into a rocky flatland bordered by thin lines of trees and massive piles of dirt. The sight of the place used to fill me with wrath...When they first tried to sell the lot back when I was a freshman in high school (I think), I had taken the For Sale sign and hurled it into the swamp in the middle of the night. I came to accept it, eventually, but I never looked upon it with any sort of appreciation until today.

I stepped into the site and meandered about like a cat seeking a napping place; eventually I just kind of sat without knowing why. I set my timer - for 10 minutes, today - and focused my eyes ahead. Directly in front of me was ripped up ground, flattened out to make way for bulldozers and the like. Beyond about 50 square feet of this was a copse of trees, then an old stone wall left over from when this whole area was used for agriculture. To my left was the sun, peering through the tops of pine trees, and to the right was a thin line of trees separating the forest from the road and some houses. Behind me were more piles of broken earth and all around me were insects, bouncing and buzzing.

The place seemed to take on a peculiar beauty as soon as I sat down - it did not provoke the anger I used to feel when looking at the construction site. It was easy to understand impermanence here; There were healthy trees, dead trees, torn trees. There was one lone tree in the center of a patch of destroyed earth, still scraping the sky 30 ft up. On this land would eventually be a house, or someone's lawn or driveway. Kids would probably play here. A dog would probably wander around. And 50 years ago? It was just part of a produce-covered field, as evidenced by the crumbling stone wall.

It was this that occurred to me as insects landed and flew from my head, and it was then that I smiled.

Sunday, April 9


we were watching The Deer Hunter at a friend's house on saturday. His door was opened into his hallway and his kind-of-old dog would occasionally sit in the door frame and watch us, either coming in to request petting or wandering off. At one point she walked up and sat down again, peering around, when one of my friend's rather unaffectionate cats came to the door too. This cat would stiffly reject the touch of any human, so i was wondering what it was doing so close to the dog. While south vietnamese people and americans were being tortured by north vietnamese people on the television screen, the cat started propping itself up on its hind legs and rubbing its head against the dog's chin; next, it nuzzled up against its forearms and rolled onto its back. The dog looked peered at it down her nose and sniffed it once or twice, but never seemed to be bothered by the feline's presence.

Friday, April 7

Nice summation of texts on mindfulness

Thursday, April 6


I was in the gym locker room today getting ready to work out when this big, bear of a guy came in. He had obviously been ripped at one time; though now, in his 40s or so, he had put on many pounds. He had the tanned skin and gritty demeanor of someone who's done hard manual labor for years. His words were peppered with vulgarity but he spoke humbly and without condescension. He complained about health troubles - he had recently had a carpal tunnel operation and suffered from pains in his back and arms. He was here to work out despite this. I left the locker room before he did and went about doing whatever for an hour; afterwards, while I was changing, he came in again. He said he needed some discipline - it was a lot easier when he was only seventeen. Now, he just wants to go crash on the couch. Then I left.


I was reading something, on the internet; it occurred to me that all the letters were arranged in column formation. Just, the columns were turned on their sides and each letter was rotated to lie on its side.

Wednesday, April 5

door damage

I was at the coffee house for chess night waiting for my chai with espresso with a friend. We heard some talking from behind the back door and dismissed it; perhaps this building was connected with the one behind it. The owner didn't hear it over the sound of the espresso machine; when it shut off, there was a distinct scrabbling noise coming from the other side of the door. The owner, who's usually a very calm guy, heard it and started running for the front door. We just stared after him, asking if something was wrong, and he just shouts that someone's trying to break the door. We stood there and made a move or two in chess; in the back, the owner's voice could be heard along with one or two others. Eventually he came back in, out of breath, and apologized. He said some kids - 14 or 15 - were trying to rip the handle off the door with a crowbar. They weren't trying to break in or anything, he said, since they knew people were inside, but he supposed they just didn't have anything else to do. Apparently this is the second time they've tried it - with people in the building - and have gotten caught.

Tuesday, April 4


I ate lunch at the pizzeria near my school today. As I was walking back to school, I heard some other kids talking behind me. It was a group of girls who don't usually walk back and forth; today, though, their male friends thought it would be funny if they didn't give them a ride. The group of friends always seemed to be joking around, and always seemed inseperable - I saw them every day (they amassed near my locker before heading out on free periods). Today, though, I just heard the girls on their own. They complained about how much they disliked some of the guys they hung out with every day. "[so-and-so]'s always been a dick. [so-and-so] is nice sometimes, but he's an asshole too!" They spoke venomously, and I was surprised. Tomorrow I'll probably see them at the cafe as usual, laughing and joking.

a dream

Last night I had a dream. It was unsettling. The setting was a small classroom, I suspect it was Mr. Norman's music class from 3rd grade, a place that caused me much stress and crying when I was in it. A friend of mine was screaming at my economics teacher, who's actually really cool guy, for being conservative. He looked sad. I didn't want to see it so I stood in the corner at a chalkboard drawing with some yellow chalk. Only, there were speckles of red chalk littered all over the yellow chalk and everything I drew was tinged this sickly, muddy orange. I drew the faces of several people, my own face inches from the board, and thought they were beautiful. Whenever I pulled my head back, though, their skin had the color of rotting flesh. Not that I've ever really seen rotted flesh, but the pale yellow mixed with clumps of red inspired that connotation for some reason. Then I woke up.

coffee gold

I was drinking black coffee in the cafe near my school during a free period. It was in a cheap styrofoam cup, the kind that tends to infuse its contents with the taste of synthetic material. I was doing math homework with one hand and holding the coffee with the other, occasionally blowing on its black surface to make it drinkable. I glanced at it and noticed a ring of bubbles around the edges of the top of the liquid. At first they looked like the brine on the side of an old ship; bulbous, bunched together in small clumps. I looked closer and blew on the drink a little more, and they began forming neat rows around the rim of the cup. They looked golden, and solid, but would always float back to the top of the coffee if they fell of the styrofoam wall.

Monday, April 3

I've only just heard

Laurel is amazing at everything
My sources wish to remain anonymous.

man crosses street

I was driving to work today; it was a gray day and my car had just gotten back from the shop. There was a strange kind of vibration in the floor, and it made me slightly unsettled. I stopped a a stoplight and saw a man cross the street. He was short, but had long and scraggly hair that seemed to compensate for it. It was pulled into a pony tail and left hanging out from under a dirty white and black baseball cap. The sides of his head were shaven, but he had a small brown goatee framing his mouth. He wore what looked like a woman's coat; it stretched down to his knees or therabout. It was a dull tan and glistened, probably from the rain. He carried an umbrella about halfway down its length. His face was stolid. He walked off into a municipal parking lot.

Saturday, April 1

outside today

I meditated outside;
The sky way half gray and the breeze had gotten cooler. I sat crosslegged facing a tree which stood crookedly facing the forest behind our house. I found out that my contacts would dry out if my eyes didn't move every 30 seconds or so, but it didn't bother me. I had read today that one should focus everything at the end of his nose. Be attentive to what is in front of him. I did this, but found myself fixating on different objects. A tree. The forest. The wind. A leaf. A clump of moss. A small fly on my knuckle. All of these things we beautiful, but they kept giving rise to concepts, summations. It was not till I tilted my head back ever so slightly and unfocused my eyes that I smiled.

I set a timer on my cell phone to go off after 5 minutes. I had found that, though I had a desire to meditate, my mind would continue going out of kilter wondering how long I had been sitting there. I felt that if I could reassure myself that the timer would fire, I would not worry about the time. I was right, and ironically, I did not hear the timer go off, though it was right next to me. I'm not sure how long I sat there. I stopped, and as I stood and stretched, the sky grew immediately dark. I could hear a strong wind approaching through the forests and it battered my back as I went in the back door. It began to rain soon after. I went inside and my mother offered me a brownie sundae. I'm not big on sweets, but I knew she wanted to make it for me. She likes making me food, I think; especially treats like that. So I accepted, and I'm eating my mother's love out of a bowl as I type. That does sound strange, doesn't it?


I should be doing the following things before work:
Go to the bank
Work on english project
Not be trolling about online

Yet I have an overwhelming desire to go sit outside in a pair of shorts. The grass is green today.

Caught in between duty and desire, I'm compromising by sitting in my room where it smells quite nice thanks to my window being open all night. There's a nice breeze on my back; it feels like the back of cool fingernails lightly sliding across my skin. Spring time is good. There are no loud children or dogs barking or people driving by. There's not even a rustle in the leaves since they're still dead. Just some birds. And this amazing breeze. And this perfect smell. This beautiful atom shuffle.

A friendly imperative: