Inside the empty cabinet, the metal measuring tape
bends at 27-1/2 inches
and I am joyful for 27-1/2 X 10-1/2.
Wrote it down twice already and still cut the
contact paper wrong.
Somehow not bothered much when the plastic sticks to itself,
I pull it apart,
position each ill-fitting piece five, six, seven times.
smooth out the lumps and wrinkles in a personless state that can only be called
love for no reason. So
Shiva dreams.



No ground.
Endless universes spin into being at a thought and vanish.
What? Where? Who?
Nothing. Nowhere. No one.
No reason.
Love only.

What the hell?
No hell, no heaven.
No place to stand.
No place, no standing.

The eyes go warm
As I try to allow nothingness.
The cat looks inquiringly.
What are you doing?

Being present in the room.
Or is the room present in me?

The mind that doesn’t exist shuts it down and goes back to smaller dreams.
Petrified of endless, overwhelming, glorious existence and
Unable to resist its gentle, piercing love call,
I answer as I can.

lazy early morning cat

The lazy early morning cat opens one eye.
She has a different rhythm.
She is resting after tearing around the apartment during the night.
I awaken full of buzzing energy.
A new day?
I spend the night who knows where.
In consciousness of course.
The body is immobile in the bed.
The day-night thing is confusing.
As is the awake-dream thing.
It’s all happening at once.

I go to the doctor about my back.
Sorry you’re hurting, says Charles.
No body, no doctor.
For a moment I sit with it.
Then resume being me.

cats on acid

I complain that paying attention to the thoughts is excruciating and exhausting.
Nothing to do but wait for death, the teacher says.
Living or dead, either way, the ego goes.
It’s not going happily.
Keep noticing the thoughts, he says.
No hope, no fear, Pema Chodron says.

The sensations of heat in the body remind me
She is here. Where would She not be?
The cat appears as though condensed out of the air.
The brain scans of cats are equivalent to humans on acid.
Staring at things no one else can see.
Like the black blob near the ceiling right now.
The cat looks too.
As real as anything else.
All an illusion of Shakti, I’m told,
Or strings of vibrating energy.
Take your pick.

It’s not so gloomy all the time, the dying of the ego.
Eating soup. The eyes grow warm.
She is here, seeing Brussels sprouts,
The rosebush outside the window, the disorderly bookshelves.
I surrender, for a moment
To more love than I had ever imagined.


I turn the attention inward, or rather upward,
Or rather to no location.
Attended to, it gets bigger,
The responding subtle whiteness, energy, bliss.
Is this the reason for all the anxiety?
All I want really, anything else is unbearable.
Is the anxiety from separation? Turning attention to things I think I’m supposed to want?
Things I’m supposed to do?
When in fact I want nothing except more of the subtle whiteness.

Making Coffee

This morning making coffee I am beset with anxiety.
Will there be enough milk?
Last night I give Allegra half a gallon.
If there is enough left for my coffee.
Oh, there’s lots, she says, going out the door with it.
I shake the remaining carton, barely enough to make the latte.

Now I will have to go back to Costco for milk
Well, not now, later. Why think about later? Anxiety.
We went two days ago.
Do you need milk? Harvey says.
Only if the kids come over. We haven’t heard from them lately.
I am calculating the space in the refrigerator that would take five half gallons.

On the way to Costco two days ago
We come from the north, an unfamiliar direction.
Where do I turn? Asks Harvey.
Turn right on Delano I say.
Now where? he says.
Funny how we use now to mean next,
Now being ungraspable and quite the opposite of next.
You’ve been this way before, I snarl impatiently.
No, he says. Yes, I say. From the other direction.
Anxiety. Before me stretches a possibility of a long, dependent old age
Which has not yet occurred.
My limited observation of the elderly is that spatial cognition seems to go first.
But that is not really fair, since he has always been this way. I say nothing.
He figures it out. I bask in the small triumph of keeping my mouth shut.

Vickie is a particular bundle of likes and dislikes.
The cat comes in and claws the couch.
I throw the pen at her from across the room, missing on purpose, but she stops.
She sniffs at the crack under the front door, meows to get out.
Not safe.
My inclination is to let her go out, but the rest of them will never forgive me if a coyote gobbles her up.
I get up from the armchair and open the blinds for her. Small consolation.
But the finches rustling in the rosebush compel her to watch.
She is her own set of likes and dislikes.

I finish drinking the coffee.
The coffee making is terrifying this morning,
A complex process, vulnerable to accident at several points.
There’s only milk enough for one attempt.
I  keep everything out until it is finished, since putting things away as I go seems to be a jinx.
I take it as a spiritual practice, not to anticipate.

And yet, this morning I am acutely aware of the anxiety of everyday life.
The Teacher repeatedly says to pay attention. It took me a long time to figure out what that means.
It is excruciating watching the likes and dislikes,
A tangle of memory and anticipation.

January 2, 2016, 7:36 a.m.

Here, now, in this living room
Cosmic events are unfolding.
The cat loves my new fuzzy bathrobe.
She stretches out full length and kneads at my collarbones
With intense sensuality and a loud purr.

How to express that moment
When universes were here all at once.
Planets, stars, gods, saints, fullness of love that hurts.
Tears come.
No words suffice.

This morning I lit the new beeswax candle for the Divine Mother.
Who are You? I prayed.
Subsuming all moments, She replied.
I am gone beyond in that moment.
She always answers. I can count on it now.

The cat is back, draped over my belly.
The candle has gone out.

She is everything.

She is everything.


This moment a brush goes into paint.
Oh wait,
The paint was mixed the moment before.
Where is the time in the moment?
An event?

What about the steady vibration of cesium-133 atoms?
Well actually 9.19 billion times the period of a photon from the electron transition of caesium-133 (Wikipedia).
How much trouble to define a moment.
Indefinable. or perhaps
Does not-time exist all the time?

A mark on the canvas. More and more.
This moment the canvas is different.
A record of moments.
Indefinable and yet experienced.

The Japanese Missionary

I have developed an aversion to Christmas I told the group. The topic was Christmas cards. Or holiday cards as many of us call them. I made some. Don’t know what this aversion is. Makes me think of when I used to make linoleum block print Christmas cards.

movement of shakti

Merry Christmas everyone! That’s sincere, strangely enough. Don’t ask me, I just watch. The image is a representation of the creative life force.

Something unconscious. What is that, the unconscious mind? Thoughts and feelings I don’t know anything about that surface occasionally. What does it mean that there’s an unconscious mind? A big part that is not under my control. Looking back, I’m not in control of the waking part either.

The life goes on, waking or sleeping. Obviously goes on without my help.

I remember the day I came home from spring break, to begin a week of freedom from teaching physical science at Taft High School. Spring break, an opportunity to make art. I had some success as a printmaker. But careless with the solvents, started getting sick. Seeing me wash my hands with lacquer thinner, the teacher said Don’t do that. It’s really bad for the body. Well he actually said it’s really bad for you. But not me really, just the body.

The life lived on, conscious and unconscious currents. Spring break time for art. A surfaced desire, coming from where? I had gone to a lecture on Japanese wood block printing, which uses water-based inks. Okay, I thought, in that other previous moment, maybe I can do that. That spring break must have been 1986.

In Little Tokyo, found wood carving tools and instructions—IN JAPANESE. Bought some ink. Carved. Wood chips flew everywhere, nestled in the olive green shag carpet.

Does the moment move forward or is it a network of thoughts and feelings?

Carved the block in my living room in the company of the cat that left claw holes in the curtain every time he scaled it. I later fastidiously plugged each hole with white acrylic paint so the points of light didn’t show through. The cat was white and stepped in my palette on his way to climb the white curtains, or somewhere else, as desires arise in a cat, from where? I wiped his feet with a paper towel. The same cat that played fetch with aluminum foil balls.

Rice paper, ink, no usable images. Sheets of paper flung about. Despair. Wood chips got mixed with the ink. Utter desolation. The unconscious seized the body, flung it on the bed, hit it with fists. My fists? Sobbing, screaming, God, you have to help me and you have to help me right now!

Knock on the door. Not five minutes later. What happened in between? An infinite number of moments, not part of the story and not remembered. The Japanese missionary stares at me after I open the door. He looks around the room at the litter. Hanga, he says finally. Yes, yes, I can’t believe it. Hanga is Japanese for print. Yes! Yes! Do you know how to do it? No. He wants to pray for me. Sure. He wants me to come to a lecture. Sure. I don’t go. I go on to teach myself painting with acrylics.