If Only They Told Me

Till Death Do Us Part

If only they told me
Right from the beginning
“they die you know
these people
to whom you attach your fondness
and they are even harder to detach
from your heart and mind”
we should be reminded daily
told over and over
like the warnings
on cigarette packages
love is addictive
avoid inhaling
because withdrawal
causes emotional attacks on the heart
for which there is no cure
but realization
comes with crisis
when we bury these loves
and they don’t decompose
in our lifetime.

Till Death Do Us Part

These Lips

These lips I kiss

Form after form
Somehow taste very familiar
Who is this evasive woman I seek?
So I can recite my lines
And engage in dialogue
And when I find
Her form full
That she cannot accommodate my content
Off I go searching
For another form
To fill with words
Tell me
Who writes this script?
Let me have a word with him
Look
I need a cue
Tell me once and for all
To whom am I to speak
Confess these words of the heart
Who are we casting for the part?
I’m tired of rehearsing.

Like a Spider

LIKE A SPIDAR
I’ve unwrapped you
Like a spider does a fly
Stealing encounters
Taking advantage of the translucent web
That I’ve set
Between the moon and desire.
But now I sit in the middle
And call out
“Hey fly, won’t you come to me?
So I can eat you?”
It’s an offering that I want
You refuse.
So like an honest spider
I guess I will starve.

Pilgrimage To Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Grave

Many years ago I made a couple of pilgrimages to Fyodor Dostoevsky’s grave. In this series I only posted one photograph of his grave and a variety other pictures. Recently a good Russian friend of mine sent me this quote fromt he Brother’s Karamazov and so I would like to repost it here; as well as one of my favorite quotes The Idiot about living each minute to the fullest. Enjoy.

“You see, stupid as I am, I still keep thinking about it, I keep thinking, every once in a while, of course, not all the time. Surely it’s impossible, I think, that the devils will forget to drag me down to their place with their hooks when I die. And then I think: hooks? Where do they get them? What are they made of? Iron? Where do they forge them? Have they got some kind of factory down there? You know, in the monastery the monks probably believe there’s a ceiling in hell, for instance. Now me, I’m ready to believe in hell, only there shouldn’t be any ceiling; that would be, as it were, more refined, more enlightened, more Lutheran, in other words. Does it really make any difference–with a ceiling or without a ceiling? But that’s what the damned question is all about! Because if there’s no ceiling, then there are no hooks. And if there are no hooks, the whole thing falls apart, which, again, is unlikely, because then who will drag me down with hooks, because if they don’t drag me down, what then, and where is there any justice in the world? Il faudrait les inventer, those hooks, just for me, for me alone. Because you have no idea, Alyosha, what a stinker I am…!”

“No, there are no hooks there,” Alyosha said quietly and seriously, studying his father.”Yes, yes. Only shadows of hooks. I know, I know.”–The Brothers Karamazov (tr Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s,The Idiot
Part one chapter 5
Translated by: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
First Vintage Classics edition July 2003

“He was dying at the age of twenty-seven, healthy and strong; bidding farewell to his comrades, … There was a was a church nearby, and the top of the cathedral with its gilded dome shone in the bright sun. He remembered gazing with terrible fixity at that dome and the rays shinning from it: it seemed to him that those rays were his new nature and in three minutes he would somehow merge with them…The ignorance of and loathing for this new thing that would be and would come presently were terrible; yet he said nothing was more oppressive than for him than the constant thought: “What if I were not to die! What if life were given back to me – what infinity! And it would all be mine! Then I’d turn each I’d turn each minute into a whole age, lose nothing, I’d reckon up every minute separately, I’d let nothing be wasted! He said that in the end this thought turned into such anger in him that he wished they would hurry up and shoot him.” (P.60-1)

 

Love is Road Kill

Love is Road Kill

Just let the little animal inside you love

Read this poem

And so I tried

To cross the busy highway to your heart

That relentless, raging river of steel

And carbon monoxide

Well I tried.

 

Excavator, Dump Truck, Tractor and Bulldozer

I’ve long been fascinated with heavy equipment and how it can transform the land. Over the years I have been lucky to have been able to approach these machines and their operators. It is such a pleasure to watch them work, especially the good ones. The equipment they use becomes an extension of their bodies and it is amazing to see with what detail they can operate these machines. This is a photo essay dedicated to Justin Brock and Billy Woodard and their crew. They have been landscaping the terrain at the Live Like Water Retreat and accentuating its beauty, and defining its beauty.

Sex On Saturday… Szekszardi Cheap Hungarian Red Wine But Tom’s East Vin Gets it Better!

I dedicate this post to Tom and East Vin in East Vancouver. Because I can’t make wine in his shop…which I’d love (to death) I end up choosing affordable red wines at the SAQ and yes I am aware how much provincial tax I pay per bottle…In the future…very near future this must change…even if Tom does not move back east… Why don’t they (the government) just club us and rob us out right…very soon we Canadians will be making Afghanistan wine Soviet style…Tank break line fluid filtered though burnt toast into container of fermenting fruit…shaken and not stirred! Don’t forget old East Bulgarian Tooth paste from the old Soviet Block days…if you still have a secret stash do share…because we can’t live in the civilized west anymore…not at the prices they charge! Make your own wine and if you’re in Vancouver Go see Tom At East Vin!

Yegor Dyachkov and Jonathan Crow

I saw Yegor Dyachkov and Jonathan Crow perform at Mc Gill’s Pollack hall. I remember Shostakovitch was on the program; my reason for going. It was a pleasure to hear them. Unfortunately, I only had my point and shoot camera, and of course a flash would have been inappropriate.  However, I was able to capture these photographs of the performance. If you ever have an opportunity to hear these musicians I encourage you to do so, they are wonderful.

Zen Walking

shit and clover

Zen Walking.

Oh brother in law!
You teach me
To meditate
On each step I take
Never to look too far ahead
To concentrate
Because oh brother in law
Your dog shits everywhere
Especially out side my door
Turds clustered
Like land mines
Oh brother in law
I guess I’m soon to be
A Zen master
With no shit between my toes
Or under the soles of my feet
Oh brother in law
I thank you!

Remembering Rememerence Day

On Monday, November 15th, our neighbor, a World War Two veteran, died in hospital of a brain hemorrhage. One day, he told me how it was his job to fish out the bodies of his fallen comrades out of the water.  He witnessed many horrific events and lived with these past events quietly. He was 86 when he died on November 15th 2010. A bachelor all his life, he depended on good neighbors to help him with daily tasks that he could not do by himself. He was a strong and independent man with a kind heart. Unfortunately, he didn’t remember those who helped him survive and function in  his civilian years…the good neighbors who were there for him when he needed them most…but that’s a subject for another photo essay and poem.  This photo essay is dedicated to all Veterans who have served our country. Lest We Forget the sacrifices that have been performed on our behalf.

Korean Buddhist Monk Doll with Poppy

Just a note the gray doll with the Poppy is a Korean Buddhist Doll. If you press it in the center it chants the 108 pre-recorded Buddhist mantras. I mention this because to most Westerners it looks like a Nazi Doll. The Swastika predates the meaning it assumed in the early 20th century with the rise of Hitler’s Nazi party. While living in South Korea I traveled to many Buddhist temples to talk with the Korean Monks. When I fist saw the symbol I was confused, and that was when I was taught the earlier meaning of the symbol. One of the explanations I received was that for Buddhism this emblem represents a perfect circle once it spins: hence enlightenment. I included this picture in the photo essay to commemorate all those who lost their lives serving in the Korean War. May peace reign.

For further reading and references concerning the swastika and its association with Eastern Religions please consult Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

Historical use in the East

“The swastika is a historical sacred symbol in Indian religions. It rose to importance in Buddhism during the Mauryan Empire and in Hinduism with the decline of Buddhism in India during the Gupta Empire. With the spread of Buddhism, the Buddhist swastika reached Tibet and China.” Quoted from Wikipedia

A TRASPARENT EXPLANATION

x ray

x ray

A TRANSPARENT EXPLANATION

The X-rays are proof
Conclusive evidence
Exposing my nature
Confirming my small heart
And poor circulation
“you’re so cold” you say
but that’s the way I was made
my love is detached
lobotomized
severed from the sentimentality of my mind
I got the X-rays today
So you could see for yourself.

Dog Eye Bone

p9240234

DOG EYE BONE

The city
That butcher
Hacks
Through meat and bone
And I snap at the pieces
My muzzle gnaws
Drops
And
Gnaws
Drops
And
Snaps
At another
And another
Another
Another
My dog eye bone
Tense
At the presence of other muzzles
Snapping at choice cuts of meat
I growl with savage hunger
Never satisfied
Because
There’s always another
And yet no one
I can swallow
To nourish my soul

p9240233

p92402171

 

IN THIS CHICKEN COOP

chicken coop

chicken coop

Audio version in-this-chicken-coop

IN THIS CHICKEN COOP

In this chicken coop
We are
Economic transactions
Paying prices
Set and stamped
Pecking at bar codes
Like chickens
QQQQQQQ QQQQQQQ
Quantity
QQQQQQQ QQQQQQQ
Quantity
Willingly we enter
Massive barns
Like warehouses
And we con con constantly
Consume
The lowest price
Which dictates law
The selection has been made
A fat little finger with a gold diamond ring
Pointing either to the right or the left
On the shelf the result
Products strong enough to be made use of
All standing at attention
Ready for our inspection
Well placed at eye level
Yes the lucky ones
With bar codes tattooed upon their backs.
Outside the sky is blackened
By the chimneys
Busy recycling
The feeble independents
And the cremated labeled outlaws
Are repackaged, and sold as compost
Gardening
Aisle 4
We continue
Con con consuming
Fattening ourselves
While breeders record statistics
And the grease of maximum efficiency
Keeps the d-boning machine
Well lubricated.

The Chicken Grinder

The Chicken Grinder

Fertilizer

Fertilizer

Surviours For Now

Survivors For Now

STATIC

Radio

Radio

STATIC

The radio was playing
Broadcasting
And we were communicating
But I thought I could do better
So I tried to say more
From the frequency stationed in my mind
With an adjustment
I thought I could
get my voice
and message clearer
And so I moved the dial
Raised the antenna
And my tongue fumbled
Now there’s static
And garbled words
A multitude of voices
Struggling to say something
Nothing makes sense
And I’m sorry to have touched the dial
But I had to try
To tune in with you.

To the Candy Princess

Glow With Me

Glow With Me

To the Candy Princess

From This Field
From this poppy field
I confess
I’m comfortable
From here I contemplate
Listening to echo’s
With my minds memory playing out
The Symphonie Fantastique
Re-remembering the dance I danced
At La BAL
From this field
I can see and hear them
Busy busy bees
Busy body bees
Buzzing around your flower
And some of them old pricks
Peckers ready to penetrate and pollinate
And even the wasps and horny hornets seem to smell your candy
Annoying, persistent buggers
Wanting to suck
Your sugary sweet secretions in the sun
Always at the ready with their sting-hers’
From here I can see
It’s best not to get too close
Pick no flowers
Roll in the weed
And stare at the stars in silence

Night Sky

A SOUTH KOREAN SCHOOL ASSEMBLY

llw6 258

A SOUTH KOREAN SCHOOL ASSEMBLY

I stand in the empty
Teachers room
By the window
Behind the flag
Watching
Pubescent boys
Ordered into formation
Looking up
To the structurally elevated authority
The principals harsh face
Stares down from the podium
His mouth contorts
Spitting
Shouting into the microphone
That amplifies
And distorts his words
On either side
Teachers form
A barrier
Like generals
Reviewing parades
From up top of mausoleums
But from here
I can see the fidgeting
Restless shifting from foot to foot
And the Ethics teacher
Discreetly
Relieving
The persistent
Irritating
itch
hemorrhoids.

 

 

Fyodor Dostoevsky:excerpt from The Idiot

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Reading Fyodor Dostoevsky has had a strong impact on me. I felt compelled to make a pilgrimage to his gravesite in St.Petersburg, Russia. I did so on several occasions, just so I could have a have a little chat with my mentor. Here is one of the Photographs I took the last time I was there, and also one of my favorite quotes from the novel The Idiot. This is Prince Myshkin recounting an encounter with a man that was once led to a scaffold for a public execution…

“He was dying at the age of twenty-seven, healthy and strong; bidding farewell to his comrades, … There was a church nearby, and the top of the cathedral with its gilded dome shone in the bright sun. He remembered gazing with terrible fixity at that dome and the rays shinning from it: it seemed to him that those rays were his new nature and in three minutes he would somehow merge with them…The ignorance of and loathing for this new thing that would be and would come presently were terrible; yet he said nothing was more oppressive than for him than the constant thought: “What if I were not to die! What if life were given back to me – what infinity! And it would all be mine! Then I’d turn each I’d turn each minute into a whole age, lose nothing, I’d reckon up every minute separately, I’d let nothing be wasted! He said that in the end this thought turned into such anger in him that he wished they would hurry up and shoot him.” (P.60-1)

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.

Part one chapter 5

Translated by: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

First Vintage Classics edition July 2003

THE SQUID

Squid Drying

Squid Drying

THE SQUID

I ate dried squid
Feasted on it’s tentacles
Burnt them over my gas range stove
Then dipped them in mayonnaise
And I thought
As I chewed and chewed
How stupid the squid is
To jump into traps
Light being the only bait
Just like moths that burn themselves in the flame
The squid are caught and eaten
Must be retribution
For past life crimes
I thought
As I chewed and chewed
The stupid squid
Until the next morning
When I awoke
With sore gum’s
And teeth
Unable to move my mouth
Ahhhh
Then I realized
And bowed to the squid
My teacher!

Run Young Heart Run

Turtle at Heart

Turtle at Heart

Run Young Heart Run

I’m wiser
Older
Though I may feel my pulse race
I run not
Anymore
Run young heart
Run
From where I stand
It’s a chess game
Strategic, calculated moves
So let the rabbit run the race
Run young heart run
There’s lots to chase
But only one to catch

dsc_01911

Fishing for Love

no fishing for me

Small Mouth Bass

In shallow water
Warmed by the sun
In a tranquil part of the stream
A shinny lure
Caught my eye
And I struck with force
And the lure lurched back
Ripping my lips
But it could have been worse
Had the hook set properly
The vicious fight for freedom
Or
Frying pan
I escaped this angle-her
Who has already caught her limit
They’re by her boots
A strand of blond hair
Threaded through their gills
Awaiting her recipes
I’m the lucky one
This time
And so I wait
For this season to pass
And her fishing license
To expire.

The Fishing Lodge

Remember
You told me
About the northern lodge
Where you worked for a summer
In the season of your beauty
As a fishing guild
Leading men
Remember
How you bated them all
Into falling in love with you?
And how angry you got
At the one
Who didn’t strike
At your charming lures
remember how he said
you were angling the shallow waters of attention
and all stops shinning
when the seasonal sun sets
remember?

Here in Time

dsc_0010

Here in Time

There is no escape

Stairs yes

Sometimes a chute

Another way

Yes, sure

Why not

But there is no escape

Everything is slipping from me my friend

The end?

Perhaps

Either way

There is no escape

Its just you

Here in time

Doing time

It’s time’s doing

And I drop some

And some more

I can’t carry anymore

Why and how I did

I wonder still

And when I’m still

The wind speaks and says

There is no escape

We just find ourselves

Here in time

And if we’re lucky

We discover why we’re here

Here, in time.

The Live Like Water Story: The Chinatown Years

These are pictures from the Chinatown years in Vancouver BC. Taken during the time I had no Camera.Well my Nikon Fm was out of commission and I couldn’t afford to have it fixed.These shots were taken by Al Roy, Arthur and myself using their cameras. As long as I had my typerwriters and paper I was fine. I, in those days I wrote instead of photographing. Only towards the end of my stay I did some shooting and self portraits using Tri X.But you’ll see those pictures in due time; I’m a tea turtle after all! The Last two pictures are from when I went dark and atmospheric! I’ve never returned to the light since… well and update I can share the Live Like Water web site … steep on by www.livelikewater.com

 

Golden Gate Center,Chinatown Vancouver

Golden Gate Center,Chinatown Vancouver

Tea Shop From No-Where

Tea Shop From No-Where

And From No-Where A Polish Freak Dressed Like a Korean Selling Tea to The Chinese!

And From No-Where A Polish Freak Dressed Like a Korean Selling Tea to The Chinese!

Steep This Way

Steep This Way

Sales Pitch

Sales Pitch

Life's More Than Tea Bags!

Life’s More Than Tea Bags!

First 5 Bucks

First 5 Bucks

tearoom_chinatown

 

self portrait

self portrait

Korean Tea Pot Types and the Breaking in Process

Korean Tea Set

Korean Tea Set

Before you begin using your tea set it is important to determine what type of tea you will be using it for. The reason for this is because whatever tea you will use will be absorbed into the cracks of the pottery. Generally potters and connoisseurs suggest one teapot for one type of tea. For example one for green tea, another for Oolong and a third for black or red teas.

Over time the teapot that you use will take on the particular character of the teas that you drink. This is especially true for Chinese, clay pots. Because they are not glazed and the tea seeps into the tea pot. A gummy residue forms and leaves its deposits. They say that after extended use you will be able to pour in water and get tea without using any leaves!

There two distant types of Korean pottery; Bek Ja and Boon Chung. “The former” is the older style and it is generally characterized by its rough texture and intricate crack lines. Usually the glaze that covers it’s surface is either thinly or partially applied to expose its true character. However potters can manipulate its appearance and make it look as if it were in the Bek Ja style and vice versa. The Bek Ja style is smoother in texture and is closer to the ideal of perfection. They prefer to make this type of pottery in the north. There are not so many crack lines that are visible in this type of pottery. Also because of it’s glazing it can be used to serve different kinds of tea. Personally I, and the potters that I have met prefer to make Boon Chung pottery because it is more interesting in design and texture; through it the Master Potters express the warmth of being human; and being human means to be imperfect.

Before you start to use the tea set I suggest you cook it! Immerse the set into a pot of boiling water, add some green tea, or which ever you will be using, and simmer for a few hours. Then let it soak over night. This will break in your tea set and also bring out the natural crack lines.

Once you start using your tea set, here are practical ways for cleansing. I recommend just rinsing the pottery in hot water after using. Over time, residue may start to build up. These tea stains are easy to get rid of, just use a clean cloth to rub the cups, pouring bowl and the outside of the teapot. Personally I don’t think it is necessary to clean the inside of the pot. But you may if you wish. The other option, that some potters have suggested is to use natural detergents, even coffee grinds are good. What ever you do not use commercial detergents. They will seep into the pottery; and with the delicacy of green tea you don’t want a soapy taste.

Vipassana Meditation As Taught By S.N. Goenka, in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin

Along the journey I have had the privilege to have been introduced to Vipassana Meditation by a dear friend, Richard Honsberger. If it were not for his insight, I might still be blind. When I was ready, I made the time to do a ten day meditation retreat. It was a great opportunity to sit and face myself; and once I had completed the ten day retreat, I came out beaming, full of energy, and healthy; due to the generosity and loving hands of the volunteers who prepared the delicious vegetarian meals to sustain us all while we did the real work we were meant to do. I have done several sits since, and for those who are interested in experiencing meditation in a secure environment, and do not know where to start I suggest Vipassana Meditation. Here is some information from their site. Do visit them at http://www.dhamma.org/

For those of you out in my neck of the woods there is a centre in Sutton, Quebec.

Quebec Vipassana Meditation Centre

Dhamma Suttama

Sutton, QC, Canada

http://www.dhamma.org/en/schedules/schsuttama.shtml

Vipassana Meditation As Taught By S.N. Goenka

in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin

This is the international home page of the organizations which offer courses in Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka and his assistant teachers in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin

Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art of Living. For those who are not familiar with Vipassana Meditation, an Introduction to Vipassana by Mr. Goenka and Questions & Answers about Vipassana are available.


The technique of Vipassana Meditation is taught at ten-day residential courses during which participants learn the basics of the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results.


There are no charges for the courses – not even to cover the cost of food and accommodation. All expenses are met by donations from people who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the opportunity to also benefit.


Courses are given in numerous Meditation Centers and at non-center course locations at rented sites. Each location has its own schedule of courses. In most cases, an application for admission to each of these courses can be made online.

Traditional Korean wood kiln fired pottery

When our eye’s first encounter traditional Korean tea sets they might think that they are defective in some way. The cups are not perfectly round. In fact they’re lopsided, and the hand painted sets seem to have been thinly and sloppily applied, with runs dried into place. But all this is done Intentionally.So what does all this mean? In many respects we have been brought up with cookie cutter standards of perfection; at the first sign of imperfection we say: “hey how about a discount!” Most of the products we buy are exactly that: products, identical and devoid of any humanness. We cannot see or feel the artists uniqueness or the energy they put into creation. If we feel anything at all it’s the fragmented process of the assembly line.

The Korean potters that I have met and spoken with have told me that it is their intention to draw our attention the imperfections so that we may reflect upon them. Life is imperfection. A bump for example, may remind us of a beauty mark; it’s a apart of us. However, for some a beauty mark is a defect, and they seek surgical solutions.

Korean potters reconnect us with our own nature through the use of simple, familiar shapes and the elements that are used; through earth, water, wind, and fire we can identify and contemplate our own humanity. For that reason potters are special artists, because they create functional art from which we can sense ourselves and our relationship with the world we live in.

Decanting tea

Decanting tea

Design, color, texture, and the energy I feel in a tea set reflects mood, mind and personality of the potter; but more than that the tea set represents and connects me to the universe. When I examine the delicate and intricate crack lines in the pouring bowl, or the cups, it is like looking at the lines in the palms of my hands, or like looking up at the constellation in the night sky and seeing the connections. And this reminds me of the phrase ” a butterfly in Hong Kong affects the weather in New York.”

The tea sets that these Master potters make are not destined for museums. Museums are like the catacombs. They displayed dead objects under glass for spectators who pay an admission fee. It is only by using the pottery, by holding it in our hands that we can feel it’s energy, and gain introspection into our own lives and existence.

Tea Bowl

Tea Bowl

traditional tea sets are our teachers. They are vessels that instruct us in the meditative process of drinking a single cup of green tea. Tea is not about consumption, it’s about the process; that links us to the moment, to our true being, and the universe in which we live.