My ninth collection of poems, The Zen Master Poems, will be published by Wisdom, Inc., one of the world’s leading Buddhist publishing houses, in Summer, 2016. I’ve been a Zen Buddhist for over 50 years. I’ve been publishing Zen Master poems for the last twenty years. My Buddhism leans toward “crazy Zen” and is quite consciously filled with American references and allusions, including some to bluegrass and others to railroad crossings and Johnny Cash and frisbees. :-) http://zenpoemszenphotosdickallen.net
Morning to night, grasp weeds by their tops
and pull them straight up
with a quick, certain motion. Don’t flip flop.
Weed the whole crop. Drop
everything else. Chop, chop,
as my Zen Masters say. Hip-hop
your way through each day. Lollipop, Lollipop,
Oh, Lolli, Lolli. Pop
stray blueberries into your mouth. Gulp
as often as you sip. Hope
is more than just feathers. Don’t mope.
Here we go loopty loo.
Here we go loopty li. Get a grip.
Yank. Leave the sunflowers. Romp.
Holding Down the Fort
We need, sometimes, the Dali Lama,
or one of the 60's flower children
to do this properly
because there are so many guns
poking from so many turrets. We’re wanting
“All you need is love, love is all you need”
and the golden rule to be recited,
chanted, shouted over and over and over,
and forgiveness, and for it to be safe
to stay here, to say dangerous words out loud,
to drain the moat, to tether dragons, to laugh
with the children playing. It can be done,
believers say. Believe, you can hold the fort down.
When all things around us are transfigured
and seem to be there for the first time:
separate fork prongs, little basins of spoons,
how the cat pawsteps, the microwave chimes,
even our hands busy with preparing
a breakfast for dropping-out-of-the-sky angels:
toast shaped like the entrances to covered bridges,
raspberry jam seeds, tiny marshmallow buoys
bobbing in cocoa. . . then, transfigured
ourselves, praising what we saw but didn’t see,
or hear or smell or touch or taste before us,
we rejoice. Astonishing, we
are like keys tossed upon a kitchen table,
miniature artworks of the purely accidental.
Dropping Like Flies
This heat wave! In Chicago. . . New York,
they’re dropping like flies.
The people are dropping like flies
in Milwaukee. . . St. Louis. Like flies,
in Pittsburgh and Cleveland—the people
are dropping like flies
with the windows wide open, the hydrants
then another, another. The fans
are blowing hot air
while the people are dropping like flies,
falling out of the air.
Is it hopeless? Time spindles, Time flies
and the people are dropping like flies.
How ordinary to say it: “I’m heading out,”
as you leave the house
for a few minutes, or an hour, or for the day
or even a week or longer: to where the wind blows
to where the river runs, to where the sky
brightens or darkens. “I’m heading out,”
and sometimes you look back but usually
you simply head out the door, you do it,
you leave and it’s whatever season
you find yourself in. Sometimes, a few sparrows
fly over the rooftops. Sometimes a dog barks,
a leaf falls. It’s ordinary. Your passing goes
unnoticed by almost everyone on Earth. “I’m
heading out,” you say for one last time.
©2015 Dick Allen