Beyond Emptiness

Nagarjuna

Wherever you go
I want you
Need you
Need the emptiness to end

An emptiness that is empty itself
Like a jar in Tennessee
That no longer exists
In the state of nature

Or on any map
Because the maps
Themselves are empty
Like books

Without type
Simile
Metaphor
Bridges

Or rationale to be
In libraries
Because they hold
Nothing one could call

Knowledge of Self
Or the Other
Thing
Person

Place

Six times
I said this
And the seventh
You appeared

Empty as always
Of everything but love

 

—by Douglas Pinson…

God: an Anatomy, and Other Recent Readings

Francesca Stavrakopoulou, in her most recent book, God: an Anatomy, presents a vivid portrait of Yahweh, primarily as seen by his ancient devotees. She takes us on a journey throughout the Levant and Mesopotamia, covering thousands of years, multiple empires, and dozens of gods and goddesses. It’s rigorously researched throughout, and she (literally) gives us chapter and verse for each point along the way, using Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman, and Jewish texts and art to support her portrait.

The Yahweh of her book evolves over time, his body changes, his focus and activities shift. Starting out as a Canaanite storm god and fearsome warrior, a deity among many other deities, he’s usually depicted as a young god, but morphs over the centuries into a supreme being in his own right — from the son of El to the father god himself.…

Gabriella Garofalo: Waiting for the Blue

Waiting for the Blue

 

Light never strikes, OK?
Ever seen the growers tending
The mighty flowers of my anger?
Can you see ‘em? Sure?
But I kept pure and unsoiled for you,
Yet only stray dogs and beggars keep stalking me-
By the by, are you my first prey?
Poor you, Light, you grim playground,
Empty ‘n’barren on a Sunday lunch time,
Kids too busy tucking away the scrumptious cakes,
And now getting even worse than wildest storms-
And you, my winter, your mother
Made you a wannabe Caliban,
Ever jealous of merry lovers,
Ever trying to play nasty tricks to lovely dreamers-
Anyway.…

John Grey: Three Poems

MY ROSE, THE HUNDREDTH TIME TODAY

You caught me in a lie.
I called you “my rose”
though you know full well
that you are not a woody perennial
of the genus Rosa
but a middle-aged woman,
young-looking for her age,
who dresses well
and has a decent-paying job
in the city.

But I can’t help myself.
Metaphors drip from my tongue
even the simplistic ones.
You’re not an erect shrub.
You don’t have thorns.
So as to avoid seeing
you as you really are,
I seed a garden between us.
Those roses sprout, grow and blossom
and I mistake them for you.…

Aftermath: The forgotten

Scientific Method

They play they learn
They learn because they play

They assume we will protect them
They assume they are safe

At least for a time —
The fears of a child waver
Come and go
Rise and fall

The fears of a child hover
In the air above their dreams
The tasks at hand
The moments they love

The painting on the desk
The numbers on the page
The language module
In their ears

They are open to the world
In ways we forget
Open to all of it
Their joy their curse

We forget our childhood
And endanger theirs
Constantly
We forget what they need

Above all else:
Sanctuary

Above all else
We want our own toys

 

— by Douglas Pinson…

Sha-la, la-la-la-la, live for today!

It’s only been in recent times that opening credits for TV shows seem to matter artistically, at least to me. I never gave them much thought and would often just skip them if that was an option. But queue up a wonderful show like Pachinko, based on the 2017 novel by Min Jin Lee, and it’s no longer automatic. It can be its own tiny moment of genius, and in this case, the near-perfect blend of music, image, and sheer joy.

The song in question, written originally in Italian, but made famous by The Grass Roots, is arguably the quintessential expression of 1960s rebellion in pop music form.…

Borealis in a Glass: Poetry by Dan Raphael

With One Step

at least one mind always open
checking out is checking in, time for your elation
growth is seldom symmetrical, ticking as I warm
with bulbs between my feet, networked so I can fly
when my arm’s a world away, a 65 beetle for a bracelet

a city where you don’t have to go outside, borealis in a glass,
with my contacts everything’s black & white
how decisions are mass-produced—you have to know who to ask
I’m living on a ramen budget so I can afford solar-powered wings
my ribs are just for cooling and messages

the language of weather is almost translated by our emotions
which are polyglot omnivores, a stream 12 inches wide
but uncrossable, not water, the other side of a mirror’s internal organs
I hear toenails of rain, trans-body supplements
calling upon the privilege to exist, tiny clouds of gravy
mandating naps at inconvenient moments when everyone is watching
the stove changes sides and frosts the august windows
so the winded insects can write us instruction
hold to the mirror I’ve sanded my palms for hours to create

by looking in one looks behind, look through to out,
teach the toes to see through shoes and know colors
by their jersey numbers, split formations, shotgun,
only the invisible can score, the name you get when you graduate
the name you need without water, shelter or company
just trees on speed, wind on steroids, how can so much smoke
with nothing to burn, rattlers sleeping in dorito bags

 

— by Dan Raphael


Copyright© 2022, by Dan Raphael.…

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