View Full Version : ARTS: Poetry, fiction, and essay. Out of the maddness of Pain

Tai Shi
10-22-2019, 01:30 PM
From and out of Pain

My teachers all, Bill Hotchkiss, PhD, Bill Tremblay, MFA, Jundo Cohen, JD, I tried to become a Christian, I tried interbeing, both so similar. I cannot worship any man, Jesus and Thich Nhat Hanh included. The bible is the product of men AND women though often I believe the women are hidden. Jundo, I have read and read this New Testament, some books four or five times, some books, with the Psalms, four or five times less, parts, through something most beautiful, accepting the advice of clergy, some not finishing, but always with the eye toward the miraculous, that which never existed for me.

Jundo, sorrowfully, my so called faith is renewed with Honesty. I have worked diligently to understand the 10 Grave Precepts, and much like the New Testament, the writings of compassion, even what Christians call Agape, attempting to delve deeper. What frightened me about Dogen, well, it was not misunderstanding, for I understood "Be in the Now, as now I am in the now." I weep because the now holds me in its grip of pain.

I believe that death will liberate me from terror and bewilderment. I will not visit suicide again, but undergo the most devious, the pain of my disease, and with death so liberated. With death, I welcome shadows of gone. I welcome non-being for mine is a cure of reality ever present in death. Not so much is death real, as the blanket of snow not only from Ankylosing Spondylitis, but what I seldom speak of, bipolar disorder.

The reason I was granted full disability in the eyes of American law was because of dual diagnosis, both diseases, one tearing at my bones, my very sinew, the other tearing at my mental tissues, my brain, my very thought. With both diseases clashing into my soul, I have had no recourse but to hide in my words. As you have read both books, perhaps sought out poetry and essay on the internet, so I brag, and face several of our Grave Precepts, a facing of a wrath of a vengeful God,

Without words, my life would be empty, without words, I possess no music. At one time my dream was to become a musician. Yet, and even so, my hands cannot master even simple songs of piano, this the necessity of every musician, and my dreams dissolved into thoughtful words. My words first I sought in poetry, and thus, poetry, its musicality, its sheer beauty, ITS grandeur of gods own "shock foil," For these are my words, and now my dear teacher, as I talk, as I walk on paper, the beauty of my own reality was accepted, and this the sinew clutching, yes, mind bent on destruction, came alive, and I have lived with the greats, Eliot, Frost, Pound, Richard Wright, dear Emily Dickinson,; ah miss Emily, I have loved you as no man could come to understand, and even Virginia Wolf who did take the beauty of her own creation and crush it by her own hands, and dearest Sylvia Plath who I understand need, after need to escape the drear, division, the awful betrayal of men, as I was saved, continue to be saved by my Marjorie, as she is better than any Christ. for his reality is but fiction, and Buddha, for his is but history. These fictions and histories are but novice compared to my reality in Marjorie, and little Laurel Ann, that daughter who I continue to love though she be nearly one thousand miles from her room which I promised would always be there for her in Marjorie's house. I own, because of my beloved gave us home which no parent of the both of us ever owned in their lives, my father too stingy. Finally, Yeats who I paraphrase, "An old man is but a paltry thing unless soul clap and sing."

Marjorie's father stuck in the bottle, as Marjorie is the benefactor, her mother stuck in religion, my mother devoted to gruesome love. My father into his own fortunes never giving much, He gave a little. I gave up the gruesome, the bottle, the horde, the stinginess, and the religion, for I give the whole of life, three of us, the loyalty of love and friendship in my joy of living. If this be the reality of my life, I have found this reality far beyond those old friends of high school and college.

I went on for what they could never accomplish. I earned the MA in English writing and literature. I earned the Ed. S. in higher education teaching. Finally, I earned oh, my ultimate which they never in any way understood, the Master of Fine Arts My daughter far surpassed all of us, mother, father, even all of those friends who I left in pain, BA, MFA, now in the mid if her Ph. D. all in Japanese books, thought, criticism; she speaks the language as well as any native including professionals who have paid her for translation, and as runner-up for the Pen award, she flew to London, then fell because of timid presentation of her novel this for her MFA in Japanese translation from the University of Iowa, our school, and place of mother's 4.0, so how could one of those "Friends" who were none, "You and Marge were the bottom of the stack." They AND HIM DOC Jack, smoking dope dropping acid in med school, barely accepted into Med school.

In creative writing poetry where I slaved, relented, grew, divided my coat of purple with the soldiers of my own cross, that cross which was but a fiction, and all these histories of all the religions, the Tao, the Koran, the Sūtra, oh, the Scriptures, and those fictions of promises to write my own true love, poetry of joy and understanding, and returned into acceptance of Sūtra, verse, and koan, and symbol oh so great my ultimate generosity in my giving of friendship, of love of family, of ideal which I have obtained in my own sobriety, and finally all my "Things," for I drink no beer, no liquor, I am free of my old friends, as my acquaintances, as my relatives, I am free of the material, my last rock into the lack of fire, of ripples, of self-indulgence, have never been free of avers want, claim, and acquisition, now am free to be the next inheritors of this world, which is the word.

Out of the dungeon of Caucasian, I walked, scratched, and climbed as those People of Color in a White world will be next be free as in Love of Marjorie who circumvented jab, bag of prejudice, sling of hate of ignorance and want, and little Laurel who will climb from our shoulders, from Marjorie's Phi Beta Kappa, the highest distinction, 4.0 all in her BA, then 3.95 in her MA all cultural anthropology to study alcoholism, to understand her husband and family, the dysfunction, then leading on to 30 years of government service so that her little family might survive the onslaught of a world seldom caring. She earned more than just freedom, for she earned her car, her gift of home to husband and daughter, now looks on as old friends already die of old age, even at her beginning into senior years of her own making unlike any friend, won in a verity of the old universalized and sing of the human heart, providing gift of survival, knowledge in stamina to our daughter, and final health to her husband as her own body begins to thread toward the sense of his on Rakusu cover sewn to perfection in just one night, her sense of an ending finally will she outlive her husband who she saw damn his own body. Who says she will not live on in the pain of her husbands bones, sinew, mind and emotion, care of daughters tumor ridden foot which she overcomes daily, of her daughters wish to give up that ultimate perseverance and practice yoga her meditation, and when I asked, she said, "Your sitting is not better than my breath meditation which you never before asked about!", Her own daughter's own accolades of dignity like mother, in the BA Japanese studies, MFA in Japanese translation, PhD in Japanese literature/ comprehensive literature every one like "mom." She depends with every willingness she says ever "Yes go beyond father and mother, daughter who will survive after me." My teacher, Jundo, to give me freedom to find in myself true compassion, as I give to three other alcoholics, one ungrateful, one fearful, one brain-damaged, the brain-damaged the ultimate, for though free of alcohol, his greatest addiction to nicotine which even now destroys his body He finally has decided an attempt even to give up cigarettes to limit himself to vaping, but not cannibals in the onslaught of his final drug in the smoke that will most likely kill him. BUT maybe not!

Jundo, thank you for this heavy weight of compassion which brings me to Tony, Jeremy, and most to dear, dear Shawn who may be the first to die. Jundo this heavy weight for my young brain-damaged friend, Shawn who in drunk mindlessness slammed a tree at 60 miles (ca. 97 km) an hour. Shawn fought for life for two weeks in Intensive Care. He tells the story of deciding to live after one week of hell, a hell unlike Christ of Buddha, a hell out of which he climbed. Then one day at three months of total sobriety, like me some 32 years before, decided he too would like to be 32-years sober to help other alcoholics like I am helping him. Oh, Buddha!, Oh, Jesus! Give me knowledge, love, compassion to help Shawn our most willing to come to his own 32 years, far beyond my years then to give up cigarettes as I did at age 50, and then to give up vaping which may kill him. Jundo, I have shed tears for Shawn, now point me toward understanding, understanding to help all three, and Shawn, for I love all three, Tony who ignores me but not now, yesterday we met over lunch! This to speak of working the steps. Jeremy who so often filled with fear turns to return, AND Jeremy whose little daughter now becomes woman, for she is his ultimate reason, as my Laurel was my daughter, and I stayed sober.

The youngest who nearly cut life short, whose mother doles out a little money, so he can live with his own upkeep of which he has so little, and friends see that I seek liberation in my own eyes because of what others have given me.

Tai Shi

Tai Shi
10-22-2019, 01:36 PM
Essence of Pain

My pain is not such that it makes me stand still--

life is too short to find myself upside down because of my body;.

I have a mind, passion, even fire in my words. What more do I need? Old clothes, baggy shirt and pants, this is me. I cannot spend all my time trying to control my pain. Pain is my path, my way, my acceptance.

Pain has so much to teach me, tingle at top of head, pressure above the ears, lower lip protruding because my jaw is warped around disfigured bones, lips dignified, how shall I go on, no, pain is my path, and so much depends on my acceptance.

Tai Shi
sat/ lah

10-22-2019, 06:05 PM
... and so much depends on my acceptance.

Tai Shi
sat/ lah


I'm sorry for your pain, dear Tai Shi. Sitting for you today.

sat + lah

10-22-2019, 08:20 PM
Your words always take me on a beautifully expressive journey of your mind, body and soul Tai Shi.
I look forward to reading how you're travellin' and really enjoyed the photo's you shared recently. I'd love to see more photos of Autumn where you live. You captured the beauty of life in a suburban street. That's quite a feat.
Be at ease comrade.

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10-23-2019, 01:28 PM
Tai Shi

I am so sorry for your pain, my friend, and for the dual torments of bipolar and ankylosing sphondylitis. Even as we all sit with life just as it is, and with no preferences, it is also true that some of us sit with substantially harder sensations than others.

My pain is also a daily companion but I know that the myalgia I have is nothing compared to what you experience, even with surgical interventions and pain medication.

We do sit with what is, both in shikantaza and life off the cushion but it is good to also find outlets for our emotions and brain and words are a fine one, both in writing and reading the composition of others. Far far better than the alcohol which you relied on as a much younger man.

This is a small piece of mine (a haibun, which is a combination of narration and haiku which began with Matsuo Basho's travel writings) on the subject of pain.


Slowly, I come to.

First fingers. Then arms, legs and toes.

From somewhere a torso appears, topped by a head.

The pain takes a little longer to arrive. But when it does
the body is gathered in a cocoon of ringing muscles and
tightening skin.

Eyelids flicker. Hands reach for water to wet a dry mouth.

The sun continues to rise.

the morning sky
folding and unfolding —


10-23-2019, 01:47 PM
Metta to you Tai Shi, and to all those in chronic pain.


10-23-2019, 01:54 PM


Tai Do
10-23-2019, 02:03 PM
As always, Tai Shi, your words are a great teaching on Shikantaza.
Thank you for sharing with us.
Sat today/LAH

10-23-2019, 11:21 PM
Metta to you Tai Shi, and to all those in chronic pain.



10-24-2019, 02:08 AM
Way to go Tai Shi!

Tai Shi
10-24-2019, 04:40 AM
Please post you painful parts of life here.

ANYONE may post here.

My dear friends, this thread contains threads of any pain, illness, dysfunction, abnormality, genetic disease, disease of any kind, and to say again pain.

You may be writing of simple endeavors like writing your name, then again like bathing, or sleeping or not sleeping. Even a prejudicial response when you tell them you have a specific mental illness. See, one sensation is better than the other, or is it?

So friends, try some poetry about alcoholism
Try something about arthritis. TRY WRITING A FEW SIMPLE WORDS. A LITTLE PARAGRAPH IS FINE. A story, or an imagined situation, and anything about your pain or just a headache, or someone bothering you, and of course maybe don't use real names, so refer to made up anything. This a creative outlet for any pain, or another writing that portrays pain. Have at it. PLEASE write.

Try any pain related issue, for human skin is tempered with the touch. Try something that gives someone peace.
You are all invited to post here.


I am not breaking anonymity as I speak of three men who have become trusted friends of mine, for you will never know them, and I reveal because it has been an aching in my heart. A sponsor is nothing more than a trusted friend, sometimes taking the weight from their shoulders, sometimes just listening to complaints about the day, and always referring to the 12 steps. FOR US USING TOOLS OF ZEN. I always suggest alternative actions sometimes Buddhism, but I don't announce it as such, and I always let them take the lead often about Christianity. All three have other outlets for working on specific situations, attitudes, and behaviors; I am not a therapist: I make that clear at outset of our relationship. Often men such as these have never had friends they could trust with their lives, so I am in these cases sometimes that kind of friend, so I sponsor three men, and I know no where else you might hear me talk of my pain of being a sponsor. I do have my own sponsor, and I have other outlets. So only sometimes will you hear me speak of anything. I write this to let you know this is why almost every time I post I say lah, So, you too may speak of relationships here where you have shouldered someone's burden, and become the only confidant of pain.

Tai Shi

Tai Shi
11-01-2019, 12:47 PM
This is One

Today is HIS day,
This man of thirty
Who slammed into tree
At sixty miles an hour
He drove drunk
Into ash, maple, red
Oak tree, it does not
Matter, created brain
Hemorrhage deep cut
Into cerebral cortex,

He was rushed to brain
Surgery, not expected
To live, never known
Since age 11

Alcohol only life,
One completely stupid
Adult, devious beyond
Uncle of one boy. He
Cannot remember

Stupid man who
Gave them all hard
Liquor, like mother,
Cousin, aunt who

Has not recorded her
Small life in recovery,
Who yet revolves
Around bottle,
Ah, mother recovered,
Not Aunt so and so

She smears her life
In glue of drink
Upon paper looks

Upon his private
Brain, lesson
Of sensibility gone
Before her nephew
Who has recovered

Far beyond her stars
Which fell into swamp
Of her desire, melanin
Jaundiced, yellow
Lampshade like Hitler's
Men divided his
Ornament of living room,

Where six months ago
He turned on LIGHT,
Gone darkness of drink
He took his lamp
Into his hands
Brightly one day

Walking with light
No malice in his
Voice where they
Placed the trachea
Tubes, he cannot speak
Clearly: Oh, I hear
Him clearly for I am
His trusted friend

Together we traverse
Step one, "We are
Powerless over alcohol;
Our lives have
Become unmanageable."

This admission of truth
For him is not for me
To say as he carries
His life into recovery
He is not alone,
For that truly
Is the disease,
Loneliness beyond all
Words, ice-cold frigid
Beyond his words,

So, I have an old
Blue hoddie insulated,
He will stay warm
This simple gift I give,
I cannot know how
He will respond

He may through
His new old coat
Into trash, for he
May wish to feel cold
Of isolation, ice
Of winter coming
On into October

This anniversary month
Of my own ICU only three
Days, Doctor Hill- Jenson
Intestinal surgeon
Into deep night
Of my soul where I
Gave up pain
Of eternal alone
All silent as I prayed
"Please God, don't
Let me die."

For him it took one
Weak as he suffered
Alone, alone, black
Alone for seven days,
Then made the choice

To let brain surgery take
Hold, "Oh, please don't
Let me die. I want to live,
Let me out of ICU, Oh, let
Me out. I want to leave
My prison of alone, my into
Singleness of purpose, my
Attitude here I change!"

In one more week,
Rolled gurney into private
Room he could not afford,
The nurses were so kind,
Wrapped his head
In change of bandage,
Fed him through tubes,
Empty his bag after life-
Giving water,

In one year I came to him
We understood, our ICU
His brain damage, my soul
Oh my soul, we come
Together each Wednesday
Morning to read our blue
Book, our Big Book,
Our essence of removal,
Our freedom from drink

As trusted friends we
Work hard work for him
To grasp, in meetings
He says he wants to be like
His sponsor someday
With 32 years and sober,
Helping others,

If he lives that long,
Escapes burning packs
Of smokes, he says
It's time as he tries vapping.
Will he die sober with tobacco
Streaming out his mouth?
May he find more
Then I cannot give him.
Yes, peace not mine to give.

Tai Shi
calm poetry

11-01-2019, 07:52 PM
Lovely Tai Shi.
I wish well towards all who have the courage to confront their demons.

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Tai Shi
11-01-2019, 09:20 PM
Byokan, Kukuu, Kyousui, Washin, Ishin, Mateus-Baldwin thank you, especially your peace, dear Anna, dear younger than me, what is by 10, 15 years, no matter Anna thank you for have confronted, sat carefully, but I speak to all who might be listeners, practitioners of that Demon, I call it not, for it is for you to say as I have, "I'm Chuck, and I am an alcoholic."
Tai Shi
calm poetry

Tai Shi
11-14-2019, 10:21 AM
Now I Teach Forgiveness

As he writes wrongs
Listing resentments
Fear. Sex affronts
Forgiving all, into
Movement of psyche
Living in moment
Learning how to live
With more than ever
I shall see, asking
"How do I make
My crooked straight?"
I tell him honesty,

Our wisdom
Leading from all
Of us, too his
Sentient beings,
Cannot all find

I say nothing of Buddha
I say nothing of Christ,
He says Higher Power
Is his Universe,

Sentient beings
In his own forgiveness,
Oh, what have we all
Done to small boy
Who slammed life
Against tree, now
It's our Atonement,

He becomes free
Living amends,
Never lost in religion,
Most vulnerable man,
Venerable man,

He will live ever his
Life, his freedom
From his own
Damage to brain,
Now forever

Karma reviled,
His Living Amends
Would he find his own
Acceptance, YES
In NOW, the rest
If his own Life
Yes is lived, Karma
Returning Life.
Less stigma.
HE is alive.

Tai Shi

Tai Shi
12-10-2019, 04:25 PM
It's not worthwhile to spend myriad hours reminiscing about one's pain knowing there are some solutions to intense feelings. We expect too much of medicine and science. Right now I have a used prescription left off from a shower, so I need to keep calm while Marjorie, meaning Pearl, works in the house; she can help me latter as now she's doing household chores, so an old, reliable medical method applied to my back is gone. I do need help from my wife or my brother or his friend, or even a nurse. I have found that by carefully placing my mouth parted with lips covering the orifice, I can remain somewhat pain free for an hour or two, and if I combine this with deep breathing, I can proceed for a few more hours. I must consciously use the deep breathing, as I am now, and combine with release of tension and lean back in my chair, I might continue, and I also use a cream, non-prescription, recommended by my pharmacist. These are only a few methods, and there is also the application of ice to my neck and back, actually for 20 minutes about four or five times a day. So, all these methods require no doctor's script. And, finally my wife finishes taking out the trash, comes in and applies needed prescription method and I'm ready for the day, latter more Shikantaza.
Tai Shi

Tai Shi
12-22-2019, 03:11 AM
I often feel like the lone wolf in these pages! Try reading or responding to the demands of being a writer or poet!
Tai Shi

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Tai Shi
12-22-2019, 10:37 AM
What more could I say?https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20191222/87b850098833b7ca2dd3bb5b935c5c35.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20191222/87b850098833b7ca2dd3bb5b935c5c35.jpg

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12-22-2019, 02:12 PM
Wonderful photos Tai Shi.

Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

12-23-2019, 11:11 AM
Thank you for sharing, Tai Shi gassho2




Tai Shi
12-25-2019, 10:11 PM
Pain under control—even with large family gatherings! This time or year, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Kwanzaa, all who celebrate the unknowable. I have no pain! Highly unusual, thank you all of my friends on Treeleaf Zendo
Deep Bows

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12-27-2019, 08:49 AM
Pain under control—even with large family gatherings! This time or year, Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Kwanzaa, all who celebrate the unknowable. I have no pain! Highly unusual, thank you all of my friends on Treeleaf Zendo
Deep Bows

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It sounds as though this time of year with family, celebration and reflection is a time that is working out really well for you my friend. The photos of a couple of days ago are beautiful. You have a terrific ability to capture your own heart be it in words or photos.
Be well comrade

Tai Shi
12-29-2019, 12:58 AM
Anna, you are carefully praising, thank you for praise!!!
Tai Shi

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Tai Shi
12-29-2019, 01:06 AM

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Tai Shi
12-29-2019, 07:48 PM
Anna you are still my compatriot. Recovery is possible! Several years ago I was told I would just have to learn to live with my pain. Not necessarily so. What I’m finding is that not dwelling in the place of pain. Leave it alone and it just sits way back there. Just b my thought. Let yourself deep listen to others, and just not post or say the words about any health situation. Just for me, maybe it’s no one’s business. Just my family and they’ve forbidden me to use these words. Does wonders for my disposition.

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Tai Shi
12-29-2019, 09:01 PM
But as always what works for me is individual to me!!! Others must decide the direction of their own treatment in counsel with their provider. When I saw my Primary provider, a man I e known and trusted about 15 years, well, I say that we decided that the best way to treat some of my sensations is to chalk them up to old age, and he is just a little younger than me, will retire at age 65, this year about 2 yrs away, so he has some of my reactions to getting older. Our bodies are just older, not discounting my serious conditions, we’ll some feelings just come with my age. So I’m better knowing reasons!
Deep bows

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Tai Shi
01-09-2020, 09:55 PM
Actually I not ready for death because of great days like today and always meant for the Precept to respect and care for life our precious first great Precept which rescues us from nasty decisions and that which harms or forces wrongful delusions so sorry that I didn't pay attention to the Buddha and the Dharma and compassionate Sangha where I find strength and care for difficult pain and days when I don't feel sorry for myself and that isn't often these days. I have come along way with my teacher and my daughter and my wife and all beings in our friendship and Heart in our Treeleaf Sangha. All who visit this thread may you find strength and peace here.
Tai Shi

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Tai Shi
10-05-2020, 02:23 PM
My invitation now and EVER be more than fear, pain, or insult. I started this thread to invite fiction and essay that means made up prose, and real prose. We can be positive here as Jundo might say, "All of Life." This as for my daughter Laurel, who specifically studies Japanese literature assures me, there are a great man and woman Zen essaists and fiction writers, as well as Poetry, and we have already invited many writers of prose to speak at special Zazenkai, so I invite the non-poetery for ALL members of our Sangha. I know that much that I have written deals here with the caldron of FIRE. However there is my autumn trees even across from our home which might beg description in color, shape, smell, or touch, much delight. Perhaps Jundo will relinquish requirements here for diatribes of story, descripction, classification. Description, Full narratives made up or not and even argument positive as it can be. This is not specifically place for poetry, but for prose. I INVITE YOU HERE TO WRITER YOUR HEART, the old universal varities of the human heart. Come on, let's be creative here? Go on write,

sat/ lah
Deep Bows
TAI SHI, Tai Shi