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Thread: Poetry, fiction, and essay. Out of the maddness of Pain

  1. #1

    Poetry, fiction, and essay. Out of the maddness of Pain

    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
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 10-25-2019 at 01:52 PM. Reason: clarification
    "We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow." Thich Nhat Hanh

  2. #2
    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
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 10-25-2019 at 01:07 PM. Reason: line breaks
    "We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow." Thich Nhat Hanh

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Tai Shi View Post
    ... 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
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  4. #4
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    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.

    Sent from my Lenovo TB-8304F1 using Tapatalk
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  5. #5
    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

    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  6. #6
    Metta to you Tai Shi, and to all those in chronic pain.

    Grateful for your practice

  7. #7

    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  8. #8
    As always, Tai Shi, your words are a great teaching on Shikantaza.
    Thank you for sharing with us.
    Sat today/LAH

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    Metta to you Tai Shi, and to all those in chronic pain.


  10. #10
    Way to go Tai Shi!

    Kyousui - strong waters 強 水

  11. #11
    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
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 10-25-2019 at 01:03 PM. Reason: clarifications.
    "We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow." Thich Nhat Hanh

  12. #12
    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
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 11-01-2019 at 01:03 PM.
    "We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow." Thich Nhat Hanh

  13. #13
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Lovely Tai Shi.
    I wish well towards all who have the courage to confront their demons.

    Sent from my Lenovo TB-8304F1 using Tapatalk
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  14. #14
    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
    "We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow." Thich Nhat Hanh

  15. #15
    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
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 11-14-2019 at 10:24 AM. Reason: typo
    "We cannot enjoy life if we spend a lot of time worrying about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow." Thich Nhat Hanh

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