Tuesday, August 29, 2017

This Really Happened

Synchronicity happens to me from time to time, but the other day, about two weeks ago, something absolutely remarkable happened.  It qualified as a remarkilarity.  I wrote a poem about how one event begets another, and how that one begets still another, etc.  Right after I wrote this poem I got in my car to go to Wal-Mart.  The song that was playing on the radio was that song that ends by saying, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."  Electrocusive!

Friday, August 18, 2017

New Poem


All the friendships I make
I make with myself first.  My body grows
tense with handshakes.  Every man
I come to know makes knowing him
the hardest thing imaginable,
the deepest excavation, the dirtiest
dig.  The rope that leads out of me
does not lead away from me. 
Anyone who can climb me does.
Strangers watch me acquaint
myself with music, each of my fingers
touching the sky when I touch
my chest.  Women sit around me
and look at their toes.  I am beauty
that only becomes.  What’s missing
is the knowledge of having lived,
that old root cellar of reserved
gestures.  I wake in the morning
and run.  My punishment consists
of miles, the hard luck of laughter,
an enemy’s insolence, wilderness
in a child’s voice, the spot
on the map where everyone comes
to cry.

Joel Fry

Published in the Florida Review.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


When pain occurs it occurs to me. Otherwise I would not merely feel pain. There is distance between myself and what I feel. --If I had no self--if there were no me--I would be the pain I feel, because there would be no distance between it and the part of my mind I call my self. I would be a room full of fire rather than a room lit by fire.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which means that the whole is something completely other than the sum of its parts. The self arises out of this. The Buddha said that if one breaks down a person's consciousness into its components he finds no self. That is beside the point.

You can transcend the self, or dissolve the self, but that is a lower state of consciousness (perhaps), not a higher one. In deep states of meditation Buddhist monks feel no physical pain. That's because they've shut off part of their brains. Lower cognizance equals lower consciousness, in a sense. But it could also open up the mind to a different dimension of awareness. A dimmer switch could actually make some things more visible.

I have felt, at fleeting moments, what may be referred to as nirvana--that is, complete clarity. But I don't know whether that made me more or less like a snail, more or less like a deer, more or less like a plant. I'm talking about awareness not intelligence.

The Way Things Are

For now, consider the ducks in the park.  They squabble over food, but they never worry about the way things are, because they are unaware of death and rebirth.  But I try not to worry about the way things are for different reasons.  I am aware of death and rebirth.  If there is an ultimate good, moksha or nirvana, it is not something I can fully comprehend, except to say that I have felt a brief whiff of it in this life, but it was not something I could maintain.  I can only aim at something I can grasp with my mind.  How can I aim at liberation?  When I have felt it I neither knew where it came from nor how it was arrived at.  The world is dynamic.  While I have a nature, the nature of reality is atman.  Maybe my nature is the same as the nature of reality.  It must be so.  But since I don't know how to arrive at the ultimate state of union I must be satisfied with assuring myself that "the way things are" is simply an illusion.  The present is not the past, and the future is not like the present either, not exactly.