I am thinking of the many ways

by Norman Fischer | August 14, 2019 at 3:41 PM

I am thinking of the many ways we hurt one another and have done that for so long. Really, it is normal for people to do this. We do it out of our own pain — having been hurt you are inspired to poke at the universe for the injustice of it all — and we do it out of our own goodness — wanting to do good and be good and, finding we are not, we get mad at the others who do not appreciate us. Sad but completely understandable. You could cry all day and all night. Why don't we all cry every evening when the sun goes down, another day lost, so swiftly, and nothing good has happened.

Well, this is very bleak it seems but no it is not really bleak. It is a great day today! Sunny and bright at the beach. It will even be warm, hot. The plants love it, they bask. Every day is a great day. It says so in the Zen tradition; it is an official teaching: Every day is a great day.

It would be very boring, colorless, literally bloodless, if things went swimmingly all the time or even most of the time. The evil in our hearts really is a necessity to churn this world around, to move it on. We have to eat the apple. It is the apple of our eye......

Been going around for weeks or months now talking about my book The World Could Be Otherwise. People seem to like it, and yes, it is a good idea, to be a bodhisattva, it makes life good and right, we have to do it. Really, I can't think of any other way. To be for myself and myself alone is complete limitation. Why be just for me? Who could stand it?

On the other hand, I really hate telling people what to do. I don't know what to do! How could I advise anyone else? The book seems to do that, it is very preachy. That's what the poet Forrest Gander said when he read it (not sure if he even got through it, he did not say). He liked my poetry book Untitled Series: Life As It Is. It doesn't tell you anything. Poets prefer this. So do I (as if I myself were a poet). But poets used to tell you things, be sages or prophets. Some still do — and are.

Reading Robert Creeley poems. He is thinking so hard in the poems, it is often a tortured and also honest thinking, but complex, careful and quite open. Skillful, deft lines: internal rhyme, assonance etc., Emily Dickinson. You are not sure what he is saying. But he is talking about something, maybe himself. Maybe words themselves. So he is very contemporary. Still, he is dead now. We all miss him. But he is still talking, somehow. He is a great, an essential poet. Reading him I try to write Creeley poems but I can't do it, who can do it, perhaps someone can. My poems come off the top of my head. I can't think my way out of a paper bag.

All of them passing by
It’s like a window or a hill

Something stopped up that once flowed
O the tears you cry when you hear this

That you are saying it again
The same, words, their evocations

Of feeling like a familiar color
Some stain on the stair

On the wood on the stair
In the air on the brain

 In here or out— where
Else can you find it

It’s not a form of thought
But maybe it is, I can’t

 Say. Aren’t we all
Just that selfish and blind

 And why or why not

Walls aren’t walked through
They guard and bar

And the door
Just painted on



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Norman Fischer