• Posted on: 26 November 2015
  • By: Joe

on a cold winter evening
five old Nepali men
sit cross-legged in
a Vishnu temple in Bhaktapur
singing songs of praise
into the night

on the darkened street
a few passersby
touch their hands to foreheads
in silent tribute
but no one stops to listen
to their songs

except for one

The River Answered

  • Posted on: 26 November 2015
  • By: Joe

I said to the river:
"My life is not the same"

the river said:
Nothing stays the same

the rocks and boulders
change their shape
as my waters
pass over them


I said to the river:
"I am afraid of losing my life"

The river ansered:
My life is constant loss

I flow downstream
into a riverbed
into a lake
into the great ocean
always my waters
disappear on their way past


"Sometimes I am in sorrow"
I said to the river
"Sometime I am in bliss"

The river replied:
My waters keeps flowing

over one bend there is sunshine
in another shade
a rushing downstream
over rocks
and then a tranquil pool

"I am lonely"
I said to the river

The river answered:
I am always alone
but never lonely

I have the trees
their overhanging
arches and limbs
their leaves and seeds

I have the stones
of different colors
and hues

I have the sunlight
always streaming in
over rock
over tree
over mountain

I have the everpresent Earth
of sand and soil
underneath me
holding me
in her arms


"My life is almost over"
I said to the river

The river spoke:
No life ever ends
in eternity

Your life will forever
in these rocks
these trees
these drops of water
that lead into
the sea

The song of the earth
is your song
the blue of the sky
is lit with your light


I said to the river
"Then I shall be River"

The River answered:

Looking Like A Young Mother Teresa

  • Posted on: 26 November 2015
  • By: Joe

a shawl thrown over her head
Bombay shirt and sash
walking down a Kathmandu street
from Iowa by way of Arizona
on her way back to Calcutta

we visit Tibetans at the Monkey Temple
meet the rinpoche
wear white scarves
red cords around our necks
to show that we have been blessed

take a taxi to Boudanath
circle the great white stupa
spin the prayer wheels

before she returns to her ashram
she tells me she has been reborn
from previous lifetimes--
her karma brought her to the great Midwest
so she could search and search
in the long long journey
to get back


Everything You Know Is Wrong

  • Posted on: 26 November 2015
  • By: Joe

There was no revolution in China:
the workers don't call each other "comrade"
there's a Kentucky Fried Chicken stand
across from Mao's mausoleum
the Forbidden City is no longer forbidden
the Great Wall is crumbling
and the restaurants don't serve tea or tell fortunes

Buddhists in Thailand drink Pepsi in the temples
smoke cigarettes in the shadows
teenaged monks with shaved heads and saffron robes
play games on their iPhones
and pin up posters of girls in bikinis

The sun isn't red over Japan
the samurais are wearing gray three-piece suits
Hiroshima is not in ruins
and New York has moved to Tokyo

                 (you know)
                                  is wrong

logic is illogical
the spiritual path has no directions
there is no one buried in the tombs
the seed contains the fruit
we are awake only in dreams



The Mountain Top

  • Posted on: 26 November 2015
  • By: Joe

The path up the mountain
leads to the top

Where do you go from there?

in the wilderness
every step takes
you further

from grassy hills
to tall
dark pines
surging brooks
thick brush
jagged cliff
green clearing
wild red flowers
cold rough moss

as you go further
you approach the center
of limitless
earth and animal

fawns running
buzzards circling
mosquitoes humming
crows cawing

What path can take you
to that center?

This way is pathless
this journey is endless

when you reach the source
you will find yourself

You are at the top of the mountain
go ahead
and take the next step