02 Apr Laura Broadbent
GETTING IN THE WAY OF THE WAY
These are the machinations
of one of the worlds’ ragged
human minds which is nothing
like the silent and knowing Tao.
And everything will fall into place.
Even in the isolated moments
of euphonious connection,
I hear the thin howl of its decay.
The wind howls through him,
through his shoddy insulation.
I can’t not hear it, can’t not
hear it. All. The. Time.
Things arise and she lets them come;
Things disappear and she lets them go.
“The Animals aren’t going to come.
They never will, they aren’t going to.
Even if you live forever.”
“Yeah, but everything is 50% off, so…”
Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding
The slight woman tepidly eating her salad
considers the whole world deeply impolite.
Chewing is the most indecent to her of all
and she is still not over it,
the animal crudity of mastication.
She horrifies herself by practicing it publically.
“Oh, my God,” she thinks, stiffly placing
an olive in her mouth, “Holy mother fucking
God Lord Jesus,” staring dead-straight ahead.
She has but doesn’t possess,
Acts but doesn’t expect.
The mistake of glancing at a window
which reflects us walking side by side —
the vision a veil flickering
with the fragility of the moment —
blink wrong and it’s gone. Ta-da!
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.
“What were you wearing?”
If you overvalue possessions,
People begin to steal.
After all the trouble,
be more like trees.
However splendid the views,
She stays serenely in herself.
Denial and repression
represent our chief
Create a shrine to them
leave offerings of
incense and Gatorade.
It is like an eternal void:
Filled with infinite possibilities.
in another language
so I don’t hear.
Just stand there
and look good.
I love that, baby.
I fell in love with you
and all I got
The more you use it, the more it produces;
The more you talk about it, the less you understand.
I’ve been trying to raise the bar higher than
“don’t make terrible mistakes” for thirty years.
Yes, but do you make deft mistakes?
Yes, but do you make dexterous mistakes?
Hold on to the center.
The simple goal to love him perfectly
is impossible. Or to keep him.
Forget men, men are of the moment,
the moment which is water.
The trembling reflected moment
of walking side by side – there he is
and then I blink too heavily
and the reflection shatters.
Because she has let go of herself,
She is perfectly fulfilled.
The story proceeds as thus:
the starved child is presented
with the toy of her heart’s desire;
let her touch it, play with it,
and tentatively, then surely,
treat it as her own. Let her
slow-glow with gentle pride
then take it back from her.
Then say to her accusingly,
“This is not yours, nothing
in this world is yours, ever.”
Chase after money and security
And your heart will never unclench.
“Meanwhile there are the stars which make no sense.”
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
And keep to the original oneness?
Where is the comfortable home,
where is the place to unbend?
Groundlessness. That’s the [no]where,
it’s groundlessness. “Fuck, really?
Couldn’t it be in, like, Oakland?”
Can you cleanse your inner vision
Until you see nothing but the light?
How many nice objects do you have?
Yeah, but are they really nice?”
I tried on a blazer I quite liked
while the air continued to fill
with poison at a relaxed pace.
Can you step back from your own mind
And thus understand all things?
The idea was that love is holy,
but Drew said, “No, it’s donuts LB,
it’s donuts, donuts that are holy,
kid, it’s donuts. I can eat twelve
in a row, easily, if I’m feeling
kind of emotional, or maybe,
maybe celebrating something.”
The heart is able to hold so much
because of its holes.
We work with being,
But non-being is what we use.
“This page is intentionally left blank.”
When you stand with your own two feet,
You will always keep your balance.
“How would you feel if you were colonized by China?”
Above, it isn’t bright.
Below, it isn’t dark.
“I hope the terrifying God
of Poetry fucks your face
and you cry tears of reality.”
Just realize where you came from:
This is the essence of wisdom.
Listen, I’m going to give you the best I’ve got
and ultimately, eventually, it will be enough.
But still the moments with you are really good,
even though they’re as good as dead.
How lucky I am, a dead man, to live good as dead
moments with you, for you are quality.
You are a quality corpse, you know that?
Thus the master travels all day
Without leaving home.
“Can you tell me what my value is?”
(This was mistake number one)
Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
“A man’s penis. Nearby.”
“Yes – “
“A man’s penis, nearby.”
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?
When you tell me stories
the curtains of your chest open
and I watch your childhood
bumble across the stage
all the little traumas ticking away
to form in time this person in front of me,
who makes such excellent jokes.
The ancient masters were profound and subtle.
Their wisdom, unfathomable.
Behold the light in the eyes of even
the nicest man in the world:
It is fear! the driving force!
Oh, my God, so not the Way.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
But contemplate their return.
Night is personal and perpetual.
I lived the story and not even I
can sort it out. What happened?
Who is the enemy? All or neither.
Beats me. What a fugue.
If you don’t realize the source,
You stumble in confusion and sorrow.
Have you wanted to lift your hands
and let the wind sweep you away
like an errant birthday balloon
becoming a smaller and smaller speck
in a standard blue sky as an after-effect
of remembering? Envy of escaped
helium balloons is called: “Balloon Envy.”
“You’re falling apart.”
“Yes, this seems to be the case, Yes.”
If you don’t trust the people,
You make them untrustworthy.
How life is set right at the sight
of two old ladies looking at art books.
One lady with very useful pockets
in her white cargo pants moves
like her body is composed of twigs
fastened together with smaller twigs.
The master doesn’t talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
The people say, “Amazing:
We did it, all by ourselves!”
If we play tricks of perspective. Think of space so vast,
so vast it hurts your mind – just something to do.
In my downtime, I like to play a game called Dissolve My Ego
in which the idea of space is so vast it hurts my mind.
Or, conceive of the rest of the world not knowing
or caring about the people who vex your mind most,
and never will. Conceive of the dead and conceive
of what vexed them to death, conceive of them conceiving
of future you and having no idea what vexes you to death.
Imagine Jean Rhys sitting alone at a café, with all of her vexations.
And so on. App developers, inquire within.
I alone am expressionless,
Like an infant before it can smile.
Is this an allegory?
A mother with a bountiful ass
chases her toddler who runs,
maniacally, toward the busy street,
his arms raised in suicidal delight,
the mother’s ass moving in all directions at once
as she runs and grabs the lifted arm so violently
he hovers and dangles at an odd angle
and for a moment we can see
how the mother wants to kill the child
she just rescued from being killed.
How does the heart even.
Let’s just take a moment
to honor the Great Joke.
Absolutely nothing makes sense.
Except laughter, evil laughter, and Borges.
Vexations of the heart, mind, whatever,
are toddlers compelling you
to run into the traffic.
Now yank your mind up by its chubby little arm
and regret ever having it in the first place.
I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother’s breasts.
He says I am not crazy but traumatized
and my coping mechanisms are strange.
Pretty much any coping mechanism is strange
and I wonder, what does a human do
that isn’t a coping mechanism?
Sina said never give your whole heart
to anybody. Never even occurred to me.
How can it make her radiant?
Because she lets it.
While the funeral pyre, while the ash,
while the grandfathers wobble
I fold my laundry, sweep the floor,
I plan my diet so that it is better.
Be like the forces of nature:
When it blows, there is only wind.
Whatever is behind the eyes
looking through the eyes
looking out from the skull
looking out from the face
is saying let me out., let me out
for the time being but then again
I might want back in.
For lack of a better name,
I call it the Tao.
The always yearning
to be either above or below
the human realm just not in it,
just not subject to it.
What she desires is non-desire
What she learns is to unlearn.
Don’t call a psychiatrist
but I’ve been ready to go
ever since I didn’t arrive.
When people look at me, smug
or strengthened by their opinions,
I imagine spontaneously dissolving
into a pile of ash and asking,
“Does the reality of who I am
match your evaluation? Besides,
your Ray Bans hide nothing.”
A good traveler has no fixed plans
And is not intent upon arriving.
The idea of becoming successful
in any worldly way whatsoever
is as real as any Hollywood movie,
since all I have ever wanted
was to be who I am,
and I’m doing it.
Know the male,
Yet keep to the female.
The request as prayer is always
“Take me away. Take me away.”
It bubbles multiple times a day
and has for the past thirty years.
“Hi! How are you?”
“Hi! Fine! How are you?
Take me away take me
away take me away.”
Know the personal
Yet keep to the impersonal.
With the tired, exasperated,
onward look of a mother,
she watches as our little men
tramp along out of their minds
with testosterone and blow shit up.
The master lets them go their own way
And resides at the centre of the circle.
“But she’s too good looking to have bad luck!”
The witticisms that are easy and make others
comfortable have temporarily escaped.
Weapons are the tools of violence;
All decent men detest them.
What do you like on your toast?
Mondays: Alienation + dislocation.
Tuesdays: Loss + trauma.
Soon it will occur to us to gather
and trade tales of our various anorexias.
Do not be that bitter lady who lives only
on her hatred for a man who has long ago
forgotten her. That song’s been sung.
Sung-sung. Eat your toast.
If you stay in the center and embrace death
With your whole heart, you will endure forever.
Don’t worry, I realize you are just a body
failing to make itself understood. Despite
what they say, I come bearing the good news,
“You do not have to be functioning all the time.”
She perceives the universal harmony, even amid great pain,
Because she has found peace in her heart.
The songs of marching bands
especially if slightly off-key
are the perfect soundtrack
to the mockery of all things.
*three slow cymbal crashes*
Subsequently, “This is That” is a phrase
I have been trying to make sense of
for years: I am the marching band
making a perfect mockery of things plus
I am the things the marching band
perfectly mocks, if slightly off-key.
This piece was originally published on Laura Broadbent’s blog and was republished here with her permission.