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Archive for July, 2013



Suffering is not the same as pain. Suffering can be defined as the replaying of pain, re-hashing, re-making, re-creating or re-eating it every day. Sometimes for decades of a life. Or centuries, of a people.


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I think one of the lessons of the buddha is that suffering is the product of social learning. We have to be taught to suffer. This does not mean that the pain is not real, simply that suffering can be learned or unlearned, depending on the context. Here in the west we have been averse to the imagined threat of nihilism for thousands of years. Yet I hear that buddhists speak of samsara and nirvana as always already present in each moment. And so the common western interpretation of buddhism as the doctrine that “life is suffering” is nothing more than a hollywood movie version of same. If we want to navigate a different course, I think we have to unlearn what has been taught to us about it all over again.


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poetry like you will always be a theatre
of music and image. not only some play of numbers
in which the first prime is randomly marched
from the stage and shot, but glory for always.
though we never achieve justice, still
let those who commit violence
live lives of nothing evermore


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this is the effect of building gothic cathedrals with such high ceilings: so that you would come inside and automatically look up: filled with awe at a marvel of architecture, and remembering god.


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Kant’s idea of morality and god is very simple: if we could somehow remove
all barriers to accomplishing what we feel in our hearts to be loving and noble,
and could know that it is in-deed loving and noble, then we would be what
religions name the divine. The concept of freedom to act nobly carries
the hope, taken to its logical limit for a moment, of a loving and divine
author of her life. In life, how to be and to be, that was the question
that queried he.


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IMGP1116-crop3 copy



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color_composit_merge18-paint copy



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for me poetry is much more like expressionist than representational, art

and i’m not convinced that words are always the most accurate way to describe experience



Judith Nilson, "Cold Spring #101" (2003)

Judith Nilson, “Cold Spring #101” (2003)



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imagination can order chaos so i fell
for you because you were meant to be
a guide to myself or so i thought.
brilliant and naive as a student. tough as bark.
actually it was the eyes that had me.
trite i know yet the hackneyed phrase
still speaks the overworn path still leads
and a song you never learned to hate
still soothes over craterous wounds
that other people made on their
way to greatness or what they
supposed was a dream maybe,
even, their way of feeling
casually as warm as i did,
one night in your arms



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to what extent have you assigned
your happiness to the world?


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