February 4th, 2006

Book Cover

Awake in the night -

I am awake, trying to think of some way to describe what is going on. My legs are achy, and it is as though there is not full support there, like there are spaces in my legs and my feet, so when I place my foot on the ground, it is not like a pancake spreading, but it is like a rock made up of mixed stones, in a jagged sort of way, so there is no place for full sinking and connection into the ground. I am fine with it, knowing it will change, and I am trying to stay with full observation of what is going on. It feels comfortable to be awake at 4. All is quiet. There is no wind, and the fog is wrapped around like a shawl.
Ah, a burst of wind, and it is raining. Amazing. I thought it was fog. The rain continues, but we are supposed to have sun for Super Bowl Sunday. I could not have imagined that when I saw the Rolling Stones perform in 1971 that they would be doing half-time at the Super Bown in 2006. I was at the first Super Bowl in 1967, the year I graduated high school. Now, it is really pouring. I am rooting for Seattle this year, so maybe the rain is a good omen for their win. The rain beats on the window, tapping to come in.
Book Cover

Editorial in the New York Times today.

Tax Talk Goes Orwellian

Published: February 4, 2006

President Bush had it exactly backwards in his speech Tuesday night when he exhorted lawmakers to keep cutting taxes. He noted that when the going gets tough, leaders are tempted to take stands that are crowd pleasing yet counterproductive, like championing protectionism in the face of global competition. Fair enough.

But then he warned that in today's uncertain times, lawmakers might even be tempted to do something as weak-kneed as "increasing taxes."

If Mr. Bush is trying to say that tax cutting is politically courageous, that ignores reality. Politicians cut taxes to please the crowd, and they are always and understandably reluctant to vote against a cut or — gasp — vote for a tax increase because that could make them unpopular. Mr. Bush knows that. He was basically warning the assembled lawmakers, actually the Republicans, that they would never make the cheerleading squad if they didn't extend his temporary tax cuts.

We hope Congress will realize that extending the tax cuts would be an act of political cowardice, not courage. The country is already deep in debt, and the tax cuts are largely to blame. In the next two weeks, the administration expects to hit the nation's legal debt limit — $8,184,000,000,000 — and has told Congress it needs to vote to raise the debt ceiling to nearly $9 trillion, a 51 percent increase since 2001, when Mr. Bush took office. Congress must raise the limit or the government will default. But Congressional leaders are looking for ways to downplay the vote, precisely because it's a disgrace.

Casting the tax cuts in stone now would be particularly craven because they don't expire for another three to five years. But Mr. Bush and his supporters in Congress are hot to act now. That is because the cuts they want to extend the most — special low tax rates for investment income — overwhelmingly enrich the rich and will be even harder to justify in the years to come, when, by all reasonable estimates, the country's financial outlook will have deteriorated further. The tax cutters are not being brave. They are afraid they won't get their way if they wait.
Book Cover

Ode to my mother today!


                         Ode to My Mother  – To Joy

                  When she was here in fragile form,
        She was as graceful as the curved spine of Kokopeli,
                                         Playing a flute -

          We rode her gentleness like the back of a whale -
                        Her last words,  “so very good,”
            As she sipped from a glass of chocolate milk,
                                        Then rose to prepare -

         She holds the portal open for me so I can see,
                        Bounces me from her hand like a yo yo –
                                 Of time and space, I am free -

                                            and now
                                                     and now

                   I bow to the liquidity of energy
                                        blown like sand to glass

Book Cover

Poem by Matthias Claudius!

Seest thou the moon above?
We see but half of it
And yet it's round and beautiful -

by Matthias Claudius

It is something to contemplate, isn't, it, especially when we view that full harvest moon. We are only seeing half. How often is this so?
Book Cover

The other side of the moon -

Just like that I find the other side of the moon. A little book is tucked in my bookcase, Giovanni's Light, by Phyllis Theroux, a Christmas story, that is perfect for today, and every day. Just like that, we see the back side of the moon.
Book Cover

Poem by Billy Collins!

Bodhidharma by Billy Collins

This morning the surface of the wooded lake
is uncommonly smooth - absolute glass -
which must be the reason I am thinking
of Bodhidharma, the man who brought Buddhism,
to China by crossing the water standing on a single reed.

What an absorbing story, especially
when you compare it to Zeus with his electric quiver
or Apollo who would just as soon
turn you into a willow tree as look at you sideways.

In every depiction, there is no mistaking
Bodhidharma, always up on his reed,
gliding toward the shores of China,

a large fierce-looking man in a loincloth
delicately balanced on a little strip of bamboo,
a mere brushstroke on a painted scroll,
tiny surfboard bearing the lessons of the Buddha.

I recognized him one night in a Chinese restaurant
after the disappointment
of the fortune cookie, the dry orange, and the tepid tea.

He was hanging on a wall behind the cash register,
and when I quizzed the young cashier,
she looked back at the painting and said
she didn't know who it was but it looked like her boss.

Thinking of her and Bodhidharma
makes me want to do many things,
but mostly take off my shoes and socks
and slide over a surface of water on a fragile reed
heading toward the shore of a new country.

No message would be burning in my satchel,
but I might think of one on the way.
If not, I would announce to the millions
that it is foolish to invest too heavily
in the present moment,

not when we have the benefit of the past
with its great pillowed rooms of memory,
let alone the future,
that city of pyramids and spires,
and ten thousand bridges
suspended by webs of glistening wire.