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John McCarthy




Clear skies sink

into still water—

a calm mind.

No ripples exist;

You can see

zenith to core, all life

in-between, flying and swimming,

in harmony, indistinguishable.



Spontaneous acts

in the right circumstance,

aware of cause and effect,

will move you through life

like a bird through air,

above everything that looks up.



Choose words as if

they were boomerangs,

made of scorpion tales

or rose petals.



Karma is always dusting

for fingerprints. Fruit

bearing seeds should be

the only evidence of your life.



Work to feed your roots;

do not dig them up

to sell what keeps you

connected to harmony.



All work is transient;

help everyone you can

leave footprints in the sand.

Breathe onto a window;

index finger paint

all the names of love

until your breath fades.                                                 



Put material vices

into a chest. Attach

a rope to your ankle

and the chest. Kick

the chest over a cliff.

If your mind is right,

the rope will break

and you will not be

pulled over.



Seven orbs in a row

create a mirror.

Focus on the reflection;

learn from the silence

of the beating heart.



Winter Meditation


gandhabbas play

                    the firmament

snow sounds        the alarm

a state of saṃvega

heart   beats   harder

ask               again


fill in         the blanks

warmth is always free

to a sappuriso in viveka

when ice breaks      apart

the river chatters its teeth

cold     pulverized    dreams—

      but the man who orbits

                              his mind

with steady closed eyes

never freezes         and

        never worries

          about melting



John McCarthy is the Assistant Editor at Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Conium Review, Popshot Magazine (UK), and Ghost Ocean Magazine (Wave Series), among others. He can be contacted at