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Peter Schneider

Mountain Seat

the tripodal seated position
recalls an Empire clock
black agate case and green face
in the house in Long Beach

weird old gargoyle sephardim downstairs at seder
and my ten year-old me wandering
the guest rooms seeking quiet and aloneness
even a little mystery in the cool air between
the twin beds covered in brown satin quilts

in the twilight the other houses
of brick white mortared Spanish tiled roofs
and faux-Moorish balconies sit like seashells
in the presence of the ocean
ten year-old self  always somewhere else

this clock which I now embody in zazen 
its dark bong
mingling with the zither brush of taut strings
on a companion clock
in the form of a sailing ship
lines stretching from my face to my knees

a tuneless dulcimer
a metallic taste like thirst
iridescent motes before the eyes revive a souvenir
green mother-of pearl pocket knife from the beach gift-shop
cheap emblem of itself 


Platform Sutra of the Second Storey

in central Vermont where I sit
on the second floor 
as a freshening breeze comes up to clear the head
and preach nothing to two turkeys
slowly bobbing across the field

I gradually become aware that I am located
approximately seven feet in from the windows
a raft of white purple clouds floats across the sensorium
croquette shapes repeating the mounded hills

a sense that I could equally be out there
some twenty feet off the ground floating
over the turkeys for all they care

also that I could be
the grit in the sand bank
of the brook sounding below the field
or a trail of snail slime on a gray rock
not to mention the rust in a passing tail-pipe

just now
the upper cavity of my skull
seems much like this room
under the eaves


Peter Schneider is a zen and T'ai Chi practitioner, poet and psychotherapist living and working in Brooklyn, NY and Rochester, VT.