Reading Zen on the Train
It’s in these pages – the isolated monastery
gnarled plum tree blossoming in the snow
bell at 4:00 AM, old monks, black robes
zafu, zabuton, full lotus
sound of a wooden block in the courtyard
Cell phone ring
“Hey Bro, I’m on the train by Solana Beach!
Where’s the nearest liquor store?”
Neither tattooed hand covers the mouth
that coughs infectious spores into shared air.
Bell reverberating into silence
sore knees, lonely candle
Even here, the dust and dirt of this world
Do you want something more than this?
“My supervisor sets me up for failure.
Those guys in Irvine haven’t cooperated at all.
When I went to her for help, she said
I should develop a working relationship with them.
Drum beat, kesas on shaved heads
“I wear the Tathagata’s teaching saving all sentient beings.”
Hanya Hara Shin Gyo
bows, a cascade of bells
“Tickets please!” The conductor
carries his silver punch from seat to seat.
A boy with Down Syndrome recites the schedule.
Breakfast – a ballet of chopsticks and lacquer bowls
wash rice, chop vegetables
a sutra in a bag of mushrooms
The Coaster approaches Del Mar.
Passengers scan the ocean for fins.
A baby dolphin jumps from the waves.
The abbot, an ancient buddha
the koan – polishing a brick to make a mirror
No ultimate – No Buddha
No everyday – No teaching
Fish cannot live in sterile water.
Host of the Gelato Poetry Series, instigator of the San Diego Poetry Un-Slam, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published nearly three hundred poems in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Pearl, and Slipstream. He has also published over fifty short stories. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest.