Wolfku Musing - 18

Pages, red pages
History: vast and pregnant
with man killing man

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Living as I do in the 21st century and during a stretch of relative world peace, and now of an age that I risk no enlistment in anyone’s army, it is so very easy to lose sight of the brutal, the near inconceivable violence of our human past.

I guess Cain is to blame for this trend—should we lean on the Bible as authoritative reference; though the notion, the utter blindness caused by hatred so deep that you would kill another human being (whether brother or not—and aren’t we all siblings, anyway), is so enormously alien and more than I can fathom as to not even belong to this galaxy.

I read somewhere that mankind—throughout recorded history anyway—has never experienced a single moment of total world peace; there has always been some conflict, some skirmish, some battle, some war in progress. There has always been some field soaked in red-turning-to-black blood of the often-still-alive-and-in-agony fallen.

So, History’s pages are all red, should all be red, should scream in anguish at all readers to for heaven’s sake wake up to the insanity of our pain-soaked past and look to what goodness we can find in our souls to make sure this carnage stops now.

But then a new story breaks and ISIS has slaughtered another village, the Syrian dictator has killed another countryside of his own people, and some lunatic decided to mow down forty-three people with a rented truck in a now-shocked metropolis.

All is not well with the world, seemingly never has been, and I wonder how history will view us who did little or nothing about it.

::

Wolfku Musing - 17

Put in a small box
They named it me
  wrapped it tight
with soft steel ribbons

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I’ve been a home to this image for many years, this conviction (or notion, perhaps) that our planet Earth is nothing but a long-forgotten experiment gone terribly wrong—and with that in mind:

No, I don’t know who “they” are, but “they” did me/us no favors.

I don’t know if everyone travels the same route, whether everyone is shuttled along the same conveyor belt in bardo, but I have the distinct feeling of being red-flagged by the overseers and operators at my last death and bardo visit:

“Special treatment, this one,” stamped on my long karma-tail, “the knots are loosening, he’s about to slip out. Yes, give him the extra special, this one. Make sure he doesn’t go anywhere.”

I’m not saying that this was actually said or meant or done, but this is what I am saying: judging by the effect—my insistent and crazy desires and compulsions, all the way from just a little boy through adolescence, through young adulthood, man, older man, retired man, spitting-death-in-the-eye man—they must have given me the special treatment, making very sure I was well and truly messed up (and not escaping) this time around.

No, I’m not saying that this actually happened to me, but what I’m saying is that it would not surprise me one little bit if it did.

A wise man once suggested that unless the overseers did their bardo-job properly: one after another, we would, like the Buddha wake up to what is truly going on here and begin to loosen the fetters that bind us. Judging by what I see both within and without me, I think his suggestion was a good and true one.

I can still hear the splash when as a box I landed on open ocean with not so much as a “good luck” to see me onto nearest shore.

::

Wolfku Musing - 16

Waiting for the sun
A thousand lilies, heads bowed
Listening for light

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It is a young summer’s morning along the Pacific. The actual field of flowers may or may not have been lilies, and they may or may not have been a thousand of them—perhaps they were only a handful or two, but they were definitely flowers.

Either way, when I see something like this—a field of flowers, or a group or a family of flowers, heads bowed (yes, heads were bowed and petals were unopened in this natural cathedral)—I easily and readily adorn the image with a poetic brush and they become lilies and, yes, a full thousand.

In truth, their posture is of those who listen very carefully.

And what would a lily listen for, so attentively? What would be of such importance to a flower? It struck me as so obvious: sunlight, of course. That far away source of lily-sustenance. They were listening for the rising sun, dreaming of her rising, wishing for her rising, anticipating her rising which would unfold their petals and straighten their necks to turn their faces toward the her.

Oh, yes, I was very, very sure of this.

And the sun, huge, warm, motherly, ever-so-slowly climbing, silhouetting the eastern tree line, seemed very sure of this as well.

Wolfku Musing - 15

Too often these days
I don’t apologize, I
look for Control-Z

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It took quite a while (months, anyway) for my left-hand little-finger and long-finger to settle in the perfect motion of Control-Z, but now they can do it in their sleep.

And is there a more useful finger-movement combination on Earth?

You deleted the wrong file? No problem: Control-Z.

The formatting did not work. No problem: Control-Z.

You copied the wrong picture? No problem: Control-Z.

You added too much salt to the salad: Control-Z. Well, you wish.

You really should not have married her: Control-Z. Wish again.

Really, life should have a workable Control-Z, and each person born should be given at least a (non-transferable and non-inheritable) handful of them, to spend as they see fit in order to revers anything, and I mean anything that they regret or for whatever private reason (virtuous or not) intensely wish undone.

Yes, there needs to be a limit to how many Control-Zs each person gets. An unlimited supply just would not work (just imagine the havoc); I’d say five from birth, and then, by extremely good deeds one should be able to acquire additional ones but under no circumstances more than five more (i.e., never more than ten per lifetime). Also, there has to be a time limit on this thing. Any reversal must take place within, say, twenty-four hours, that’s my gut feeling. Longer than that and, again, havoc—say the guy who after thirty years of marriage decided to reverse: impractical would be the word. But within a day or so, manageable I would say.

 So, you threw away a winning lottery ticket: Control-Z. See, how handy is that?

So, over missed (as in overslept) a crucial job-interview: Control-Z. And this time you’re up on time and make it to the interview just fine. And wouldn’t you know, you got the job. See?

So, you realized you should have proposed last night, for now she’s mumbling about leaving town (and you) forever: Control-Z. And here you are, refreshed courage and ring and all, and she says yes. See?

As a lark, you voted for the most unlikely (and unqualified) presidential candidate ever, and OMG, he won!! Control-Z. And the world’s a better place for it. See?


Wolfku Musing - 14

My morning poem
Alive from lack of this world
Come evening she’s dead

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 Quite often, I wake up in the middle of the night with some snippet of a poem or a suddenly urgent question or a nicely dancing set of seventeen syllables that claim to be a Wolfku refusing to let me fall all the way back to sleep until I make a note of it/them—lest I forget it/them come my four-a.m. morning.

To accommodate this, I have a ream or so of copy paper in my bedside stand drawer along with a trusted mechanical pencil, and these days I can reach out, pull the drawer open and select a sheet of paper (and fold it in half) along with the pencil (that I bought many years ago in a department store in Clearwater, Florida where the sales clerk categorically told me they absolutely had no mechanical pencils—ten steps after which I stumbled upon the display of them), and turn on my bedside lamp and without really waking up all the way write the snippet, question, Wolfku down. Then I clip the pencil to the folded sheet (facilitating reaching for the sheet and pencil again for the invariable revisions to sail into my head a minute or five or ten from now) and place it on top of the ream or so of still innocent sheets of paper.

Then I turn out the light, roll over onto my left side and try to re-enter sleep. An often-thankless task.

Yes, occasionally, I’ll drift back, but most of the time I muse the snippet or Wolfku a little and if I do I’ll invariably come up with something which I now have to write down, too, lest I forget it come morning.

So, I do: reach for the folded shee and pencil, turn on the light again and revise/add/refine/re-write, etc. the thought in question.

Then I return paper and pencil and try again to sleep, which more often than not leads to another revision.

Here, though, is the curious and often wonderful thing: The poem or the thought (since it is all that is going on for me at this hour of night), even if patently strange, makes perfect sense to me and strikes me as not only meaningful but perhaps important, too. Mankind needs to know of this (that’s why I cannot afford to forget these things, or so I tell myself).

My alarm goes off at 4 a.m. at which point I rise, silence the alarm and turn the cell phone off (I’m using an old, decommissioned but excellent cell phone as my alarm), brush my teeth, exercise, shave and shower, then do my morning sitting (Anapanasati Meditation). After that I usually read for an hour or so (Dhamma) and reflect on wise words uttered or written by wise people.

I then check/retrieve my night-time notes and enter them either in my journal or as a new Wolfku, etc.

Then it’s time to walk.

And still, even now, the night-time notes, the morning poem, my noted thoughts ring true, remain alive in me for lack of this awake (and very intrusive) world. Too much of the night still surrounds and permeates me (for meditation and reading and reflecting does not disturb that mood overly) to ruin the heart of the poem: yes, it still lives, and often I’ll worry it and revise a little during my walk.

However, upon arrival back from my hour’s walk, the awake world now makes a serious push for dominance as it arrives with its emails and blog posts and news and soccer scores and music to be selected to chop salad by, then the actual chopping and now the sitting down to the meal itself (it’s around 10 a.m., now, and this is my lunch).

And from there the day goes on. There’s yardwork to be done, there’s mail to collect, there’s shopping to do, there more email, there might be an article to write, and there is more and more awake world pushing out more and more night-time ditto, and by late afternoon or early evening, the poem has as often as not lost not only its meaning and importance but its breath, too. If I haven’t forgotten it altogether, it certainly seems no longer at all important.

As luck would have it, though, come next morning—the awake world cleared out of my head again, the poem (or one of its many siblings, newly born overnight or not) is alive and breathing again.

Perhaps I should never fully wake up, would that keep my poems alive? Or I should completely and forever wake up transcending all nights. Possibly the latter.


Wolfku Musing - 13

Shiny metal skin
These animals have round legs
and very bad breath

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Let’s say you’re an alien. Perhaps you’re just visiting, or perhaps it’s your very bad luck and you’ve been incarcerated here for some not inconsiderable crime or crimes (or you wouldn’t find yourself here, among the rest of us crims, methinks) and time.

Either way, now you’re walking down your first road early one morning, your first earthly stroll. Everything is new, unfamiliar, threatening, and not a little scary to be honest. And, now, up ahead, this beast approaching:

You have never seen anything like it.

It shines. Its skin is metal-like if not actually metal and in such strange colors. And there’s glass. No, not the eyes, no, for those are further down, at the end of its broad, huge nose: shining glass eyes—lit from within by danger. No, the glass that hijacks your attention is covering both the front chest and side shoulders and the back of this strange, strange, menacing creature. Where there isn’t metal, there’s glass. Some on top of the head, even.

And feet. Four of them as per usual, but these feet are all round; and they seem to pivot. This beast is not walking or stalking or leaping, it is, strange to say, yes, rolling. Yes, that’s what it does.

And sticking out its back, where the bum should be (or perhaps is, what do I know) is a round pipe which spews the worst breath ever: dark, brown or gray or black but it really stinks.

For a few terrifying moments you think it’s coming for you, straight for you, and it will open its gigantic maw and devour you, but then it shifts its course a little and veers by you missing you by a foot or two and (yes, you’ll probably think I’m dreaming but I looked at the glass as it passed me by) and it seemed to be another beast inside this beast, wielding a round sort of instrument of some kind.

Really, this is the strangest thing ever.

No wonder people tell you to stay away from this place. Very few things make sense here.

Oh boy, here comes another one. Louder. Growling. Spewing. Rolling, veering, missing, hurling down the road.

Rolling metal beasts.


Wolfku Musing - 12

He lied: a crime worse
than killing—for trusting him
we could die and die

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I am paraphrasing the Buddha here. But this is the essence of what he said: Lying is a more severe and devastating and deadly crime and sin than is killing.

Why?

Because if you “only” kill someone, you’ve only destroyed one life, but if you lie to him or her—especially in matters of the spirit (and some founders of religions knowingly lied and some leaders of religious sects or cults or branches, some knowingly though some perhaps not, continue to do so to this day)—and steer this man or woman in the wrong direction, away from truth, you may well have killed him or her a thousand times over, since by following your advice true liberation will elude the lied-to and the true path home may not be (re)discovered for aeons. That means you have killed him or her many, many times over.

Is this a stretch?

On the surface, yes, perhaps. And if you do not under any circumstances accept reincarnation or re-birth as a concept or phenomenon, yes, perhaps it is a stretch, for you. But if you allow for re-birth, or even the remotest possibility of it, and if you face and accept that the most important mission any of us has here on this little planet of ours is to wake up and make our way out of this prison/trap, then a wrong steer would clearly be far more catastrophic to our long-term well-being and sanity than a mere loss of a single body.

Not to mention the many hopes such lying dashes.

Yes, I believe this to be true.


Wolfku Musing - 11

A thousand strange rules
An alternate universe
some call Photoshop

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If I’m not mistaken, you can actually get a Master’s Degree in Photoshop these days, if not a Doctorate. Seriously. This, of course, should surprise nobody since that’s pretty much what it takes these days to wrap your wits around this (monstrous and ever-expanding) thing.

Me, I’ve stood at the doorstep of this strange universe a few times (using, or attempting to constructively use, Photoshop Essentials) but I’ve never quite made it past the vestibule of this mighty software and its many tentacles.

Then it dawns on me, it’s a conspiracy, a plan most evil.

In fact, the human race can now be divided into two distinct and very separate (as in light years apart) factions: whose who understand and use Photoshop and those, like me and the other seven and a half billion plus normal folks, who don’t.

The Photoshop race is small and exclusive and they are not native to our solar system, much less our planet; I have come to that conclusion. In fact, they are a subtle (or not so subtle—once the scales have fallen from your astonished eyes) invasion by aliens who will soon make their move to take over this Earth of ours.

The first alien who landed (and took human form—his/her/its name was Adobe) invented Photoshop as the gateway of communication between him/her/it and all who were to follow and did (and still do). Only they really understand what Photoshop is all about and what it can do, and it is what keeps them organized, up-to-date on their plans, and synchronized toward that big Orson-Wells-like day ahead.

Yes, I have a feeling that they will strike soon, that’s the bad news.

The good news is that if you have tried to understand and use Photoshop, and failed, well, then (at least) you are not an alien. Good thing to know, yes?

Alien conspiracy theories aside, why do we need Photoshop? (Realize that a Photoshop-pro thinks me crazy for even asking).

I  am not a good photographer by any stretch and were it not for the digital camera I would hardly ever take a good picture—but when you can take a hundred or so shots of that one subject and all it costs you is time and heavy use of the delete button to rid the world of the ninety-nine or so that look questionable at best to keep the one that might do you proud—well, then even I can come up with somewhat respectable shots.

And so, with the one good frame in the digital bag, what do I do next? First and foremost, I used Windows 10’s “Photos” which gives me all the tools I need for cropping, color-tweaking, etc. at least ninety percent of the time. It’s made for photo-dummies like me. I understand “Photos” and I can apply it. The designers did a good job, with guys like me in mind. They are all from this planet, these guys—and like it here.

Should I need to edit the image further (say for more effects) I turn to one of four (or more than one) different very good photo-editing apps:

The old, proven standby “Paint” for resizing and text;

“Fused” for merging (overlaying) two images into one;

“Photomatix” for bracketed pics, or single pics (this program provides excellent effects); and

“Polarr” for additional fine-tuning and effects.

That said, “Photos” and “Paint” does it for me just about always, and when I look at the result, I’m happy. Some other people, too, look at the picture and seem happy with it. Would Photoshop make it better?

I guess the Photoshop-pro would say yes, and possibly, he or she could. But would the improvement be detectable by anyone not stemming from the Photoshop universe? I don’t know.

My other thought on this is that with the advent of programs as powerful as Photoshop, where you can (I believe) rescue even badly taken shots and make them look wonderful, is not the skill, the art of photography itself being made redundant/obsolete? Again, I don’t really know.

What I do know is that I’ve tried to wrap my wits around this massive program and I’ve always come up short and confused and very much of this world.

And always very happy to return to “Photos” and “Paint” — my two old and trusted Ps.