Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain by Li Po

Was in an editorial meeting, and they were talking about tenses. Someone said, same as the timeframe of disappointment, and just like that I was paying attention. But not here—all of a sudden I was rifling through the rolodex in my head: this day, that day.

Was listening to Nina Simone, nodding my head, bare feet tapping lightly on the floor. Just in time, she croons. I was lost, the losing dice were tossed. I have been here in this moment several times—at the Village Gate in my mind, in the living room of someone I used to love, between rows and rows of books in the library, in transit, in bed. This day, that day.

Was a quiet week mostly. I mean, the demons in my head. I mean, I know some things have shifted—whether it’s the ground or the odds, I’ve yet to find out. But I’ll take what I can get: this day, that day.

Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain
Li Po
Translated by Sam Hamill

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.


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