Zen in the Art of Generalized Anxiety

 

            *

 

My guru says it’s cheating

to meditate drunk.

 

*

 

I let my thoughts pass

like clouds in the breeze

and when I open my eyes,

I can’t remember any Spanish.

 

*

 

Sometimes toads explode.

Look it up.

 

*

 

All things are cyclical.

I will live to see the day

when socks and sandals

come into fashion.

 

*

 

I had planned to tattoo

a watch on my wrist,

but I couldn’t commit to a time.

 

            *

 

I am workshopping my mantra.

Be honest – I can take it.

 

*

 

I would never kill a dragonfly,

but I guess I’d kill a horsefly.

I am still undecided

about all the types of flies

I’ve yet to meet in person.

 

            *

 

I don’t believe in past lives,

but in a past life, perhaps I did.

 

            *

 

Rock stars can’t be Buddhas.

Good lord – I’ll have to choose.

 

*

 

I would never have thought

twice about impermanence

if I hadn’t started losing my hair

from thinking about impermanence.

 

*

 

My least favorite sound

is everyone else sleeping.

 

*

 

One could spend a thousand lifetimes

meditating on the nature of the cigarette.

This is the central paradox of the sutras

as I understand them.

 

            *

 

I am calibrating my karma

to be reborn a Labrador.

 

*

 

“I’m a realist,”

is just something

pessimists say.

 

            *

 

Oh, fuck me –

I forgot the windchimes.

 

*

 

I am an amateur birdwatcher,

staring up with my mouth wide open

anytime the canopy shakes.

This poem was originally published in Issue 27 of Gulf Stream Magazine.