A Zen had-by

If I don’t do Zen meditation to wipe out deluded thoughts then I must pace around drunkenly, spouting crazy songs. Otherwise in the autumn moon, evenings of springtime breeze,  how to cope with these idle yearnings for the past?
Po Chü-i   •  772-846  •  Burton Watson translation

The last, the first

In Finnegans Wake (auth: James Joyce), the beginning sentence is the last part of the ending sentence. I made this as a t-shirt design, a few people,  bought it online, but they were all from foreign countries, I cannot imagine how this book could be translated into another language— in this sense it is a “pre-print oral communication” book— Joyce motivates you  to read it aloud to yourself and then it makes sense. 

But then again many that do read it spend their time trying to figure out what is about. It provides people with something to do in their life while it requires an interesting commitment  as an entrance fee.

Could you say this about the book?

“Literature should be written to serve one’s own generation, and poems and songs to influence public affairs.”
Po Chü-i


Jindaiji is famous for soba and a New Year’s Daruma festival. In Tokyo temples and shrines are distributed throughout the city and people physically interact with them every day—for some “cutting through the temple grounds” is little more than a shortcut to work or school, and “as long as I am here maybe a small bow for good luck anyway,” —its a personal experience integrated  with a common experience of tradition.

Its not like a church where most people walk by everyday and  are “socially required” to attend as a group one morning once  a week at a specific time; or one day; or one evening; etc. a group experience of togetherness? or submission?


Bizen and Mashiko are two old folk kilns in Japan, “kiln” can refer to an area where there is a tradition of  potters who live, dig the same clay, use similar techniques and create a common class of pottery. Bizen and Mashiko are different kilns and at the same time, individual Bizen or Mashiko potters  have their own personal kilns.

We might say “they have a style,” but its more than a style because ofduration —a relationship between the artist and people who appreciate their work.

Nakamura Kazuki (Bizen) is the grandson of Nakamara Rokuro and Hamada Tomoo (Mashiko) is the grandson of Hamada Shoji—both are grandsons of famous potters.



Pottery is most useful if it can contain liquid. A ki-seto tokkuri and guinomi;  Father and son; Kagame Shugai and Kagame Masakane.


Peeping through the window of a back alley, then through a second  window, across Central  Avenue  SE to the buildings of the university,


No matter how many barriers there always seems to be people who will seek them out . .   some will cross them, while others will cross them while not ever seeking them . .  and others will use them for their person benefit. Each of us need a little bit of each, but not too much.


Waiting for Godough . . . Can you not help yourself when you see, a door, or an image of a door, and not wonder what is behind it? When I was young there was a song chorus:

Midnight, one more night without sleeping,
Watching till the morning comes creeping.
Green door, what’s that secret you’re keeping?
Songwriters: Bob Davie / Marvin Moore


Walking around Russian Hill one afternoon I saw this mother standing in front of her  house with her bundles, waiting, as it turned out,  for her son  . . . I watched her waiting for about 30 minutes, impatiently fidgeting until he showed up in a big black expensive car, and,  talking on his phone.

He parked in the middle of the street,—its on a hill— blocking traffic, got out, walked around to back, opened the trunk, put the stuff in, closed the trunk, escorted mom around to the passenger  side of the car, put her inside, came back around to get in the driver’s seat and drove off—All the while talking business on his handheld phone. 


Umbrellas at Yasukuni, it was raining, there was a  group photo shoot  under a big gate and umbrellas, unwanted in the photograph, and unneeded under the gate, were standing against a pillar.


One day in 1970, these people met, spent the night in an A-frame in Vermont and then moved on. Second from left is “Turtle” of Turtle Trucking in Boston, and the couple on his right . . .


We had met them in Boston, they were from Texas and driving around for the summer and they joined us for a few days; I did not know any of the other people and I never saw them again. Turtle I saw a few years later when I returned to Boston to attend design  school. I returned with no money, my van and a dog, and I worked some day jobs for Turtle who paid me daily until I got a nite job driving a cab while attending art school,  and a really cheap room plus sharing an apartment with two strangers.


Bisa and I came out of the woods into a field, it had snowed most of the night,  by morning it had stopped when we started out, still it was so overcast that I could not  locate the sun even though I had a good estimate of the time. After about 30 minutes it started snowing again and within 20 minutes our trailing tracks were  being covered.

I knew there was a large pond south east and that I was on the downward slope but the pond was about two  miles away and it was only woods the whole way, with direct east being about 100 miles of trees. And then I came on to this barn, long abandoned but still a road was findable in the snow.


With a single “I,”  “U” can make a wish.


Late January afternoon in Leverett,  MA


China Town, San Francisco,


I like to think I made more mistakes in my life than you did, but probably I didn’t, It was not the  makin’ of  mistakes that was my problem,  it was just not being able to fix my mistakes or maybe I make mistakes beyond my abiilty, or my desire, to fix—maybe they are the same thing.










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