purple star ornaments

Hollering Zen Cones, Pt. 3

When he points at the sound of the garbage truck beeping as it backs up, and when he says that’s the sound of stars falling asleep,

And when he points up at the sky whenever you say “stars” in any language,

you know

he has a thing for stars and you wonder if he’s gonna be an astronaut

For him, so and thus ever was, the stars are here and now, not light years away, not even light away.

[1] [2] 

The stars are inedible peanuts in the palm of his hand.

And so are you. You are the sun in his hands.  And the moon and the unimaginable experience of ice cream and unpaid credit cards

And for him,


is an iridescent and nonexistent sky in your hand, for, for him he knows he is your fourth finger.

And he sees a bird and makes his five-fingered


butterfly flapping mime why because the bird


a feathery butterfly.  And butterflies are his one hand clapping.

When he pees down your back and looks at you and says, by holding his palms toward

the stars,

“It’s raining,”

and when you believe him,

you know he’s your boy.

The sound of one-hand clapping is the sound of Zen not making sense, and that’s exactly what Zen wants you to stop. Making sense. Let go of your hands. Stop sweating your palms. Open up your life line to the rain congressing there, no matter what color. The rain.


The Zen Master looks at the Tall monk and looks at the short monk.  And he says, where is this woman you carried across the river?

She must have returned to the village, says the Tall one.

She lives in the hut next to the jagged hill where the tiger sometimes sleeps, says shortie. Not that I am stalking her or anything.

I ask again, says Master.  Where is this woman?  Please respond in a more Zen-like way.

And the Tall one just holds up his index finger.  And they all look up and then not knowing what he might be pointing at, the Tall one retracts his finger and then not knowing what to do with his hands, he waves them around at waist-level.

She must be meditating, says shortie. But her thoughts are being interrupted by thoughts, he chuckles, of me. 

The short monk with the long arms. Like a monkey.  Monkey, realizing that he has traveled a thousand li and discovering that he is still wandering inside one wrinkle inside one of Buddha’s palms, said the short monk. 

Satisfied that he has brought the conversation back to Buddha, the short one smiles at Zen Master, who takes a deep breath and never lets it out.


Master listens to a bird and tries to tell his underling monks telepathically that he is listening to a bird sing the same song it always sings, a song he hears from some bird or another each fall.

The woman, who is a mother to a young boy, stares blankly at the bank of the river because she needs to cross the river

the river again.

With no short, virtuous monkey to carry her.

It is raining. She wants to see her boy.

He assures me that it is indeed rain (he points up) falling

from the stars.

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