Saturday, December 31, 2011

The 108 Sins (Defilements)

abuse; aggression; ambition; anger; arrogance; baseness; blasphemy; calculation; callousness; capriciousness (unaccountable changes of mood or behavior); censoriousness (being severely critical of others); conceitedness; contempt; cruelty; cursing; debasement; deceit; deception; delusion; derision; desire for fame; dipsomania (alcoholism characterized by intermittent bouts of craving); discord; disrespect; disrespectfulness; dissatisfaction; dogmatism; dominance; eagerness for power; effrontery (insolent or impertinent behavior); egoism; enviousness; envy; excessiveness; faithlessness; falseness; furtiveness; gambling; garrulity (tediously talking about trivial matters); gluttony; greed; greed for money; grudge; hard-heartedness; hatred; haughtiness; high-handedness; hostility; humiliation; hurt; hypocrisy; ignorance; imperiousness (assuming power or authority without justification); imposture (pretending to be someone else in order to deceive); impudence; inattentiveness; indifference; ingratitude; insatiability; insidiousness; intolerance; intransigence (unwilling or refusing to change one's views or to agree about something); irresponsibility; jealousy; know-it-all; lack of comprehension; lecherousness; lying; malignancy; manipulation; masochism; mercilessness; negativity; obsession; obstinacy; obstinacy; oppression; ostentatiousness; pessimism; prejudice; presumption; pretence; pride; prodigality (spending money or using resources freely and recklessly); quarrelsomeness; rage; rapacity (being aggressively greedy or grasping); ridicule; sadism; sarcasm; seducement; self-denial; self-hatred; sexual lust; shamelessness; stinginess; stubbornness; torment; tyranny; unkindness; unruliness; unyielding; vanity; vindictiveness; violence; violent temper; voluptuousness; wrath

Post Festival/Fireworks

This, in between the midnight crush,
And what will be a much more quiet moment
At the shrine two hours from now -- no rush,
While the crowds flow, thin, and drift
Away, so I take this moment to gather
The thoughts that come to mind, and shift
Them into the words that now appear
On screen, and lead to thanks for the gift
Of another hour, another day, another year.

Ring For Hope

This Buddhist bell was temporarily set-up at Joganji Temple in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture (one of the places badly damaged by 3/11). Starting this afternoon, visitors were allowed to ring/gong the bell for good luck in 2012. No limit was set on the number of times the bell could be rung ---- Usually, the priests ring the bell 108 times, during New Year's Eve ceremonies... To wash away the previous year's "108 sins" identified by the Buddhist faith...


March is one I'd like to have back,
Things seemed simpler, better,
Before the tsunami's attack...

Omisoka Night

The countdown has started in the park,
I know, because I can hear the sound
Of the singer's voice, loud and urgent, in stark
Contrast to the peaceable gloom in my room,
Where I sit and contemplate the year almost done...
The countdown contiues on toward its scripted
Ending, goodbye to the old year, hello the new one!
The drunks will yell in the cold, and kisses
By lovers with chapped lips, all of which misses
The reality, amidst the fireworks and heated wine,
That nothing has changed, this night is just another
Night, which will tick-away until the sunshine
Of just another day, casts its clear piercing light
Onto the abandoned park, where much is still fine
And mostly unchanged -- Time to put the right
Foot in front of the left, amble into a new year's day...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

3 Days Before New Year's

The usually busy office
Is quiet, empty, maybe distracted
From the normal buzz and
Business, the drama enacted
Which I call my working life,
Now paused, goals refracted
Into a softer coloring of rest
At the end of the year, when
The trigger is released lest
The tension takes over again...

Listening To The Beatles

How can it be that a melody
From so long ago can bring
Back a memory, a monent
Forgotten, and everything
Else along with it, to where
I can taste the sweet air
Of youth, and those dreams
Which burnt out brightly
Yesterday, or so it seems...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Weird American Custom

Groundhog day is coming soon,
And the gathered crowd will
Look for a rodent's shadow
To predict whether winter still
Would remain too long, or depart
In time for an early spring to start;
How the hairy tunnel rat gained
Such power, is a mystery unexplained...

Midnight Fling

It's not what I planned on...
Sleep deferred in honor
Of Moet & Chandon
Champagne's fizz,
And subsequent epiphany
That it is, what it is...

Consensus Building

For a decision on a tough divisive
Issue, the tendency is to balk,
And avoid making enemies, or
Unhappiness, so we just talk, talk, talk...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

26 December Scene

The morning after the feast,
Leftovers on the stove top,
And the new day's sun from the east...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Nike "Air Jordan 11 Retro Concord" Sale

It was after we pushed the doors
Open, springing their hinges, we
Charge-trampled across the floors
Recklessly, triumphantly...
And I finally got my hands
On the shoes, when some bitch sprayed
Red pepper, and punches started
To fly, but I pushed, kicked, and made
My way out of the mob, and departed
Teary-eyed, but unrepentant, unafraid...

Before The Banquet

On the eve of a Yule feast,
Which I am due to make
In the afternoon, tomorrow,
I lie back on the bed to take
Some time to relax and rest,
And I gaze at the tree
All color and sparkle, best
Displayed this Solstice night,
The eve of a feast, I doze away
In the dim festive light...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Solstice -- 冬至

Quotes from the web:

"There are several Japanese traditions connected with the Winter Solstice, mainly connected with warding off disease. The most popular one is taking a hot yuzu bath. Yuzu is a small yellow or green citrus fruit grown in East Asian. With a flavor somewhat between that of a grapefruit and an orange, its peel and juice are used to garnish Japanese cuisine.

The yuzu bath tradition holds that if done, it will help prevent colds for the coming year. A report from the Mainichi Shimbun indicated that origins of this practice are unclear. However, one word in Japanese referring to visiting a bath has the same pronunciation as Winter Solstice, Toji. The Mainichi speculates that tradition likely gained popularity after being promoted by public baths as a way to draw in visitors. Even this year a number of reports of public bath and hot springs throwing in hundreds of the fruit have been written over the last the week.

A similar tradition to the yuzu bath is called “azukigayu,” and involves putting azuki red beans into a bath, again to ward off colds for the year.

A third, slightly different, tradition is eating pumpkin on the solstice to help prevent paralysis. The Mainichi again claims that this origin is shrouded in mystery, particularly since pumpkins were imported into Japan sometime around the 16th century."
- - - - - - - - - -
"Winter Solstice marks the time of the year when the light returns as the sun shifts and starts to move northward again. In Europe, the tradition of the yule log is celebrated on Winter Solstice. A special log is brought in and placed on the hearth where it glows for the twelve nights of the holiday season. After that, it is kept in the house all year to protect the home and its inhabitants from illness and any adverse condition. The yule log is the counterpart of the midsummer bondfires, which are held outdoors on Summer Solstice to celebrate the shortest night of the year. It is also customary to place mistletoe around the fire, which is the plant that grew on the oak tree, sacred to the Druids, the priests of the old Celts. Among other uses, mistletoe is thought to help women conceive. The Christmas tree also dates from old European or pagan rituals. It was the time to celebrate the renewal of the earth, and greens were used as the symbol. Branches of pine, cedar, and juniper commonly used brings wonderful fragrance into the home. Red candles are used to symbolize the fire and heat of the returning sun as the days begin to lengthen."
- - - - - - - - - -
"In pre-historic times, winter was a very difficult time for Aboriginal people in the northern latitudes. The growing season had ended and the tribe had to live off of stored food and whatever animals they could catch. The people would become troubled as the life-giving sun sank lower in the sky each noon. They feared that it would eventually disappear and leave them in permanent darkness and extreme cold. After the passage of the winter solstice, they would have reason to celebrate and regain hope in the future as they saw the sun rising and strengthening once more. Although many months of cold weather remained before spring, they took heart that the return of the warm season was inevitable. The concept of birth and or death/rebirth became associated with the winter solstice. The Aboriginal people had no elaborate instruments to detect the solstice. But they were able to notice a slight elevation of the sun's path within a few days after the solstice -- perhaps by DEC-25. Celebrations were often timed for about the 25th."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In Her Hands

In her opened hands, light
Feathered carriers of hope
Perch tentatively, as she sits
In a verdant garden bright
With color, where it's
Possible, it's even right,
For beauty and whimsy to coincide,
Leaving a gentle happy sight,
A magic moment, to abide...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

From "Humbolt's Gift"

"On esthetic grounds, if on no others, I cannot accept the view of death taken by most of us, and taken by me during most of my life -- on esthetic grounds therefore I am obliged to deny that so extraordinary a thing as a human soul can be wiped out forever. No, the dead are about us, shut out by our metaphysical denial of them. As we lie nightly in our hemispheres asleep by the billions, our dead approach us. Our ideas should be their nourishment. We are their grain fields. But we are barren and we starve them. Don't kid yourself, though, we are watched by the dead, watched on this earth, which is our school of freedom. In the next realm, where things are clearer, clarity eats into freedom. We are free on earth because of cloudiness, because of error, because of marvelous limitation, and as much because of beauty as of blindness and evil. These always go with the blessing of freedom." (Saul Bellow)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Exit The Rabbit, Enter The Dragon

Headed for 2012, leaving 2011,
Hoping for better things,
Less hell, and more heaven...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Finance Banker

Morning's blurred arrival, java wired,
The world is calling, money to be made!
Too scared to feel, too busy to be tired...
Start the screen-suck in my beige cubicle,
Kiss-up endlessly, try not to get fired,
Resigned to the sad fact I'll never
Again be the innocent they hired,
Promote to Associate, big annual bonus,
No family, niceness, or inspiration required.

Learn By Example

RED is really into it with the kids, in the groove, living the dream.
BLUE is trying hard to follow, but needs to do something tighter with his pants.
YELLOW, a slightly overweight, last-minute substitute, is about ready to fall over.
PINK and GREEN are trying to warn about the monster getting ready to eat everyone.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Small Splendor Below Your Shoes

The busy walker is disappointed with
The bare branches of the winter trees,
Yet the colors, scattered on the ground,
He treads on, but never really sees...
Beauty, small miracles, spread all around,
Only discerned by chance, by degrees...

(Imagery Art by Mark harm Niemeyer)


For all of us who get there
In the end, take a deep breath
And consider not the when and where,
But how you walked the walk,
Sometimes slowly, but always with flair...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gastric Interlude

The aftermath of Thanksgiving
Stares up at me, accusatory,
From the scales... But it's too cold
To exercise, yes, that's my story,
And I'm sticking to it, despite
The realization that another big
Eating day, with presents, is right
Around the corner...
Amen, and silent night.

Black Friday, 25 November 2011

Background Christmas music insinuating
"It's time to shop", and thereby messing
Up what would otherwise be a cold
Clean day, which now is depressing
And vitiated, as are we ourselves,
Grasping credit cards, and pressing
Into crowds of slaves of Santa's elves.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lunar Eclipse

The difference about what will happen soon

Is that though we watch, and hope for the light,

The shadow, inexorable, will cover the moon,

Turn its silver to orange-brown in the night

Sky, under which we mingle, ogle, and swoon,

Trusting time, in the end, to put things right…

Which it does, and we move on to the next thing

To fill the hungry chasm of our empty hearts,

While the moon, renewed, softly shining,

Beams ghostly blessing, as our next act starts.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Eat Like A Man (In Osaka)

Burger King Japan's 2011 Christmas special ... is an innovative one: the "Pizza-Sized Burger," featuring four Whopper patties cut into triangular "slices," which was all over the Internet when it was announced, to no one's surprise.

So I decided to give a closer look and try one out (it just premiered this week).

Half of the hulking sandwich gets done up like a regular Whopper; for the other half, customers can select a "fresh avocado" or "cheese nacho" variation.

Burger King is also selling a "party set," which adds an order of French fries, onion rings, chicken wings, and four sodas to the mix and retails for around $35 (the Pizza-Sized Burger alone can be purchased for around $22).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Out Of Our Heads

Instead of voices with sound
The antenna boys send out waves
To others like them, around
The planet, and it saves
On the stress and wear and tear,
Silent joy waves going everywhere...
Positive vibrations,
Beamed to all the nations...
No headaches, no noise,
Free your head with the antenna boys.

(Art by Mark Niemeyer)

Walk On By

Clop, clop, clop, clop,
The high heels hit the boardwalk
All style and fashion, trailing
Perfume and echoes of small talk...

December Blues

The wind that hits my
Face is a frigid reminder
Of another year gone by,
The snow, a messenger
Quiet, white, of how
The end is a cold place,
Not unlike now:
Shivering alone beneath
An empty gray sky,
It's silent and unavoidable,
As hard as we may try...

Words For A Country-Western Song...

Bartender please pour me another
Shot, lest I forget, lose track,
Or deem it not worth the bother
Of calling her to come back,
She who is the reason I drink
After drink after drink,
She, who sank me with the smile
Unoffered, all I can think
Is to get shit-faced while
Hope disolves with a nod and wink.