Archive for May, 2012

This essay considers some meta-ethical questions that emerge from a consideration of the phenomena of terrorism in the context of Buddhist metaphysics: what, in the Buddhist view, ultimately causes terrorism (and its subsidiary effects)? What resources do the Buddhist metaphysical claims of no-self, karma, emptiness and related concepts bring to a meta-ethical understanding of terrorism and its effects?

Written in 2005; published May, 2012 in SOPHIA International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysical Theology and Ethics: http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1007/s11841-012-0309-1

Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1007/s11841-012-0309-1

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Work-torn clothes, the ache in his eyes:

how the knee that steadies paper or bowl is still

the same, slight uncertain crutch it has always seemed to him to be.

He can see only its hollow persisting, the way

his whole life is forever marked Anonymous.


           Via negativa – the great, uncomprehending way.

Deer in an American night, coyote moan: is their

dark path in the cold something that also vanishes

their bare, forked animal footprints as they move away?

Do I move with them in a solidarity of erasure?

My ears, at least, are almost as fine-tuned, and

what they hear is not always pure invention. Night-miracles:

insects lost in their haze of white-noise, airplanes

lowing to impermanence in a blackest sky, a father and

a mother crying, not far, in a shadow trailer-home.

And this dream of a lady-saint peering into brambles and thickets

because she can hear her own voice in there,

telling her the way.


To hear it she loses it somewhere, first.

Goes for days and years mislaying the clues

she has already given away – diamonds of a deaf-mute

scattered in the weeds. Left for dharma-lions

and wild men to stumble on,

long past midnight.

(II.2004, CA.)

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The image without an image
pinned up in the air
the Ten Thousand Things

but where was your heart when it
fell down

never thinking it would fall for the nameless
unwanted, undesired         ‘things’
lost by the wayside.

city-skips full of refuse
obscure songs    expired train-stations their
tickets       un-used
books not yet read           a
child yelling
in the street            crone in the bar
who read your palm –

Aged monuments      pigeon-strewn
standing-in              for something
other than themselves
lives that have stood up

to time & waste

one after another
surely         self-

July, 2010

(published May 1, 2012, CORDITE POETRY REVIEW #38: http://cordite.org.au/poetry/sydney/shedding/)


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Vortices of cars on hi-ways a perpetual motion that never arrives. The impatience queues in the fast-food joints. Pre-emptive lovers’ gasp seeking white-haze of release. The earth, with moon, who turns light-years describing her strange histories.

Everyplace you are

holds the promise of being


and each new arrival becomes somewhere

you never reach.

California 2002

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On an Overgrown Path




In the early hours we took to the road

fully-prepared    maps    compass   all-weather gear

& civilized guitars.

By midday worn down

we had to leave           half of it behind.


late afternoon        the maps had

lost their use

destinations     less pressing

songs unaccompanied

the journey its own reward.


nightfall there was only the single tent

to shelter those of us

waiting up        for the dawn.


Others     staying out

keeping company

with the stars.








High vast tilleul trees

hollow canopy domes of summer

thundering bee-droves         at fierce blossom suck

each tree a jet-plane

readying for lift-off.


walking underneath

in green translucid light

the mind stops –


unable to move     in mid-air

take a single thought



slipt inside          the bloom of the World










Some wanted to say

the eclipse could be explained

just as freedom

could be learned.


others refused to hear

hands cuppt over ears and eyes

private screenings         projected on

their own cavewalls.


Darkness descending       the obscured sun

in these days of hidden Buddhas

I sit outside my hut

wait for the clamour to die down

watch for the double




Georges St Labastide, France, June 2010

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Another’s face looking out a window

Brimming with an inchoate music.

The house charismatic but spare, flat to bare ground

& whitewashed. (He lives alone.) A stable for

Attila’s horses come from the Hungarian plain.

(Hysterical car-alarms, magazine weddings of the suburbs.)

His letters to Stefi Geyer curl edge-wise with suicide.

Like a painter who sees through cobwebs

he closes the blind to everything

begins                     again

drags up sense from organic form

justifies the unwilling lover (is she really his muse?)

a Bluebeard who would play acid electric guitar

so they’ll all come flocking

hovers over injured manuscript in the time

it takes to brew black, bitter tea & strychnine.


The composer waits, in a foreign summer

for nothing in particular.

Then the Gordian noose of sound unravels

sends in fibre-optic substitutions

epilepsy stilettos defying obsessive

circuitries of reconfigured pain.

Allegro barbaro. Moto perpetuo. Demonic ostinati.

Abused violins (she’s a violinist) – the Bartok snap!

inner-ear that hears what’s coming soon after 1909.

Like Schoenberg what he knew was

everything lies in the sequence

the withdrawal when she calls

his absurd shouting in the night

(Wozzeck is there, Joseph K., even Stanley)

that make her close her peasant shutters.

What was needed was a trapdoor

or a trance-house Totentanz.

Into another unseen place

Not a home, nor loveless exile

(not these irreal portents of another TV-war):

a first quartet, a poem, barest grace.


Summer 2002

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