Netherlands 2015 Gassel tree trunk


The Buddha of healing

I went to see the Buddha of healing

and kneeling before him were monks and sages of varying ages

while the Buddha sat back and smiled at the wild flowers

and the child that smiled back.

He blinked and then winked at the bird that’d lost its wings

and at that the bird left the tree and now he’s free.

Then leaning on his cane came an old man who’s an old fan

hoping to die in the height of spring.

Then came a lady with two shady sons

and holding in her hand are two buns harvested from grain of her own land.

The gathering grew and so did the dew,

it was early and the pearly waters flowed beside the Buddha,

drenching him and quenching the thirst of the ones that huddled.

No one said a word, deep in thought, all busy in their plots to salvage a blessing,

and besides, they’d already fought the steep hill and that dawn chill.

The Buddha though sat still

and had his fill of the mist and white clouds that were now at his feet.

The flags were waving and the children clapping,

through all this he gazed at the mountains

and dreamt of fountains, glaciers, seashores, tall trees, leaves, ferns, nectar, bees

and layers of rock from ancient time.

He dreamt of grime, soot and roots of trees that he hung from as a child

and the flute that sang in his youth.

Now, he wondered why he was here in the midst of all this with a clenched fist,

unable to move or choose a moment to leave, seeing the bereaved,

watching them bleed and then plead.

He had long forgotten to stand, but now he planned to fly as that bird did.

He blinks again,

no one sees but the child stares through the haze of white and veneration.

The toes moved next as you’d expect and then a shudder, lightning and thunder.


The devout reach for their umbrellas as they scout for cover.

The mother and the old man with the cane

begin to explain the beauty of rain to the others.

Now, he shifts and lifts his arms to the sky.

They point and cry out loud amidst the shroud of rain.

He begins to rise as the sun is clouded.

The devout are dumbfounded at the event and begin to wail,

they all turn pale and dim.

The bird flies back and rests on his shoulder as he learns to stand as that child did.

The boulder helps him as an elder would,

He turns his head to look behind at the ancient trees standing free.

The gathering is frozen in thought as the chosen one leaves the pedestal

And walks away from the boulder.

It gets colder.

The clouds descend further blinding me and the rest of them.

There’s confusion and panic as the Buddha proceeds to seek his seclusion.

Slowly the haze digests and all that is left behind is the rock,

the trees, the wild flowers, ferns and the others.

Now, they decide they will seek the one in the forest, and for the rest of time,

The forest will be known as the forest of healing.



The Buddha of Loss

I walked into the harbor, on the pier, a man with no fear, nothin’ unclear.

Was there to buy a sail boat, on a day with no weather for a coat.

Ready to pay, bundle of cash, no whiplash.

Sole’ was her name, my heart said Ole’ & I was sunk, I was in love.

The one who owned her held out a hand, seemed a bit weathered by sand.

She whispered her price, I’d already lost my eyes.

And I said, “Yes! Yes, yes, yes! She’s mine now!

Get out of the way, here’s the money honey,

And if you don’t mind, I’ll be on my way, ciao caio!”

8 meters of fiber glass class, a Swedish sailors dream, white as whipped cream.

So, I led Sole’ around the bend to another harbor, not much farther.

And slept inside of her & snored all night with pride.

I woke up high, the cabin flooded with sun light,

clear windows, light wood indoors.

Heaven! Rocking like a cradle, this was no fable.

I pulled myself together, wore my shoes of leather, climbed outside tall as a giraffe.

Havin’ a laugh with others on my pier, I spot a friend in the distance,

“Kell, my boy, you’ve recently been through hell?”

“Oh yes, yes, yes, my bleeding shoulder, unyielding as a boulder”

“Surgery my friend is the only answer said my doctor holding my thick folder”

“Tomorrow’s the day, the 5th of May, but I’m a bit worried.” A look of dismay.

I said, “Cheer up, old fool! Don’t yelp, I know what will help”

“We sail, I have a boat now, boy. Bring your coat, get equipped to float.”

So, loaded with beers, men with no fears, nothin’ unclear, and off we went,

Under the bridge over the sea, expressions of glee.

Now the sail tight as a trampoline, slicing through the sea, quite clean,

my arms feeling the waves on the rudder, a feeling like no other.

6 knots, 8 knots, 9 knots, I screamed watching my speed, a definite shriek of greed.

And then, between second one through ten, CRACK! SNAP! BOOM.

The mast, 4 meters high, heavy aluminum,

breaks at the bottom and falls to the right.

Is this reality?

Am in a movie?

Is this what I see?

The mast is down now, carrying with it the sail.

I am pale, dull, nullified, stupefied, petrified, lobotomized. I can’t breathe.

I remember Kell and look back, his eyes have lost track,

He’s seen a ghost, he’s hugging the back post.

The sun was smiling until now,

chooses that very moment to hide behind the clouds.

The sea sensing my weakness ascends with pressure,

allies roaring loud with the weather.

The sky goes gray and my mouth goes dry.

No control now, what so ever, at the sea’s mercy, seems like forever.

We decide now at last to bring the mast to the back,

make it more manageable, situation salvageable,

But the sea is a savage, the waves now menacing rocks us, the wind mocks us,

and us just holding on.

The engine dies, and with it all hope, how do we now cope?

Kell says it’s time, “I’m calling for rescue, if you don’t mind”,

“Please do,” I say, “We have nothing left anyway.”

Except of course, cans of beer, full of fear, everything unclear.

Let’s drop both anchors, let’s not further ponder.

I went to the back, Kell goes up front, unknowingly bearing the brunt.

Then …….. The big wave, full blown, monster, hits, blitz.

Kell’s gone …………………………………………………….

The spray’s in my face, aware no more of time and place.

The wind dies a quiet death.

I see the shore now, visible sea floor.

I stand now on shore, staring at Sole’ bouncing on jagged black rocks,

Ripping her to pieces, punching holes, she’d no longer float.

I thought of Kell, his shoulder, and the drudgery,

at least now there’s no need for surgery.

I’m tired, no tears, only fear, dark, dank, damp, deep, I need to sleep.


The Buddha of Death

Katherine lived in Obervaz, A village of one church and no one fast.

No frolic there, no frogs either, everyone stayed in,

no tourists, no outdoor bins to please her.

White snow, white cows, white noise, no bright boys to hump her.

Lumps of cattle shit, hay stacks and old man Fritz.

She quietly cried and sighed all night, slept with her cat who had no rats to hunt.

No blunts to smoke and no fun to hope.

She was the church pianist three days a week, the rest was bleak.

Bright Mike arrived on Thursday, a wayward traveler, first day of harsh winter.

Knock, Knock. Shelter, Shelter.

Plump fingers turn the door knob, warm soup, corn on the cob.

She paints, she shows Mike, he doesn’t like it,

they’re bad he thinks, but he doesn’t blink.

Hey clink their glasses, drink Chardonnay, and think together for hours.

Four days of politeness pass, nothing to do in this damn village, clear as glass.

He leans against her, erect as a Douglas fir,

She feels it, electric, intrinsic, lonely, repressed, she can’t believe it.

Please please, take me, break me, shake me up, can’t believe my luck.

He does, without a fuss, not a lot of pleasure,

her body’s no treasure he thinks on the brink of boredom.


She cries, plies him with questions, seeks suggestions, insecurity eruptions.

He regrets, frets, lets her cry and goes to other room

and makes his first plan to go home.

Next morning, she’s in love, holy cow man, you’re exotic, no logic, toxic,

she’s having none of it!

He shocks her, doesn’t mock her, “Gotta go home, ticket to Rome.”

Kathrine smiles, “I have a car, we can drive those miles.”

He clings to his chair, blinks in despair.

He thinks of death and takes a deep breath.

“No! That’s not the plan, Kathrine. I am not your man.”

“Okay. That’s fine, you’re not mine. Mike, let me draw you.”

Tears rush down, he sighs and sits down.

“Please, my dear, make it quick.”

“I’m driving you to the station, no need for worries, there’s no hurry darling.”

She proceeds to sketch like a child,

Mike doesn’t go wild with impatience, but is concerned.

He looks stern, she sobs slowly, tears now dropping on the page.

At this stage, Mike asks to see, he’s not impressed, not blessed to draw.

He withdraws.

“We’re late now.” She drops her brow.

She leaves to bring her hat. They lock the cat in.

The road’s under glassy frost, wheel spin.

A small Korean car in Icy Svizzera, not a good Idea, Mike thinks.

Says nothing, doesn’t want to make her nervous, she’s hollow.

He looks out the window, on the left, stone walls snowed in,

On the right, white cliffs, now Mike’s hollow and she’s nervous.

Continuing on, U-turns precarious.

Slip slide, slippy slide, one left, two rights.

And off they go into flight, through the rails to the right.

So, that’s how it went in a nutshell, a tree now stands where we once fell.

Kathrine disagrees.


Switzerland Obervaz 2015




sketch 33


sketch 55