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Tutoring Each Other Completely With What Is

(For Barbara Luszczki, d.1June01)

That's it!
the shock of rust hair exploding,

one foot on the edge, calf, thigh
belly, breast, and then the distortion

time, experience, thought, feelings
ripped through and tightened closed

a split second of clear awareness
followed by silent explosion

rust-gold shock covering eyes
floating down to floor

yellow remnant recollection
slowly wafting into green stalk blue sky

this woman's life
in that portal now passes into

freeing form into emptiness
finding liberation out from

choking hold of hatred, desire,
delusion -- those three

causal chains of repetitive addiction
we call our needs, someone else’s children

not recognizing our voice, our touch, feral
needs lurching into our body saying 'this is mine!'

Her hair always seemed too much for her head
leaping out from hardhats, bandanas, jacket collars

until finally of a Friday night

That’s it
and exploded with her out of the suffering she

worked so hard often but not completely to lose --
today, what is lost is our loss

also not complete, as nothing is complete
at our hands

Sangha, Dick said, she needed sangha, community
in there, in that jail cell on Friday nite, perhaps

on every night stretching back thru Belfast, South Thomaston,
Portland, and other map dots throughout Maine. She needed

other women to take her hand, rub her back and say
"aren't they shits, deary" and "doesn't this place suck" and

"don't fret, we'll help you through this first night, and tomorrow,
even their weak coffee and bland fruit loops will taste passing ok."

That's what she needed -- a good kvetching, a comforting soul
who doesn't try to make it better but who are themselves best for

company given in passing. And isn't this what we all need --
a sangha, a community of real women and men who know some

things suck, some things sweeten, and most things
can be stomached if we practice one of three mantras handed

on with an ancient crude but kind wisdom, the three mantras worded:
1."what the fuck" – 2. "are you shit’n me? – &, 3."we'll be fine!"

Those three jewels of our common suffering, our common life!
And we will be fine, all of us -- Barbara, her sons, her friends,

her shock of rust-yellow hair. We turn from despair with time & care.
Nothing perishes, not really, at least not without our letting it go to perish.

She leaves us this. She leaves us our lives. She leaves us as we are, gathered here.
We 'll think twice before letting her go from our memories.

We'll think twice before trying to follow her the way she went off from us.
And in our pausing ponder, we'll have begun our practice. The practice of looking.

Looking long. Looking deep. Looking love. Looking weep. Seeing all that passes  
in our sight. Seeing “All will be well.”* Just like this, in passing & staying behind --

All will be well. Reading that Buddhist line
on Tuesday night:

Leaving us nowhere
completely with
what is.**

So here we are!  Alone with each other!
And when we speak of Barbara, we pray, and say: All will be well!

This is what we long for…
This is what we tell.                  

                                                                                     (wfh, 6June01)


*      Saying of Julian of Norwich, Mystic
**     Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
(Note: Perhaps “nowhere” might best be spelled “no-w-here” for our meditation – suggesting the closeness of two readings of the word: no-where, and, now-here.)




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