A poem for my Teacher Hogen, Roshi

Sixty something summers pass

bones turned transparent

Worlds whirled by, many things

fixed/broken, souls saved

from themselves, yet something-

i wouldn’t call it an oxen’s tail

all the koans neglected coffeee

he said - ” Keep digging, there’s always
water “
soil beneath your fingernails

beads of sweat descend your hair.

Shouldering the burden

at once you become


the question thrusts up

- what to leave


what could this question mean even?

I harbor suspicion at object permanence

or a bridge from dream to dream

if the void calls please

simply take a message

put on hold

we’ re busy communicating

with ourselves the bloodline is serious

sitting idly

in a lawn chair

tending wildflowers

in the air.