A. B. Clarke

The Blood of Enlightenment

by abclarke

My friend meditates more than me. Fifteen minutes in the morning. Fifteen minutes before he goes to bed. He told me this over Peruvian omelettes and I sensed there may have been a moment of glee in his voice.

As he boasts, I listen, and am appalled – I sit once a day, sometimes, for ten minutes. Two men competing on the field of non-competition, one is found wanting, and it is me. To be defeated by someone so ordinary, who is not even a monk, is too much to consider.

So I craft new resolutions: Each morning, I will become one with the universe; Each evening, I will focus inwards and touch the smallest point of the smallest point that connects back to everything that flows within and without; As I walk each day, I shall maintain total awareness; I will, with every movement, feel the sole of my foot grasp and release the sole of my shoe as it grasps and releases the surface of the earth as it grasps and releases the mantle under my presence; Before I begin my tasks for the day, I shall contemplate the nature of my face before it was born.

I will do this all with focus and with strength of will that he cannot match. I shall out-center him, out-bliss him, and out-joy him. I shall be so present there will be no room for him to be present. And next time we meet I will be ready. As he starts to crow of his practice, of how he attempts to meditate his way to contentment, I shall crush his dreams and show him how I have risen to the battle. All who watch shall be amazed as the blood of enlightenment is spilled on the carpet of serenity and only I shall remain standing (I mean sitting) on the zafu of victory.

Alternately, he was trying to tell me that even with meditation twice a day he is not finding peace? Reaching out and asking for sympathy, for understanding, for love?

No! More likely he was just boasting.

Impossible Beauty

by abclarke

The smith labored
To create an object
Of impossible beauty.

Brow drenched, as
The crowd outside the forge
Laughed at his hubris.

Still, he lifted his arm,
Dropped and raised again,
Because he knew

While the impossible-impossible is folly,
The possible-impossible is just a chain of possibles
Welded together with the rhythm of the swing.

Both look the same
Under the hammer
With sweat in the eyes.

“Yet keep hammering,” he smiled,
“For there is no beauty
Without swing.”

06 – Fish

by abclarke

To find rhymes I have to deeply fish,
Using words that at times seem amiss.
And some lines are a crime
Needing prison lifetimes.
I have stretched it too far with this: ghoti.

21 – Philosophy

by abclarke

Philosophy has taught us railings —
The concepts key to social scaling.
But the focus on the moral
Is the locus of my quarrel:
Perfection-seeking leads to failing.

23 – The Beast

by abclarke

A beast drives our strange compulsions
And after, we wallow in revulsion.
But secret be told,
We love it uncontrolled
And recoil from thoughts of expulsion.

03 – Proud Richard

by abclarke

Proud Richard was blessed with a slick wick.
With Snapchat he’d click, click, and click.
But finally he learned,
After each spurn and spurn,
Ain’t no one be wantin’ poor Dick’s pic.

20 – Failure

by abclarke

I examine my failures at home.
Just faux pas, for which I atone.
I see no success,
Yet smile; Acquiesce.
Familiar impostor syndrome.

27 – The Magpie

by abclarke

“Philosophy,” cawed out the magpie,
“And selflessness, I claim to live by.
But in truth it’s for naught,
For my soul has been bought:
Without my silver, I would die.”

Not Golf

by abclarke

You have to hit the ball from where it lies. But you don’t need to use the same club. Or, if you think deeply about it, even a club at all.


by abclarke


Reframe? Reform? Reimagine?



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