The samsara bug. Or not.

Last night we slept in the living room. It is like camping out, but with indoor plumbing and minus the bugs. Sometimes you have to do something different.

In the middle of the night I heard this “thwop-thwop” sound and realized a bug was in the room, stuck between the windows and the curtains. He was trying to get to the light outside, but was prevented by the glass. He also couldn’t get out into the room because of the curtain. He seemed a little upset/crazed by this, judging from the frequency of the sound.

I thought about this. I could get up and catch him, and release him outside, which would mean going out the back door because there was no porch light on. Or, I could ignore him. He chose to come inside my house when all of the great outdoors was available to him.

I chose the latter. It wasn’t easy. He was kind of annoying, smacking up against the window. He was noisy and persistent.

I started to think that he was like some people I know, where I feel like they need “fixing”. I feel like they are in the wrong place and I need to help them out. But by letting them work out things for themselves I’m honoring their path. By leaving them alone, I’m respecting that their way is their way, and even though it looks totally stupid to me, it is their way and I need to back off.

This is a new way to think for me. I’m not sure if I learned to be a busybody from my family or from my peer group or if it is just part of who I am. It isn’t very nice. It doesn’t honor people where and how I find them. Just because they are doing things differently from me doesn’t mean they are doing them wrong.

So, I was trying this with this bug. It is kind of strange having a philosophical discussion with yourself in the middle of the night, but there I was.

Then the “thwop-thwop” sound stopped. He got free of the curtain. For a brief moment I was happy for him. Was this like a soul escaping samsara, the wheel of reincarnation? He was free, no longer trapped by his wild need to get to the light which he would never reach.

Then he flew into the ceiling fan and I didn’t hear him anymore.

So much for philosophy.


Don’t ever make the vase more beautiful than the flowers.
The flowers have their own beauty.
The flowers will fade, will wither, will die.

The vase will continue.
Forever beautiful.
Forever fresh.

To put plain flowers in a fancy vase
is to draw away
from the now, the temporal, the elusive.

To put fancy flowers in a fancy vase is redundant.
Who would notice the flowers?

The vase must be tall enough
or short enough
or wide enough
or narrow enough
for the flowers.

The vase, like a frame for a picture,
isn’t the point.

It is what it holds that matters.

Nothing is stranger than a large beautiful vase
with just enough room in the neck for one flower.

It makes me want to get a weed,
a dandelion,
a thistle,
some privet,
and jam it in there.
I’d pretend it was as ornate as a hydrangea
as celebrated as a rose
as exotic as a bird of paradise.

There is an art to matching flower to vase.
I think God thinks the same thing when matching souls to bodies.
Except it is reversed.
The body is the vase,
but the body is temporal.
The soul is the flower
but the soul is eternal.

Sometimes, the simpler the body
the more elaborate the soul.

Predictive text poem 9 – Snakes and ladders

We have buildings and they are hungry.
We are taught that we are the ones
but we have been deceived.

They don’t know what you think.
They have a key to the shelter.

In the beginning there was a sign.
In the beginning there was a lot
but we forgot
and then they built a shop there.

We got lost like sheep
in the underbrush
trying to get out,
get away from the builders,
get away from the snakes.

When we were sick with the world
we needed more than just a little bit
of helpful people who are inky.

The ink is the blood of pens, of printers,
The words of relapse or release.

Either way they are shedding their skin.

I’m raising myself,
unwinding the same way
that they aren’t.

The snakes in my head turn towards the light.
The scales fall off the closer I get.