The School of Soft Attention Is Now Taking Students


The School of Soft Attention Is Now Taking Students

Here we are again, fellow traveler.






Have the memories started for you yet?


Here we are again, fellow traveler

in yet another troubled time.


Hearts are burdened.

Families are being broken.

Bonds of trust have been dissolved 

all with the quick-flick

of jet-black ink

on rough-feeling paper

that has never known empathy.


Here we are again, fellow traveler.

The curriculum is now set.

The School of Soft-Attention is now taking students.


Grandmothers of the Buffalo Nation

are out there crying and bleeding in the snow again.

The latest 'Great White Father' doesn't remember,

and hasn't really

let the full history

settle into his bones.


Here we are again, fellow traveler.

Mothers of the Desert

are out there fighting

to protect their young

along some unknown fence line.


And you and me...

students of the School of Soft-Attention...


...we're the witnesses

that have to see

because our hearts can't not

and our minds

are of The Way,

and it is our way

not to turn away

from what's really happening.


For more info about the music of Robert Rich, visit

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /





Acoplamiento (Coupling)


Acoplamiento (Coupling)



I. Tug Of War


They're at it again.

Raised voices. Gnashing teeth.

Barking like rabid dogs.

Toxic cells spooling up rage, spinning out of control.

Couples who fight don't make any sense to me.

Who are the 'two' that think they are actually 'two'?

II. Troubled Lands and Dwelling Places


The only thing worse than erecting battlements is pretending,

or going numb for years in each other's presence.

What is this territory everyone is fighting for?

Point to it!

With as much conviction as you can muster,

describe its actual boundaries.

III. Will You Be Conscious of Your Breathing When Your Partner Is Gone?


I have finally become that "old Zen goat" I always talk about.

The Grasping-Logic of the Floating World escapes me.


Why fill your nights with door-slamming conflict

when your bride could be the quiet falling rain;

your husband could be the gentle songs emerging

from a dharma-realm of crickets and night herons

hidden in a grove of moon-lit bamboo?  

IV. Why Old Men Look At Younger Women



the 45th President of the United States

likes to "grab-pussies"-by-force.

His words, not mine.


What must a person be 'cut off from' to try to seek connection that way?


I guess when you feel

your life slipping away

and you're finally realizing you weren't truly present for most of it,

and your "worth" on paper

isn't worth a pile of manure

at the gateway of your own.....slow......mind-drifting death,


the luscious vitality of a blossoming maiden

with her dimples

and curves

and smiles

and stories about the day


must really feel like a last straw

at having a semblance of a chance

at ever having felt truly alive.


The only thing worse than speaking like this

is blatantly undressing her in public

with your eyes.


V. The Key


The manna of life is found in the giving, not the taking.


VI. I've Only Known One Truly Ecstatic Couple...and They Weren't Married


He was handsome. Scottish.

She was beautiful. Dark Irish.


He would say, "Yes, dear", with his right hand over his heart.

She would say, "What can I do for you, honey?"


He would say, "I like the black dress because it matches your eyes and hair."

She would say, "Play that song for me again, dear. It makes me 'see' things."


He would serve her breakfast in bed.

His only question: "Coffee, Lyons, Earl Grey, or Oolong?"

She would blush and reply, "You know I always want it ooooo-long."


She would massage his injured shoulder from football

as if it were her last act on earth;

then, they would "do each other's feet"...simultaneously.


She was really into gardening.

He learned everything he could about plants

because he was addicted

to the delight in her eyes

when she had harvested a basket

of color, life-force, sweetness, succulence. 


She became self-conscious about her hips in her 30s,

and her ass in her 40s.

He would make her and her girlfriends laugh

when he'd cook dinner in his kilt and refer to himself with:

"Built for comfort, not for speed, honey"...

or her with: "More lovely cushion for the pushin', baby".


He channeled the music of the spheres;

his guitar could morph into the pipes or even a sitar.

Her voice was a majestic accompaniment -- complete with flute, whistle and drum.


One day, I asked them their secret.


They smiled and looked each other in the eye

as if, indeed, they shared an ancient story between them.


"Only when you've learned to find peace in your soul alone

can you sustain it with another who has learned how to do the same."

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen

To learn more about the music of Jeffrey Ericson Allen and the CHRONOTOPE PROJECT, visit the Chronotope Project Bandcamp page.







Here's The Catch


Here's The Catch

...a love poem...of sorts

part one: the longing


Are you fishing in your sleep again?

Oh, come on. We all know how it starts.

A deep pang inside. A longing.

That old familiar question rattling around inside your mind:

“Where is the one for me?”


And so, you start imagining a soul.

What do they look like?

What does their laugh sound like?

What does the curve of their body feel like in the dark?


All of this imagining gets the best of you.

It stokes an image inside...The Ideal One.


Don’t stand too close to the heat, pilgrim,

for a fire has been lit

and it’s burning up all of your commonsense.


This longing is ancient and powerful and vast.

It feels like it might even swallow you up

if you chose to stay with it.


We can’t have that, now can we?


So, you aim it all outward.

You become a Human Movie Projector.


“Hey you! Stand still! Stop moving! I’m busy projecting onto you.

No. No. Don’t speak. You might ruin the moment.”


Like a fisherman on the shoreline,

you attach this inner image of The Ideal One

onto a hook of your own making.

You don’t realize you fashioned a hook, but you did.

It happened somewhere between sleep and waking.


Don’t be so hard on yourself.

You were just following instructions;

the same troubled, outworn instructions

given to everybody else,

and you followed them impeccably.


You cast that inner image out --

out into the world, every day.

Multiple times a minute even.


And so, there you are...hoping

and hoping...and hoping "The One" will come and bite the hook.


You're fishing in your sleep again

fishing in your sleep again

not realizing the real prize-catch

has been swimming inside you all along.


Until you embrace the Indwelling One

there is only exile in the Territory of Love


if you somehow arrange

to have a stranger’s warm body

sleeping next to you.

part two: the feast


We were never taught how to properly relate to the Indwelling World.

None of us were,

and our world isn't even set up for it.

So when longing shows up…

all hell breaks loose.

We become our own bull in our own china shop.


It has become so ingrained

to interpret longing-as-lack

instead of the fullness that it is.


And so, like cosmic clockwork,

we assume the longing is empty

instead of boundless and full

rich and fertile

ripe for the planting and eventual harvest.


Like the poor fools

in the Running of the Bulls

who get trampled

and are somehow shocked when they are,

the human condition is one of endlessly running around

trying to fill the longing

with something or someone.


It cannot be done, and never will,

as long as longing is seen through the eyes of poverty.

The longing in the soul

is the soul itself

wanting to know

the fullness of the soul itself.

It isn’t empty anymore than the darkness of space is.

It is a doorway into a vast realm that has no edges, no bottom.


It is an endless expanse

and the solidity we take to be reality

is formless and empty,

and the emptiness contains

an incomprehensible fullness.



--if we can even say that, for it is no-thing--

includes the person on the bus beside you,

the checkout girl in the grocery store,

the man who delivered your mail;

they all have a doorway

to the same endless expanse within them too.


And many of them are looking outside themselves

for something or someone

to fill the vast boundless longing

they are feeling right alongside you.


What is already inside this space

within you, them, everyone

is an energy --

a life-giving


life-sustaining fullness;


but rather than bringing forth

the abundant feast that is there,

we go outward

and onward

hunting for scraps and crumbs instead.


This longing is ancient and powerful and vast.

It feels like it might even swallow you up

if you chose to stay with it.


Stay with it.

Stay with it.

If you do, it will lead you.

And one day,

maybe one day,

you will cross paths with someone

whose inner doorway reminds you of your own.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

To learn more about the music of Steve Roach, visit The Timeroom.

To learn more about the music of Greg Ellis, visit RhythmPharm.






The look on your face

is one I have seen in my own mirror.


I know you didn't think

you would feel this tired at this age

but this is just a phase.


You’re in-between lives within this life.


As the old woman used to say out in Peyote Land:

'Right on time, deary. Right on time.'


For now,

in the place beyond words

just know:

breathing is enough.


The world falls away in silence.


Whoever is secure enough

to let you enter the quiet-dark without them

is your ally.


Whatever is left standing

after your simmering ‘death-sleep’

is faith-worthy.


In these times,

when even a simple day

can feel like a firing pin,

stretching corpse-like

upon the earth

is not leisure.


It is medicine.

One of the poems that will appear in the forthcoming book of poems, The School of Soft-Attention, Frank LaRue Owen, Homebound Publications

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Chronotope Project


Instructions Hanging From A Weather-Beaten Branch


Instructions Hanging From A Weather-Beaten Branch

To illuminate The Way

study the wayfarers of old.


Take up the timeless work

of untangling the soul.


Align Heart-Mind

with nature's flow.


Journey into the dark

to mine the hidden gold.


When the lantern-lit mind

abides in silent illumination,

the wayfarer's poems bear the mark

of the Great Transformation.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

image: "Full Moon over Sacramento Mountain Range," by Rebecca Thao

sound: "The Janggos of the Ancient and Modern Times," Jonghun Jo


The Seed - The Gate - The Path


The Seed - The Gate - The Path



I know it seems hard to grasp

but it's about opening your hand,

reaching for the Cup of Truth

hidden within your silent life.


Hand the script back to the director of the drama;

tell the playwright to cease adding words to the page.

Dare to be alone,

to meet yourself for the first time--really

realizing that unless you enter the life of your Great Story

no one

and nothing around you

can ever really offer you

a gift worth receiving.


It's about pulling back the curtain,

revealing what you've long hidden in shame,

and coming to understand for yourself

how it was always a treasure.


It's about comprehending

the hard-edged fact

that if you don't love yourself enough to take care of yourself

no one can ever trust you

when you tell them that you love them.


It all started as a seed...

of consciousness, that is, beneath the World Tree;

which is any tree if you are there properly.


It was there that He sat,

and was tested, and challenged,

until he cast off the husk of the self.

From there, a seed was passed

across time and great distances

from hand to hand.


When the seed

was planted at Koyasan,

a golden mandala bloomed;

a resting place for flowers thrown.


When the seed was planted at Kailash,

turquoise-colored birds

with flowing red scarves in their beaks

began flying East;

the true governors of Shambhala.


When the seed was planted at Angkor Wat,

even the roots of the trees cried out,



When the seed was planted

atop Linh Son mountain

the moon and sun held council

and drank tea.


Now the seed

drinks from the earth out on Beara's land,

deep in the dreaming Catskills.


The seed has been passed.

It is small and indestructible

but easily lost.


The seed contains a map.

The map leads to a gate

and the gate to a path.

Here, open your hand.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

This poem will appear in the forthcoming book, The School of Soft-Attention, Frank LaRue Owen, Homebound Publications


To buy Steve Roach's album Light Fantastic, visit The Timeroom.  


Layers and Receiving


Layers and Receiving

-- Full Moon, August 2017 --


Let us speak of it clearly. 

A deeper part of you knows

you were sent here with an inborn understanding --

a thorough fluency in a vision

of arriving-beyond-striving.


Not unlike dreaming,

subtle memories of effortless belonging

enveloped you in peaceful-abiding

as natural and inseparable from you

as your own breathing.


With a slow cascade of







embodying --

               you bloomed.


Woven into the silent tapestry of you

was a closely-held assumption

there would be a soft place to land --

a trait of our forgetfulness

of where we were all going.


Then, it happened.


Your second day

your second year

perhaps your second decade in,

you came to a harsh realization:


Not every corner

of the fabricated Overlay World

is rooted in the softness you needed.

Not every place, or person,

flows with the Heart-Mind-River

of evolving, becoming, blooming, Being.


This tumultuous 'coming to your senses'

had all the same color, taste, and dark texture of betrayal.

As you gazed out at the Samsaric World,

you may have whispered to yourself:

'This is not what I signed up for.'

You may even have said:

This is not the place for me.


you would be right,



This is why

it is so important

to finally let go

and turn the page;

to realize

your original vision was true

but on the other side of it

was a list of instructions.


Among them:


Found within

that which you long to steep

is the very thing

you must eventually create.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

Soundscape: "3,000 Years," by French/Malagasy ethno-ambient musician Ujjaya

Image: lotus flower underwater in tempura, by morgan mocha







Requiem of Cycles and Dreaming


Requiem of Cycles and Dreaming

Sometimes the mesh that holds life together bends under a weight.

It isn't like stone, or granite, or slate.

It isn't like the weight of all the ice that's melting left and right.

It isn't like the fragile gravity that keeps us all held like children in our mother's embrace.

It is a weight that goes against the soft flow of all that is sweet and natural.


Arcane energies are bubbling up again --



recurring antecedents

in this our shared curriculum of Dark Learning.


I feel that weight in this pain-racked body.

I see that weight in the slumped spines

and down-turned eyes

of the people I pass

who've forgotten their beauty,

who are filled with fears they don't belong.


When men and women and whole cultures forget to do their Shadow Work

the unseen helpers and healers are chased out of the village.

Pain-Demons slip in,

and they aim to do nothing

but knock down the shrines that hold us together.


When a Dark Age arrives, we have to call on the old travelers for aid,

and you and me

as much as we

would have this leg of our journey be

one lived with more peace and soft sovereignty

are wandering through a Dark Age now.


When a Dark Age arrives, we have to call on the old travelers for aid.

Persephone knows the road down and back.

Fudo knows how to sit in the fire and burn away these impurities.

Odin knows how to hang by the World Tree and see a new vision in time's great mirror.

Lao Tzu knows the way to restore balance to body and mind.

Aceso, Asclepius, Ratri, Shalim

and a million and one other guides of healing and dreaming

are waiting for the fires and candles to be lit

are waiting for the calling-songs to be lifted

are waiting for the animal dances

to mark another season of driving pain out of the body through the body itself.


The old ones say

when we get to the point where we can't even name our shared ailment

the only antidote is to pick a night and call-in a new dream together,

and since the whole world has grown tired of holding up these banners of war

let that night be this one.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

Learn more about the music of David Darling here.


On the Morning of Your Birth


On the Morning of Your Birth

--in celebration of Byron Metcalf and Jennifer Grais' new soundscape project They Were Here.

"Every morning is a rebirth

if you've brought the proper eyes

and an awake heart-mind

to the gift of sunrise."

doña Río

On the morning of your birth
the animal of your body
had a yearning.

It flexed its tendons
and caused your eyes to open briefly.

Even in those first fierce moments
some part of you
was already wise to the world;

it wanted to throw off
the harsh unnatural light

to join in
with the wild and unconstrained.

Buried deep
behind your tightly-bound
cage of ribs

that ancient yearning
to be received by the untamed
is still pulsing within you
despite all of your other disappointments.

The keeper
of the old library of souls
until your need
for galloping through
the terrain of your wild-belonging is met

all manner of trouble
and destruction
can occur.

The conversation
can be put off
for a while

but at some point

if you are to remain alive to yourself

you'll have to swing yourself up
onto the windhorse of your original yearning
and join-up with the part of you
that already began the journey without you.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

To learn more about the music of Steve Roach, visit The Timeroom and the PROJEKT Records Bandcamp.

To learn more about They Were Here by Byron Metcalf and Jennifer Grais, visit They Were Here






My first teacher taught Letting-Go Mind.

She was human,

very human,

but also a woman

made of thunder and lightning.


Her slate-gray robe

and long strand of mahogany-red neck beads

placed her centuries before

despite what the calendar said.


Toward the end, she pulled out an unmarked box.

From it, she pulled a map.

'The World,' it said

which I read

as she spread

the tattered brown paper across the table in front of us.


Enso-like circles

made from wine stains

covered the map.

Clearly, late night discussions

had occurred over it.


Spirals inside of smaller circles

covered the world, East and West, North and South.

Without speaking, my eyes made their own inquiry.

Seeing this, she nodded and slowly

moved her hand over the unfolded paper. 


"A network of courtyards, linked, dedicated to The Way," she announced.

"Each one has a Keeper.

In time, you will visit them.

In time, you too will become

a Tender of the Long-Night for others."


My new teacher teaches No-Adding-To Mind.


She is not human,

but rather

the rain of summer


from the edge of the roof.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

To learn more about Roy Mattson's newest album, Melancholy Moon, visit the album's Bandcamp page here >> Melancholy Moon



This Way of Seeing


This Way of Seeing

The soul is not a land-locked entity.

It can grow feathers.

Given a scent trail of tea or rice wine

sweetgrass or rose jam

and the one that has me

can follow the aroma of soil

to where the feast of ancients is still happening in a cathedral of pines.

I do not know the solutions

to this world's great ailments of pain and power run amok

but I do know the way of the feathered soul

and I sit like a watchful child

as mine takes wing

and flies into things

and comes away with greater understanding.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

To learn about the music of Saif Al-Khayyat and Nora Thiele, explore their collaboration Ahlam Babiliyya

image: "Nani with Leaves - Portland, Oregon" by Douglas Beasley


The Flower in the Mountain


The Flower in the Mountain

--with gratitude to the 'mountain' guides I've known


There is a flower waiting to bloom.

You have to travel to it to help it along.


It needs lots of water

but not just any water --


pure water

like river-water dreaming itself.


It needs plenty of light

but not just any light --


the kind of radiance absorbed

from the energy of a soul-brightening place.


It needs plenty of air

but not just any air --


clean air of open space

flowing and constant

so it can move and sway

and strengthen its roots.


You cannot reach this rare mountain flower

relying on your usual avenues.


The path is long and winding,

sometimes dark, stormy, rocky,

but nothing compares to the views.


Like all pilgrimage routes

it is best to purify yourself

and not carry unnecessary weight;


but if you do, rest assured,

the natural wisdom of the energy-body

will off-load what does not serve you

for your travels the final way up.


The flower is housed in an invisible temple.

The path to the temple starts at the base of your spine.

Go at your own pace.

There is no timeline.



are the mountain.


are the path.


are the Limitless Samadhi Flower

that has been waiting for you all along.


(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

Learn more about the ambient sonic weavings of Frore at the Bandcamp page for the album Last Place of Wonder.


When Your Spirit Eyes Are Tired


When Your Spirit Eyes Are Tired

You have two sets of eyes --

the physical ones

and the vast eyes

placed within you

by the spirit land

through which you move.


You may think

the rocks and trees from your land of birth

are just rocks and trees of your land of birth


but your second set of eyes are on loan from them

by unseen fearless things around you

that you can never fully understand.


If you awake one day

with tired spirit eyes,

pay heed;

that's a different type of fatigue --


a signal arriving

from your own ground of being

telling you in no uncertain terms

that a big rusted lock

is about to be busted open within you.


The question The Teacher will ask

on the path between mountain top and parking lot:


Are you brave enough

to embrace what awaits

on the other side of the door?

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

Learn more about Chronotope Project's Dawn Treader album at the Dawn Treader Bandcamp Page.




The Perfumed Breeze


The Perfumed Breeze

--written 33,000 feet over Abiquiú


If your first meals were taken

with the helpless

the hapless

rageful withholders of the Great Love Spark

you can be pardoned...for a while...

for reaching out to the wrong crowd.

A thirsty soul will drink most anything.

False, tasteless company can seem like sturdy shelter in a sandstorm.


The empty promise of their elixirs is well known.

Once your eyes have cleared,

if you keep drinking their poison

can you really keep blaming them

for continuing to serve it to you?


The Teacher says: Seek softer company now.


There is a whole world hidden inside this one.


The quiet faithful are showering in The Presence,

creating new gardens of belonging

behind city walls

out in the jungle

deep in the mountains

preparing for the return

of the Many-Becoming-One.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

Sound: "A Passage In Bronze," Robert Rich, Rainforest




Songs in the Open Air


Songs in the Open Air

I. Rivers, Mountains, Names


Her body: Earth-Realm bone dust.

Her spirit: Graceful, flowing ether,


Her name: Now I call her Dao-Sentiment River.


She named me, too -- after mountains not of this Earth.

I had thought it would make me solid,

but when I look to the West each day,

I still feel the river's teaching

carving another part of me away.


II. Singing, Disrobing, Flying


When I was teaching

I used to think of the wolf as my totem. 



Zen-Mind following Dao,

I think it must be the cicada.


Their drifting cacophonic symphony 

wafts through the humid air --

blasts through the open sliding door,

sends me traveling back

to lives where this was always the soundtrack.


Like then,

every season I am stepping out of another layer of skin. 

This is why, regardless of who you are,

I have nothing solid to bring you.


Cicada Teachings say:

At this rate, death will be a piece of cake.

We enter the world empty-handed

and leave the same way.

Nothing to ponder but singing, disrobing, flying.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

Sound: Maestro-Sifu ambient composer Forrest Fang, Following The Ether Sun



One-Hundred and Thirty-Two Views of the Moon


One-Hundred and Thirty-Two Views of the Moon

Eleven years shedding skin

drinking deep from the well of rough training.

Intimate with territories of heart-mind

reserved for orphans, widows, exiles,

no skin remains except lush word-filled silence.


This body in winter:

corpse-like under the blanket of night, dreaming;

in summer: jaguar-like, soundless, observant, moving through the humid dark.

I ponder what color Chan robe the Spirit of Time will put on these bones,

and even that thought falls away.


Then there are days like this one

when I wonder if, in some parallel reality,

beyond the great hallway of billowing quantum curtains,

there is another version of me

standing on a high hill with another version of you

overlooking a valley

talking about how the flowers

seem to shimmer in the afternoon light.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

For more info about French/Malagasy ethno-ambient musician Ujjaya, visit either his Facebook Page or Soundcloud Page.


turn, look


turn, look

in memory of Jack Collom (Nov. 1931 - July 2017)

"It is only with the heart

that one can see rightly.

What is essential is invisible to the eye."

--Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Wave-washed feet

teary eyes dried by wind,

you've turned to face

the last direction of travel now.


Your words still vibrate in the shimmering air

and land like a hot iron musket ball at the back of this skull.

"There are no maps, so stop looking for one."


The mapmaker, you taught us, is none other than these senses here

and the messages and lessons presented at every corner.


Like an old crow at dawn, you'd squawk:

"Turn, turn, turn...look, look, look!"


Now the signs come from everywhere.

The inner and outer worlds have collapsed into one

like Basho's frog offering up crystal-clear instructions with a...



There is no approaching the world the same way after today.

Nothing to do but

turn, turn, turn

look, look, look.


 Jack Collom / image:  Boulder Poetry Tribe

Jack Collom / image: Boulder Poetry Tribe

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

Jack Collom was a poet and essayist who taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. His courses ranged from haiku and world contemplative poetry to courses focused on the evolving lineage of ecological poetry. All poetry involves observation; Sir Jack specialized in teaching this to poets.

soundscape: "Ollin Arageed," by the late, great Hamza el Din - Nubian Egyptian composer, oud and tar player, who also studied biwa in Tokyo, and worked closely with both the Grateful Dead and the Kronos Quartet. His Sounds True-produced album, A Wish, can be found here: A Wish.

image: "Looking Up Into Maple Leaves," Breitenbush Hot Springs, Oregon, Douglas Beasley. To learn more about Douglas Beasley's photography or his Vision Quest Photo Workshops, visit: Earth Meets Spirit






dodem (Algonquian) (disambiguation: totem): a spirit being, often in animal form, that is tutelary in function and serves as an emblem for an individual or group of people. 


"In general it can be said that for modern man technology is an imbalance that begets dissatisfaction with work and with life. It estranges man from his natural versatility of action and thus allows many of his instincts to lie fallow...Considered on its own merits, as a legitimate human activity, technology is neither good nor bad, neither harmful nor harmless. Whether it be used for good or ill depends entirely on man's own attitude, which in turn depends on technology. The technologist has something of the same problem as the factory worker. Since he has to do mainly with mechanical factors, there is a danger of his other capacities atrophying. Just as an imbalanced diet is injurious to the body, any psychic imbalances have injurious effects in the long run and need compensating." 

-- C.G. Jung, September 1949 --

People go on and on about miracles.

How about the one within us?


We all answer to it.

The one

when and where

despite all protestations


for how we're going to skirt the subject,

the soul, with its full mouth of teeth,

announces it will be having its way

with what you've been calling "you."


This is when you realize there's nowhere to hide.

Nowhere to go where the Eyes of the Cosmos aren't upon you.

This is when you meet the ancient animal

that has always been dwelling deep inside you.


There is an animal within you.

Fur, feather, hide, scale, mane.

It is calling out to you from beneath the layers.

Beak, talon, claw, bone, fang.


It exists to balance you

to remind you

of the rest of you --

to provide you with a nearly-forgotten tutelage.




it offers you the parts of you that you've forgotten

that really know about survival.

Humbly receive the offering.

You're going to need it.


There is also a river within you.

With enough time

dwelling in unnaturalness

an erosion of its banks begins

until one day

part of the bank gives way

churns-up the silt of all you haven't been looking at

and what had been a straight-flowing river

bends away, forceful and insistent,

from anything that does not promote true wholeness for you.


This is when novices-in-training

often conjure up a juicy distraction.

The animal within licks its lips

and whispers: hors d'oeuvres.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

To learn more about the potent sound medicine of Forrest Fang, visit Forrest Fang. To learn about the recording Gongland, visit the Gongland Bandcamp Page.

Jung quote: Published in Zurcher Student, newspaper of the Federal Polytechnic Institute of Zurich, cited in The Earth Has A Soul: The Nature Writings of C.G. Jung, edited by Meredith Sabini, North Atlantic Books, 2002]




The Year of Moving Light


The Year of Moving Light

The ropes have been cut.

The bindings have fallen away.

It feels like New Year's Day

beneath this unnecessary armor.


A blocked river of ki in the belly

begins stretching its mountain dragon spine.

An uncoiling has begun. 

Posture and mind respond in kind.


Thoughts turn to mountains.

Mountains I've walked.

Mountains I've slept in.

Mountains I've bled in.

Mountains I've cried in.

Mountains I will die in.



Some jagged like wolf teeth.

Some rounded like a lover's hips.

Some a grandmother bestowing healing wisdom.

Others fierce, ungiving

a troubled ascending

bare feet on sharp blades.



A "year of immovable wisdom" complete,

Heart-Mind turns toward a "year of moving light."

Renewal of focus

Renewal of vows

Renewal of refuge

Tempering body-mind.


The wise ones have always seen mountains as a mother.

The Way - a testing, a humbling, an entering embrace.

Then, a return.

A renewal of spirit to serve the Spirit of Life, resilient.


Though slow-moving,

aching even,

I drop the armor at the foot of the mountain

and begin my preparations.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

image: "Starry Night" by Lee Eunyeol 

sound: Eitetsu Hayashi




 Yu: Apprenticing to Your Rainbow Body


Yu: Apprenticing to Your Rainbow Body

"Yu literally means 'to play,' 'to enjoy oneself in a leisurely fashion,' or 'to go on a journey.' Zen inherits this term from Taoism and suggests free and easy wandering is the way we should experience the world."--William Scott Wilson, The One Taste of Truth: Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea

Go through this world of illusion

in free and easy wandering.

--from the Kannon-kyo, Chapter 25, Lotus Sutra

I used to doubt the astrologers.


Accepting an assignment to track for a year

the days this skin has been stretched

over the frame of these times,

I now pay heed.


I used to doubt oracles.


Having witnessed the coming together of elements;

the free-flowing dance of thunder, earth, sky, mountain, and lake,

The Book of Changes is now a daily companion.


I used to keep a strong scaffolding in place.


It separated Pure Land from Zen

Zen from Dao

Dharma quarantined from the way of mountain spirits.


With a sudden glance

in the middle of a storm,

the bottom dropped out

the scaffolding fell

along with my mind

and all of these nectars poured into the same vat.


Human speech falls short on this one; another poem that is not a poem.


It is about the moment you realize

you have been a stranger to yourself, 

and, thus, to everyone else.


It is about the moment you realize

there is no outside to your inside.


It is about the moment you realize

if you let go

your breathing and summer breezes

will become enjoined.


I only share it with you

to break the trance of constructed worlds


and to inform you

that those shackles you wear

have a lock

whose key

is resting in your left hand.


Student: How will it be when Maitreya, the Future Buddha, comes?

Master Taewŏn: Truly, it will be just like this.

--from Garden Chrysanthemums and First Mountain Snow:

Zen Questions and Answers from Korea, trans. Hongjin Park

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen /

image: "Brocken Spectre," Tanzawa Mountains, Kanagawa Prefecture, Honshu, Japan, Shigeru Rokujuu

To learn more about Kanagawa, Japan-based electronic musician Sugai Ken, visit his On The Quakefish Bandcamp page.