"Pieces everywhere. The perfectly formed, slab stone altar of who you and others thought you were, imagined you’d become, dreamed your legacy would be,...the remains of all of that lies before you with everything you'd laid on it and the hammer you used to break it."

--Tad Hargrave

Each vertebra of a burdened slumping spine

had a distinct chain tied to something.

A false belief. 

Someone else's expectation.

Other people's ideas and stories of who you are.

Some personal narrative inseparable from a road that doesn't lead anywhere.

A scaffolding of "visions of success" that you yourself had been propping up.


Now...falling through space,

you give up the chase.


Though the spine can become ossified,

let us give thanks

to breathing


bloodstreams moving

the sea-salt stardust-infused Watercourse Way

that flows up and down our spines.


They are our constant reminders

there is something beyond

becoming human fortresses.


I held an all-night vigil for a dying friend.


Not "dying" in the bodily sense.

We only do that once each life, if we're lucky.


Rather, the kind of "dying"

when the Light-Body of the True-Self

grows too large for a Coffin-Like Existence.


The kind of "dying"

that leads to a sloughing-off of skins

like water dragons

that have suddenly developed

a taste for mountain wine.


About that vigil.


Did I happen to mention

that the friend

was me?

I reach into my bag of words and come up empty.

I've reached the end.

I cannot speak clearly 

of this Blue Mountain Spirit

renewing itself inside this soul of mine.


The whole journey has been one of walking back through time;

shifting through innumerable shapes

moving from forms to formlessness

until there is nothing left

but the silhouette of a man

sitting on a cloud-pine platform

overlooking the mountains.


What else can a Man or Woman of The Way say? 


What a relief

to pour all of this ink

back into the river of the void!



This child of samsara is leaving the world of red dust,

moving beyond the ephemeral realms of human praise and blame.

Where I am going

there is only

the gray-green days of rain.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen (Wandering Stone Lantern) / purelandpoetry.com

To learn more about the Korean gayageum music of Master Byungki Hwang visit his site here.

To listen to and buy Forrest Fang's majestic new recording, Following the Ether Sun, visit the album's Projekt Bandcamp page