Ascending Red Top Mountain


Ascending Red Top Mountain

It can start anywhere.

A sunlit wall.

A swaying branch.

The sound of falling water.

A sparrow piercing dawn silence.

Steam rising from a midnight teacup.

Seeing the face of an old traveling friend

as if for the very first time.

Some call it ‘stirring to life again’.

Others speak of

'old souls waking up in a new age'.

Master Ikkyū gained his vital remembrance

from an old crow over open water.

Having quaked awake this morning,

I turned pen to page.

My night-flying body offered instructions

to my groggy daytime self.


Right outside your door

is a wonderworld.

It beckons for your

practiced observation.

Right outside your door

is a celestial pureland.

It beckons for your

full participation.

You wander alone

but there is a form

of abiding accompaniment

that waits among the congregation

of maple-covered mountains.

Surrender the weight you carry

and be carried

by flowing paths and unfurling clouds.

After a full churning of day and night ch'an-seeing,

there will be no doubting it.


have stepped

inside a poem

about a journey

that ends

in the silence

of the

ten thousand things.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Transitory Season / Intersecting Skies / Roy Mattson


Before Entering: Supplication


Before Entering: Supplication

The heart-mind is boundless.

Once you've become true allies,

there is no distinction between

arrival and departure.

– Dao-Sentiment River –

The Mizong mystics down in town talk about Great Surrender.

Fools in the tavern overhear this and think this means: "Go mindless."

Those vagabonds cook up all sorts of ways to justify

"tying their boat" to any ol' shimmering thing passing by.

The real wayfarers have sampled it all and handed it back.

They can tell you to your face without blinking:

It's all empty. Taste every morsel to your heart's content.

Just know: It still leads you right back to where you started.

I'm not telling you not to enjoy yourself

as you move through this House of Smoke and Mirrors.

Even Crazy Cloud used to say: Have a drink, get laid, you're only human.

But two-legged dragons from the mountains

and peacocks down in the jungle

are masters because they're free from impulsive supping.

If they enter at all, they enter fully, like Jesus' Last Supper.

They've taken-in all pleasures,

imbibed all the poisons of forgetfulness,

and transmuted them from solids into vapors

through the luminous mesh of the Rainbow Body.

You'll know such a one because they don't enter anything lightly.

No matter the sweetness of the honey dripping from the hook,

they bypass 'the dangling'

and go straight to the heart of things.

Having drunk from the Deep Draught of Memory,

and seen back to the time when you and I

were known by names like

Autumn Traveling Coat

and Bright-Integrity Radiance Mountain,

there's no turning back for me, you see.

I'm just a Zen cowboy

whose horse

was shot out

from under him.

But I can tell you this.

If you have the chance

in this life

to cross paths

with a maestro

of the Bright-Knowledge,

even if you're left

wandering by the roadside,

it will be enough.

Sit knee-to-knee with them,

and brace yourself for the questions

that will change your whole life,


Are you really 'in' your life?

What are you inhabiting?

Are your days about new vistas of understanding

or are you being vanquished

by illusions you've taken to be reality?

One of the poems appearing in the Fall 2019 Homebound Publications release of The Temple of Warm Harmony.

(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Dharma Rain / Chronotope Project


Dispensation &amp; Knowing


Dispensation & Knowing

People are essences —

essences that come in

and parade around as two-leggeds.


resplendent warm guardians

humble and pure

healing flames sustaining others.


cold serrated sorcerers

calculating, conniving finaglers

side-glancing graspers

pondering the existence of others

as a means of getting what they want.


bent-light wavering sombra

parched, hungry shadows

unconscious how they enter a room

and feed off people.

They drink from the well

of other people’s souls

rather than their own

the way they’re supposed to.

If you're not careful with this last one,

they will leave you depleted, empty,

as if some dark wind sucked

all the sweet fragrance

out of your well-planned garden.

Here’s a little poet-curandero medicine

to hang around your neck.

Ask yourself in the presence of another:

Are we equal in spirit,

or am I an eventual meal for a viper?

Here’s a little curandera-poet medicine

to wrap over your shoulders like a shawl.

When you depart the radiating atmospheric-aura

of ‘so-and-so' and 'such-and-such', do you feel:



Cared For











Beaten Down







A Stranger

To quote the whispered words

of one Traveler now gone:




(c) 2018 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: Snake Song / Forgotten Gods / Steve Roach + Jorge Reyes + Suso Saiz





inspired by the work of Douglas Beasley

Wading through

damp golden ferns

blood red leaves underfoot

the Old Way of Nature

teaching artists and poets


Even on nights

cloaked in the enigma

of autumn darkness,

the pointing-out instructions

are offered in the shimmering air.

Pull your soul away

from the world of red dust

for a time.

Boundless renewal awaits

beyond the city lights,