Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Grounding of Johnny Blue


"Des femmes descendant de leur miroir ancien
T'apportent leur jeunesse et leur foi en la tienne
Et l'une sa clarte la voile qui t'entraine
Te fait secretement voir le monde sans toi
C'est avec nous que tout vivra."
Paul Eluard....Paris: 1926


As desire relaxes its once furtive grasp into appreciation and that looked to is seen so
vividly in the light far traveled entering our morning window, and as you lay so still asleep with eyes closed softly in dream passion remembrance, I read slowly to you...

"Women coming down from their ancient mirror
Bringing their youth and their faith in yours..."

A ceaseless snow morning and I for the longest time without touching stroke your face with soft looking and then one hand into warmth unseen beneath pale silk and you so slightly move. ... Remembrance thoughts of lovemaking before sleep intertwine themselves with the details of freshly lit incense on my senses........the sounds of your even, still breathing punctuate the silence.... if only one could hold a single moment in life's time it would be this first awakening sunrise moment, as you lie so still asleep....... dreaming...

"And one her light the sail which leads you off
Helps you secretly see the world without you..."

I look to a bedside broken mirror reflecting only and for always the flow of present time with no memory recalled of our passionwalk up the silverglass that night and the look of surprise in your pleased with broken reflection eyes as minds halted into disbelief laughter... now, etched so vividly in this first of morning mind is the midnight candleglow beauty of your milkskin tenderness ways and scents, softfold delicate petals of skin...
It is with us that everything will live."


Deepest winter and snowing heavily in these mountain pines as I read the Eluard...
that ancient mirror in the Paris of 1926, he must have known the moments clearly ....
the Emperor's mirrorview at Ise...

Wildflowers drying in a celadon window... colours revealed as remaining moisture captures this first light of fades into the yugen beyond form, then softly disappears...


I committed to the teachings in July of 1969 in the Sangre de Christo mountains near Taos, New Mexico, as the result of conversations with an elderly landscape painter named Herman Reznick, a Christian yogin with a very big mind who left it up to me to find a clear path and to not be confused by charlatans. We sat those long crimson New Mexico seasky summer evenings on the western view slope of those beautiful mountains, warm pinion air breezing hauntingly soft...breath slow minds focused on dry distant horizons...slow, end of sunlight... talking...

Oil painting days, strong summer colours
Mixed in the mind with riverbank clays,
Dried bone whites along high mountain trails,
The hues of a soft brilliant sky.

Vision deepening...
Colours and scents
Worked through the fingertips
Of a long, still gaze...

Phenomena seem as translucent flow,
Unreal yet visible, floating ... thatness
In the oceanmind world we swim.

At the Pueblo de Taos, white sage summer dances with slow ritual movement ... the elders motionless in their blankets bright woven and the adobe children with their deep, darkened eyes in wonderland play with laughter earth dust on their feet, lips soft as cottonwood seed. To the the west hours distant, pastel thunderhead clouds and into the east, highland green mountains with sacred spirit lakes and crystalline drala caves.

As the edge of day's light fading quickly into darkness the wildflowers return softly into their glow, pinion and juniper scents grow fainter, then slowly disappear. Bloodwarm animals move ghostlike from shade into shadow. An aging desert coyote poet speaks his mind then dissolves slowly into the yellow.

Mind moves...the high desert lies quietly for centuries.


Child's mind is beginningless and has no end with the light and colour shapes of imagination play darknesses opening into a continuous present childtime so preconception rich with laughter and short sadnesses and tears-love-pain so vividly woven into abstraction days of stormpassing yellows and shy vermilion desire heart-touched now to a remembered soft blue and as one grows older the illusions of goal and fascination with speed erode the sensibilities and benumb the feelings, nourishing the chasm that develops between who in reality we are and what in thought illusion we pretend to be. Conceptualization obscures basic perception and we become preoccupied lost in a blackened fog of impotent literary materialism with the childwonder corrupting into superficial distraction, continuously falling, deeply fading falling into the depths of a convinced self-solidity.

Cool blue and fragile green
Dappled sapphire
Dot in white space
Spins aimlessly thru vastness
Warmed by a powerful ruby sun.

Southwest desert sunrise
(Blood of Christ Mountains)
A tiny brilliant rose-amber spider
Climbs a sparkled glistening web
Seeking shelter in soft morning shadows.

There came a place on the dreamwater stream
Where I began to see further.


I returned that autumn to San Francisco to study Zen with Suzuki Roshi, whom I had met previously yet couldn't particularly figure out. Cut the blonde hair short and rode 5 am streetcars through alone darkened streets to the Bush Street shrineroom with its stark shadow outlines and incense scent staircase creaking and sat the difficult sunrise morning hours silently watching the edges of discursive minds exhausting gently into themselves. Studied the flower and tea rituals, cut the arrogant branches, wondered of his theory of time and beauty and came so close....

The young Tibetan came to teach in the summer of 1970 and he was relaxed fresh, unpredictable...and I sat close very zenlike in complete fascination of his mind and manner and finally discovered my true heart...went to see him a few days later and he was drunk and I walked away in disappointment and swirled for days in confusion then finally decided to find out what was me and what was him.

Having seen your face
And heard your soft voice
Watched you slowly limpwalk into the room...

Glimpses of openness suddenly occurred
And what always seemed me
Softened into yearning...

A young man with a corpse on his back
Proceeds slowly eastward
Through the phenomenal swirl.


Stillness until one slight awakening stir,
And out an opened window the beauty of slowly falling snow.
The pines grow bluer in the shadow light of this storm...
Pearldust drala wonderland.

Morning alone, exploring the details of crimson on candlelit brocade as I practice with the brush then offer the morning tea and the two visualizations and remembered incantations with the blackstroke ink dissolving down the central crystal channel to the white heart projecting and awakening all the while to the inviting white smoke of dried juniper rising into the windsongs of sky galloping horses and the snow... the snow still falling...perfectly slowly falling...dissolving... rising, swirling, striving, purling, falling...melting...

this landscape binds into a refulgent crystalling splendor...

binding, falling, dissolving, rising...

life, and death too, are both good.


I left for Colorado and spent the weeks walking clear mountain streams and driving backcountry roads drinking with young, pretty companions and as always the endless craziness developed and dissolved and how often you came to affectionately the images arose...

Early October...the radio and writing
Out an open window...patches of snow up the mountainside
Sky: clear and blue like ordinary mind.
Pine trees and streams, rocks...Yun.

Last night a full moon too beautiful to speak about
Today, relaxed and thinking of you...
The flow of a gentle warmth through these veins
Geomantic completeness...empty heart.

Slowly falling snow through a dream morning window...senses exploring senses, mind training mind....then unexpectedly, one timeless pause in the absolute center of completely centerless space.


I unexpectedly met him standing alone late one summer night in Boulder on a darkened downtown street with the people busily passing and for the first time it occurred to me how alone he must have been in this world with that mind of his and as the years have passed that understanding has deepened, along with others... Only a fool shields himself with softness.

In a crystalline shallow pool
Deep in some distant mountains
A brilliantly golden fish
Swims wavely perfect in aloneness.

Able to speak...there is no one to listen
Surrounded by steep, rocky cliffs
The clear, pure water can't flow
To the faraway sea.

Lonely for his true parents
This flower of the dream-water
Prepares to fly...


In the winter of 1981 I spent three months in a large group meditation retreat at Chateau Lake Louise, deep in the Canadian Rockies. During the third difficult day of gently persistent outbreath sitting meditation I completely lost ground...began swimming in a quicksand like mind of confusion, murky and bottomless with a complete swirling and the tremendous energy surging and the perceptual world without any solidity. My body was no longer clearly defined with the boundaries of skin to which I had grown accustomed and I had to take long, cold showers in to return to a more solid state. I learned from those quicksand days not to panic ... regardless of what occurred, nor to push my way through. Each moment required complete focus.

As those days and nights of terror/wonder passed, the sandvision turbulence clarified gradually into an ocean of energy which flowed into, through and about and never for an instant was one separate ... with the soft touch out breath dissolving gently into space without texture ... and the steep mental climbs past rockcloud bound kleshas and finally the relaxed soar into mind brilliant blue sky ... that tremendous shock of blue...
A very strong connection with the earth had begun to occur and I could always feel the incredibly powerful energy flowing up through my very heavy feet...

Dream/past dream/present dream/future.....
Awakening from a lifedream of confusion,
Feet painlessly nailed to this powerful earth...
And whatever these days I write for you
Is a giftstone tossed to a surfaceless sea,
Playful waves polishingly churning...
Ghostdance sailors of the golden-butter sea .......


Deep into that blue/glacier winter, powerful experiences continued to occur. Late one night morning as he spoke I began to experience an extremely vivid mirror-like reality and from the center of that exploding perception brightness he smiled a go further look and suddenly with a tremendous jolt the body completely dissolved and there I sat in gone-out wonder nodding gently that I finally understood the precious mind of the lineage and all the while I felt like ancient Tilopa sitting alone unseen in complete reality madness on the banks of a farago river ... riverrun.

The world we look into is a shadowcave mirror
Platonic dreamplay puppets
Projected by the heart mind resting nowhere in stillness.

Reflections impossible to grasp, taste, even touch...
Nothing listening to nothing, nothing happening to see.

Died alive Johnny ... Blue eyes breathing fire
Heartblood gushing through central vein channels.

Into that mirror without any dust
There is nothing left nothing ...
Nothing to say.

I walked the empty Chateau Lake Louise corridors deep into that sleepless night somewhat past aloneness and all the while felt so very sensitive to the softer light worlds of the dead. Sat alone until dawn at the glacier view window in a candleglow appreciation of the richness and patience of the lineage, and the ocean-mind world which was sensed but unseen until that alone luminous night.


Morning, alone ... exploring the details of crimson on candlelit brocade as I practice with the brush then offer the morning tea and the two visualizations and remembered incantations with the blackstroke ink dissolving down the central crystal channel to the white heart projecting and awakening all the while to the inviting white smoke of dried juniper rising into the windsongs of sky galloping horses and the snow... still falling...
perfectly slowly falling...dissolving...
rising, swirling, striving, purling, falling...melting...

The landscape binds into a refulgent crystalline splendor...

Binding, falling, dissolving, rising...
Life, and Death too, are both good.


The return to Colorado was extremely difficult with all the mechanical energy and people along the street glued to their senses, mindlessly drawn along from one shop window to another. Eyes away cold on faces with no light and I as usual with so little to say walked the day slowly through movie streets, watching...

Sitting motionless...bones harden into rock...
Mind pours into itself...senses achieve astonishing clarity...
Awareness without memory, luminous vision with no expectation...
An indestructible essence is realized... there is no longer fear...
To taste again mind without any taste, to swim in its ocean of brilliance...
To touch the earth with these soft hands, mirror-hand-lines reminding...
To leave the stone footprints, for others to follow.

Two mirrors: no reflection...
First Trungpa, weeks later alive Blue Vajradhara.


Into the closing hours of this reverie room, naked feet warmed to a footprint stone floor, the fires of the earth slowly rising and from that which flows so mysteriously of mind unseen into the seed of heart and through a whitened throat with the words as blossoms and then down a powerful arm, softstroked to the touch yet deep within a current of pure steelhardened energy... slow continuous to rockbone fingertips ... the words arising from a speechless silence.

Waiting downstream for the poetry boats of Li Po,
The brilliance of occurrence unfettered by sense organs.
Nothing comes.

Cool blue face with mirror reflection tears,
Eyes wetsparkling....Reality.

In an ocean of love there is no seduction...
The eyes won't turn away nor quiver
Yet the heart does ... it has so little discipline.


Cremation Day. Vermont

Spring cricket music fields edged by a fragile green forest
Birch and alder leaves blow softly across a pale blue sky
In a distant valley, woodcutters
Yet mostly silence, mostly beauty.
Back into the forest, traces of white smoke continue skyward...
So many faces today

Awakening once again to an ocean of aloneness
I feel the breeze of your soft breath
Across my face and through the body
And vow to repay you.

On Viewing the Relics...Faceless face on a blackened charred head in airless bellglass so vividly seen yet more than a skull because there's so much burnt tissue, especially inside with the right eye socket blown out so completely and the left with blackburnt bandages still ashened across it, a few hairs.... no lips, no nose, no tongue, nor ears nor eyes...unmistakable forehead...while across this same room a photo and I look back and forth from image to relic with such astonished wonder and such incredible sadness. The smiles will never come again, nor the jokes and complaints, and no more poems from the firemelted lips.... the commands have all been given...

Coal blackened head with a memory face etched so completely in that Lake Louise mirror. The soft, high voice with carefully arranged words uplifting with simply said things. No longer a throat, the voice cords to white smoke. Too real to look at, a presence so strong... and then bending sadly into one last farewell an invisible heavy hand comes down to bless....
Ki Ki So So


It was the Rigden's birthday poetry, nothing was to be eaten. I sat in secret in the rocks above, August morning watching my sun child dive happily into torn tent openings. A good place to die, I thought, mind chained to these rocks undisturbed a few days with the roller coaster of elements quickly dissolving, earth body to water then fire into wind/space and whatever ... the softer light ones vermillion sky dancing... brilliant white clouds......the Sun!

It's a Rilkian Inscape, the senses can come too...
With the poetry dancing it's touched naked appreciation...
Stormed palace lady of red ...
Oh mirrored Blue......
Above the relic plain, things settle themselves.


Having ridden the powerful breathhorse into the fourth time
and viewed Shambhala with it's gemstone streets and
brilliantly coloured forests and valleys...

Walked this earth with it's molten sunlike center
and for months carried it's powerful, nourishing energy
in these incredibly heavy feet...

Then one day a glimpse of your soft eyes
in an unexpected meeting, and my life is once again
abandoned to the madness of poetry...


From "The Vermillion Journal of Eidolon Johnny Blue"


Writings 1981-1987


1 comment:

  1. Beautyful...and they will come when is nothing else left.