Friday, December 29, 2017

Coming Soon Year of the Earth Dog

Some of you may have read what I call my annual Losar New Year poems over the past decade. To date I have completed about 15 of these based on real time you can link to below. I am currently working on completing all 60 animal/element combinations and revising what I've already done in collaboration with visionary artist, Ingmar Pema Dechen.  

So far I have completed the following combinations: 

2007 of the Fire Pig
2008 of the Earth Oxen
2009 Year of the Earth Rat
2010 Year of the Metal Tiger
2011 Year of the Metal Rabbit
2012 Year of the Water Dragon
2013 Year of the Water Snake
2014 Year of the Wood Horse
2015 Year of the Wood Sheep

Here is The Year of the Fire Monkey for 2016

                                               [Original art by Ingmar Pema Dechen, 2016]

Ho you Fire Monkey
Adorable Familiar of blessed places
Resourceful, enchanting
Cunning when need be
Your chatter flattens the dolts of ignorance
When you take
Charge in a carpe diem kind of way
Your ballast of confidence
Lifts our spirits
Seer of the future
Interlocutor to lost opportunities
Let’s take to heart
the ease of your swing from here to there
Always awake in the fire

Needless to say these are not “great" poems but they are interesting. Over the years many people have expressed appreciation. My process is not any official astrological training or reference. Nor do I intend any disrespect to the Tibetan tradition of astrology closely aligned with training in Tibetan Medicine. 

Mainly, I meditate on the animal, then the element which I combine with a kind of intuitive sense of the year at hand. These particular poems seem to write themselves.  The results are strangely in harmony with the “official” forecasts.  They also reflect my own personal mind training at the time. I’d like to compile the complete version of all 60 animal/element combinations as an offering to future communities of practitioners in the Vajrayana and Dzogchen lineages.

They are meant to inspire and encourage people on the long and enduring path towards realization.

My main inspiration comes from my teachers and poetry mentors including Chogyam Trungpa, Choegyal Namkhai Norbu, Lama Tsultrim Allione, Anne Waldman and the late Allen Ginsberg. Many Thanks to  dharma and poet buddies sharing the path. Thanks everyone for all your support over the years.

I am currently focusing on birth poems for friends and personalized poems for hire (by donation.

Here is my most recent addition: Year of the Wood Rooster for 1945, birth year for many poet friends. This one in honor of my friends Anne Waldman, Vernadah Porche and Richard Wizansky.

[original art by Ingmar Pema Dechen]

Such iridescent display
Cockadoodiling us awake
Each day without fail
As reliable as the sun
you rise to summon forth
Bright scrys of portend
Acuity for the larger meanings in the scheme
Of so-called phenomena
Beneficent scribe to the downcast
Outsiders, end stop
You set the bar high
A million hands in the fire
No task too daunting

Harbinger of new, always fresh
Our number one

Jacqueline Gens
Shelburne Falls, MA
Last updated February 5, 2016

The newest composition is a private commission for Year of the Water Tiger with original art by Ingmar Pema Dechen

Behold the Water Tiger
Worldly navigator
Among all things adventurous
At home in the unknown
Buoyed by the ease of water
Even the heaviest notions
Lightly flow by twists and turns
Where no one else dares to go
You are the harbinger of mystery
A playful glint of luminosity
Amid roiling turbulence
Flash of certainty in the deep swell
Of aquifer forever brave
Our Sleek innovator
All accomplishing to the end

Jacqueline Gens

Original art by Ingmar Pema Dechen 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Poem for Chogyal Namkhai Norbu on his 80th Birthday

Photo by Jacqueline Gens of CHNNR with Tibetan Singers from Derge, Tsegyalgar East Retreat, 2014

Lord of the three realms
Master of the three series
First there was the sleek black
Waters of incomprehension
Then like the sun at dawn
The light of knowledge
Cast its iridescent
Rays of understanding
I bow to you in reverence
For awakening in me the supreme
Bodhi mind, perfect union
Of intention and application
The Yab/Yum
Of Skillful means and Wisdom

Healing balm amid the ocean of sentient sorrows
That extraordinary panacea
To liberate others
I offer to you my meager body speech and mind
Myriad experience may arise –mere phantoms
In the “One Taste of joy and pain”
Nonetheless, we dwell ever fresh
In the authentic presence of awareness
Igniting the lamp of knowing
Beyond duality because of you

Jacqueline Gens
Tsegyalgar East

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Poem by Leonard Brodt



In the backwoods

Huddling Trees

Stand at rigid attention

Like endless infantry

In a continuous halt

Wearing ordinary camouflage


Dressed in uniforms

That people call bark

Al in skies of black and blue.

Yes Sir!

Leonard Brodt
Copyright 2005

Recently I moved into senior housing at Highland Village in beautiful Shelburne Falls, MA. This place is where I share my  home with 40 plus other residents, among them some gifted writers, artists, philosophers and humanists. Lenny, as he is called, is one such individual. 

Here is a poem he wrote that he shared with me.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Review of Enlightened Vagabond: The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche by Jacqueline Gens in Levekunst

To read the full review visit Levekunst

Enlightened Vagabond
The Life and Teachings of Patrul Rinpoche
Collected and Translated by Matthieu Ricard
Edited by Constance Wilkinson
Foreword by H.H. Dalai Lama
Shambhala Publications
Boulder, 2017, 282 pages

His (Patrul's) self-deprecating humor and keen intellect combined with a vast heart pierce the human yearning for authenticity amid the sorrows of sentient life. His words go beyond poetic conceits and cultural baggage. In any case, I have remained wildly enthusiastic about the works of Patrul Rinpoche for decades now. The current publication is a much awaited event to carry his mindstream further into the 21st century. If you are unfamiliar with his work, you’re in for a special experience when coming into contact with him. Please read him. If he is an old heart friend, Enlightened Vagabond will not disappoint! -Jacqueline Gens

To purchase this book here is the Amazon link.

An interview with editor Constance Wilkinson is in the works....coming  soon!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

An Interview with Jacqueline Gens by Jillian Mukavetz in Womens' Quarterly Conversation - Profiles in Poetics

Some years ago while I was still working as Co-director with Jim Harms in the New England College MFA Program in Poetry circa 2010/2011, Jillian Mukavetz - a graduate student in the  program interviewed me. At that time we had a dynamic faculty including Ilya Kaminisky, Eleni Siklianos, Carol Frost, Malena Morley, Brian Henry, and Anne Waldman every winter who cultivated among students an experimental thesis presentation.

Jillian was one such example with her series of interviews. I recently came across it online and wow did she do a great job. To read it, visit the Womens' Quarterly Conversation/ Profiles n Poetics at :

Jillian Mukavetz (left) meeting with her mentor,  Eleni Siklianos
MFA Program in Poetry at
New England College, circa 2011 

"Jacqueline Gens comes from a strong lineage of Russian women storytellers who originally migrated to the United States, more specifically Southern California, shortly before she was born. Here, Gens describes her world existing on the “cusp”. In this space of the between, the gritty earth, clouds overhead, language, music, culture; the sacred became, as it still is today, a space of vibrancy and wholeness. Quite similar to Anne Waldman’s forward in Gens’ recently published chapbook Primo Pensiero, Waldman expresses, “this debut bouquet of poems is an elegant display of ordinary mind spiked with the magic and heart of ‘Big Mind’ sensibility.”

When asked about the influence of Buddhism in Gens’ life, she describes her practice as one wrapped around, amidst, below, and between, every moment. She says, “waking up to me is synonymous with touching earth, not escaping for something higher or more abstract.” As co-director and founder of the New England College, Jacqueline tells me “I have served the muse well in this lifetime by nurturing the work of other writers and especially hundreds of new writers finding their voice.” In this way, she nurtures the internal of the feminine in a way that is a gift to the self and importantly to the larger community as well.

1.) Where are you from? What were the first inspirations that made you desire to become a writer? Who, what, where, influenced you as a writer? In other words how did you arrive here as a writer?...............

- to read more...go here.

Photo by Jacqueline Gens

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Thin Line--An October Poem

For David Hernandez
A grandfather whose kindness I can never repay

The fires are lit to stave
Off first hoarfrost
The harvest in
With its scent of rot mingled
Amid sweetness
Overhead winged
Cry out in joyful unison
On their way home

Below crickets trill
Las Abuelas begin the story
Stitching us to the tapestry
Weaving our fate
Into the fragile web
Gossamer threads between
Being and non-being
Betwixt between
The thin line of here
And over there
Outside time
The fires are lit
For love and
Heart’s desire
Before extinquished
In final glory
And all is well

Day of the Dead installation, KPC October 31, 2016
Photo by Jacqueline Gens

October 19, 2016
Tsegyalgar East

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Homage to Ally R.I.P.


for my brother Mike

My feline queen --Ally
Love bug and long heart companion
Spirit sprite of so many years
          Your purr music to our ears
Ever in our midst a gentle being
Confused by killer instinct to pounce on wispy bugs
        or the mouse behind the fridge
You were born for a higher purpose
Nesting in my lap while practicing
               or listening to dharma talks
Soothing Mike who dotted on you
Serving your every need

My heart aches now and then
When first I held you in my palm a tiny kitten
The fragility of it all

My sweet girl I wish you well
Roaring through the corridor of
Rebirth may you
Snuggle close to the heartbeat
of loving tenderness –your special forte
and come back to us one way or other

September 3, 2017
Highland Village
Shelburne Falls, MA

Photo by Jacqueline Gens, September 2011

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Another Found Poem--Gould's Sugar House

Gould’s Sugar House

I wait for Kate my therapist
Now long-time friend
To join me for brunch
At Gould’s Sugar House
On Route 2's historic Mohawk Trail
Early spring day when hardly any sap
Will flow -- for you see it takes freezing nights
And warm days to make the sap 
This peculiar cusp of no-winter
There in the rustic barn above the sugar 
House for a contemplative moment
I see all the people before me
Their music the din of restaurant
Noises, sips of coffee in anticipation of  pancakes
                           waffles, corn fritters

Each in their own vision of reality
Not touching yet together seeking
That taste of sweetness

Jacqueline Gens
Revised October 5, 2017
Highland Village
Shelburne Falls, MA

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Nearing Summer Solstice

Here's another favorite "seasonal" poem I like to post every year.

Nearing Summer Solstice

At Tires for Less on Route 9
I wait to exchange snow studs
for all season tires past the April deadline--
A young skinhead,
with spider web on his naked
elbow strips the lugs
which hit the floor as he moves on haunches,
feral menace with a drill bit.
I pace the pavement,
looking down at the Connecticut River.
At the edge of blacktop next to a field of low
lying wildflowers and scrub brush,
broken glass and butts indicate I'm not the first.
Two monarchs catch my attention, then flecks
of orange move among purple cones,
a different butterfly, with fur edges.
This day is long with light and I have time
to wonder how they know to convene
by the hundreds in this dump
oblivious to trucks and cars speeding past,
their movements counterpoint
to my own noisy impatience, calmed a moment,
until spider boy calls me over.

Reprinted from Connotation, November 2009

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Poem I Found Among my Papers---Is it Mine or Someone Else's?

Going through 40 years of papers I found this poem draft in my handwriting  without a date or author.....Some of the syntax seems like mine, in other places not so. Generally, I do not copy out poems by others. On occasion I've found poem fragments without recollection of writing them down which seem strangely unfamiliar while familiar too. If the following work is NOT by me, my apology. In this instance not so interested in the weak craft with excessive use of passive verb tenses and adverbs but more in the content. So here it is:


I've not been troubled much
by self-definition, 
leaving such works---
when all was said and done---
to others less inclined
to live, it seems to me, 
but called mysteriously,
to the judgement seat.
Spread your nets fastidiously,
catch a fish or two, 
but where's the sea?
Life's a tangle, isn't it
of pointed fingers?
Just where they point
escapes me!
Live in the web,
if you insist, I'll take
the spaces in between.
Quarrel how the  fountain's 
to be shaped,
I'm one with the water
or I'm nothing, I'll agree,
but shapely, nonetheless
Zero has its elegance
and so do lips
but what's said once
is never said again
I live in the once 
I die in the twice again.

So here's my first revision  dated Memorial Day, May 28, 2017 on a rainy afternoon. Will let it sit awhile. 

I'm not troubled much
by self-definition, 
leaving such work---
to others less inclined
to live in mystery.
Spread your nets fastidiously,
catch a fish or two, 
but where's the sea?
Life's a tangle, isn't it
of pointed fingers?
Just where they point
escapes me!
Live in the web,
if you insist, I'll take
the spaces in between.
Quarrel how the fountain's 
shaped, I'm one with the water
or I'm nothing,
Zero has its elegance
and so do lips
but what's said once
is never said again
I live in the once 

I die in the twice again.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I Have Eaten

Fresh baked bread to die for, better than sex, when hungry
Grandma’s Icebox chocolate pudding in green dishes
Holiday House ice cream sodas and Shirley Temples in Malibu
My mother’s zucchini casserole and lentil salads 
                                              when the cupboards were bare
My father’s left-over lamb roast cooked in white beans
Mike's chowderI have eaten cherry pie at Knox Berry Farm
Babushka’s Pirozhki cross country on AM Track in 1965
I ate the crisp wafers of the body of Christ numerous times

Verandah’s crepes
Richard Wizansky’s ginger meatballs
Catherine Mariott’s Noodles High
Joan Marr's pickled cauliflower
Ellen Snyder's grape leaves
Mimi's Bueberry Bomb
Peter Gould's Key Lime pie
Usual fare at Packers Corner Farm

Remember well those cannolis from the North End
Miss Hornbeak's candied orange and grapefruit peals
Susan Nagelson's french bread while at Smith

Hungarian Goulash with R.D. Laing on 15th Street 
        when he arrived two weeks early
Drank vanilla shakes in Boulder with Harry Smith whose 
teeth were rotten
Poached salmon I made for William Burroughs and Company 
        on his birthday

That strange dinner party of celestial disrupt when Philip Whalen upset 
    the poet's table at Anne Waldman's when his chair tipped over setting in slow 
       motion the bottle of wine whose content landed in the crotch 
          of esteemed Japanese scholar.........

Borscht at Christine’s with Allen Ginsberg on First Avenue
    and late breakfast in his kitchen when I delivered mail
Homemade ravioli from Houston Street with John Waldman 
Noodle soup with Gina on first Avenue after work
Yanny's stir fried greens, Eliot's vegan fare in Chinatown

These are memorable 
and on and on

Dim Sum with Chogyam Trungpa in his living  room  with Christian contemplatives 
Made Momos with the Sakyong, now Mipham Rinpoche, at '86 seminary
Wheat grass walking with Gelek Rinpoche in Manhattan
Martha's Rice and Beans with the Vajra Regent
More Greens & meat with Trogawa Rinpoche and Khenpo Brothers 
     in John Giorno's Bunker
I've eaten killer Big Macs with Tsultrim Allione
     on road trip with dakinis 
Sushi with Chogyal Namkhai Norbu and home cooked meals
   in Portland and Cambridge

                    I loved eating 
Barbara's lasagne
Paula's quince jam
Lauri's chicken picata when sick 
Marit's garlic mashed potatoes

Chard's pumpkin soup and roast beef sandwiches 
across the street 
          from Emily's house at the Back Forest Deli

A decade of residency meals with NEC poets and disgruntled faculty
I'm more than happy to forget

Now I eat through heaps of garbage
Psychic dross
Most friends dead 

Do Chod-- cook for others
I'm fulfilled
Now I eat air, drink light 
My head bald with Chemo
Preparing for what’s next

Jacqueline Gens

Highland Village
Shelburne Falls, MA

An old draft revised on May 12, 2017 
one sleepless night at 1:30 AM 
and still tinkering
October 3, 2017

Revised again May 28, 2017, June 18, 2017

Photo by Allen Ginsberg -Beat Lunch, 1985
Mapleton Avenue, Boulder, CO

Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Annual Losar Poem : Year of the Fire Rooster/Bird

Original art by Ingmar Pema Dechen, 2017

Year of the Fire Rooster/Bird

Ever awake among the slumbering
Lively harbinger of whatever awaits
Each day no task too daunting
For just as the sun rises
You’re always ready for any occasion
Reliable, precise, and to the point
No poison too toxic nor lethal
For that bright display which cheers us on
O great Fire Bird who arises from ashes
To transport us beyond our limits
In shining iridescence to meet our purpose
We welcome your daily summons
Into the fray at day’s break

Jacqueline Gens
Tsegyalgar East
Dakini Day, 2.21.17

Please credit Jacqueline and Ingmar if you you forward their image and poem. They are currently collaborating on rendering all sixty animal/element combinations into illustrated/poems. To read more about this project called "The Mansion of Elements" visit here.  There you will also find poems from 2007 to the present. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Remembering Gelek Rimpoche (1939-2017)

A tender moment with Philip Glass, Gelek Rimpoche and Allen, 1989

Today,  I learned of Gelek Rimpoche's passing, a sad event for his many students and people whose lives he touched. Born in 1939, Gelek Rimpoche was one of the last of his generation to be educated traditionally--a rigorous training from early childhood. He proved an effective Teacher to Americans having many prominent students such as Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass, Richard Gere, and others. 

One day in 1989 when I had begun to work in the office of Allen Ginsberg, I remember well the first time I met Rimpoche and heard his unique voice (he favored the Rimpoche spelling as opposed to the more common Rinpoche) via a phone call he made asking to speak with Allen who was not in his office. He wanted to ask If Allen could be on his board of Jewel Heart or something official like that. I remember listing to him Allen's other dharma obligations. In any case,  he was quite engaging with very good English. Later I traveled a number of times with Allen to Ann Arbor, MI where Rimpoche at that time  gave weekly teachings in a small Gonpa above his garage. He was a marvelous master of Tsongkhapa's lineage and the lam rim  teachings.    Although,  I felt more drawn to the Dzogchen teaching, at the time, I really respected his methods and to this day employ his analytical meditation technique--which is extremely important as a base for one's understanding of the so called "nature of mind."

Gelek Rimpoche and Allen had a lot of fun. Often when Gelek Rimpoche stayed with Allen in his rather humble six floor walk-up apartment on East 12th Street, I would see them together while delivering Allen's mail. Gelek Rimpoche was especially fond of telling many ribald tales about the sexual practices of monks in Tibet which  Allen found amusing. They also shared a keen love of the daily news--Allen, the NYTimes and Gelek Rimpoche, CNN. 
I remember during the first Iraq war we were all watching George Bush Senior on CNN and Gelek Rimpoche saying that he (George Bush senior) had no idea of the karmic implications of his policies for America. 

My sincere regards to all of Gelek Rimpoche's many fine students who are among the most kind and generous dharma practitioners in America. The apple, as they say, does not fall far from the tree. To learn more about Gelek Rimpoche's teachings and Jewel Heart visit:

Jacqueline Gens and Gelek Rimpoche at Allen's kitchen table--
photo by Allen Ginsberg circa early 1990.s

Jacqueline Gens
February 15, 2017

*Photo taken with Allen Ginsberg's camera in Ann Arbor, MI 1989 by Gloria Boyajian

On Lion's Roar  you can read a series of articles by Gelek Rimpoche