Sunday, May 29, 2022

Who made you Replicant Human



Who made you replicant human

Devoid of empathy or just plain

Sensibility that the world

Of your projections is an ephemeral

Event made of someone else's mind

 

Perhaps you are not even human

But a bundle of digital apparatus

With a programmed script of responses

Without critical reflections---

 

See how your inner torture of neediness

Wanting more, rejecting “different”

 Just plain stupidity

So destroys the fabric of relationships

 

But we are of the human realm

Not yet the manufactured robotics

Of --AI, secretly coded in conspiracy

 

We are the realm of hope and fear

Where dreaming creates myriad worlds

Of Heaven and Hell, our stories alive

With pleasure or pain, animating wild

 Momentary projections imagined

Actors on a screen reflecting back to us

Whether welcome or rejected

An endless round of confusion

Empty of substantiation

                 We can never trust

For their coming and going

 

 

Yet, we are seers of the divine

Called numerous names

Within and Without

Outside time –A La Ho

Saturday, May 28, 2022

I Can Not Help But Weep

 

I cannot help but weep

For those shattered

By the grief of their own

Destiny or karma

 

I embrace our terror

The stark hardship

Of aliveness

Which is all of us

Bountiful at times

 

Always sorrowful

With the forecast

Of coming and going

 

One day it’s starving manatees

Ancient Gentle creatures

Rooting in the sea grasses

Gorged with plastic

 

People of Yemen, Afganistan, Syria, Iran, iraq

Once the cradle of civilization

Now subdued by Tribal hatreds

 

I can not help but weep for the piles

Of violins and braids at Auschwich

Nameless remains of those incinerated --the

Horror of a final solution

 

Nor for dark War loads

Of America unleashing

Firebombs laced

With agent orange

Insidious masters

Of regime change

 

It’s always been so

Somewhere

Like yesterday’s numbing

Murders of children

 

I embrace you not for Grace

But the love of other

That melts the hatred

Of difference

Indifference

 

Come my dear ones

Let’s embrace the abject forlornness

Of our humanity, never letting go

Never giving up instead

Rest in what endures

Beyond the loneliness

Of all those places we fear to travel.

 

Language leaves me now

But cells remember locked

Festering at our humanity

Until we release our lack love

 

May 22-25 2022

 

Writ heart heavy at twilight

as storn clouds gather

Into the coming night on my porch

Amid pansies and chimes

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A Fresh Look at the Spiritual Life of the Late Poet, Allen Ginsgerg, on the 25th Anniversay of his Death on April 5th, 1997

 A Work in Progress by Jacqueline Gens/Draft ONLY

The late bard, beloved friend and mentor Allen Ginsberg (1926-97) remains present even decades later for many of us whose lives he touched either directly or in his works.  Those of us who also studied with Tibetan master, Chogyam Trungpa, are bound together even further. Trungpa’s initial entre introducing Vajrayana Buddhism to the West in the mid 1970’s was to summon “the” poets to his new endeavor, the Naropa Institute and they came. The poets (and writers of the Beat generation), on the other hand, were already prescient investigators of consciousness thru drugs, meditation and mantra who heard his call. 

 

As history tells it, Trungpa met these open minded and wild denizens of the times head on their own terms-- smoking cigarettes, sexual promiscuity, drinking and drugging, and yet both magnetized a generation of literal and symbolical seekers of naked mind, the essence of Mahamudra free from delusion. Such was the willingness to regard new avenues of exploration.   Today, Naropa University is a leading accredited institution in Buddhist inspired and Contemplative education. Many things can be said about Chogyam Trungpa but one need only read his vast scholarly and teaching transcripts to experience his greatness as a teacher, if unconventional to Westerners.  For a man born in a Yak tent in a remote part of Tibet and dead by the age of 47, he accomplished much.

 

Early April when they both died (a decade apart) is a time, I often contemplate their profound impact on my life. In recent years I’ve taken a more objective look at the intersection of their lives historically and their mutual influence on the development of Tibetan Buddhism in the West. I’m no apologist but often find myself in the middle of a Rubik cube of misinformation trying to match up the details of my own first-hand knowledge with the shifting sands of time. But as we know, what was then no longer exists except in our wily memories. None the less, flashes of recollection spark my memory of the long working relationship I experienced with Allen within the mandala of Trungpa Rinpoche, especially Naropa Institute (now University),  then later in his NYC office.

 

In my personal assessment of Allen as a literary figure, he synthesized for me the Blakean visionary potential (Albion) of a new era married to the humanitarian expansiveness of poet Walt Whitman who foresaw his successors as concerned with the “Main Things” which Allen fulfilled.  Combine this with the clarity of his meditation practice and one can taste the fruits of his greatness as a person. While his personality may not have been perfect, his lifelong dedication for a deep empathy with others marked his early vow to benefit humanity. Recognizing himself as some kind of genius in early childhood, he fulfilled his destiny becoming an agent of change spontaneously at key historical moments transforming whole cultures and generations of writers who in turn would play significant roles in their own cultures. 

 

I found him a superb teacher especially his evolving Dharma Poetics and Mind Writing Slogans at the jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, a bold container for nurturing aspiring poets and writers. His archive attests to the thousands of global youth who wrote him, including myself. During every world crisis, I imagine his cognizant commentary. He was an avid reader of the New York time daily engaging with world events and often appearing on television or in interviews. Delivering his mail to him in the early years I worked for him in NYC, it was not unusual to meet him in his pajamas with laundry hanging inside his entrance hallway. I often got a summation of the day’s news along with a late breakfast while sorting through mail. Those moments remain treasured memories of ordinary intimacy without artifice or tension. 

 

As a gay man, Allen was an advocate of tender-hearted sacred fellowship iconized in his lengthy photographic record of friendships with lovers and kindred spirits. We know there were serious casualties in his charismatic love life with many a broken-hearted man and woman—especially in his earlier years and some later too.  He could be irascible, shrewd, needy of love (RD Laing once said of Allen to me when living in Boulder), enthusiastic, dismissive of those seeking approval, bluntly curious, generous, and loyal to a fault. Candor was his motto and he rarely suffered fools who thought highly of themselves. His ability to connect with people was characterized by the classic Vajrayana term Padma, the symbolic engaged and charismatic lover borne of the lotus arising from mud combined with the Vajra of mirror like wisdom—the roiling waters of anger stilled in reflective clarity. He adored young and brilliant mostly straight men but disdained to be caught in binary categories as he was wont to say, because he had his “male dignity.”

 

I honestly do not know why he took to me in our early encounters at Naropa Institute where I was a graduate student in Buddhist Studies. He often engaged me in chit-chat some evenings in the empty hallways after hours as I cleaned offices for work study while he picked up his mail. In the Summer of 1984, when I worked as a cook at Kappa Sigma for the annual summer writing program, he often brought his dishes into the kitchen along with more chit-chat and eventually questions about my background. By the following year I lived with him and company during the summer writing program along with Philip Whalen as a kind of house mother in a mansion owned by his old classmate at Columbia University, David Padawa.  By the time I met him, he was avuncular, professorial, and deeply kind. Likewise, I appreciated him dearly for his unexpected regard.  

 

Some characterized him as misogynist often forgetting women’s names or mixing them up which was true.  I never experienced that nor did some others. His generation was backwards. He called me doll in moments of affection--but in the end I was happy he had a female psychiatrist who helped him navigate unresolved issues about his mother and women. He had many professional women who admired him which he recorded in portraits rarely seen together as a collection—many of them iconic figures. This is yet to happen! Two of his first meditation instructors were women—Dr. Judith Simmer-Brown, an Acharya and Tsultrim Allione, an authorized Lama—both lifelong friendships. And, of course, he founded the Jack Kerouac School with Anne Waldman. One day arriving at his office late afternoon, generally the case, he reported that he had a remarkable experience as he crossed a street on the way to his Union Square office realizing that the anger he continually projected onto someone was really about his mother. In his journals, he recorded in minute details his hopes and fears and dreams over his complicated relationship with Peter Orlovsky with barely a mention of a female.  

 

From my perspective, we were fellow travelers on the path to self-discovery. Unbeknownst to many of his literary colleagues and friends who were often suspect of his devotion to his various Gurus, he was a dedicated practitioner who spent years studying the basics of Buddhism with a preference for formless Vipassana meditation and Lam Rim specializing in Madhyamika or the analytical investigation of the nature of mind. He wasn’t a great fan of ritual and all the bells and whistles of tantra except for mantra.  Towards the end of his life he fully entered into the path of Vajrayana world of the classic Gelugpa triad of Yamantaka, Vajrayogini and Cakrasamvara sadhanas with his second significant Tibetan teacher, Gelek Rinpoche.  

 

To this day not one biographer has integrated his life and work with the various phases of his progressive practice life other than the outward details of when and where he attended some retreat but never the view, practice, and integration of each practice.  Simply saying he attended a Hinayana retreat means nothing to the uninitiated. For someone younger person adept in similar practices there is a Ph.d awaiting to cross reference with his copious practice notes and journals and tapes which are considerable in number.  This is an important addition to his biography as some Academics not proficient in the depth of his training are now being quoted as authorities in a tangle of mistaken facts for lack of knowledge or drawing on a few essays about meditation for his classes or magazine articles early on. As a practitioner and authorized teacher of mind training, it was his goal to speak in an American idiom of common language rather than cultural overlays from other countries.

 

So, in April I salute Allen for bestowing his gifts of clarity and kindness in the service of language. And when I hear the early morning songs of the crows outside my window they remind me of the fragility of this life---that comes and goes but every moment, every breath an opportunity to realize the tendrils of our interconnection in the larger web of wisdom mind outside time.  EMAHO…(WONDORUS…)

Jacqueline Gens studied Tibetan Buddhism when she moved to Boulder, CO tin 1983 to attend Trungpa’s Naropa Institute. She was employed in a variety of administrative positions there until she moved to NYC From 1988/89-1994 to work in the NY office of Ginsberg and Associates. She co-founded and co-directed the New England College MFA Program in Poetry from 2001- 2012 until she retired. She is currently creating course platforms for the study of poetry in relationship to diverse Wisdom traditions at Language in the Sky.  She earned an MFA in Creative Writing and an MAT in Teaching in her 50’s  following studying Classics and Anthropology at Smith College. Her main practice is poetry.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

A Moment of Sahaja



Love Shamelessly

Sounding syllables

Of light, rays

Love Savagely

Break open the cage

Of self-clinging

 

Love Shamelessly

Your mind swelling

Like an ocean

Your Heart radiating

Lights of liberation

In the great bliss of awakening

 

Love Shamelessly

Your body vibrating

In union with the luminosity 

Of infinite joy

May all beings join

The cosmic dance of Love

  

This body that comes and goes

Like exchanging an old coat for a new one

Kye Ho! How wonderful

To be free of it -- Shinning naked 


3:00 AM

 

Sunday, January 05, 2020

In Praise of Mediocrity


In Praise of Mediocrity
     for Reggie

Didn’t it used to be part of the Golden Mean —that balance
Between heaven and earth
The phi of perfect harmony
It’s distance measurable to acquiring pentagrams
A magic lintel betwixt and between lacking in status
All perfections linked to the median
Between becoming and completion
That naked cipher of valuation
Among worldly configurations
No worries for me walking down streets
To the hoots of male orangutans
Or jealous vixens wishing me dead
Clinging sycophants wanting my money
Stabs in the back
The queen of mediocrity is hardly noticed
Her paucity a mantle of invisibility
To the ultimate zero
A sublime nothingness
The simple fact is
Genius prefers a C minus like Einstein
With freedom to ruminate unwashed
And unwatched in heavenly exploration
Playing every angle
Then stand bewitched before elemental fractals
If beautiful, everyone wants to own you, have a piece
Or circle in for the kill for standing out sublime
But ordinary is profound too
When lit from within
A brief glimmer
It’s luminescence  spreading

They will always love you for your mind
My mother said........




2011 with some revisions 01/5/2020