Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Late Night Haiku

Some nights I have insomnia. It's usually related to stress-levels, and worry. I can't shut off the monkey-mind, which keeps chattering. There are few things I can do to relieve this, when it happens, but the worst thing to do is lie there in bed, tossing and turning, gradually getting more frustrated and tense. I learned years ago to get up and do something: read; make something, a piece of art, or a quickie font; a poem.

Last night I pulled out one of my Japanese brush calligraphy pens—don't have to grind the ink on the stone first, don't have to set up the brushes, they fit in the pocket like regular pens, and my favorite one even uses replaceable ink cartridges—and got to writing. I wrote 8 or 9 haiku, and a haiga.

I wrote about the memories and dreams that were in my mind. I wrote about the brush itself. I wrote memories of camping in my tent, and anticipations of my next road journey. I wrote till the words stopped spilling out of me, as they had apparently wanted to do. I wrote till the tidal push was over, and the pressure was off, then I could fall asleep peacefully, my whirling mind calmed and settled. I awoke feeling calm and refreshed, with a mind of quietness, more at peace than ever in the past few weeks.

why do you give me
this brush made of black
bear's pubic hairs?

mountain village clinging
to the redwood cliffs—
highway cut through shadows

Zen mind, brush mind—
a thousand tiny leaves
make one hairy bristle

little lantern
to write by at midnight—
tent satori

brush in hand, mind
unsettled, sleepless, worried:
late night calligraphy

camping on the floor
of a room that is not home—
not even a cricket

snow and ice on tentflap,
camp stove glowing cherry red—
steam hissing in the pipe

frigid Taos nights
sleeping in the idling truck—
homeless traveller

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