Ernesto Cardenal in Denver (via Bardstown, Kentucky)

I will be celebrating Earth Day in Denver this year with Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal, “Latin America’s greatest living poet”.

And he has Kentucky connections, which are always good to celebrate. Cardenal was a close friend of Thomas Merton monk -poet and lived in Kentucky for several years as a Trappist monk at Gethsemani.

He will be reading from his book The Origin of Species and Other Poems. The title and focus on Darwin’s theory intrigues me. Evolutionary theories, as a way of thinking about the world, have infiltrated so many disciplines. Since I’ve been listening to lectures on ecocriticism, I’m primed for a poetic meditation on this theory of our time.

I’ve been reading from another of Cardenal’s books, Apocalypse and other poems. Ernesto Cardenal poetry moves me and stops me in place, opens me up to the moment of being alive, of what it is to be living now. His PRAYER FOR MARYLIN MONROE is scathing and tender. EPIGRAMS begins with an epigraph from Catullus and recalls that poets mix […]

Cesar Chavez Fast

I am fasting April 16th and April 17th as part of a community celebration of Cesar Chavez sponsored by Latino Boys Leadership and Inclusive Lafayette.

In 1982 I saw the movie Gandhi. His life and words captivated me; I went to see the movie several more times and began reading his book of aphorisms and sayings. Even as a 4th grader, I recognized wisdom.

Gandhi’s fasts were a means of self-purification and political protest. As founder of the UFW, Chavez had similar reasons for fasting. Daniel Escalante sent me information about the fast, including this youtube video of first hand accounts of Chavez’s fasting.

Fasting is a spiritual practice and a nonviolent response to a manifest injustice, and so, I follow the legacy of Chavez and Gandhi in dedicating my two day fast to heartfelt spiritual purification and to reducing incarceration rates, ending the new jim crow, and turning the US prison industry complex into a system of justice.

The millions of men (and their families) whose liberty is curtailed by the prison system […]

Accuracy and Precision

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am interested in the principles of Shambhala Art. This blog begins to clarify my understanding of these teachings, specifically on the point of directness. I hope this writing will be of some benefit to others also investigating these principles.

Page one of True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art describes dharma art as art that springs from “…an attitude of directness and unself-conciousness in one’s creative work.”

I readily understand what is meant by “attitude”. My attitude refers to my thoughts; my thoughts establish my attitude toward experience and activity.

The term “directness” is not immediately clear to me except as a tautology. But I reread the section on Great Eastern Sun and can understand directness to be the Eastern direction or “the place you see when you can open your eyes and look fearlessly ahead of you.”

I understand directness to be characterized as precise, as concerned with what is pertinent, and as not entertaining extraneous thoughts. Directness also implies accuracy, being able to […]