Jack, Jack--what would you do if you were behind the wheel
of the mothership? I ask myself, being turned out of a second
parking lot. Too Big Man. Oh, but it's a small zendo,
the little casita, this boat on wheels, turning into the French Quarter.
Just asking the question gives us the answer on St. Charles Avenue.
Sidewalks crowded, parking lots full, drinks walking on their own
leading the thirsty by the hand. Karen gets out of the car
and programs us into cityscape for two hous. I take the dog to pee,
and she chooses the ivy in the entrance way
to Hotel International and Executive Conference Center.
I give her a bone biscuit good for her teeth and entry
into Dharma Dog Paradise. Oh the cool drink of water
for a black dog in July down in New Orleans.
We air condition the zendo before we leave,
pulling down the blinds. At a used bookstore
I buy a copy of Rilke's letters, this is a mind-collecting
week in the cloud zendo, and your image again, Jack,
"minds fly like tinker toys" even if we don't save
New York, we'll walk with those who carry music.
The bookstore man gives us four options for food
New Orleans style, and it's early enough for me to eat it.
We get directions to Preservation Hall.
We walk into Acme Oysters and I order six oysters
charred, with garlic and parmesean for beginners.
Karen has shrimp and hush puppies.
Hush dog. Deep fried corn bread thrown into fire.
I get a crawfish poor boy with red beans and rice.
I take a picture of Karen in the mirror
by our table and get two for one.
Oh, Jack. I flunked out of school in this city
when Hurricane Betsy hit in 1965,
and joined the army to get back to Karen on leave.
Can I still apply to the training temple
for the zen peace maker order?
It's 45 years later and I'm a half dozen days away from 65.
Still beat. Blessed by all those you didn't get.
I don't eat everything. We get back to St. Charles
and the dog, and Karen goes to the ATM--
it's a machine that keeps on giving.
I take the dog while Karen gets the money.
We go to poop. She poops in the same ivy
where she peed. She feels at home.
A brother at the restaurant tells us
about this place under the bridge
where we can park the mothership.
Looking for the spot I see three New Orleans police

talking with each other and pull in alongside.
Karen asks directions. One of them
was stationed at Pier 90 in Seattle.
You were coming down from Canada
ready for the Cascades with Jaffey.
The policeman stops traffic so we can get out.
Everybody laughing, he blows his whistle
and we make our turn into traffic.
We talk to our kids on computers.
The dog's beat after chasing the ball.
It's cool. We're on our way to Preservation Hall,
the mandala of sand returns as music.
We're the last two to get in.
The zendo floats Mississippi Dreams upriver.
Dharma Bums lift us all into the void
where you still preside.

Jim Bodeen
New Orleans, Louisiana
17 July 2010


--and for Arnie Mindell and Deep Democracy

Sitting outside, sitting inside.
Not just with my feet on the ground.
Living under water,
something protects me.

One-third of all U.S. oil and gas
passes through New Orleans.
What happens to New Orleans will happen
to most U.S. cities in some form

oozing up from the sidewalks.
Bringing the world of projections
into the light. Things in the the background.
Not annihilation but a chance to be heard.

Let us bring the other into the light.
This is the earth spot, the room that you live in.
The tent is such an intimate experience
between children and parents--exploring

polarities on the Pole, I found certain people
I could not approach. Arnie's wife asks Arnie
if he will tell where he wants his ashes.
"I want them to go into the toilet,

any toilet will do. I want to be
where there is a lot of trouble."
The tent is a dreamboat following
double signals. O, grateful, all-loving

You, Pacha Mama, essence, great mother,
Your mask is made from different fabric.
The kind of God you look for depends
on your spirit quest. Relax against deep

roots surfacing. He was fed by a mix
of rain and ocean spray. Smell the roots
opening beneath your spine. You are
a listener easing into the day without trying

too hard. You carry fire. You bring smoke.
The tent is a listening dreamboat on fire.
Channels overlap in the confusion of senses.
New Orleans came about partly through me.

A man worked for the Corps of Engineers.
He saw it coming. I could have listened. Teams
in trouble have usually forgotten
their purpose. It's easier to change your world

than to change your mind. Suenos con serpientes
This is Silvio Rodriguez swimming up
from the inside. A Japanese proverb says,
The nail that sticks up must be hammered down.

In the center of the wave swims a fish.
We know the rocking of the boats.
Fish ride with the waves.
I can't strike. I can't be struck.

All issues must come forward as earth changes.
Empty center, bringing forward what's in the back.
Oh those poor bastards in the center of power.
This foggy state you talk about is music.

When we become the space the space
starts dreaming us. The red-blue war
is a cultural project road show, a category V
hurricane oozing your way. In the tent

with Karen how could I not be overwhelmed
and inadequate under the stars! I show my grandson
The Big Dipper and it's still lonely. Let my back
look again for those swollen roots.

I am aware that my body smells like a campfire
upon entering the room. Which way I walk
determines how I tell the story. 1700 people
died in New Orleans. Grand children spin me

and I get dizzy. Oh my mask! Oh my God!
It's all documented and I'm sorry I didn't get there.
I'm one voice returning to my house.
Alchemists have a word, enantiodroma.

Cook one thing in the deep pot
and cook it and cook it until it becomes
its opposite. That air force jet that left
Minot, North Dakota, flew into Louisiana

carrying five nuclear bombs no one knew about.
The tent is a dream canoe given to me.
Through her death people would find
their rhythms. Use the bridge to bridge

the gap. Sometimes you don't have to
do too much. Know the songs.
This is the city getting up for work.
The only day and only night.

Jim Bodeen
September, 2007
Yachats, Oregon--Yakima Washington

1 comment:

  1. now that's a kerouac entry, better than that. my brother who lived in new orleans for many years would love this. he ran a boys club and taught at an innercity catholic school. love the line about the drink walking by itself and so many others.kjm