Carrying the Notebook into the River


Fragments of notes from the Suiseki notebook,
Voice of Bob Carlson taking us into Spokane River
Listening from the side, walking in water
Different ways of doing this, too
One small area or water
Pick them up Turn them over Put them back

Eel River is classic, three tributaries

Hard minerals, looking for anything that will take a polish

Plum blossoms, geisha girls—We’re not looking for pictures of things

Color is what this part of the world is all about

Near, far mountain stones, like the title of a poem

Six-sided art form, really a way

If the stone is chipped
you have to leave it
or your Magic Mind
will heal it in the river

This is pretty classic material from around here, I’d think

You have to collect what’s here

Patina comes through water and rain
River develops this patina
Go out and rub it once in a while
Patina will develop
Leave them, rub them. Don’t fuss with them

Daiza. Its seat or throne

Sides go in all directions
Front and back
Look for six sides

Maseki is the masterpiece
When it rains, scrub it out
Do ha is a plateau

Try to find stones that don’t have a lot of breaks
It limits what can happen

Magic Mind—the healing at the river

We prefer stones that want to clasp,
that want to embrace you

One way to look at it is as participant

Suiban is a shallow tray for your rock
with yellow sand, if you’re really Japanese,
you’ll pluck out every dark piece of sand
Subtle stone, you’ll enjoy this for a long time

Every river, every creek, has its own character,
its own muscular movement

Nestle it in the sand, brown and black,
winter time stone, coming out of water,
coming out of clouds

bands of color, speckled holes, keep turning them over
until it finally finds its way to go
we need to look at it lots

Color and shape, rather than absolute
reference places               clean it up
because its color is so much of it

Enjoy it and find a story to match it

I like masculinity
Push yourself to look for something else
Rain works so well because it falls so much farther

Look at that nice little island
surrounded by surf
There’s more here than a problematic shape
Open up the eyes a little

Take the stone, go from end to end, see what rises up

To me, this is a coastal stone

Buddha says, go into rock, get out of rain,
Hypnotic rain delivers him to enlightenment
This stone is just too wild
It’s like the ocean itself

There’s the human and the nonhuman
We’re looking for an edge
that’s right between these worlds
Gravity takes water straight on

Where you rub, where you don’t
Why you rub
My son picked up a stone,
put it in the car,
and it was already shining

Jim Bodeen
Spokane River-Gobi Rattler Room
September 17-25, 2013


            —for Earl and Bob Carlson

doesn’t manifest itself on its own.
The music of the universe isn’t something to download.

The charged language of stone
must be brought forth by another.

Walking in the Spokane River, a father and a son.
Sitting on a rock in the river, a man.

The man has an appointment with a tree in the morning
that will keep him from hearing all that will be said.

He is told this much:
The artist is the man who lifts the stone from the water.

The art is in the recognition.
The one who reads the book, writes the book?

The one who carries the language
bearing the music of the universe

must find a way to release it.
In this sense, the man is like a stone?

The stone is the man’s brother.
If only it were that easy to be brother to one’s brother.

Can you polish the dark-enigma mirror
to a clarity beyond stain?

The man sitting on a rock in the river
wears the rubber boots of a fisherman.

He pulls a small notebook from his pocket
and reads what the father-man said in the hotel lobby:

If the stone is chipped you must leave it in the river
before your magic mind can heal it.

The man feels his rubber boots fill with water as he reads.

Jim Bodeen
18-25 September 2013



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