How skillfully
I have hidden myself from me!

Layers within layers,
folds within folds,
Easter eggs within Christmas stockings
nested in hidden Jacks-in-the-box.

So I enjoy unwrapping, playing:
Hide and Seek,
Cowboys and Indians (Bang! Bang! You’re dead!),
and Love.

The three games I never tire of.
I am eternal child.

? jon zuck // norfolk, virginia // january 31, 2006

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A paradox

A paradox I’ve noticed is that since I’ve stopped believing in the world, I love it more. It’s like the little shift of last week opened a space and love filled the void.

It’s a slightly different kind of love than I’m used to feeling. There’s nothing forced or effortful at all. It’s not “powerful” or dramatic in any way. It’s not really even felt at all. It’s just there. Maybe this is why the Buddhists use the word compassion more often than love. (I still like the word love better.)

But it’s there, and it’s noticed when I’m quiet.

The Suck

I may be an idiot for posting this. In spite of all my brave words, “The Wild Things of God,” “Jedi Life in the Real World,” the bottom line is I’m a fucking coward as attached to delusion, identification, and self-deception as anyone. Even the damn blog’s a lie. I hold back so much, not wanting to put myself out there. Why? ‘Cause I want to be liked. I want you (whoever you are) to think… Oh, wow! How insightful! Challenging! Hmm, I never thought of that. Great way you have with words, Frimster! Gee, you’re one smart and spiritual guy!

And don’t for a minute think that I’ve left the ego behind and that’s no longer a motive. It sure is. But I’m going to write honestly about something that happened yesterday. I was listening to an except of a talk by Adyashanti, and when it was over, Suddenly, some words from the Bhagavad Gita came to mind:

Krishna said to Arjuna:
Behold, I create all worlds
out of my own magic.

Suddenly I realized that I was Krishna. I was the one creating the appearance of worlds. Close my eyes, stop up my ears, still the mind, and there is nothing. I don’t mean there appears to be nothing. I knew there is nothing at all!

I broke down and cried for what was a least half an hour. Talbot, my cat, climbed onto me to comfort me. _And I knew he wasn’t there!_ There was just “me” whatever that is, trying to comfort me, like there’s just me confusing me, playing with me, fighting with me, and oh God, I felt so alone.

There’s a Zen tradition about marking insights with poems. Here’s mine:


The world exists
only through my sight, hearing, feelings and thoughts.
Pull back, shut, still,
and all is gone.

I said to Arjuna,
“Behold, I create all worlds
through my own magic.”

I pull back my maya, my senses
there is no God, no world,
no cat, no other, no me.
Only this.
Only tears.

When I’m doing anything, I function totally normally. But when I quiet down alone, I feel “the suck.” I can see why there’s all the warnings and disclaimers about this path. Why Jesus said you have to keep your hand on the plow and not look back. (Look back and everything is gone!). Why this path is not for most people. And why everyone does everything they can to cover up the truth.

My teacher assures me that “this is a beautiful thing,” and I know he’s right, even without him telling me, I sense it underneath. Yet, it also sucks.

Mr. Crab

This is the first poem I wrote when I started taking poetry more seriously, as a way of exploration. It’s eleven years old now, yet it speaks to me more as time goes by. I look at it now, and wonder how I knew to write that when I feel I’m still learning the deeper truths within it. I think it goes that way with a lot of poets. There is this tapping into a well of wisdom that may not be there in everyday life or conscious realization?so the poem guides the spiritual development that is to come (or should come)!

that’s MISTER Crab, to you!

I am not my skin
I am not my name
any answer you expect when you ask

“who are you?”

only removes you from the truth:


now rock?
not a rock,

but rock.

the stuffs of the stones by your steps
are the matters of which I am made.
carbon frames and fathers my every cell.

I am one with the coal of the mines
and the diamonds of crowns.

cousin to comets
and brother to pebbles.
child of both Adam and atoms.

and neuronfire
shooting synapses
an electric soul from scalp to toe
a Kirlian orchestra
of magical microsparks.

now hearthlight and heartfire
warmth and passion
a burning faggot
?and wildfire, deathfire in the night.

a worldful of magma underneath
untapped flamefluid

(dare I journey to the center of my earth
and voyage farther than even Verne ever ventured?)

and what creature?
is that ill-hewn rock alive? endowed with fire?
am I crab or hedgehog or maybe anemone?
do I pinch or prick or sting?

jagged and hard outside,
ugly as a brain and frightened as a heart
but alive and alert,
always aware of all around
scurrying sideways…
crazy cancrizan crawls
ever-wandering anywhere, everywhere
but forward.

eyestalks swivel wildly
scanning a panorama of dangerous possibilities
and inviting curiosities.

you mustn’t forget the pincers?pincerquillstings?
pincers waving:
don’t hurt
watch out

(i’ll hurt you back
. . . if i can)

above all
above all

carelessly crush me underfoot

I’m praise and slur,
kiss and curse?
a Havdalah in skin.

I’m godling and devil
angel and imp
lover and loner
healer and harmer
friend and fiend
joy and jab
jade and joke
jewel and junk
jester and jouster
Jesus and Judas

(crabby fire
fiery rock
rocky creature)

rose and thorn.

—jon zuck | kent, ohio | 1994

Lava Lamp

Lava Lamp

I feel mySelf.
not my skin,
but my true self,
my life
within me.

like a jet in a jacuzzi,
or the gel in a lava lamp,
life rises, and falls.

Thoughts bubble
and vanish.

And energy rises
and falls.

And night comes,
and goes,

As day comes,
and goes.

and the body peaks,
and passes.

What remains?
What was before Time itself.

Not nothing,
not something.


I am This,
I am.

I am That
I am.

? jon zuck | norfolk, virginia | august 4, 2005

Last Day

Today was my last day working at the Verizon Online center I’ve been in for nearly nine years. (I’m taking a few days’ vacation before I officially leave the company.) I wrote this poem as a parting gift to all my co-workers:

when gods walked the earth

Why do they say ?when gods walked the earth,?
As though it were so faraway, and long ago?

I do not understand.
For I live in a confusion of gods and goddesses,
Living out the confusion of gods and goddesses,
who cannot remember
in the crazy clapping waves
the urgent hours,
the dizzy days,
who they are,
who they are.

Say I?m crazy, or you?ll go crazy
When I say what I?ve seen that?s made me sane.

You don?t say, “Let there be light,”
But I saw you stop and smile,
And there was light.

You don?t command the winds, “Peace now, be still,”
but that frantic one on your phone
now is calm, now is still.

You don?t set the planets in their orbits,
But twirl a basketball on your fingertip,
and shoot a world out into space.

You say you are not love, you say you can?t give life,
And then gently tuck into bed the one
To whom you give your love, your life.

If we truly saw who we are and what we do
Tell me who would we be, what would we do?
Would we be washed in overwhelm
If our lives turned into light?

Or would cataracts fall from our eyes like scales
That we would see
Blinding whitewater cataracts
Of rushing Godgrace roaring down?

Don?t let the tumult toss you.
Don?t let frustration make you forget.

I cry in your crucifixions,
And dance in your resurrections.
And I bow to you.

©jon zuck | july 14, 2005 | norfolk, virginia

The Blind Men and the Elephant

by John G. Saxe

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a WALL!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho, what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a SPEAR!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a SNAKE!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he:
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a TREE!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a FAN!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a ROPE!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

To see a little farther

To see a little farther,
Just want to.
Only give the vision room.
Make space in your mind.

That’s how to see.
But what to do?
How do you hold on to the wind?
I don’t even try.

Still, you want an answer.
I open my mouth to speak,
But nothing’s there.
No words for this.

But, you still must know,
And I must share what I have seen.
Only one way to show you.
Come closer, and feel my lips against yours.

© jon zuck, september 22, 2004, norfolk

This This-ing

pen scratching paper, making pretty marks
marks stand for sounds,
sounds stand for thoughts,
thoughts stand for the jokes,
the jokes we call our selves.

pen scratching pager, making pretty marks
the question shows corruption;
the innocent can’t ask why,
there is only wow.

don’t ask why i write.
don’t ask what it means.
i needed meaning when i was lost.

now that i know that i don’t know
what meaning can i need?
no one writes–there is only writing.
no one questions–there is only asking.

there are no nouns, only verbs
no i, no we, no you, no other.
only this,
doing this, now, thusly.

be god, be this, be natural.
god, you, i
appearing and fading
here and there
as needed, as needed.

when a universe is needed
let there be light
and light there is.

nothing is done,
no one does.
there is only this thising.

© jon zuck, april 12, 2005, norfolk