poems as hand- and foot-holds on a glass mountain

Five Flags

muted flashes of color and light nearby
and a low fluttering sound
arouses only mild curiosity

five imaginary flagpoles have appeared on my desk
each with a hanging four-sided pennant
they move lazily among themselves

as though winds I cannot feel or hear
were blowing softly from all directions at once
flipping their colors: green, blue, red, yellow

as if (but not) offered for our use
like stroking a tennis ball against a wall
not quite a poem; elements and ground

to our rogue purposes
I see I’ve made them the five Buddhist aggregates
and their inward Yogacara versions, each flagged

with a fourfold rotating affirmation/denial
a, not-a, a and not-a, neither a nor not-a
or in Dogen’s version: form is emptiness,

emptiness is form, form is form,
emptiness is emptiness
we appear briefly and vanish in these makings

we are and then are not these makings
in the same long shifting moment
turning up on a desk as in a mind
their place as brief as they are

but persistent, as though in our rogue purposes
we have yet to see them as they are
when stroking a tennis ball against a wall
the wall always wins

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