The Poetry and Prose of John Omniadeo

The Poetry and Prose of John Omniadeo

Friday, December 31, 2010

O Come and Party NOW with John O.

You who watch the Ball a droppin
You who sit yo Meditation
You who know yo Heart is stoppin
You who git yo ’Nebriation
You there with yo Partner Kissin
You about to do a Cracker
You who got no Pot to piss in
You about to get a Smacker
You Hot Tramp You Pure Nitwit
You Holy Fool Hey Nonny-Nonno
You about to eat some Shit
O Come and Party NOW with John O.

You who think you may have found it
Sittin Zazen sayin Japa
You who think you may have lost it
Gettin loaded playin Zappa
You who almost lost a digit
Reachin down somebody’s Jeans
You there tryin not to fidget
Humpin what yo Koan means
You Stuck Up Queen You Bozo You
You who go mano a mano
You kokoro wo tomeru
O Come and Party NOW with John O.

Snap yo fingers NOW is Midnight
You who know yo Mumonkan
Snap yo fingers NOW is Midnight
You who know yo Upchuck’s gone
Snap yo fingers NOW is NOW
Midnight’s gone and that’s a Fact
Snap yo fingers always NOW
NOW no matter how you act
All Them Other Times is Gone-O
You don’t have to know the Howness
Come and Party NOW with John O.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Homage to the Vidyadhara

I remember when my Heart was in my Shoes
my Brain fried in the Furnace of the Damned
my Eyes were dry, my Breath stank
Sugarcoated Hatred was Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

The Bible leered at me and Krishna grimaced
everywhere I looked the Holy Ones mocked
Earth argued with Sky in World War Dreams
Priests and Monks preached “get it together”

I remember when my Thumb froze
and went up my Ass to smoke Cigarettes
Reefer and Coffee were Father and Mother
Dysfunctional Parents of Methedrine Baby

Who can really say what is
now that God no longer speaks?
not Allen or Alan and not His Holiness
not all the Sunday-suited goody-goody Bodhisattvas

Three Eyes Fangs and Skull Mala
Angry Flames riding man-eating Tiger
Laughing wicked bloodstained Laughter:
“Sit down as you are and look at Mind!”

Even me? Even MY mind is Buddha?
There is no pleasure greater than to weep
and touch my forehead to the ground
remembering your impossible Kindness


John O.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tired With All These...I Dance!

[an open letter to the author of  Reflections regarding her post on Moral Indignation]

Dear Ms. Ivan,

We will get to that truncated sonnet in a moment, but first let me say what a pleasure it is to see your deft work with the analytical knife in the first four paragraphs. Would you by any chance care to dance with me before you put down that blade?

I want to be clear that just because we are dancing—what lovely perfume—it doesn’t mean I trust you completely. I am asking myself some serious questions about your knife work. I notice that you have sliced things up in such a way that, if I accept your wisdom, I cannot profitably inquire into your motives ever, since, as you seem to be saying, whether you accidentally pull that blade across my carotid artery or do it on purpose is all the same to me. In the objective world the event is the same, you say; only in the subjective world is there a difference.

I want to say that this seductive truth is at least half balderdash, but I am distracted by the way you lean into each graceful step with the point of that blade. So let me just say how much I love that scent—and I do question your analysis.

It seems to me in ordinary life we all have to make decisions about whom we trust and to what degree. Consider this marvelously ambiguous dance you and I enjoy right now, and by the way: Voici! I have a knife too! These decisions are a normal part of social life. Determining other people’s motives and intentions as best we can is all part of it since they are a factor in trustworthiness. Some people are psychic gamblers and enjoy interpersonal ambiguities more than others. I find it exciting the way our blades clink as we turn and tango.

I believe one thing you are assuming is that we can never be privy to the internal workings of  another’s mind. I find that slightly questionable, but looking into your eyes I must admit that I can’t fathom all your intentions right now, so I will concede the point for argument’s sake: I can never know with 100% certainty what another’s intent is. (Especially yours.) Nevertheless, in social dealings I still tend to estimate the motives and intentions of others based on the sum of their actions and demeanor. I think I do this because in fact it is important that I do it. I have never seen anyone in any phase of spiritual practice who did not do the same in dealings with others.

The fact that I cannot see into other minds does not mean their motivations and intentions are subjective. To me they are a complex unknown, but they are in my objective world as an unknown like the other side of the moon, which is not subjective. I may never actually see it, I may project inner illusions and green cheese falsehoods upon its darkness, but it is “out there,” not in here.

This whole business of the subjective and the objective can be confusing anyway, since those words are used in at least three different ways I can think of.  For  me personally one of the most liberating aspects of traditional dharma instruction (abhidharma) was to be presented with six senses, the five we learned about in this culture (touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight, taste) all of which would be considered sources of objective knowledge, and a sixth which apprehends thoughts. In that rendering even our own “thoughts” (including our motivations and intentions) are objects that we apprehend and thus are in one sense objective not subjective phenomena. How unsettling to find that I can be uncertain even about my own intentions in any given situation. Many is the time where I thought I was doing something for one reason only to discover later that my deeper motives had been hidden even from myself. (Did my blade just brush your thigh? Again? So sorry—I think.) I must ask, when this deeper truer intention became clear to me, was it subjective or objective? (I find it much clearer to speak of third person and first person perspectives, but that will have to wait for another dance.)

In the traditional presentations of  karma that I have been given, though it is true that all actions have karmic consequences, by far the most powerful karma is fixed into samskaras by intentional acts. So intention is very important there, in a manner different from social relationships but there is a common thread: it serves as a  predictor  of future trouble.

In the Mahayana/Vajrayana, as it was presented to me, we see that suffering really can’t be transcended individually. It is the result of various causes and conditions and is as interdependent as we are, which is why traditionally we vow not to leave suffering completely behind but to return and work with it till all are free. Replacing, as best we can, our usual motivations—including spiritual motivations—with this one is a great deal of the path.

The wound of  separation from our experience and the hidden matrices of its origin is fiction and not a real condition. “Our  claim to be in control” is false, but in dharmic teachings as they have helped me the emphasis is not on the falseness of the control, certainly not on our powerlessness. When we abandon ALL centers and just look we have all the power there is. We can dance with the indignations we suffer and our own reactions to them, even our clinging. These proceed not from a false center at all, but from centerless karmic winds whose origins are not worth discussing.

In such a view of practice we can use our specific desires (and their inevitable specific pains) at some point, not just sit in desire without object (however useful that may be as technique at times). That could be a desire to get stolen goods back or make money. Or a desire to tell another, a lover, spouse, father, mother, what we really want to tell them specifically. Or a desire for a specific other in a specific dance.

The view here as I see it might be expressed this way: We are a center of the universe. As in some modern physics, any point anywhere can be the center, because the center is everywhere. There is no need to abandon this center as false. We could also see that all the centers are true and illusory at the  same time and just be aware while we deal with them. There need be no desire to enjoy some awakened or non-suffering state different from those around us. We can rub up against them pleasurably and painfully while remaining in as much awareness possible till we all wake up. We can actually say “love you” and “eff you,” “sorry” and “goddamn right,” even “how could you?” right out loud while we keep dancing. “Redemption” is  just another self-centered goal in such a view.

 “Tired with all these” for restful death we do not cry, for though we are born to beg while beholding desert, we do not wish to leave our loves alone in the same situation. 

Thank-you for this beautiful, specific dance. I feel less alone.


John Omniadeo

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Oh Shut Up John and the Laughter (for Bill Butler)

 Angel: Oh shut up John. Shut up your rhetoric and dooby dooby do.
             Everyone’s tired of your squawking. Mostly you.

John:   Thank you, Rafael; for yours is the voice I hear.
             And yet your tone is harsh. Have you been drinking beer?

Angel:  Perhaps I have or maybe not. Regardless of the fact,
             You’re a son of a bitch. Why grope around for tact?

John:    Indeed, why grope? Why coddle kiss and flatter?
             But do you think I had choice in the matter?

Angel:  They say you had none then. But now you do.

John:    And you say?

Angel:                         If the Potter breaks a pot, what’s that to you?

At this point in the conversation, I heard a laughter swelling like a gentle rain.
O Teacher! How kind you are to smile me out of this nightmare.
O Tara, How can you be my Heart and yet appear to me in Space?

Chanting the spell of Your all embracing Love, let me live as a simple sadhu
And spread Your Name and my Teacher’s Fame to all the worlds.



- John O.

Sonnet for Diotima

When Yearning is, like Touch, a Pure Sensation
and Consummation is both Gain and Loss,
when Silence is a Perfect Conversation,
and Conversation is a Happy Cross,
when Death is Rocked and Opened like a Basket
from which the Living pull a Newborn Life,
when that Sweet Babe is but another Casket,
and that Sad Box is Love’s most Loving Wife,
then shall I be with You in Perfect Power,
and You shall be with Me in Perfect Joy,
then Time shall be no Curse, it’s End no Flower,
the Soul a Playground, Eternity a Toy.
I don’t know much of Love, but I know this:
It’s Good to breathe, relax and feel the Bliss.

- John O.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Diotima and My Teacher

Diotima, when I hear you talk I count my blessings by the desert stars
But it doesn’t keep everything from always disappearing.
How many things have made me weep that I cannot now remember?
How hard it is to say to you out loud that even this Love passes like a dream.

Who first sat down and looked into the mind? The gods fucking trembled.
I too am scared to see this solid world peeled off into sheets of nothingness
and your voice and beauty tempt me to call it real but I say instead:
It’s a fool’s game, my Love, this ride I take when I see your face.

Blood on snow is beautiful until I see I too will leak my warmth
into the frozen blank. This storytelling time will also bleed and die.
Enough! I paid my debt to society in the prison of concept. I’m free!
Diotima, I’ll tell you this: In all this world there is no one like my Teacher.

In the Zendo, Love, no doubt you’ll sit
and stoke the fire of awareness with the quiet bellows of your breath
but also come with me beneath the covers soon
and let me offer your sweet scent to my Secret Guru.

- John O.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Homage to the Primal Practitioner

I bow down to All Meditators

Some say it was crude dwellers who sat up
and the shimmering echoing Cave of Mind went still
Some say from beginningless time Lord and Lady All-is-Good
gaze into each others eyesO Lonely Seeker, who are you?

Desire itself has no desiresGo with cushion folded blanket hot drink
into bedroom cornersGo out onto patios in urbes et suburbes
Go into slums and forestsGo into wide open deserts
sandy beaches Winnebago parks by freeway on-ramps
cityscape perch and basement cave
in many mansions and more tenements
Wherever you are mind is Mind

Sit down shut up HA HA HA HA!

I bow down to you


- John O.