Saturday, March 17, 2007


A very very short story, for you.

As suffused as I am with my qarrtsiluni co-editing efforts with Pica, and in response to other pulls, I wrote something in response to and triggered by Katherine Tyrrell's lovely nénuphars.



“Thank you.”
The smell of incense and fresh laundry, and we sit together.
The morning, veiled through old screened-in windows, is grey.

One of us smiles. One of us shifts on the cushion and says, “I saw a drawing of a lotus, and it reminded me of our lives.”

The smallest cough. “Sorry…just allergies. How so?”

“Every tiny colored pencil line was vivid and distinct, but it took all of them to make the whole. Hundreds of tiny marks—each individual color blended inside the viewer’s mind into something pink and lustrous. There was the illusion of a real thing, something 3D, but it wasn’t the real thing of course.”


“There was beauty, and effort, and for all that it’s ephemeral—and yet there’s something in it that’s more than a drawing, and I’m not sure what.”

Our breath, together, sends tiny jewels of dust swirling through a sudden column of morning light. An unseen mockingbird’s song filigrees, evaporates like dew. Then a muffled clatter, someone downstairs in the kitchen readying tea.

We sit.

“During zazen I remembered the drawing, and the lotus began to spin a bit—the petal-points started to resemble a compass rose.”

“Zhaozhou’s Four Gates.”

One head tilts, inquiring.

“ ‘A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is Zhaozhou?”
Zhaozhou replied, “East gate, west gate, south gate, north gate.” ”


Walls vanish, worlds flood then whirlpool away wink out, nothing remaining save a shimmering darkness, joy.

Thousands of years, and a moment.


The mockingbird begins again.
We both smile, and bow—joy in the transitory, joy in the effort, joy in the swinging gate.


Stewart Sternberg (half of L.P. Styles) said...

I like the careful deliberateness of this piece. I enjoyed the multilayered approach.

As I was reading it, I thought it was almost more haiku. However the thing that fit best were the little details given, such as the description of the drawing, the idea that when the whole comes together it gives the illusion of reality. Which of course questioned the nature of being altogether.

Nice effort. I have put a link up to this posting and hope some others will come and visit.

Anonymous said...

Dust & dissolving filigree...
And here I was so sure it would be a Mount Shang link! But I felt the influence, all the same.

Anonymous said...

This works.

Making A Mark said...

Wow Lori - my lotus inspired this!

I was quite taken aback and yet Haiku came to mind for me too. I'm now going off to ask various people to comes here to visit and read it too.

And i will of course have to blog about it too. Wow!

HopScotch said...

Quite beautiful, words flowing like water, refreshing me.