Thursday, September 21, 2017










Poems of Witness by James K. Zimmerman

Enlightened Beings Lead the Way to Everlasting Life

By James K. Zimmerman
 9/5/17

a mouse in the claws of a ravenous
cat fears it will be devoured, be
no more, life extinguished, cannot
get away, prays to be released

so Buddhists in Myanmar rape
and murder Rohingya women
and men, thousands like pigs
in a slaughterhouse, mice
in a toxic hole, so they may know

the next world, next incarnation
will surely be better than this one
a paradise without fear, without
submission to allah, without
the need for daily prayer

they exterminate with infinite
feline compassion, knowing
that all beings can attain the peace
the selfless bliss of nirvana
release from attachment
to this body, this world, from
suffering, terror and blood

through the claws of their encrusted
knives they want Rohingya to see
that if there is anatta, if there is
no self, if there is anicca, if all
is impermanent, then a life lost
does not matter, a rape is only
a moment in time, a bludgeoning
is to awaken clarity, a decapitation
is an act of undying mercy

since life in this world is all
dukkha, all a matter of suffering
their lovingkindness leads them  
to give Rohingya children a chance
to contemplate loss of life
as a path to eternal freedom

and to learn that to sit on a pile
of bodies, lie in their mother's
lifeless arms, meditate on a pile
of skulls is a blessing, a step
toward the luminous light
of boundless love

_______________________
Paying Attention

By James K. Zimmerman

two cabbage butterflies dance, wings
tease and touch on the butterfly bush
on sweet pea flowers, fritillaries
honey bees nestle and drowse
a goldfinch dips and sings across the grass

in my hands, so hard to hold the beauty
the brilliant sun this afternoon
if I'm not in awe, I'm not paying attention

in my heart I hold a candle
for Heather Heyer, Tamir Rice
Terence Crutcher and Trayvon Martin
Eric Garner, Walter Scott
for Justine Damond, Michael Brown
Freddie Gray, too many more
too many more  

the heaviness, ocean of disbelief
flow of grief and blood

if you're not outraged, Heather said
you're not paying attention

a candle too for James Alex Fields
Timothy Loehmann, Betty Shelby
George Zimmerman, Daniel Pantaleo
for Michael Slager, Mohamed Noor
faceless hoards, too many more
too many more

the heaviness, ocean of disbelief
flow of otherness and guilt

if you're not outraged, Heather said
you're not paying attention

a candle in my heart in Charlottesville
Cleveland, Tulsa and Sanford
Staten Island, Charleston, Minneapolis
Ferguson and Baltimore, Orlando
and Dallas, too many more
too many more

cabbage butterflies dance, bees
hover, fritillaries drowse
a goldfinch dips and sings

if I'm not in awe, I'm not paying attention
if I'm not outraged, I'm not paying attention

if you're not outraged, you're not
paying attention

not paying attention


Copyright©2017 by James K. Zimmerman – All Rights Reserved