Gord's Café

Poetry: Dharma Bumming/ More Of The Dharma/ Buddha And The Blue Horses/Waiting in The Snow

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- Dharma Bumming -
- From Tales of Cafe Apollinaire -
by Gordon Coombes


At Café Apollinaire William Burroughs recites

newly composed passages

of visions of madness

of drug induced side-tracks distractions

of heroine & morphine of speed

paranoia & distortions

of time & space

of thoughts jumbled about

in his mental stew

an enigma a mystery

to be unraveled

to enter into it to feel it all

pain misery joy

to leave it not as sane as before

traveling across the border into Interzone

as tourist or citizen

as double agent or vaudeville comic

doing the old shtick

spinning out routines

playing William Tell with his wife

till it got too real

comes out of the closet

telling everyone he is Queer

pumping Heroin & anything he can find

into his blood stream to encourage

his manic paranoid hallucinogenic

stream of consciousness

writing streams of words

tied together with the flimsiest fragile threads

pull on one end it unravels

cutting & pasting novels together

pages flying like birds off of his typewriter

swirling around the room

some escape out the window

into the streets

as free as butterflies-


In the Café Apollinaire

visions run rampant

in the flaming eyes

& flaring nostrils of Charles Bukowski's

wild horses running over the hills

pulling another day from under our feet-


From Andy Warhol working over-time

at the Factory producing giant-sized paintings

of green Coke bottles & a thousand cans of soup

to Marilyn Munroe's face breasts & butt

reprinted on ten thousand silk-screens

a genius or charlatan

avant-garde or assembly line art

for the masses-


Some come to Café Apollinaire everyday

obsessed by the intricate

& unintelligible Glass Bead Game

challenging Herman Hess

trying to beat him at his own game

Gunter Grass sits with a midget drummer

watching a hundred television screens

to numb his angst-
---------------------------


- More of the Dharma -

- from Tales Of Café Apollinaire -

by Gordon Coombes


Jack Kerouac telling tales speeding

across America in old Fords Chevies shiny Cadillacs

passing wild neon flashing painted bus


of Ken Kessey & the Merry Pranksters

from New York to San Francisco

from Boulder to New Orleans & Mexico

picking up hitch-hikers to tap them

for gas booze food weed

discovering Buddha dreaming

of being a monk becoming Dharma Bums

living in solitude at Big Sur

& Desolation Mountain

so good so sweet at first

silence boredom taking their toll

preaching sermons to disinterested squirrels

prophecies revealed of the rucksack revolution

of thousands of Dharma Bums hitting the road

to San Francisco Monterey Woodstock

ending in confusion & cynicism

lost in drug induced euphoria mistaking

misfiring synaptic brain pathways


for Holy Visions Ideals bought & sold

in Temple Markets-


Kerouac returning to his mother & his cat

wanting to be apple-pie-American

saying this is not what I meant

naive idealists ripe-pickings

for false prophets power hungry Gurus

Self-proclaimed Messiahs & homicidal maniacs-


Kerouac Dharma Bumming in books & cafes

with friends & strangers

On a Mexican-style bus ride chickens & all

on the side of the road pockets empty

waiting forever for a ride beneath the searing summer sun

frozen to the bone in the dead of winter

on a plane crossing the continent


in marijuana dreams in meditation

sitting Zen in Temples public parks

in times of want in times of plenty

tending my garden in solitude

taking a breath the Buddha inside breathes -

DHARMA BUMS III- Howling  From The Rooftops-For Allen Ginsberg 
by Gordon Coombes


Howl from the rooftops 

Over New York to San Francisco 

To the Mountaintops of Tibet

Ginsberg singing 

While The Skeletons Dance

Sadly reciting the Khaddish

Whirling like a Dervish

Amongst the shinning heavenly constellations

of stars of souls 

At Happenings and Protests 

At those smokey jazz soaked darkened Cafes

Lost in a haze of marijuana  discovering bliss

Wanting to share his moments of awakening

In his mania talking non-stop

Writing a thousand lines before the sun rises 

Over the run-down mournful rooming houses 

Of the darkened joyless caves of America-


 Ginsberg finding solace in the Dharma

Finding the Buddha in unlikely friends

 Ginsberg with flute and recorder and harmonium

making  a joyful noise unto the Lord 

Stopping to explain William Blake's multilayered vision

Of Heaven and Hell

of innocence and experience

to those gathered around like children

America's abandoned wandering children

Open and waiting for a sign or two

their souls still in the dark

crushed at birth longing for weightlessness

Waiting for the Buddha in them to sit

To see a vision of Nirvana 

To hear the roaring engines of Galaxies Spinning

Finally joining the cosmic dance

Finally finding peace

As Ginsberg becomes a shadow in a mercurial mirror-

        Part II

 --- Coda for Ginsberg ---

There is  much weeping  & gnashing of teeth

With the death of our poet-laureate

William Blake & Whitman & Yeats

Baudelaire & Apollinaire long gone

for a time the torch passed on

to the next in this lineage

Ginsberg played the role

but he too has moved on

who is left to howl for us

Where is the new poet residing these days

just down the street from you

hiding out in a road-house

in the next whiskey bar

in the desert waiting for a sign

a burning bush Manna raining

down from Heaven a thunder bolt

ten deadly plagues

parting of the seas

raising the dead

perched on rooftops

wearing sack-cloths & ashes

howling over the roof tops

shaking angry fist at the moon and God- 

--- Part III---

Remembering 

Ginsberg howling waving a sun-flower about

trying to raise Kerouac's spirits

after a night of wild-drunkenness

& later after his death

having visions of those lost in madness

in drug-induced eternal sleep

of the death of his mother & father

his friends & his guru

playing his squeeze-box singing

father death blues & other tunes

no longer able to raise his

glorious-heart-felt voice

full of tears & laughter

no-longer can he howl for us

no-longer able to howl for himself

we recite the Kaddish & the Heart Sutra

for him-

And now for a bit of my poetic musings for you dear patient reader:


BUDDHA & The BLUE HORSES


after a late night lecture at the Buddhist Church

the audience files out some leisurely

some leave in a panic to relieve baby-sitters

'its double pay after midnight

damn Tibetans they have no sense of time

someone else adds a boisterous former New Yorker

others just keep chatting away & giving out hugs

their eyes all aglow just another little satori they whisper

to their pals from LA & San Francisco
some spaced-out chatting away to anyone or no one at all
the woman I came with says she has to leave

all this hugging drives me crazy

what a bunch of back-stabbing phonies she confides to me

as we leave the gold painted shrine-room

& begin searching for our shoes

she disappears in the meandering stream of bodies

someone shouts ' its a fucking blizzard out there'

& the snow is piling up fast '

seeing the snow drifting covering their cars

some sigh & moan some wonder if we'll ever get home

an angry Buddhist shakes his fist at wind-tossed snowflakes

I bundle up in scarf gloves & hood & head up the street

having no car I cannot share their concerns

so I begin my trek on foot

dragging myself through waist-high snow-drifts

only the odd car passes me

I keep turning away from the wind as I lose my breath

suddenly the air is still & the clouds part as if on cue

revealing such a wondrous boldly glowing moon

& I begin crossing the sparkling fields of snow

in waves of dripping moonlight

at 3am on the Halifax Commons

& for a moment the internal babble

has shut down I climb onto one of the bleachers

along the side of the invisible ball-park

brushing a dusting of snow away I take my seat

reach into the inside pocket

of my brown weather worn

leather jacket take out

a pack of cigarettes fish for matches

light up gently inhaling exhaling

slowly watching the soft small cloud of smoke

swirling around floating away breaking apart

disappearing into the cold night air

discovering the power of silence

hearing the murmuring of the engines

which are at the heart of the universe

in its perpetual slowly turning cogs & springs

turning wheels within wheels perpetually moving

while blue horses prance about barely disturbing

the glittering white snow-

Here is a poem which I chiseled out of the word infested wind which whirls through the air waiting for someone to reach out & clutch it into their hand...
This poem is a follow up to my poem BUDDHA & THE BLUE HORSES

Waiting in the snow (1989-2004)

seven-thirty in the morning

at the doors of the Buddhist Centre

snow falls the wind swirls the snow around

waiting for someone with a key

to be let in breathe again

some young guy comes up the steps

asks if I've been here long

a few minutes I say

though in this weather

it is 'fucking cold'

thousands of hours meditating

waiting filled with expectation

trying to sit with no expectation

the room feels warm & cozy

students of the Dharma

complaining their minds wandering

always wandering no end to wandering

sitting so hard to sit still

to quiet the jumpy neurotic mind-


our minds jumping frogs

jumping from one lily pad to another

images words side-tracks

a thousand distractions

writing stories to fill in the gaps

sitting on hot coals

going in & out of daydreams

fantasies stray thoughts & visions

remembering a Tibetan Dharma teacher

working in slow motion

pruning a tree

a diamond piercing through

fog-soaked visions taking a breath

chanting in a sing along

reciting the Mahamudra

the teacher's vision in a cave

remembering poems he wrote

writing close to the bone

in the mountains of Cape Breton

on the shores of Pleasant Bay

I feel the wet snow on my face

breathe come back to your breath

voices chanting " OM "

striking the gong

we descend from the clouds

all those fuzzy cuddly colours

stripped away by the precise light rays

through the thousand reflections

of Shangri-la of the Kingdom of Shambalah

of compassion of ever-lasting Nirvana

cutting the thousand lines

of hope of delusions of dreams

no longer sailing through the skies

no longer fog-bound

no longer adrift on the cold grey
Atlantic sea

overwhelmed with waves of sadness

overwhelmed with waves of hope

the teacher's death a wake-up call

a hard punch to the gut

a swift Zen kick in the ass

our collective gut

our collective ass

his Mahamudra no longer comforting

I stand waiting in the snow

did you know the Rinpoche well

this guy asked or did I

or was it just in my head

where do I end & you or he begin

no longer certain of anything

I take out my cigarettes & offer him one

he takes it & I add I know he smoked

a hell of a lot & I return to the "OMING"

of the night before with a glorious

full moon reflected on the fields of snow

walking home after 2am

through the Halifax commons

after hearing another Tibetan sharing the Dharma

in the midst of the solemn "OMING"

someone chortles or giggles

unable to stop myself laughing

seeing the teacher's car crashing

into a Joke-Shop in England

giving him another stab at it all

his body broken his spirit renewed

having visions of America & Colorado

no longer a wandering Tibetan refugee

but a laughing giddy teacher

sometimes angry

surrounded by dark clouds

sometimes surrounded by a thousand rainbows

sometimes surrounded by drug-drenched

needy neurotics & other lost souls

who've forgotten how to breathe

always needing to be busy

slowly he says breathe in & out

holding clippers in his hands

see only this branch on this bush

hold it snip it

move to the next one --breathe

bring the mind back from distractions

I hear his voice as I trim & tidy up

the rose bushes in my yard a dozen years later

this too is meditating

& I practice one-pointed awareness

in my days of solitude

a celibate all too sober monk

& I think of Thoreau in the woods

at Walden Pond plumbing his own depths

the mystery of Nature & God

Jack Kerouac on Desolation Peak

at Big Sur discovering the sound of the sea

the voice of Nature & Brahma

the Karmic wheel turns again & again

pruning teaching letting go

dying going into the next realm

hi have you two been here long

the woman says as she takes out the keys

to the Kingdom & unlocks the door

she is the Key Master the Gate Keeper

sorry about that she says

why apologize its over now

& we go in I take a breath

shake off all those

rushing bits & pieces of thinking

like the snow I brush from my hair

we take off our boots

& bow entering the Shrine Room

open the blinds letting day-light in

light the candles & incense

the gong is struck & we begin

another day-to go in taking my boots off

to begin the day

in the Shrine Room

opening the door

bowing to Shakyamuni Buddha

to chant the Diamond Heart Sutra

lighting the candles & incense first

my mind though is already at work

waiting for the day to end

feeling at peace

grounded on my red & gold cushion -

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