Don’t ask me why I ramble on –
just some old impulse, I suppose,
like the lingering whir of an electric fan,
once the plug’s been pulled from its socket.
Then again, it might be a channeled tune
from the playful dead — though the blade is keen
and the swordsman skilled, the tongue may
keep wagging in a severed head.
Goso Zenji once joked about a water buffalo
passing through a window screen – in his koan
all but the tail passed through without fail.
That tail is waving in this word-breeze,
smiling, beckoning to itself.
I let it wave.
Every koan is a kind of joke.
Some say life is a koan,
at least until they get the joke.
Just so, every joke has a punch-line –
some simply take a while to get.
Even then, what has changed?
Does discursiveness obstruct emptiness?
Does interpretation on perception
spoil the fantasy creation’s fun?
Hey – it was only a joke!
Perhaps you will share that laugh
if you are so inclined, maybe
you may even add a line.
If everything is busy modifying itself,
why would humor be any different
than consciousness itself?
Then again, within the comical display
of the Totality’s universal functioning,
why, one might ask, would you?
It seems we never tire of pretending,
yet how often do we still find ourselves
taking our personal stories seriously,
playing the “straight man” role?
Perhaps we would like the joke
to somehow play out in a different way –
maybe more this way, maybe more that,
or maybe at somebody else’s expense.
Maybe that is the true punch-line
when it doesn’t — when it is
just what it is, after all.
Who is comfortable enough with the paradox
of their own emptiness to spontaneously
burst out laughing over that?
Still, isn’t the punch-line inherent from the start,
and isn’t that the way of jokes — even though
we pretend to take them seriously,
in reality we actually don’t?
We know it’s a joke, but we
suspend disbelief, or in other words:
Why feign surprise when we open eyes
and realize our tail’s hanging out?
Whether or not we think we need to
think it over for awhile, or perhaps fold limbs
in pretzel samadhi for the sake of a fictional audience,
build a shrine room to such schemes, and arrange
the precious objects on the altar of our ritual
holy moment dreams, it won’t change
the fact that it is still a joke,
Aha, and we knew it,
we just knew it,