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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 4, December 2015

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Matthew Caretti
Flushing, New York, USA


Dharma Combat

When you reach the top of the mountain, keep climbing!

                                                                            —Zen Proverb

temple rooftops
tufts of white cloud
pull them up

Here even a simple exchange becomes a Zen artform. The koan: Is this seat free?

The man with the empty seat beside him refuses me. With utter sincerity. Courteous but resolute. The dust of the dormant volcano has marked me. The sweat of the ascent has bound it to me. Me to it. My boots and calves and thighs the color of dried blood.

I am spent, but bow deeply and move on. Fighting the bullet train’s surge and my frustration with more labored strides.

Fuji-san
ten thousand steps
and still far to go

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