For the 1st anniversary of a crooked yellow house.
From a chair in the kitchen I watched the house burn and not slowly. Frantic orange tongues lapped the walls and the ceiling. I remembered old friends but I was not lonely. This is not a house. This is not a house. When all the books went up, when they contracted into ash and the words were sacrificed to the ghost of smoke, it was no doubt a metaphor for everything I wanted. Burn it all down. Burn my will and my hopes. My expectations are the punch lines of jokes. It’s getting hot in here. The foundation is caving. Old pictures? Letters? There’s nothing worth saving. All my fondest things are representations of craving. Let it all burn and get the fuck out the house!
I had a buddy Jay who dumped a bottle of 151 on his head and lit himself on fire. He told me once, “Jon. I just don’t feel strongly about anything.” I said “Jay. You lit your head on fire.”
When I’m running, sometimes I’ll get overwhelmed with this overflowing feeling and I’ll want to SCREAM and I feel like I might spontaneously combust into a torrent of vital flames. In a good way. Heraclitus believed fire was fundamental, that fire gave rise to all things. It gives rise and it devours. Can you imagine? Everything, the whole wide world, constantly rising and falling in simultaneous flickering.
Do you burn? What for?
But do you burn with the intense purity that leaves no ash?
The first time I sat with the Roshi he told me “The very best thing you can hope for is old age and death. That’s as good as it gets. You are in a lose/lose situation. Your body? Your body is a house on fire. Get out of the house. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!”
My skin, dry kindling. My mind a forest fire.
The past. The future. Everything you know.