Welcoming/The Celebration of The Edwin George Mural
237 N. Water St, Kent, Ohio
October 16, 2005

North Water street in Kent celebrates
its own mandala. big spirit signboard,
God¹s rectangular eye watching over us.

It¹s a totem unfurled like a banner,
a giant snowflake emblazoned
with emblems from the world we share,
bear, bird, deer, ant, butterfly, wolf.
At the center, two turtles lean,
shell to shell, watching the sun¹s
red eye climb up over the Cuyahoga river.
May we be held as they hold one another.

The painting is a map.
We are all travelers on its trails.
The mural is like a full moon
to light our way on that journey.
No billboard this, no commercial,
but spirit work, the inward world
translated by Edwin George and those
who shaped this bright tattoo onto brick,
not with grains of colored sand,
but with paint and brush and hours.

This mural is a story, a refuge,
a sanctuary, a house for the mind to enter.
Call it a door.
Step through it. What will you find?
What will find you?

Come stand here alone.
Listen to the heartbeats.
Hear the faint shing of the dancers¹ bells behind you.


Standing Rock is just up the Cuyahoga river from here.
a council rock where warring factions met to seek the peace.

They stacked their weapons on the banks
and waded out to the rock which was safe ground.

In that spirit, let this be declared a place of council,
safe ground, where the peacemakers are welcome.
Welcome the lovemakers here also
for there is no peace without love.

We have set up camp here
on north Water street: the galleries,
art, music, children¹s theatre, poetry.
Inside this hoop, we cook word chowder.
We paint what hides from the eye.
Drums speak. The flute¹s song leads us on.

This mural is the new neighborhood flag.
A bright wallflower on a gray October day.

It is the painted face of the world.
It¹s a celebration of the shining path.

Maj Ragain
October 16, 2005


Poem of the Month

THROWN OUT OF THE ZENDO

GOT THROWN OUT OF THE ZENDO TODAY. I¹VE BEEN THROWN OUT OF A LOT OF PLACES - KENT STATE FOR TRYING TO FREE MONKEYS, NURSING HOMES FOR TRYING TO ORGANIZE WORKERS, MRS, BATTLES CLASS FOR MAKING A STUDENT LAUGH, THE GUND ARENA FOR HOLDING A BANNER THAT READ: "RODEOS HURT ANIMALS". NO BULLS AT ZEN MOUNTAIN MONESTARY. EXCEPT FOR THE OX-HERDING COLLECTION, A ROW OF 10 PAINTINGS BY GYOKUSEI JIKIHARA. GEO-KU-SIGH-JIKI-HARA.


ACCOMPANIED MICHELLE WHO TOOK PHOTOS THERE. I SAT. HAD BACK SPASMS AND QUIETLY ADJUSTED MY POSTURE. ZEN HALL MONITOR WALKED TO ME AND PULLED ME FROM THE ROOM. IN A LOUD WHISPER, HE SAID. "I CANNOT ALLOW ANY MOVEMENT WHATSOEVER IN THE ZENDO." I NODDED. HE OFFERED ME A PLACE ON THE BENCH JUST OUTSIDE THE ZENDO'S SACRED WALLS. THERE I GUARDED THE SHOES OF MONKS.

UNDER NUMBER 3 OF THE JIKIHARA'S PAINTINGS (PERCEIVING THE OX) IS: "I HEAR THE SONG OF THE NIGHTINGALE, THE SUN IS WARM, THE WIND IS MILD, WILLOWS ARE GREEN ALONG THE SHORE - HERE NO OX CAN HIDE! WHAT ARTIST CAN DRAW THAT MASSIVE HEAD, THOSE MAGESTIC HORNS?" -MASTER KAKUAN (1100-1200 A.D.)

THE HORNS OF MY OX HAVE PUNCTURED THE TRANQUILITY OF EVENING SESSION. EVEN IN DIMMED LIGHTING, A MOVING OX STANDS OUT FROM A CONTENT, MOTIONLESS HERD. HE MUST BE REMOVED.

IN ZEN LORE, IT IS THE OX WHO REPRESENTS THE PRINCIPAL OF LIFE. TRUTH IN ACTION. MINE IS WITHOUT DISCIPLINE, ACTION IN TRUTH. ON THE TABLE BENEATH THE PAINTINGS ARE STACKS OF LIPTON GREEN TEA, RED ZINGER, BRITISH EARL GREY, RICH CHOCOLATE OVALTINE MIX.

PAINTING 5 IS ABOUT TAMING THE OX. THE MAN PICTURED LEADS AN OX BY THE NOSE WITH A ROPE. THE POEM GOES: "THE WHIP AND THE ROPE ARE NECESSARY, ELSE HE MIGHT STRAY OFF SOME DUSTY ROAD. BEING WELL-TRAINED, HE BECOMES NATURALLY GENTLE. THEN, UNFETTERED, HE OBEYS HIS MASTER."

MY OX KNOWS NO MASTER. HE BOWS AT EVERY LAST TREE, SNORTS AND URINATES SHAMELESSLY. OBEYS HIS UNCERTAINTY, LONGING FOR THAT DUSTY ROAD - ONLY TO LEAVE IT. UNDER THE TEA TABLE ARE DISHES FOR MOSS, THE CAT.

ZENDO CAT HOLDS SNUGLY
BACK RIGHT FOOT TO OPEN MOUTH,
TONGUE FLICKING SOULS OF HOLY FEET. TOES SPREAD APART,
CLAWS LIKE FANGS. ORNAMENTS CLEANED FOR DISPLAY.
SHATTERED BY A FALLEN SPATULA. THE CAT DOES NOT FLINCH.
CLAWS ERECT, HE MINDS HIS CLEANING.
POLISH FOR WEAPONS.
UNUSED.

-by TROY GREGORINO (2005)