Mark J. Mitchell

Mahayana Catholic
Each morning I sit Stone still On a pillow And recite The Sutra on Loving Kindness, Then breathe.
Afternoons I sit Stick stiff On my cushion And intone The Heart Of Understanding And breathe.
At night I lie Worm curled Hiding from fears And demons And retreat To my old mantra: Hail Mary, Full of grace... Then sleep.

The Futility of Letters
I dream a bowl of wineFor Li Po. The moon lights its ruby depths.I sing to unfed dragons. He drinks,Sketches new ghosts in old air.
He teeters, falls to his side, sleeps.I rinse the bowl cleanWith water from a nameless lake.
There’s a letter beside my companionWritten in a script I can’t readThough I know it comes from Tu Fu.
There is no meaning here, onlyThe beginnings of emptiness.

Mark J. Mitchell studied writing with George Hitchcock, Barbara Hull and Raymond Carver at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the filmmaker, Joan Juster, where he practices Zen. His poetry has appeared in kayak, Blue Unicorn, Santa Barbara Review, The New Renaissance and numerous other magazines. It has also appeared in the anthologies Line Drives, and Good Poems, American Places.