zazen PARABLE puzzle

These are new Zen Cowboy stories from 2016


Gary Slack Rides and Crashes

a full moon almost was the end of any more full moons.


My boyhood  friend Gary and I loved riding bareback horses. We had two or three horses at my home, which were ranch horses used for riding and roping. But Gary’s family had a couple of horses which were draft horses, meaning they were used for pulling plows and wagons. They were huge mares, weighing double what ranch horses weigh… which was around 2000 pounds. Nancy and Sally were their names. One evening I was at Gary’s farm a few miles away from our ranch and it was a full moon. Gary said, hey let’s go riding bareback in the moonlight.


Well it seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to go riding bareback on Nancy and Sally in the moonlight. The thing was I was very used to my ranch horses but they were much thinner in the back then Sally and Nancy were. These two old gals were so big and so broad it was hard to get YOUR legs around them. Anyway the idea still seemed wonderful to ride out through the trees in the moonlight on a very warm winter night.


Well my friend Gary was always a bit of a prankster and as soon as we got out of the small pasture that opened up into the country of sagebrush and juniper trees, Gary let out a hoot and a holler and he said lets race to the irrigation canal. So he took off in a full run on his mare Nancy, but I was right behind him to be sure he could not out run me. Only problem was I never was that good at riding bareback even on thin horses, but riding on Sally who had such a broad back, it was all I could do to stay on and  I had to keep grabbing her main to stop falling off.


So everything was going okay and I hadn’t fallen off and we were just cutting left and right having big thrills weaving through the big old juniper trees. The night was beautiful the moonlight was shining down on the land it was almost like the middle of the day. Well that’s when my friend Gary thought he’d show me what a great stopping horse he had. Just as we came around a bunch of trees he pulled back on the reigns  of his horse. She had been trained to rope cows and sure enough she dropped her rear-end and stopped like a rock. The problem was the horse I was on, Sally, wasn’t trained to stop like a roping horse – she just stopped like horses stop when they want to stop real fast. Sally put their head down between her front feet and scooted to stop with her nose on the ground. The problem was I wasn’t counting on sliding up around her ears as she was stopping. For a moment there I was dangling on the top of her head realizing this wasn’t going to turn out very good. I was slung like a banana out a window and hitting the ground hard. The terrifying thing was, as I was laying on the ground I could see the immense black shape of Sally’s body as she had stuck her nose in the ground her immense rump  went up in the sky and was coming right down on me like a massive tree cut by a lumberjack.


Well she hit the ground right on top of me and rolled away with me spitting out gravel and dust wondering what had happened. When I got up off the ground I wasn’t in the least bit hurt. When I hit the ground I happened to fall exactly in a small irrigation ditch which was just deep enough to protect my body when the 2000 pound hunk of a giant horse fell on me out of the sky. That was the last time I ever went riding in the moon light on a big old gal named Sally.


I was listening to Glen Neff’s music, as I have listened to thousands of times since the first time he gave me an album. I always tell Glenn if it wasn’t for him I would’ve never got through four years of university and graduate at the age of 60. I’m serious.


last night, I put on one of my favorite pieces that he has done over the years, and it took me back to 2002, when I was a very serious academic, and trying my best to be an honor student. For me it was a personal challenge to know that I could succeed at a university level.


However, it put me in a strange almost disassociative frame of mind, or in other words …an out of body kind of mood, something very similar to that sinking feeling of depression, yet above it all, and seeing the whole of existence, for what it is. In other words Krishnamurti’s number one saying, “perceive what is.”


The mood hung with me throughout the day, although as usual I had been very active doing at least three separate realms of physical labor.


One, I went to town. I mean Santa Fe. For me it’s almost like having a job and having to work at stuff I hate. And yet that is the course of life, being almost everyone on the face of the earth has to work at things they would rather not do.


Two; I had to put the lumber on the roof, to build my floor, and finish my walls, so I can at last move all my shelves and cabinets into some kind of order where I can get this mess I have spent the last seven months laboring over into a place that is useful, restful but most of all, inviting.


Three; refueling this bulldozer I call my body with nourishment as well is my partner and best buddy and a pretty good lover when she wants to be.


I had to make supper. It is work of functional necessity and gratuitous satisfaction of having a moment to fill the gas tank. So full of gas, so full of food, so full of a whole day, so full of all the circles in my head, my body signaled exhaustion although I sat down smoked a cigarette and watched television.


Meanwhile, Glen Neff and his music wheeled in the back of my years and in front of my mind. That strange sensation of sitting in an armchair looking out the window of a fast moving train through the rolling hills of memory, almost next to falling in love, feeling mystery, fear and floating all seeming to glow in velvet tones. Sensual as well, I could almost feel the delicate hands of a muse, arouse me into that seductive world of rolling in flesh.


Who am I kidding? I’m 71. This is no time to think about lust or romance, even though the music of Glen is like rolling in those flower laden pastures hearing the echo of enchanting maidens, sirens  they may be, and almost on cue, the music changes to percolated giggled laughing at my indulgence, and the tick-tock sound of the clock telling me the time is moving faster than I am.


I heard the lyrics from a song today once again a country-western philosopher saying wisdom that rings a Bell in me.


So that should lead me to the thought of the day.


Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers


What could that possibly mean? Well according to the country-western song, in a condensed version at went like this:


I have a wonderful wife and a beautiful life

we went to a reunion

I saw the woman I once loved most,

our life together like a beef roast

in the back of the convertible

champagne on the floor

I missed what I had, I wanted her more.


….Can’t remember the rest of the lyrics but the song went on and turned a corner…



……………in other words for a moment he passionately longed for a lost love but then he realized she was a mess and what a horse wreck that would’ve been so he turned and looked at his beautiful little wife and realized how she had saved his stupid life.


In short, some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.


But I realized that was me because I have done that, not once but many, many times. looking back on it now, I realize how lucky I was, to not get the things I prayed for so many times.


The result of not getting my prayers answered, was I went on being me, instead of molding into a world of green moss on a cold stone. Green, but heartless. Don’t you remember that phrase, “a heart of stone?” even if it does have moldy growth, the only warmth it gains is through the shining of the sun, whereas the heart and the soul glow when they are free.


So it is, some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. Amen brother and sister.



join me in radio theater today,

where your imagination can take you

to places unknown…


…expect a few bumps……… and turns…


it is the



of THE absurd


and I am the Techno Sadhu on the air waves…so…lets go surfing in the mind….that’s right….surfing your mind…

just remember…………..SUFFER  BABY


The Harlequin Moon Series


Santiago McBoil, was bred in the jungles of Mexico, but was raised as an illegal migrant in the United States, and joins the American Army in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War, then subsequently became a participant of the Mylai massacre in 1968. It is story of a man in midlife crisis who is chasing illusions of paradise while running away from the nightmares of the hell he has lived through.








Life is a pain in the butt. The hemorrhoids had come with the coffee, the marijuana, and way too much booze. But what was worse was the DAMN dream. Dammit. Martina, Martina, Martina…OH…. WAS IT ANGEL OR EVE …ELIANE…SO MANY NAMES SHE HAD…. What kind of crazy serendipity coincidence? An 18-year-old BANDIT in the streets of Saigon who took him into her refuge. And in all those years later and MARTINA… the mistress of his old ROCK’N ROLL buddy as he was convalescing the shrapnel lines in the Frankfurt army hospital. It was then he found a she was Corsican and Vietnamese. It was then Corsica first came to his mind. It was the reason behind all of the reasons for the vacation to Corsica. It was even the reason on his return from the vacation in Corsica THE FIRST TIME …or was it? Yes the ISLAND was beautiful. Yes it was like a paradise. But also he was very thin that somehow ELIANE/Martina/ OR FRANKIE…WHO EVER THE HELL SHE WAS NOW… would MARTINA appear again? Was that the whole crazy reason for building this stupid thing he called the land ship …dragging his family across France. Damn the freaking hemorrhoids… They are killing me. But was that woke me up? No not that ,because it was your face…. dammit Martina get out of my brain…. You are nothing but a whore…A DAMN BANDIT OT THE HEART… who gave me a good time just by accident… twice in my life and that is all….DAMN TWICE…WILL THERE BE ANOTHER TIME…



Chapter 7

The sun filled the morning as they rolled off the Corsican ferry for the second time in their life. The passage from Marseilles to Ajaccio had been calm.  The night before had sparkled with a crescent moon… OH YES THAT OLD HARLEQUIN MOON…. and stars. Santiago knew it was a significant omen for their arrival. The Land Ship seemed to roll proudly as the terrain of Corsica slipped under its wheels. The burden of the rainwater had been left far behind. The luxurious October air of Corsica was lifting the damp in more ways than one, at least for Leila.

She was blooming into a cheerful mood in the idyllic caress of the Mediterranean. The weather left behind in Britain had been a miserable christening of departure. Her belief in the sun's warmth made it easier to be in Corsica, knowing what she had given up in Scotland. Perhaps it would not be so bad after all. There was another possibility. She was looking forward to meeting Jean Simon again. The last few weeks he was in Scotland they had became friends. Jean Simon offered many times to help in any way he could, once they arrived on the island. Leila was beginning to accept the situation. She was in Corsica, with Tara in Santiago’s lunatic mobile crazy-house with a dog they now called China. Oh God! How much longer with Santiago? Maybe it would work out. Maybe... She did not want think about it and pushed the thoughts out of her mind. Let the sun come in.

  Jean Simon had given them directions on how to find his village which lay in the mountains thirty kilometers from Ajaccio. Santiago was anxious to pass through the Corsican version of Customs. He was still worried that China the dog would be caught in the web of bureaucratic officialdom but once again they were waved through.

The officer in charge let his eyes fall lazily to the ground, but Santiago was still worried -- they would be stopped for dogs or dope -- he was worried simply of stopping when something else was pushing him. Pain.

He drove straight out of the city while Leila and protested and wanted to see at least the center of Ajaccio. He told Leila there would be a time to stop but not yet. Santiago wanted to get his Land Ship and family to Jean Simon's village. He wanted to take his vessel into a safe harbor, out of the tempest storms, out of the squall of pain blowing over him.

  The pain had been coming and going. 

Now it was screwing a steady torment into him with fluctuating intensities from bad to worse. In the last days it had taken all his will-power to concentrate on driving the truck. He constantly shifted his weight in the driver’s seat from one buttock to the other, twisting and turning trying to escape from the burning pressure in his posterior. Santiago grumbled a repeated curse, “damned hemorrhoids.”


They had been a recurrent problem since he was twenty-three.

They had come about after he was given a very thorough anal examination while nearly unconscious in the army hospital in the Germany. Later on it dawned on him; he had been raped by some hospital pervert.

The anal sex had left its mark.

Over the years the little ruptures had come and gone like obnoxious relatives. Usually they occurred when he was under stress or pushing life too fast. The dream of being in Corsica was rapidly fading. The test of fire had come and Santiago damned the ironic situation of his arrival. In between the drift of pain and movement Santiago guided the Land Ship as it crawled up the incredibly steep narrow mountain roads, bending into curves slow as smoke, they ascended the thirty kilometers to Jean Simon's village. 


Jean Simon lived near the small mountain village of Alata. In front of his house was the panorama overlooking Golfe d’Ajaccio to Capa di Muru in the southwest.

The house was old family property built in traditional Corsican fashion, stone solid and practical. Built with the imagination of poverty, it had remained the same for two centuries and then the sophisticated taste of a cultured traveler settled onto the inherited stones.

The house was different from other buildings in the village -- not expensive or bourgeois but closer to what one would conclude to be the balanced creation of a playboy gardener.

The trucking family arrived at the first oasis of their pilgrimage.

Leila's eyes drank in the sight. The hand hewn rocks of the house were wedged into the mountain side. Large windows with small panes faced the south sun and the broad bowl valley dropped gently into biblical pastures and rolled down to the opalescent plate of the Mediterranean.

It was midmorning. The sun was transparent gold filtering through the mimosa trees surrounding the house. An ancient olive tree thrust twisted limbs around the dark wooden banister of an extended sun-deck. The grounds were manicured. There were flowers, fruit orchards, grape vines and moss covered rocks around a wishing well.

Leila knew it was Jean Simon's house as easily as one recognizes the dark silhouette of a friend.

 The shape had his refined charming character. Santiago parked the truck on the bank of the road that passed above the house on the slope of the mountain. He was getting out from under the steering wheel when Jean Simon appeared on the patio.

   He waved and happily shouted, “Welcome to Corsica! Come on down. I have breakfast of fresh grape juice and croissant.”

  It was a warm welcome but there was fire at the edge.

Santiago's burning anal condition was pulling him steadily into a black funnel of gloom. He wondered why his condition had waited until he was fifteen hundred miles away from the British Welfare State to perform its nasty trick. It would cost a fortune to have a new sphincter sewn on.

  Leila was happy and relaxed the first few days at Jean Simon's home. She was talkative, keen to go on walking jaunts, swimming at the beach, looking around the small village and filling herself with the radiance of good weather. She ignored Santiago and his regressive attitude by concentrating on the charms of the moment which was Jean Simon's flattering attention to her.

She felt his warmth with gratitude.

He was not presumptuous or smarmy, one of her favorite terms for jerks and geeks who put on slimy smiles and talked slick  trying to get her to bed, telling her about the talented lines in the palm of her hands and the exotic shape of her lips.

No, Jean Simon was authentic.

He was genuinely concerned with her.

He made her feel she was a beautiful and intelligent woman.

What more could a feminine personality demand from a dark handsome stranger?

But…There were times when she wondered if Jean Simon was gay.

He had sort of an effeminate manner, really too gentle to be a man's man.

It was more the movement of his hands, the cultivated accent, the understanding and sympathy of a women's predicament. God, for a man, that in itself was unbelievable. He even understood how a women's mind worked. No, not homosexual, not him, he was definitely a man. He had that carnivorous look about the eyes, and of course he did have rather a lot of attractive female friends who were obviously more than just platonic.

Whatever he was, she liked him as a friend.

Santiago liked him.

The thought of romance was a very distant path.

Leila’s thoughts began to spin.

Jean Simon was a friend, something difficult for a woman to find in a man. Anyway, he had good habits and lovely manners. Maybe they would rub off onto Santiago. Hah! That would be the day! Santiago could not see past the end of his ass -- always moaning about his hemorrhoids. His little world, his anus and his truck. Hypocrite!  Him always going on about the depth and sensitivity of the artistic soul. God, he is such a bloody American. Life outside his ego is just some kind of television spectacle. God, he even left me to celebrate my thirtieth birthday with Jean Simon. I could have been in bed all evening for all he knew. He is so arrogant! Oh well, as long as we are in Corsica, damn Corsica, we might as well make the best of it. I had better start organizing our life. Santiago would certainly foul that up. Things have to be done, we have to find a house! We are not going to live in that truck no matter how nice Santiago said it is. Tara has to go to school. The poor little thing, it was going to be hard for her, five years old and not speaking a word of French. And work! We must find work. Oh Christ. Corsica. What chance for artists like us on this tiny island? Oh sure, Santiago said he had big ideas, there would be work everywhere. It will be easy he says. But what does he do when he gets here? He goes into one of his silent depressions and lies in that hole of a bed in his truck hiding from the world! Just typical. Just bloody typical!


The fourth day on the island Jean Simon in his Peugeot took the family to Ajaccio. He arranged meetings with local artists and some of his city acquaintances. Leila and Tara were excited. It would be their first chance to tour Corsica's big city. The morning they arrived on the island, Santiago was in such a hurry they had seen only the port. Now they were going into the center. There would be the chance to sit in outdoor cafes, look in shops and act like tourists. Leila smiled thinking about this little holiday in the Mediterranean.

 Their rendezvous was at the Cafe Ajaccio. The cafe was typically French having tables inside and out near large plate glass windows to accommodate people watching on the busiest corner of Ajaccio. The wayward contingent chose to set around one of the small Formica tables outside, under one of the large palm trees. The air was warm and smelled of the sea. A gray-haired waiter dressed in the traditional short white jacket with white shirt, black bow tie and tight black trousers took their order.

   Jean Simon suggested Pastis 51. Santiago said no thanks and asked for tea. Leila looked at him curiously thinking it was odd for him not to jump at chance for a drink. It was a balmy day and a soft breeze sifted across them, but Santiago was unable to relax. He could sit still for only a few seconds before twisting to another position. He constantly excused himself to the toilet feeling just slight relief for a few minutes.  

The waiters looked at him suspiciously as he stumbled through the cafe with madness across his face. They assumed he was another one of those bazaar Englishmen, in search of prey in the urinals. They curled their lips and hissed, Pede... what kind of man makes love in the toilets? They shouted loudly to each other and for the benefit of the other customers. More eyes in the cafe looked towards Santiago in disgust.

He could hear nothing but the blood in his butt.

Santiago returned to the exterior table each time feeling more distressed, more embarrassed.

 Jean Simon and his entourage flowed on in their interminable talk, sometimes in English for his benefit, but mostly in French, a language he could not understand.

Twice, Santiago had begun French lessons, but only to abandon the idea after a few enigmatic hours. Language had never been a strong point for him. In one ear out the other, he let the blur of sound slip around him.

There was enough cacophony already in his body. He only could hear hooligan's in the basement of his temple, tearing it down brick by brick. Monsters were in his foundations and the tower of his being was beginning to tilt. All he was aware of was the gnawing pain that caused each moment quadruple in time. Would the hello's and good bye's of French cheek-kissing never come to an end. No sympathy for the Devil or clap traps...

  Holy Crap…Jean Simon and his friends! Talk, talk, talk.

 From one cafe to another, the day plowed on.

The pressure inside Santiago was spiked with bamboo shafts. His dark tunnel of consciousness went from table to toilet only seeing vague mannequin faces. Santiago had stopped drinking alcohol or coffee since they had arrived in Corsica, thinking Perrier or weak tea would resolve his problem.

But there was no refuge. 

Everything touched his bubbled rectum -- even sound.

The picture of people in front of him went into a haze and Santiago fell into a scatological daydream. He imagined a vision of Mormons walking into a dry land -- a journey into the great hard pan of the Salt Lake. He saw the harvest of their first year and the sky turning black with the descent of a billion snapping jawed locusts. The wheat fields looked like a colossal ass-hole. He saw small man with a long white beard charge at the swarming insects, shaking his fist screaming, “Where are the damn Sea Gulls?”

   Leila touched Santiago's arm and asked, “What sea gulls?”

  Santiago looked at her blankly then crossed his arms and said, “Nothing. Just frig’n nothing.”

  Santiago fell deeper into his sour mood and he began to think, Oh yeah, I've had them before, but never like this. I have to put on a face for these people…Why don't I just come out with it and say, Excuse me, but I simply can’t hear a word you are saying! You see, there is a whole herd of hyena's holding a festival in my fart-trap!

Santiago shifted his weight on the hard plastic chair. The hours of the day are infinite when one is in a torture chamber, but suddenly towards the late afternoon the pain peeked.

For a moment Santiago felt he was going to pass out, then suddenly the pain stopped.

Without reason it slipped away.  He was released -- a free citizen of the free world. He could walk, he could talk. How lovely and how easy it is to be in the sun, to rest at a table of a Mediterranean cafe when you are liberated. After a day of seeing plastic masks of pretend people buzzing noise at him, Santiago bubbled back into life.  For the first time in days he talked while Leila thought, it is so unbearable, him being like this. He's so selfish. The attention of the group began to pivot around him in English. The silent stranger did have something to say after all. The change of language was the cue for a new player to step into the scene.

 Charlotte was introduced.

Leila raised her eyebrows quickly recognizing an obvious rival while Santiago eyes fell to the sensuous curves of Charlotte. The thought of Martina flashed across his mind for a milasecond, instantly thinking the best way to get over an old girlfriend was to find a new one…


She was an artist, more so in temperament than of actual production.

One painting needed much thought.

She was small, naturally blonde. Charlotte was an experienced woman of thirty-five, yet she retained something teenage, fresh and dangerous. Her looks were a crisscross of genetic lines from Italy to the top of Africa, but she was French, very French. She spoke bumpy English edged with a soft French accent. She had the presence as if she was always starring in her own movie.

When she talked she would continually throw her head back tossing the hair out of her eyes.

She had a stance, a certain eager feminism, standing on the balls of her feet, balancing her allure, creating a small ceremonial dance to draw the male bird near.

There was openness, being at once deeply metaphysical and profoundly humble, yet a talent to embrace the absurd. She felt herself to be a contradiction in life's on-going comedy. She was the bitter joke of being someone and no one at the same time.

Charlotte played another theme over this; the game of obvious sexuality.

This flowed over everything and everyone. She ate her food lustfully, she drove her car passionately and she always talked in shades of anger. Her eyes loved beauty, as much in the appreciation of the fine lines of an exquisite women as classic  proportions of male muscled bodies. She was French, a gourmet in creative existence. Santiago saw this portrait within the first minutes of their meeting.

Something was born at the cafe table that pulled him and Leila into an unknown circle.

The conversation with Jean Simon's friends went from art to food, politics to death. It was flowing naturally. There was a sense of union that gradually developed between the inner group of Charlotte, Leila and Santiago.

Jean Simon and the others set back and listened and watched in the fashion the French have when they know a soap opera is being written.

Leila slowly abandoned her protective attitude. It was not a jealousy towards Charlotte, but just good female sense that other females are dangerous and in a moment like this even Santiago became valuable. But as she relaxed her defense a confidence came and she allowed Charlotte to approach her sensitivities. Leila liked this kind of woman -- a woman of force.

The talk rambled on across places, things and ideas they had all known before.

And so they traveled on together leaving their audience behind. Santiago with Tara on his back, the two women linked their arms into his leaving the café. They went down the street a short way and up a dark flight of stairs to a small painting studio where they entered the colored world of Charlotte’s imagination.