Monday, December 26, 2011

Vienna Vienna

Wide ladies with wary fur hats sit sipping lemon-tea in Wien, tapping torpid finger-tip tables
With spectacles partially irrespective of clasped hands and knotted knuckles waiting for Waltraut,
Austrian Valkyries pronounce wide vowels through howling jowls and shrieks of lunatic laughter.
Snow falls in infinitesimal flakes on a phantom Lehargaße, where henna’d hair and wide smiles
Glow like tail-lights in wizened grey Winter fog – einbahn autobahn: entrance, entrance, entrance.


Presidio Park, turning right onto Fulton from 19th insinuates something about trousers: Red and black.
They way whey fit? Cold afternoon sunshine? Loose or ‘spray-on’? Their respective quaint quotidianism
Rolling knee against inches of crescendo crashing Pacific (keeping a safe distance from severe under-tow).
Water hardly ever drowns in surf—fragrance of Eucalyptus trees—Chinese pines: implicit maze directions
Park benches meandering colours in the wind. Englishman’s pocketed hands make walking quite sprightly.
Conversation is exactly the right length - fits walk and smiles exactly, with no misleading terms left over.
She asks: “What happens . . . when you throw the Scrabble board in the air? Isn’t it very complicated?”
Chögyam says: “No, It’s simple. The letters fly just fly and land where ever they land.” She continues:
“How d’you get words you want?” Chögyam says: “You don’t. You get whatever - and it’s always poetry.”

The Summer of our Discontent

The dishevelled figure—wrapped in felted bath robe—mutters like the stuttering splash of rotten guttering
Poised to stagger from his jungle of mildewed sheep-skins and irrelevant documentation. Here he is again.
But carbon-steel pocket knife—honed like the devil—is prepared: chromium leopard’s claw under moon.
The vituperate vagrant sits: eyes slanting into horizons of stained canvas and wood bark matured in silt
Wearied with compound comparisons – exclusively re-shuffling themselves from self-restricted decks.
He said little—but what there was—was more than sufficient for lacklustre polygamous yarns,
‘Tales of honour’ won and lost by fantastic figures shrouded in the safety of the murmured word.
It became self-evident that reality should spill like fermented blood into the ear’s excitable oxygen
But shabby department-of-the-interior cannot play for higher stakes than endeavouring to persevere.

Ode to an English garden

Belladonna pressed between pages: mahogany clamps engraved ‘J L’ – dull-glinted silver-plated wing-nuts.
Entertainers in the far-bower, tuning pitchforks in the mellowing drone of reserved ’cello-dolce pianoforte.
Converging in conservatories—pale green bloom mist—faces within curtains peer at beckoning bindweed.
Cusp of regal elation—delving depths of oblique reason—in curious shades of reason’s final endeavour,
Georgian edifices folded within the floor timbers: eaten by ritual inadvertence grown slow in rural towers.
Stepping dainty hurdles of crested plumage—the feather-quill edges of languid language reaches to speak:
The captions designated by their teeth have sired the compass of cerebral swallows, where seams are endless.
They find themselves wrapped in stories: summits bounded by terrain—seas and oceans—tumbling distant
Below them, the pier—lapping tide and herbaceous borders— collations of lapidary sentence-construction.


Reptiles peer at the stars through applied mathematics – romanticise in logarithms and quadratic equations
Reptiles re-define ‘longing’ as a factor of binary systems: yes no yes no yes no yes no yes no yes no—yes?
Reptiles drink instant coffee—are rationalistic—smoke air-vent filtered cigarettes: ‘Expert Texpert Tipped’.
Reptiles are: nonchalant about inglorious military background – send cards from continental countries saying:
“I’ll be in touch.” Reptiles like to touch – but they’re not touched—they’d—like to equate one thing with another.
Reptiles know about the speed of light—well at least on paper—but, reptiles do not know about radiance.
Reptiles are radiant from source – but codify that with extrapolated calculations, of which love plays no part
Of which the vector of joy plays no part—of which startling cheer plays no part—of which nothing plays a part;
Merely calculus colluding with catatonia in clandestine collaboration with anchovies and arachnid calamistrum.

Worm’s Head Revisited

“Try walking on the sea of glass! Every time waves crash you bleed to death! It’s true! You know what I’m talking about!”
That’s what the frost-bitten saline maniac screamed – as he writhed, dune-entangled in fiery fishing lines.
There is no sense in staying up late if you’ve got nothing to say. Without the raging fire of immediacy,
All the good red wine in the world is just tax-money for: highway patrol shoot-out; rapid ricotta ricochet;
Severely severed semantics; Buddha-centre bLa-bLa corseted in three hundred ton staples of leaden dialectic;
Seventy degree refrigerator; rampant rigor mortis repellent overdose; senile silver-screen cupid cosmetics;
Exploding polystyrene fish entrails; satanic sanatorium where Machiavellian mastication conspirators adjourn
Consortium of committed allopathic violence volunteers; and carbon-dated personal inconsistency symposium.
Why reject rapturous invitations to good clean air from the sea and bulging bosoms – fresh from the vine?

ballad from a can of bones

God is just one strange hifalutin’ collection of bilious government bull manure
He’d make any righteous varmint bellow an’ cuss through yesterday an’ tomorrow -
But hey! Look who busted that mean old goat moustache bender for a sob story
An’ roped him to the razor backs of rustled critters cut loose in ghost dance country.
Let him ride! We’ll throw our wild dreams yonder like sweet mountain gold dust.

About Doc Togden (Ngakpa Chögyam)

As the caption on the author-designed cover of Doc Togden's (Ngakpa Chögyam) upcoming collection of poetry ravings of a mild mannered maniac reads:

Tantra is Art - and a tantrika explores the sense-fields through the Arts. This work paints with the cadences of language - because the poet is both a painter and musician. He marvels at existence whilst lampooning the prevalent sociopathy of spirituality. As semantic Jazz - linguistic density jives with space, taking readers into realms where linear logic is only one possible vector amongst many. Comedy and tragedy dance, provoking a cascade of surreal impressions that change with each reading. Rock & Roll lyrics sung by dakinis erupt in counterpoint to the paradoxical hymns of a 'vicar or vajrayana' - a trans-Atlantic Englishman who raves, tongue-in-cheek, on the nature of reality. This is the first volume to be published in the contemporary genre of 'Critical Mass Poetics' as defined by the author and his students.

On the phenomenon of having two names, he writes:

"I appeared on FaceBook as Doc Togden because I wanted a fresh start in terms of the Arts. I have often found a dual prejudice to exist. If one presents as a musician / artist one is not taken seriously by Buddhists. If one presents as a Buddhist one is not taken seriously by musicians / artists. This is obviously a generalisation – and as such, probably meaningless for anyone apart from myself. It is true however, that Captain Beefheart had to give up his Rock musician persona to be taken seriously as a painter. A few Tibetan Lamas—such a Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche—have managed to evade the censorious radar of common opinion – but the same largesse of view would not seem available to the inconsequential eccentric yogi and yogini. Doc Togden is as much my name as Ngakpa Chögyam because the name on my passport—and other legal documents—is Dr Chögyam Togden. The Tibetan designation ‘ngakpa’ is hard to pronounce for most people and so, as I have a doctorate in Vajrayana Psychology I use that in everyday association outside my rôle as Lama. The title doctor releases me from having to designate myself by gender and appeals to my sense of humour vis-à-vis my fondness for Doc Holliday and a variety of musicians who have ‘Doc’ as their first name. I have five FaceBook friends called Doc and they are all musicians.

The time has now arrived to merge Doc Togden and Ngakpa Chögyam – and to allow them to be as they have always been. Hopefully those who may have looked askance at either will feel reconciled to the fact that they can talk with me as an artist and Buddhist teacher without feeling wary on the one hand or fearful of potential religious polemic on the other. I have no desire to convert anyone to Buddhism – but I do have a desire to offer aspects of Buddhism to the world of Art and Art to those who practise Buddhism. I believe there to be a common language – an essential language that speaks of the timeless efflorescence of the elements. The Arts arise from vision—from the empty space of primal creativity—and that space is the space everyone can access. Buddhists say that everyone is essentially a Buddha. I take from that that everyone is essentially an Artist. Now . . . did Ngakpa Chögyam say that, or did Doc Togden say that? Who ever said it, he’d also like to say that there is essentially no difference."

On Facebook, Doc Togden (Ngakpa Chögyam) describes himself as a "Teacher / Artist: painter; poet; author; life-style choreographer, and musician (vocalist, harp, rhythm bass, and 12 string / resophonic guitars)."

In reference to the roles of "Teacher" and "life-style choreographer", the informed reader will notice the uncanny resemblance of Doc Togden (Ngakpa Chögyam) to Ngak'chang Rinpoche, whom together with Khandro Déchen are the lineage holders of the Aro gTér. The Aro gTér is a stream of Vajrayana Buddhism in which ordination is congruous with romance, marriage, and family life that focuses on the teaching and practice of the Inner Tantras from the point of view of Dzogchen, an essential non-dual teaching.

As a writer, Doc Togden's (Ngakpa Chögyam) most recent books include an odd boy and wisdom eccentrics.