Mental City Sutra
Note: this was written as a chant for the opening of the exhibition Silence and Noise at the Brooklyn Zen Center.
New York City, Two thousand Twelve// numerous are the noises impacting our ears// yet when deeply waking to moments of silence// we feel that quiet was always around// Thus we exist between silence and noise// Great rivers of cars, streets beyond streets// restaurants and schools containing myriad thoughts and honking horns// patterns and echoes and sound wave vibrations// caressing our ears, jolt us awake// inside and out, beyond the fuzz of constant white noise// we have therefore decided to jump in the river to honk with the horns to ring with the bell to sing with the air.
O cacophonous afternoon// Buses above and trains underground// under water, under buildings and bridges// under arguments and soft soothing sounds// Ending and beginning of life, hospital hallways// how can silence be found so close to ten million minds// countless thoughts, numberless activities producing// rhythm and texture, trembling the air// Twenty Four hours, awake and asleep// birds behind house, shifting of sheets and clattering of fork against plate// High above ground, away from the street, whistling wind// cuts across edges of buildings, smack up against// billboards and planes, screens are abuzz// The wind moves on. Walking down streets, two people were discussing// how one of them had dated a man who insisted in splitting the bill at a restaurant// loud laughing, and airplane and song fly through the air.
Thus we proclaim the clatter and chatter// unique sound of rain, the summary hum, of all city sounds// punctuated with honks, pervaded by thinking, washed by the wind// encouraged by silence, inspired by rain.