POEM: To Issan Dorsey Roshi, on the occasion of his paranirvana

Tommy Issan Dorsey Roshi

One moment of perfect practice, says Dogen
one moment of perfect enlightenment
One moment of perfect prayer
a Rosary recited with pure attention
loving the Blessed Virgin
wanting to be like her
One moment of perfect obedience
sailor on the deck
performer cheering your comrades at sea
One moment of perfect performance
the wig, the makeup, the bra, the heels
singing on the stage
the boy who looks like the girl next door
One moment of perfect openness
available to the next customer
becoming their need like a bodhisattva
One moment of perfect transcendance
the high the low the trip the ecstasy
One moment of perfect sitting
listening to Suzuki Roshi
a glimpse of the truly real
One moment of perfect maitri
founding a hospice to serve the dying
men like you dying in droves
of a disease without cure,
without compassion
One moment of perfect honor
Issan Dorsey Roshi
Dharma heir
abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center
One moment of perfect humanity
One moment of perfect buddhahood

POEM: Nine bows

issan-girl-boy

Nine bows to you, Issan Tommy Dorsey Roshi,
heir of Zentatsu Baker Roshi and Shunryu Suzuki Roshi.
Nine bows to you, a gay boy raised Catholic.
Nine bows to you, Navy man and entertainer.
Nine bows to you, enlightened drag queen.
Nine bows to you, recovered addict.
Nine bows to you, devoted meditator.
Nine bows to you, who welcomed those with AIDS.
Nine bows to you, who created hospice for the dying.
Nine bows to you, gay man, drag queen, Zen priest,
Zen roshi, healer of the dying, dying as a master:
The people of Antinous honor you as a saint!

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