may be smaller, but —

Today’s Cave Walls

turn back from the noise

blue light eats eyes

for breakfast

just sit still instead

sit deeper in you

find courage in there

escape the hunter

like a nimble deer

graze a bit, sip dew

come clean, grasp sight,

see again

— the day

and all its things

in daylight

Reference: The Republic, Book VII. These days, the cave walls are far smaller, but perhaps even harder to escape— esm


small poem with a big heart

True Love

is finding someone

or something

worth suffering for

and it’s a good thing, too

because you sure do suffer

— esm

To love is to accept transience, loss, all the consequences of that love, and still, despite all, to love. From every unanswered letter or each tear in a widow’s eyes to Christ on the cross or Socrates’ hemlock, to love truly is to courageously accept suffering.

And perhaps that’s not the final word. There is hope in suffering. As Thich Nhat Hanh would remind us: “The art of happiness is also the art of knowing how to suffer well. If we know how to use our suffering, we can transform it and suffer much less.”


(or masculine vulnerability)

door closed, meeting in session

the exercise, a simple one

the chalkboard having been cleared

by wet sponge (tabula made rasa),

the task was to write a single truth,

like a biblical line in the sand

deep authenticity, if you will

and so, chalk in hand

in pensive pause

under the heat of peering peers,

he marked masculine vulnerability

in lines of dust, for others to see:

it’s been years now

and I just wonder

do you ever think of me?

just looking

for a final resting place now,

and i still think about you

“oh, and,” he added,

i wish i could say

happy birthday


And this Azerbaijani / Turkish offensive is the latest in a history of ethnic cleansing

Armenians, under heavy assault, firing back. BBC / EPA

I’m an ethnic Armenian, but I was born in the US, where I’ve studied politics, philosophy and social justice and was raised by quadrilingual Armenian grandparents in a Latino neighborhood.

I was born here because my ancestors were slaughtered on their homeland during the 20th Century’s first modern genocide, perpetrated by Ottoman Turks under the cover of World War I.

Though my complexion is light, I identify more with people of color. Here’s why.

Have you seen the news?

We are under attack.

Where are your signs, your hashtags?

As of a few minutes ago, it’s become clear that Azerbaijan…


Photo: Larry Fallon

(or, simply, Sitting)

I hear the bird,

I really hear the bird

my body a’sunk, lower

and spirit a’rose, higher

thorns fall from stem

and stem elongates

it’s me and the bird,

being together

the bird with its nature

and me with mine

but neither one

ultimately one

I suddenly feel my lips

smile the bird’s breath

but re-mind myself

to stop — from here,

the smile still softens

— esm


Photo: James Devaney | Getty Images

And why Pelosi calling Trump fat is less harmful than Mike Daisey naming us “fats” and “thins.”

In the frenzy following Nancy Pelosi calling POTUS morbidly fat, it struck me that “fat-shaming” does deserve reflection. I found myself writing to a friend who posted a critical NBC opinion by Mike Daisey, but nearly deleted my thoughts.

Why do I feel uncomfortable writing this, I wondered. Further, is it an honest expression of what I think? Since it is, I’m allowing myself to publish it.

In other words, recalling the helpful Buddhist metric:

1. Is it truthful? Yes.

2. Is it timely? Sure.

3. Is it kind? That depends.

I want to apologize in advance to anyone I…


Purple Cloud Temple | Wudang Shan, China

Why Meditation is a Practice

Of the photos I took atop Wudang Mountain last November, this is my favorite. I approached the steps of the Purple Clouds Temple and smiled at seeing her. There it was, on a remote mountain and with no social media ambition — unpretentious practice. A practitioner.

I meandered the temple grounds for 45 minutes and upon my exit, she was still there. Hesitantly, I captured this photo and she has been on my phone’s home screen since, as a friend and a reminder. But a reminder of what? That’s our question.

Today is Vesak Day. Around the world, Buddhists observe…


What we see, even when we don’t, is all manifesting as all.

not kitten, puppy or squirrel but

have you ever watched an insect eat?

i mean really, have you watched it eat?

it holds the morsel of rice or bread,

just like you or me

and it brings it closer to its little mouth

or else it moves closer to its desire,

like we would, say, gravitate forward

to court a burger sized for Gulliver

and the morsel rocks gently —

back and forth — unsteady as the

little creature works it for food

in watching the cockroach eat,

have you perceived its hunger?

(now i’ve named it; can you follow?)

it eats because it’s hungry,

it’s…


“Old Lady and Shopping Bag” Builder Levy, 1965

(and the content of her bags)

eight o’clock

night-shiver dark

a bow-legged

two times over mother

(mother’s mother)

walks past

short and unthin, brown

purse and umbrella slung

over her shoulder

with five market bags

inches from the

ground,

which couldn’t

get colder

five market bags

in one hand,

balanced by a purse

so stocked

one never knows

what one might find

and if you looked closely

(really closely)

you could see beyond

her market bags —

to the baskets full

from the guava fields

straw baskets brimming

with guava and papaya

or maybe barrels of water

I think to offer help

but before I act,


View of NYC from across the river, in NJ.

(Resurfaced for Covid-19)

It’s all going wrong. Calm.

There’s too much. Calm.

When can I do this? Calm.

And what if? Calm.

Ahhh. !&?@*!!¡. Calm.

Calm.

No New Age balm here.

Just calm.

No unresolved resolutions;

no no.

Just calm.

Mantra calm. No mantra calm.

Inhale calm. Exhale calm.

Ageless calm. Timeless,

limitless calm.

Breathe through

Calm.

all that passes.

Calm.

Undressed of commotion

and confounding complexity;

without the a and the ity,

even calamity distills to calm.

It all passes.

Calm.

Calm.

C —

Inhale —

Calm.

Exhale —

Calm.

And when it passes,

Calm.

let it pass.

Calm.

The preceding poem was written years ago, as a meditation or incantation, to be read aloud (privately) three times. I hope you’ll try it. Amidst the fright and anxiety that sweeps us in this trying time, it felt fitting to offer anew. — esm (New Jersey)

Edward S. Majian

President @SARTONK, Craftsman to champions. | Writer, Meditator, Magician, Martial Artist | Here to seek and stoke perspective. | ig: @emajian

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