Once I Wanted For Nothing

At birth I wanted for nothing

As a child I yearned for naught

Then I succumbed to comparison

For years and decades I was caught

In between accumulation

Of possessions

And the desire to be free

From the black flowers of depression

My hoarding

Gave bloom to in me

So I took a fearless assessment

Of what caused decay in my core

And gathered a hard cold resentment

Of what made me less, but want more

Now when faced with desires

Or guided toward sadness and wants

I look at what burns in my fires

Deciding what nourishes and what haunts

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015

He Had Never Seen the Storm

The Eyes of the Buddha

When emaciation had taken its toll

His eyes were sunken in, closed, and hollow

The life slipping from them slowly

Understanding was no closer

All that was left for him was the end

The final stages of the suffering that haunted him

The hunger that held tight to him in these final moments

The desire and want and need

All would be gone soon

Nothing was left to take

Nothing was left to give

The last step was the loss of what he saw before him

The blood slowly coursed through him

He opened his eyes

The tree and air and grass and sun all were in front of him

This was the moment

Maybe this had always been the moment

Maybe this would always be the moment

There was color in the world

There was a color in all things

There was the dark red of his blood

There was the brown bark of the tree

There was the green of the grass

There was the golden yellow of the sun

There was the white swirling wind of the storm of existence

Lingering and circling in the air around all of it

There were his eyes

Through which his slowly diminishing life force met the storm

He faced the end

He saw the storm was not actually white

The storm was all colors

The storm was everything at once

The storm was always there

He had never seen the storm

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

A Spring Zen Prayer

Permit me to let go the things I am not

The things that are denied me

The things that are not to be

The things that cause me anger

The things that I cannot control

The things that are of me, but haunt me

The things that are of not of me, but haunt me

The things that the world imposed upon me

The things that I imposed upon myself

Permit me to know the things that are hidden

The things that become lost to me repeatedly

The things I must learn time and time again

The things I know are true, but cannot accept

The things that are of all things and not just me

The things that are of me and unmoving and real

The things that are not the narrative of it, but the pulse of it

The things that are silent and neither want nor give

The things a rock knows when the hammer falls upon it

I am the wind

Never allowed to settle or still

I am the ocean

Many things that look to be one from a distance

I am the sand

Both shifting and stable at once

I am the fire

Grown from spark to inferno to cinder all in a day

Let me begin each day and try to hear the silent sound

Let me begin each day and try to see the color of air

Let me begin each day and try to feel the back of my mind

Let me begin each day and try to smell the heat of the rising sun

Let me begin each day and try to feel the love I know pulses through the world,

but is sometimes lost to me.

If I cannot, let me accept my struggle and failure

Living not wanting to be that which I am am not

And rising tomorrow to try again to see

I am not it, but of it

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

The Humming Center

Life is want and hunger

Seeking shelter from the rain

The rage to tear asunder

That which causes pain

In the humming center

Is the still humble fact

The life we enter

Is harder when we react

Our decisions

Unquiet the soul

Self derision

Takes it’s toll

You cannot win

That which is not contested

Freedom begins

When you are divested

The sound

Of the water

The taste of the wind

The embrace of your beloved

Tomorrow begins

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013


I need a hat

For the sun in my eyes

I need a woman

With shapely smooth thighs

I need a job

With a paying high wage

I need a day

Of a world without rage

I need a suit

Of fine Italian silk

I need to find

Some friends of my ilk

I need a sun

Of bright warm orange light

I need to find

The will to carry on and fight

I need a morning

With no direction

I need a taste

Of a fine chocolate confection

I need a tomorrow

Different than today

I need a map

With a clearly marked way

I need a song

Of sweetest melody

I need for you to long

For something in me

I need a salad

With clean fresh greens

I need the ways

To equal the means

I need a world

Without boundaries or borders

I want these things

In no particular orders

Gene G. McLaughlin 2004