1-18 Pest Control

This is about the most difficult effort for me, to meditate. I tried to capture this in this missive.

Pest Control


A brother came to Abba Poemen and said to him, “Many thoughts come into my mind and put me in danger.” He sent him out into the open air, and said “Open your lungs and do not breathe.” He replied, “I cannot do that.” Then he said to him, “Just as you can’t stop air from coming into your lungs, so you cannot stop thoughts coming into your mind. Your part is to resist them.”

—The Desert Fathers


OK, Abba Poeman, I get it.

You meditated in a stifling monastic cell

during Egyptian summers as heat waves

filled your cell, boiled your sweat

into vapor. Desert bones were stool pegs.


I meditate on a breezy screened porch

as Jays’ shrill cries pricks my eardrums. Crows

caw over the backyard canopy in uproar


until all is dead still.


Inside, voices jabber and babble inanities.

Images flutter like butterflies swarming

around Honeysuckle shrubs.


You try it. Close your lids.

Be in an empty movie theater.

Forget EXIT glowing in the corners.

Stare at the blank rectangular screen

and be an observer: watch your thoughts


Watch your thoughts…


Watch your thoughts…


You get it?