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Wisdom Offerings

Lilies and the Corpseflower


What will be? No thing.

Buddhists say there is nothing that endures, no permanent Self. All is ever changing and unreal. Nothing to hold on nor cling to. But, maybe the fierce beauty of Nature and direct heroic truth and uncompromising compassion of human nature, still, can be glimpsed as blessings in impermanence…

September 11, 2006: Never more aware nor stunned by the impermanence of ALL than on a glorious sun-radiant super-charged sky-blue mountain-air-crisp near autumn beauty of a day like this one. Maybe it appears the howling dust has settled downtown, below Canal, but it’s painfully and irrevocably stuck, etched in space and inside our body beings along with the ominous black-clothed NYPD riflemen entrenched ‘round the shaky circumference of Columbus Circle today and the caravans of edgy police cars lit up flashing red, white and blue sirens as danger incarnate weaves heavy-wheeled through a still-dazed Manhattan scape. An indelible monument, the two phantom heavenscrapers will always remain (though not there at all), filled and ever filling with every human emotion ever experienced… and ineffable new feelings, like amorphous cloud-scars swimming tonight’s projected deep electric-blue-silhouettes of light-beam-skeletons where the mighty twins once lived. God, I used to love to dress up, taxi down the Westside Highway’s Hudson River winding path all the way to the narrow tip of Manhattan to the mammoth monoliths in tandem… to missile to the sky bar, past all lesser steel contenders to the throne in space, to the unmatched elegance and sophistication of Windows on the World, so high beyond the busy raucous avenues and traffic-twinkling bridges light-years below… Gotham appeared a vibrant Monopoly game, always in-play, to the awed and naked eyes taking it all in while awaiting cocktails and steamed jumbo Cajun shrimp, because New York is my city and The Towers her pinnacle.

…..Everyone has their good old days.

And this photo exhibition, August 20, 2006, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, by my good friend Arturo Mandelbaum brings to brilliant light and shadow another striking vision of impermanence, the rapture of ever-transforming Mother Nature captured (but not really) in time in these exalted mandala blooms. So feminine, so ethereal, so uplifting and fairytale magical, the white and pastel lilies dance on the glassy surface of azure-rippled ponds, whispering to us and the ethers of their ideal reflections far off in the perfect Buddha realms. Each velvet orgasmic petal a precious jewel of enlightened majesty and mystery, changing with the fading arc of sunlight, waxing phase of moonlight; a moment-to-moment offering of the divine on earth which by now is evaporated into Indian summer rhapsody, gone but for our inspired impressions until new miraculous devic designs of Her return again next Spring. And who who witnessed the unabashed seven foot vertical aerial penetration of the gigantic late-pink phallus, with its fetid olfactory pleasures, could forget experiencing the Corpse Flower? Not I. Not A. Gestating for nearly three full years to come, come, come to life in sickening whiffs of putrefying death fumes (the Corpse Flower’s means for attracting carrion beetles for pollination to further its illusory survival). Flowering for a scintillating two brief days, for which we Sunday afternoon voyeurs paid twelve bucks a look, to finally disappear in rot itself. Gone forever more. Or at least until the corpse doth flower again.

             - musings of one momentary cherry

       cohen -

Photos at the left by
Arturo Mandelbaum,
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
Summer '06