Zen Dead Reckoning

a languid puff of dew

floats like a cotton bale

in air as calm and blue

as a sea we could sail

without a chart or a clue



I have a bathysphere in my brain sometimes.

The bolted ball, a whale’s eye, droops on a noose

into a lightless trench where what little life exists

glows like chemo and creeps on spiny, fan-dance fins.


The pressure makes my face crack and leak.


My bathysphere has a name like an Eskimo porn sequel:

soft bipolar II — and without warning or negotiation

it will pop a Polaris, missile me heavenward then explode

in pillowy air, ecstatic, a breathless aurora borealis.


Make it a double, a triple, one for everyone.


Alas, the God-shots are short-lived; unmapped, too.

After a few corkscrews, I’ll collapse under a sheet,

thrash and drift — an interminable interregnum

on a painfully placid sea — fearing the inevitable night

when the bathysphere will again submerge me.



Nick D’Annunzio Jones received an MFA in creative writing and writing for the performing arts from the University of California at Riverside. Recently, he has taught at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, and at Lynn University, in Boca Raton, FL. Currently, he is studying Soto Zen Buddhism and enrolled in graduate work in existentialist psychotherapy at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL., where he’s also a care-giver at the Hospice by the Sea.

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