Zhong Fu =Inner Truth

One day, you’ll choose to die. You won’t decide
With conscious mind, but somewhere deep inside
Is knowledge of a portal you’ll pass through.
Another world is beckoning to you.

One day, you chose to live. That was before
You had a brain or corpse. Sensation nor
Cognition were entailed, the barest gist
Of you resolved (corporeally) to exist.

And while you’re here, that essence uncongealed
Remains elusive, its soft whispers drowned
By sound and light and most especially pain.
When you will ask, “Who am I”, when you’ve peeled
Away all thought and feeling, you’ll astound
Yourself in being you again.

— JJM = #61 in the I Ching Sonnet Project

Wind stirs water by penetrating it. Thus the superior man, when obliged to judge the mistakes of men, tries to penetrate their minds with understanding, in order to gain a sympathetic appreciation of the circumstances. In ancient China, the entire administration of justice was guided by this principle. A deep understanding that knows how to pardon was considered the highest form of justice. This system was not without success, for its aim was to make so strong a moral impression that there was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness. For it sprang not from weakness but from a superior clarity.</small>

Josh Responds to his Internal Critic

I’m often hard on those I love, I know.
It is not kind to them, and (what is more)
This attitude degrades my sacred core
And hinders my ability to grow.

It seems to you that I’m fore’er at war,
My invitation, beating down your door.
Please recognize from whence my passions flow
Conformity is all that I abhor.
When friends repeat what they have heard before
They spurn the loving ear that I bestow.

My quest is for your individual light
And I lament when those I love take flight.
I wish not to disrupt or gather storms,
But liberate from strict, confining norms.


Radical Faeries

Mountain, keeping still

You have impressive talents, gifts to give;
That doesn’t make you better than the rest.
Your wish to win the race, to ace the test
Eclipses your capacity to live.

You thrive on praise, but you are like a sieve—
Unsatisfied, you have to be the best.
The body and the mind with which you’re blessed
Have drained you of the power to forgive.

Your wish for mystic union is sincere,
But, mired in your loneliness and pain,
You cannot see that it’s your own disdain
That drives off your beloved as you near.

So take your time. Cling fast until the pride
No longer serves—then let it slide.

— JJM = #52 in the I Ching Sonnet Project


Alien Alert! Mind Kontrol!

Space Aliens can be 9 feet tall with slits for eyes, or they can look like little greys or lizard-people, though most of us are familiar only with the Little Green variety. But the most dangerous of the Aliens look just like us. They can mingle among us, unnoticed, and that’s where the danger arises. You could be standing next to one at the grocery store checkout, and you would never know he was an Alien from deep in the constellation called Cancer.

Because the aliens who visited in 1947 came from a nearby star in the same part of the sky, these new invaders have been designated Deep Cancerians, or DC. Astronomers are subjecting that part of the sky to intense observation, and have managed to locate the planet DC within a few seconds of arc. An amateur astronomer in Algeria claims to have snapped photos of the planet, but his images are still under investigation by the Experts.

Creatures from DC have a superpower called Mind Kontrol. If you are near one, he can take over your frontal cortex. It may not feel any different. You may not even detect that you have been altered. While you go on imagining the thoughts that you’re thinking are your own, while all the while you have become an extension of the Alien will. This is the wileyest part. The most powerful and dangerous MK practitioners have been designated MK-Uber, and they are the most powerful and dangerous. Ordinary people. They could be your kneighbors. They could be your brother-in-laws. Ordinary people who are took over by MK-Uber look and act just like they used to did before, but they are transmitting the mind-kontrol power of their masters from the planet DC.

The good news

There is one way that we can protect ourselves. Our friends in the Federal Government have set up a new agency on an Emergency Basis. Called Counter-Deep-Cancer, they have studied the situation exhaustively, and have issued their Expert recommendations.

According to the C-D-C, we can protect ourselves by wearing earplugs. Earplugs appear to have the power to block the Mind Kontrol rays that emanate from the DC creatures, or their MK-Uber zombie klones.

Hence the C-D-C’s recommendations. We should all be wearing earplugs whenever we go out in public. And at home? MK rays can be passed through your TV, your computer, or even your cell phone. The C-D-C strongly recommends wearing earplugs whenever you are exposed to any of these devices. “We’ve all become inured to Facebook videos of the neighbor’s kitten. Now we know that these can be agents of mind kontrol. They can turn you into a MK-Uber Zombie Klone. Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

Thus spake the C-D-C.

And For the Future

A few otherwise-loyal citizens have complained that they don’t want to go around with plugs in their ears for the rest of their lives. For a long-term solution, C-D-C has funded Scientists at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine to create a prosthetic solution. By a stroke of good luck, the Virtual Aural Cavity (VAC) has been in development for more than a decade. It’s almost like someone knew this was coming.

Now, the program only needs adaptation to work with natural ears, while insulating them from the hypnotic Uber-rays. The new prosthetic combining the new Insulated Natural Ear (INE) technology with the old VAC technology is expected to be available in out-patient clinics early next year. It will be sold to America under the acronym VAC-INE.


In this, as in all life’s aventures, fear is the main obstacle.

The crisis we’re experiencing is more about the use of fear to subdue and manipulate people than it is about a viral epidemic. As an epidemic, it is not unusual. When the data is all in, it may be comparable to the most recent bad flu year, 2017. It will certainly be far less deadly than the Hong Kong flu of 1968, which was eclipsed at the time by news of two tragic assassinations and the Woodstock festival.

We are stronger, more creative, more resilient, when we are free of fear. In fact, shocking us into giving up hope is part of the game plan of those who are putting on this show.

Please remember the strength of human bonds and the power of creativity, which has blossomed during the worst periods of repression in history, like flowers popping up through cracks in the pavement.

There were loving families that held together during the starvation of Mao’s Great Leap
Forward. There were groups that shared mimeographed books during the Stasi era
in East Germany. There was music composed by Jews at Auschwitz.

We will resist this clampdown, but if it should succeed temporarily, there will still be
millions like us keeping love and truth and creativity alive until the day when the
top-heavy system of repression topples, as it must.

This vision of human resilience and liberation was born millennia in the past, and it will continue to inspire long after the coronavirus of 2020 has disappeared down the memory hole.

— Josh Mitteldorf, born this day in 1949



It’s pain that teaches us to concentrate.
A decade on the cushion can’t compare
To one agonizing hour of despair
For the terrain it can elucidate.

Perhaps, we think, it’s given for the sweet
Relief of its cessation, when a joy
Envelopes and transports us; but this ploy
Was never necessary to complete
Our education. Well we envy those
Whose path entailed less suffering, or none,
Though they attain to an exalted place.

No, pain, we must admit, is what we chose
When we embarked (for adventure and fun)
On this wild ride, life’s lusty steeplechase.

— JJM = #65 in the I Ching Sonnet Project


Yin-Yang Koi Fish by Alyssa Hocking (?)


Glory Days

sunrise 1
The thing is so damn bright it can’t be real.
A part of you can tell it’s just the sun,
Rising as it should, and yet you feel
A dazzling revelation has begun.

What now? You ask the guru to bestow
Her guidance and particular advice.
A silence, deep and wide, is all you know;
The answer is: your virtue will suffice.

Continue, yes continue, stay the course.
Your faith, though tentative, was just enough—
Your dreams, congealing vaguely from bright haze,
Entrain the worldline’s flow, no need of force.

You fear it may all vanish in a puff,
But this is just the dawn of glory days.

— JJM = #35 in the I Ching Sonnet Project

Painting inspired by Chinese character fir I Ching hexagram 35, Progress.

Passover in the time of COVID

Thus far, the plague has passed over us. Are we to be grateful for our lives? Or mournful for the lives of others that have been lost? Are we to be fearful for our future, or confident in God’s ongoing grace?

To me, the message of this holiday has never been about who was spared God’s wrath; but it has had everything to do with the difficult choice of liberation. For 3,332 years and more, it has been easier to choose what is tolerable and conventional and familiar than to make a lonely, desperate dash for freedom.

For most Americans, Jews and Gentiles, this last month has been both a significant curtailment of our accustomed freedom and also the loneliest period in memory. It is a time of unreality, when it is tempting to fall back on the voices that come from our screens to anchor us. Even more than in ordinary times, it is easier to trust the reality that is served up to us than to gather together and create a reality that feels right to us.

I suggest that we ask, in what does our freedom consist? I mean not that we might query ourselves, but talk to one another, face-to-face if we dare.



We innocently choose the side of “good”
Against outrageous evil we protest
It seems so clear, we side with what is best
And take the stand we manifestly should.

All morals are charade, a cosmic jest
That turns our pliant twigs to hardened wood.
Conflict and strife invade the neighborhood
As conscience turns each tribe against the rest.

And so when on life’s stage it comes to pass,
Sucked into strife by mutual disdain,
Good souls create a passionate morass
That culminates in grief, despair and pain.

If struggle is for you a source of pride,
Give thanks for those who take the other side.

— JJM = #6 in the I Ching Sonnet project