The Best Of

Zero

I heard two unrelated Cohens were involved:
Leonard and Richard.
They all bought a house together in LA in 1979.

I asked him why he titled his little magazine,
“Contemporary Buddhist Life and Thought?”

To make Buddhists nervous.
They hate it when they think they’re doing it wrong.

But didn’t Zero embody
Joshu Sasaki Roshi’s teachings?
A wild rumor.

Were you really promoting
Buddhism in America,
or just your own literary and spiritual authority?

Aren’t they the same thing?

The Covers

The Covers

It’s hard to tell what’s inside from the covers.

The tender art of obfuscation.



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The Staff

The Staff

He called them: tireless workers
in the struggle to eradicate piety.



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Joshu Sasaki Roshi - On the Nature of Zero

On the Nature of Zero

Joshu Sasaki Roshi

At last! A definitive explanation!

If you say so...



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Leonard Cohen - Fragment from a Journal

Fragment from a Journal

Leonard Cohen

Purportedly — at least according to him —
Leonard thought this might help clarify matters.

Or not.



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Allen Ginsberg - Collage of Haiku, Kerouac, etc.

Collage of Haiku, Kerouac, etc.

Allen Ginsberg

He spent an hour on the phone with Ginsberg,
debating whether a comma or a semi-colon
went somewhere in here.

I still say it’s a comma.



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Gregory Gillespie - Four Self-Portraits

Four Self-Portraits

Gregory Gillespie

A beautiful guy.
An untimely end.



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John Cage - The Music of Contingency - An Interview

The Music of Contingency -
An Interview

John Cage

I asked him what he thought about
Cage’s ideas concerning Music and Buddhism.
He said he wasn’t sure if it was wise
to say anything about Buddhism. Much less Music.
Unless you’re John Cage.



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Ralph Gibson - The Black Series

The Black Series

Ralph Gibson

I know what you’re going to say.

What?

‘Very Zen.’

How did you know?



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Rick Fields - Ernest Fenollosa and Turn of the Century Orientalism

Ernest Fenollosa and
Turn of the Century Orientalism

Rick Fields

At least this has something
to do with Buddhism.

It has something to do with Rick Fields.
A good writer. A truly nice man.
Rest in peace, old friend.



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John Ashbery - Two Poems

Two Poems

John Ashbery

These are obviously great poems.
I mean, it’s Ashbery!
He won a Pulitzer Fucking Prize!

Relax. I can’t make sense of them either.



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Michael Singer - Four Prose Poems

Ritual Series

Michael Singer

Nice, huh?



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James Tate - Four Prose Poems

Four Prose Poems

James Tate

Oh, another Pulitzer Prize winner.

Yeah, but this is some really funny shit.



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Dianne Lawrence - An Independant Woman Seeks Spiritual Meaning

An Independant Woman
Seeks Spiritual Meaning

Dianne Lawrence

Girlie pictures.



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Eliot Weinberger - Nineteen Ways of Looking at Wang Wei

Nineteen Ways of
Looking at Wang Wei

Eliot Weinberger

A very smart boy, that Eliot.



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Vicente Huidobro - Three Poems translated by David Guss

Three Poems
Translated by David Guss

Vicente Huidobro

I often wondered why he was so partial to translations.

The whole thing’s a translation.



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Kenneth Rexroth - The Jewel Net of Indra - an Interview

The Jewel Net of Indra -
an Interview

Kenneth Rexroth

He said the day he spent with Rexroth
was one of the sweetest of his life.
And for a change, he was serious.



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Allen Ginsberg - Two Poems

Two Poems

Allen Ginsberg

The Soul of Generosity.



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Mal Sharpe - Achievement - A Photo Essay

Achievement - A Photo Essay

Mal Sharpe

You’ve got to be kidding.

Isn’t that the point?



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Stephen Davis - Ten Takes on Charles Mingus

Ten Takes on Charles Mingus

Stephen Davis

Zero bows to all the gods in the pantheon.



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Leonard Cohen - Death of a Ladies Man

Death of a Ladies Man

Leonard Cohen

I think Old Leonard’s little book influenced his
own writing.

He’s not responding to my observation.
One way or another.



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Joni Mitchell - Interview

Interview

Joni Mitchell

How’d she —

— a friend of a friend.



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Three Poems By Rainier Maria Rilke

Three Poems By Rainier Maria Rilke

Translated by Stephen Mitchell

I gave him his start. He was just a kid.
Not Rilke. Mitchell, the translator.



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Contemporary Paintings of The Australian Aborigines - text by Susan Lerner

Contemporary Paintings
of The Australian Aborigines

text by Susan Lerner

He liked to boast that
Zero spared no expense
To acquire the finest entertainment
From all corners of the world.



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Steve Sanfield - Two Poems

Two Poems

Steve Sanfield

Exhalations.



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Paul Bowles in Tangier - an interview

Paul Bowles in Tangier —
an interview

Stephen Davis

Why did you publish this?

For people who’ve never heard of Paul Bowles.



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Tando Bower -Two Thoughts on the Same Subject

Two Thoughts
on the Same Subject

Tando Bower

And this guy was one of Roshi’s monks?

Isn’t it obvious?



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Joshu Sasaki Roshi - Who Pollutes the World?

Who Pollutes the World?

Joshu Sasaki Roshi

This is silly.
It has nothing to do with pollution.

Who said it does?



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