Village Zendo Home
February 09 Contents

Village Zendo ArtsA new group for sangha artists
Sensei Joshin O'Hara
Jaime Denko ApraezPaintings
Ross BlecknerPaintings
David Van BuskirkTextiles
Jean Yugetsu CarlomustoVideo
Sam ClaytonPaintings
Marc-Antoine DupontPhotograms
Matthew Daian FassMusic
Rodney Musho GreenblatPainting
Liam Oshin JenningsSculpture
Nina Shuka KlippelPoems
Genine Koun LentinePublic Displays of Attention
Jeremy Tokuyu ManasiaMusic
Joshua Mitsunen MosesPoems
Steve Junryu ReedPoem and Photography
Aaron Ryuko ShraggeMusic
Sybil Myoshin TaylorHaiku
Julie Myoko TerestmanCeramics
Tim TuckerPoem and Photography

When my partner Kokai and I first moved to Atlanta a year and a half ago, we were shadows of ourselves—disoriented and teary, living in a house we had rented sight-unseen off Craig's List. At night we heard screams from domestic disputes, and our dog, unused to the sounds of our new neighborhood, barked at every car door slamming outside. To comfort ourselves we set up a meditation room with our altar; the room doubled as my music studio.

Every morning we would sit, and then I would walk to the other side of the room and write. And I began to get "big" songs, which with hindsight makes a lot of sense.  Big songs happen in the exact present; you just have to be there to grab them. And at that time, in the terrifying newness of my life, there was nowhere else I could be. Here's a link to one, called "Somewhere Different Now." The most amazing thing to me about this song is the way it created its own narrative. I didn't think or edit; I just followed, as though following the breath, as each moment told itself. In that space, new combinations of words and sounds unfolded, and in their unfolding, they were kind enough to rhyme.

"Somewhere Different Now"
by Tylan Yushin Greenstein (© 2007)

I took a long drive by the church and the high dive

Past the riverbank hillside, where we looked at the clouds

I believe in the big god, and the multitude of love

And the fact that it's just us helping each other out

Now I've just been reeling, staring up at my ceiling

Wishing someone would reach out, come and bust up my hideout

I'm not quite lost, not quite found

Just somewhere different now

I went walking past the corner lot, teeming

With weeds and trailers abandoned, people wandering around

I've been dreaming of gardens, crops that grow without dusting

In the San Rafael highlands, where we listened to bugs sing

Now I don't mind saying, I believe in the waiting

In the visions of grandeur, and the random encounter

I'm not on fire, not burned out

Just somewhere different now

Woke up this morning with a familiar feeling

Like the angels were crying 'stead of their normal flying

When did you get so certain, boldly draw back your curtains

Lightning strikes in the tall place, water flows to the street grates

Now I look in the mirror, can't abide what I see there

Still I'll play you a strong hand, what remains of a good plan

It's not quite gone, but it's not around

Must be somewhere different now

Now I caught a red light past the coffeeshop Starlight

And plastic Christmas adornments someone left on the pavement

Just to drive feels like passion, just to let the wheels roll on

Engine light keeps on flashing, don't know what has gone wrong

Now I keep believing, don't know if there's a reason

I search under the pillow for the crumbs in the willow

Cause they got me here, and I'm not sure how

But I'm somewhere different now

Tylan Yushin Greenstein is a singer-songwriter in the nationally
touring acoustic group Girlyman (  She has been a student of Roshi Enkyo O'Hara at the Village Zendo since 2002, and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

« Back to February 09 table of contents