Rock Medicine

This Rock Medicine is not a cure
for the imaginary ailment which
keeps the preachers in business.
 
It advertises no speedy transformation,
promises no transcendental state,
nor cancels any lingering debt.
 
It is neither a strategy of improvement,
a method of redemption, a salvation
scheme, or some miracle remedy.
 
As such, it may be the remedy
for all other remedies.
 
Encouraging neither hope nor despair,
it seeks no success, avoids no failure.
 
Nothing succeeds like failure –
it’s Rock Medicine, with absolutely
nothing special to recommend it!
 
From the perspective of panaceas
and placebos, it’s of no practical use –
the ultimate medicine of last resort.
 
Because it is freely available
to all, it is most common.
 
Since its true value
is unknown, it’s priceless.
 
A treatment of Rock Medicine
accomplishes nothing, incites
no glowing testimonials, awakens
no secret power, prompts no gleeful
exultation or rapturous hyperbole.
 
It has no grand master,
no initiated practitioners,
no evangelizing devotees,
no gospel of supreme insight
couched between contradictory
warnings and exaggerated promises.
 
A word of caution: it’s not
what it appears, nor is it otherwise.
 
It will never be transmitted
from one to another –
it has no other.
 
It’s Rock Medicine, and like
all forms of unreasonable happiness,
it’s meant to be shared, never hoarded.
 
Confounding and obscure
to the meaning-making mind, it’s
the means by which all minds move.
 
Perhaps those who’ve had enough
of the sicknesses born of either hope
or fear may finally be ready for it.
 
In any case, all are welcomed to it —
there’s no requirement, except
to surrender every preference
and abandon all alternatives.
 
It belongs to nobody, nor could
any other ingredient be added to, mixed
with, or subtracted from it – it works alone.
 
With no image to preserve
nor identity to defend, it will never
become famous, nor can it be described
in terms or signifiers of what it is not.
 
It does not suddenly become available
when we are born, nor does it vanish
when we slide away into the light
of which all forms are made.
 
It has no proper place or position,
and neither improves, stays the same,
nor degrades with age and circumstance.
 
It comes with no expiration code.
Preceding history, it has no precedent.
Ever new, it’s immediately forgotten
after the fact — spontaneously!
 
Since it can neither be learned
nor ignored, it is without any quality
worthy of praise or complaint – a lesson
in itself, and one best not forgotten!
 
Beyond compare, it cannot be
apprehended by simile or metaphor –
what phrase or lyric could do justice
to that immense darkness from which
the stars shine forth in splendor at night?
 
If there even existed a word for it,
it wouldn’t be the genuine
Rock Medicine.
 
Unnoticed in the spiraling commotion
of the scene changes on the cosmic stage,
it humbly goes about its natural business,
while theologians and philosophers
ponder in awe and bewilderment
at the inexplicable existence
of anything at all.
 
Just so, the secrets contained within
this Rock Medicine are amazing
and yet profoundly ordinary.
 
In that sense, it has no secrets.
Really, there’s nothing to it!
 
How remarkable!
 
It’s Rock Medicine —
nothing goes down easier.
 
The compassionate choice,
it’s avoided till the end.
 
When applied as directed, it will
perform as claimed, although
it makes no special claims.
 
Impartial to both saint and sinner,
emperor and peasant, wise and foolish,
it functions impeccably, leaving
no trace of itself behind.
 
It’s what the sages point to
when they speak of “the nameless”.
 
Do yourself a favor, and
ask for it by name!
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