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Self-portrait and poem

Letter dated June 17, 1982

Dear Dearalee--

Good morning and good day and good good: and thank
you for your two letters and poems.... And thank you
for the [Book of Five Rings] book information. I shall
get it, read it, the [Miyamoto] Musashi book. I shall
try to find it at the Bodhi tree. You know
The Bodhi Tree? A bookstore
in Los Angeles that has all the books
that matter on every aspect of --
Well, how to describe it? Religion? Consciousness?
Growth? But like this: anything you
want to know about contemporary Zen Buddhism,
for example, the Bodhi Tree will have it.
Oh, a marvelous place, but a seductive one.
I have spent tons of money there. Tons.
Oceans of it. Most of my Rajneesh
collection comes from there. Krishnamurti.
Muktenanda. Maharshi. Thomas Merton.
I am a happy, indebted reader.

I must share one title with you: a book
by Stephen Levine called WHO DIES?
A probing book, a book that speaks beyond
its mere words, or rather: words that
seek out the heart at once and penetrate.
Levine is a poet, a beautiful, beautiful
man. Do find a copy of the book?
It's an Anchor book, a Doubleday publication.
I mean if you find it interesting....

I am pleased at what you tell me about
your life, about your goings on, your
new experiences. I would like sometime
to see some of your photographs.

I am not doing much photography
at the moment. I guess I am not
because I have just finished an art class
at UCLA, and it took my little
amount of creativity. Final project
was a self-portrait. I managed reasonably well.
I mean I did for someone who has so little
native ability. I am also taking another
drawing course.

Oh, and Nautilus: I am doing Nautilus training
three times a week.

But enough...let me...
say good-bye for now,
and--well,, hear:

                           WHO AM I?
                           I walk in the woods.
                           Fly in a plane.
                           I arrive.
                           Leave by the back door
                           and run to the front,
                           I shake the leaves
                           from the tree.
                           I grieve that I am dead.
                           Who am I?
                           It is night,
                           and it is bright.
                           And I am here
                           watching me.

Love, love, richard (veerendra)

[For a self-portrait by Richard Lee, see the Ceremonial Sounds flier
announcing their performance at the CSULB Graduate Studies Center.]