Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Poetry, March 2014

Valentine’s Day

When loneliness arises

With the harsh warmth
Of acid reflux,
And you wonder
(Without meaning
To be a bother about it)
What it was about you
That kept love away,
Be prepared
To despair of an answer.
But since you’ve asked,
Please, don’t abandon the asking.
Kindly resist the impulse
To avert your eyes
From that unmet longing
For a gentle caress.
And when you call to mind
The couple who,
With time out
Only for meals and movies,
Spent the weekend fucking,
May envy break open
To reveal the delightful shock
Of non-separation.
And may you laugh out loud
When you see that Love
Didn’t exclude you after all
(Even as they lay there naked
In the meaningful conversation
That kept them from seeing it themselves),
And may you wander home, consoled
By intimacy with all things.

If, a generation later,
They find themselves sitting together,
Say, on the fourteenth of February,
On some wintry park bench,
And one of them offers a mittened hand
To the other to hold,
May that gesture also break open
Into the same delightful shock:
That nothing was ever left out.
And may they also wander home, consoled
By similar intimacy.


The sea of delusion
In which we all swim
In artless confusion,
With minds rendered dim
By misguided wishes
For all things uncouth,
Contains in it fishes
Who’ll show us the truth.
Accept the existence
Of one who swims near,
And heed his assistance,
And buy him a beer.

Future Blessing
For the dön season at the end of the Tibetan year

On that day when
Everyone hates you, and,
You hate them all back,
Take a breath.
Observe what it’s like
To want nothing
From anyone,
And file that memory away
For future blessing.
For when your poisonous mind
Is restored to equilibrium
By desire and ignorance,
The recollection of
That lopsided moment
May cause you to smile
With gratitude.

My Grandmother’s Baptism

In November 1910--
Or approximately then--
Her soul got saved, her sins were cleansed,
And she descended, with two friends,
Into an Ozark mountain creek,
Though it was wintry, dark, and bleak.
And shivering, and clad in white,
The three submitted to the rite
That made their girlish trio one
With Father, Holy Ghost, and Son.

As it happened, only two
Of those young girls would make it through
That chilly baptism intact
One died soon afterward, in fact.
God didn’t stop (‘twas not surprising)
Hypothermia’s arising.

When I learned, five decades thence,
Of that unhappy consequence,
This girl began to haunt my dreams.
And as my grandma sewed her seams
And shelled her peas and tatted lace,
The hymns she sang with simple grace,
Throughout the day, with dedication,
Became the girl’s commemoration.

Tea with the Mother of God
For Sherab Ch
ödzin Kohn

Drops of angelic host hover about her
As she sips her organic Pu-erh.
“Your problem,” she says
“At least as I see it,
“Is that you’re praying for insight
“To overcome paranoia,”
(She doesn’t slurp.)
“And that’s your first mistake.”
“That’s discouraging,” I say,
“What’s my second mistake, then?”
She smiles. “That you’re discouraged.”
She motions to the angelic host
Hovering impatiently (for what?)
Around her head and shoulders
“Imagine, if you can, that you’re one of these guys.
“Their clear seeing doesn’t blast
“This funky tea shop
“Out of dependent origination.
“Or make it morph into something nicer.”
Dang if the enlightened drops
Don’t seem to nod in agreement.
“You still seem to think waking up
“Would transport you to a cafe
“Without this cracked cup or,” she nods in the
Direction of the men’s room
“That annoying Lysol smell that cancels
“Out the delicate aroma
“Of this expensive infusion.
“Or that it would reveal this place
“To be something wonderfully other
“Than it is, Lysol and cracks included.
“But delusion doesn’t go away.
“Enlightenment doesn’t appear.”
“You, mean,” I say,
“If I get that, I’m on the right track?”
“Maybe, maybe not,” she says,
Just before she disappears.
Leaving me with the check.

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