Passages

Hitchhiking a camel
Involves the right words or sounds.
Up to your ankles in sand,
The feet may complain.
Real time tempo and space
Race together on a track
No one can see.

Fragile, incomprehensible words
Erase your past onto mine.
Let's go together
To a country that no longer exists.
Sounds loyal or disloyal.
Is there no fighting anymore?

Escape recognition as someone else.
Trade him or her in.
Remain with yourself alone.
Wait for me
On the other side of time.

11/4/05

Healing Death

This precipice threshold hurts my heart in two.
Names are slight but full of trouble.
To be deprived of all power is to die.
Who and where, then, am I?
The weaknesses of flesh require both light and darkness.
Make oracles come true.
Do not overrate the me in you.
Hypocrisy city drains its waters in.
My heart betrays no one.
You who hear what I cannot,
Enlighten me with song.

4/21/06

Bluebeard's Retreat

I am always with you,
Like a handsome brother.
The windows hear rumors
And rattle back.
All that glitters is not sunlight.
Give me the keys
To your stream of blood.
Who washes hands here
But bricks and the moon?
Blood stained jewels
Echo the death
Of the forest behind them.
Open all the doors
And kiss me.
Night is my only competitor.
What is your real name, Fate?
Make me feel guilty.
Give me some breath to lose.
Who did you love before me?
The key to seventh Heaven
Requires you to cross a moat called Hell.
How do you like it now?

3/10/06

Circus First Night For Children of All Ages
"What is, is by it's nature, on display."
James Schuyler

Applaud anything, crowd.
Do not feel responsible.
Don't tell me when to laugh, please.
Sit through the untaken pledge.
She sings off key, anyway.
In this circus of dreams,
What do the eyelids do?

Is that a dinosaur or a dragon
Following you around
In his or her unchauffeured carriage?
The Cossacks are coming,
Even if there is only one.
Some more arrive,
Racing around slowly.
No Ukrainians in sight or sound.

Is a Herculette a candy or a girl?
Hercules catches a cannonball
But not with his teeth.
Now are his labors ended?
Elephants ring bells in Thailand, too,
A whole orchestra of them.
How many muslces are there
In your imagination?

Don't touch the whistle or whet it.
You can train a dog to do anything.
What is, is by its nature, on display.

3/23/06

The Last Bamiyan Poem

We are or were the Bamiyan Buddhas,
Those thousand year old standing Buddhas
Carved out of a cliff in Bamiyan, Afghanistan
When it was an ancient empire called Bactria.
The Taliban blew us up four years ago.
Now they've been removed by the Americans
But many are still fighting outside Kabul.
Some people miss us.
A web site has been set up
To promote our eventual reconstruction.
But we are happy not to "be" anymore.
As statues we have attained our own "nibbana",
Never to have to be looked at
Or to play roles for anyone anymore.
To so-called Fundamentalist Muslims,
We were idols who had to be destroyed.
An early twentieth century Afghan king
Removed our eyes and our foreheads
To placate those who charged us
With diluting their warlike warlord lives
With the look of ultimate peace.
We were never omniscient or omnipotent.
In short or tall, we were only statues.
At one time there was a legend
That our arms could move
Even though we were so-called inanimate stone.
We'd long ago ceased to satisfy anybody
Except for a few crazy, Western tourists,
Some of whom were in Afghanistan
Mostly to smuggle out drugs.
A few drew inspiration from us
To pursue the Buddhist ideal further east.
To these we send our regards.
We will not miss being dead statues
There solely to have others read their own
Perceptions and interpretations onto us.
We have achieved total egolessness and nonbeing
Like the arhats, those followers of the real, historical Buddha
Who achieved total liberation
And need never be reborn again.
Chances are we would have returned
As lesser statues anyway had we
Even been truly born or died.
Now we are rubble as much of
The Muslim world may be rendered soon.
We are happy to have achieved perfect nonbeing
Even if it happened with a bang
Not as big as the big bang
That supposedly created the universe
At least this time around
And on this plane of being.
We had a curious immortality as statues,
The largest standing Buddhas in the world.
Now we are no more. At least
We are free of the war which consumes
Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Palestine,
And all places where human beings
Are still crazy to kill each other
Over different names for the same nonexistent God.
God as Nibbana or some ideal love concept is okay.
But the little man with the beard in the clouds
Who watches benevolently or sternly over all
Christians, Muslims, Jews, or whomever
Is beyond doubt the worst collective fantasy
Delusion ever perpetrated
By some imperfect human beings upon others.
Siddhartha Gautama, upon whom we were modeled, said:
The existence or nonexistence of a God
Is not an important question;
What matters is the understanding
And transcendence of all human suffering.
Since people insist on continuing
To feel pain and causing pain to one another,
At least we don't have to witness it anymore.
May Shakyamuni's teachings liberate
As many humans and other sentient beings
Whom it possibly can.
We have been released from all this
By some fanatics who enslaved a sad country
And then blew us up.
Now Afghanistan is so full of landmines
American, Russian, and weapons
Left over from twenty-five years of war
That it almost isn't fit to breathe in anymore.
These are problems we had to witness arising
From self-serving, aggressive, egotistical
Human actions. Capitalism or Communism,
Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Muslim, whatever
Religion people espouse is fine.
But if these fail to teach others
To treat each other with humanity,
It little matters what perfect teachers teach.
At least we were relieved of the necessity to witness
The variously predicted endings of the world
Either by pollution, overpopulation, wars,
Nuclear proliferation, terrorism,
Stalinism, or whatever
New social religion is invoked
In order to make people hate one another
So that their leaders can control them.
If human beings prove to be too stupid,
Self-obsessed, and angry
To avoid destroying this once
Relatively peaceful plane of being
Which previous good karma had
Allowed them to be reborn into,
At least we statues are "out of here", as some say,
Before that happens.
Goodbye, inhabitants of Earth.
We still hope you can find
Solutions to your many social problems with each other.
We hope for your own sakes
And for the great teachings
Whose words we once strove
To physically represent in stone.

10/17/04

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