Poem of the week

March 2, 2011

Here’s what I did for this week’s writing workshop. Enjoy.

Siddhartha Goes to Happy Hour

The King-Who-Has-Found-Meaning sits down
As the sun also settles into the ground’s edge.
His mind clears. He feels the weight of air sinking into his chest
Then rising up the back of his throat, out the tips of his nostrils.
A slow glow warms his bones, muscles, vessels, even his fingernails.
For a moment he has discovered a fifth noble truth.
But, after the third breath, he feels the hardness of his seat.
He considers his own existence as a human body
It has travelled all eight paths – under trees, on mountaintops
It has led others to travel the same trails, over and over and over.
He guided his ascetic friends to accept a more middle route
Convinced men to give up everything, wear golden robes, and shave their heads
Eventually, he even persuaded thousands of college students to sit quietly,
Or contort themselves into poses on a mat, for just $15 an hour.
And it occurs to Buddha that he’s bored
He has been repeating himself for thousands of years now.
Over and over and over, the same wisdom
Suffering, Impermanence, Egolessness. Repeat.
Today, at dusk, he has nothing important to say. Nothing inspiring. Nothing new.
The teenagers are stealing cash from their parents, or chasing after each other
The monks are toiling over the meaning of his words
Will they ever just figure it out already?
He cracks his knuckles and neck at the same time.
It’s been a long day. A long day of just sitting around
Being at stupid peace.
No wonder so many people stray from the path, he thinks
Do the devotees eventually let their minds wander to cups of coffee
While they are on their retreats in the Berkshires?
Do the Yoga instructors ever take a week of not stretching
And just eat chocolate and hamburgers and smoke cigarettes in between?
Buddha takes out his iPhone. Are there any bars near by?
It’s almost happy hour, and he feels thirsty.
He wishes a monk would bring him a lager.
Or maybe a stout, but that would have been better at lunchtime.
Oh well.
And French fries. He wants a lager and French fries. And a rock concert.
After all that sitting, Buddha needs to rock out.
But first, it’s time for happy hour. Time is fleeting, and it will be over soon.
(Good thing he knows about impermanence, he thinks).
The sitters can sit. The lamas can chant. The disciples can figure out the truth
His decision is made. He puts right hand to left takes a quick bow, then
Buddha stands up.
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