for the masses to find some nirvana as they rake stones
from the base of the tree. i wandered with Siddhartha
and ate the same undercooked fish from the Ganges
where the dead lay—now us. as the heat came down my bare feet
wandered into the temple where i sat motionless for days
with my mother above me, rosary in hand, saying the only part of the prayer
she can remember in Spanish; your mother sat above you
with her stones in one hand and the Bible in the other,
switching from Korean to her soiled tongue. days and days
we abstained from the all to spoiled flesh and bone,
the wine we hid under the rug and the cigarettes in your bag
because we all know the clouding of the mind is something even our mothers
know hinders enlightenment or a round-trip to Heaven and back.
at thirteen i thought i would return to Earth a specter, something to offer
light to the dampened life of a twelve-year-old boy whose eyes look mysteriously
like mine. at sixteen i was convinced i could be a falcon or a rabbit
or maybe a woman if i really wanted to be: someone pretty so that the boys
would wish to never abstain like i would—Noble Truth 2: Suffering is Caused by Desire
and i wanted to be their suffering. but now when the glitch in the earth cracks open
so that i fall in, i can't see myself in the forest or in the street corner.
Noble Truth 1: Life is Suffering. i wanted to be life in that ifsofactso manner
but now to be the death of those desiring would be something more lustful
and sweet: i want blood to drip from my mouth like the sour juice from a pomegranate.
Noble Truth 3: It is Possible to Relieve Suffering in One's Life.
this does not bode well for the man sitting cross-legged next to you
while chants ring throughout the temple; while that putrid fish makes its way
through my belly and my blood; while the sick fuck aching from my hips sways
back in forth in front of you like a piece of raw beef in front of a starving dog—
though i know you don't starve: you are quite full so much that you can't eat another bite
(gluttony is frowned upon in this temple, but you had your fill before you left the rest
for the vultures). Noble Truth 4: The Way to Relieve Suffering is by Following
the Noble Eightfold Path. sadly i live my life in fours, and eight is too much for me—
gluttonous even. so while you consider chopping the hair off your head
i'll let mine grow. while you trim your finger nails to keep the boys at bay
i'll throw a coat of paint on mine to be a suffering. i'll trek with Siddhartha
and leave Jesus in the dust. we'll wait to see where you end up: to see if you'll stick with Gautama
or instead fuck him—remember the Precept of Misconduct: remember the Precept Against Killing.
remember that so you don't leave him dead: i'll be the one on my knees keeping him and you cozy.