Bodhisattva - The Beach of the Dead - Doctrine - Intentions - La Stella Della Danza / The Star of the Dance - The Pastor’s Awakening
My neck is sore from looking up at all those golden things.
Rapt angel, drop downward from your pink abode.
Bring solace to the creeping things that have no wing or soul.
Illuminate just once this darkened path and show us what you mean by love.
The Beach of the Dead
Before me stretch the lime shades of my third margarita
and in front of me lap the gentle blue-green waves of Playa de los Muertos.
I raise my glass, rim-frosted in salt
to all those who are actually doing something
about the miseries of the world,
from the nuns in the mega-slum of Neza-Chalco-Izta
(the Ciudad Perdida or Lost City on the outskirts of Mexico City)
to the doctors in the jungles of the eastern Congo.
I know that you could be sitting back, daquiris in hand
on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta or Cancún
or water-skiing over the blue-green waters of Kalamalka
breathing in deep the deep beauty of the northern pines.
I know that you could be thinking that the world is made of order and light
and the laughter of children
but instead you travel into the hills east of Kigali
toward poverty and worlds of darkness.
You dodge the machetes
and clean the same syringe for the fifteenth time
and wonder what miracle might save these people
might multiply like wine this serum
that comes in a bright orange packages
(but there simply aren’t enough bright orange packages).
When you try to sleep at night
what will you do with those memories
of an infected village
of a head cracked open
of a camp two miles long?
How will these memories sit with the other memories
of marshmallows around a campfire
and the crackling of the tinder and the pine needles
on a warm summer night
on the shores of Lake Kalamalka?
To all you warriors, unsung and unarmored
I raise my glass:
May you, and all those like you, inherit the earth.
Sometimes it seems that humans are rarefied angels
eloquent as Dante
dancing on the turn of a phrase
on the precise edges of the Primum Mobile
or banked in order, gold on gold
At other times they’re dumb as brutes
dogs without loyalty
tattered angels scratching at each other
on some darkened plain
or in a procession — “Mission
Accomplished!” — with fife and drum
Is it any wonder that preachers talk like mothers
repeating and scolding
till the naughty children sit up straight?
If the hellfire fundamentalists are right, they’ll be the ones to say,
in between sips of nectar, We told them so.
If the atheists are right, they won’t have that pleasure.
Now that it's too late, I recall all the beggars I've walked past
wondering why they didn't get a job (and thought to myself
better they learn for themselves not to give a village a fish)
and all the cries I've heard but didn't listen to
because I had better things to do
All the pretty girls I walked up to with their Because I'm a Girl t-shirts
and how I listened very intently with the best intentions, tempted
even to give in and give them what they wanted
but then I walked away, anyway
I remembered this as the road got darker
and the grimy gates clanged behind me
and cinders drifted downward from the heavy clouds
[Pinocchio, having been (easily) scammed of the coins given to him by Fire Eater, and having turned into a donkey (because of his laziness and gullibility), becomes the star act in a circus.]
The Pastor’s Awakening
The pastor revolts at the very sight of the icon
Blessed Mary, Mother of God wrapped in golden foil
golden calf of sceptre and rote, blood, and babylonian wine
as if it were anything but blood and wine
symbols, at best
and the Word garbled in an old language no one understands
For years he castigated the Whore of Babylon with her ermine robes
and her bread that was more than flour and water
and with her water that was more than wine
He became so drunk on his own crimson words
so embittered by the choler that coursed through his veins that he needed a transfusion
He returned in secret to the golden altar to drink once again the blood of his God
and feast on the flesh of his imagination
in his cave deep in the troglodyte hills
Then one morning he awoke to the sound of the bells that hovered
above the gargoyles with their cold northern sneer
He looked out of his cell window and could almost smell the jonquil and lavender
on the other side of the glass.