I ONCE KNEW A DOOR-TO-DOOR BUDDHA
I once knew a door-to-door buddha
who thought of nothing as the space left
by everything he had lost
and grew so exquisitely refined
he hung himself in a keyhole
with a piece of nirvanically-flavoured dental floss.
We change in ways we never thought we would.
So right now
you are not especially beautiful
and I am not particularly wise or good.
Yesterday, the moon. And today
this egg in a snakepit
debating scales and feathers
as I try to swallow my own tail
up to and including my head
to see if I can disappear
like the tatoo of the dragon
born in the burning mirror
the mercy of the fire sloughs like skin.
Now there’s a scar in the sky
where my face used to be
and the crystal skull I’m drinking from
looks uncannily like me
before I left home like a grave
that wasn’t deep enough to dream in
of all the things I never became.
Right candle. Wrong flame, perhaps,
but I had to make the starmaps up as I went along
like the words to something you sing alone
when your heart’s on fire
and the dead are still flesh and bone.
It was never enough just to see the visions
I wanted to see the eye that saw them,
the black jewel that shone in all directions
like the unwitnessed clarity of the dark light
that engenders the light we go by
and I resolved like diamond
that if I couldn’t be a petty fool like other people
then I would exact my revenge
by aspiring to be a great one.
But that work is done, and now
there’s nothing left of me to be
that isn’t creatively giving and free
so that when I’m listening to your confession
I don’t appoint a jury of fireflies
and call the court into session
as we all rise like the tears in your eyes
asking to be forgiven.
I don’t turn my blood into a flowchart
and point to the north star
like the axis of the evidence
that everything turns on.
I listen to your lies inventively
as your chandeliers crash
like trees and constellations
in an ice-storm all around you
and remembering I once put
the ripples in your earrings
like an apple that fell into the river,
I grow human and warm,
I assume a kinder, more fictitious form
and remove the moon from your eye like a sliver.