• Posted on: 27 November 2015
  • By: Joe

the Buddha was searching
for what was deathless
eternal  immortal

he saw all humans
animals   aging
ill   dying

he saw crops growing
harvested   eaten
turned to manure

he saw mountains   rivers
unending   lifeless

he saw the sun blazing
in the sky   a shooting star

he saw the universe as nothing  
always in flux

he saw himself no-one
empty   nothing   beyond death

finding nothing he searched for
he prepared to find something else
or nothing
at all

seeing nothing that was

he gave up searching
and sat

beneath a

                   Kathmandu 2009

Love Comes Softly

  • Posted on: 27 November 2015
  • By: Joe

Lila comes into my room
at dusk
lies beside me
holding me
caressing my eyes
kissing my lips
Lila sleeps with me
envelops my body
my soul
until she vanishes
with the dawn
and I awake to find her gone

Love comes softly
when it comes
not a rush into
arms into
bed into
Love comes
softly into the 
as the stars whisper
and the moon
closes its eyes


  • Posted on: 27 November 2015
  • By: Joe

She moves in circles
like a spinning dancer
a whirling dervish

She goes wherever the dance is
dressed in red and gold silk--
she's so tired of black and blue

She is the mysterious one
we've all been searching for
her music, her song,
her flaming red hair

you will not find her in a convert--
when she enters the meditation hall
it is with ease and a smile
she is never what you expect

with a glass of wine and a song
she will lead you to the highest heights
if you have eyes to see her
you'll forget about diamonds and pearls

without her the wine would have no bouquet--
with her, you do not need wine

she is the butterfly in your dream
the bird let out of its cage
the voice that comes to you in the middle
of the long dark night

She is standing next to you right now.

When There Is No Buddha

  • Posted on: 27 November 2015
  • By: Joe

at a baseball game in Oakland Coliseum
an overweight sixtyish man
sits next to me
talks throughout the doubleheader
in a raspy recovering alcoholic voice:

I've played golf with Joe Morgan
an old drinking buddy of Don Larsen's
i've met a lot of people
seen the inside of Jerry Falwell's office--
Jesus saved me, but these guys are fakes.
He told me he thinks he's the Moses of the modern era.

the New York Yankess
the team of the century
recovering coke addict in left field
alcoholic perfect game pitcher
manager from my Brooklyn neighborhood
with brother rescued from the dead

and I'm complaining about a second baseman hitting under .250
Rivera giving up too many walks
errors on routine grounders
weak setup men in the bullpen

You're an angry man. Very critical.
The best team in history and all you do is criticize.
I think I see your blood pressure rising.
I hear a gall bladder problem coming on.

I think of my father's high blood pressure
my mother's gall stones

this from a gambler, writer, former teacher,
a man who says he was in organized crime
before Jesus come into his life:

           Now I don't believe in anything.
           I wish I could care about something.

he pokes fun at my idealism
my human potential movement
my Sufi poetry

I hate everybody--
I guess it's because I hate myself
most of all.
My father burned down his warehouse one day
collected the insurance
and gambled it away
left town in the dark one night
and was never seen again.

I had a father
who disappeared three times a week
I lose some part of myself each day
I look for a flaw in everything

down by four runs in the top of the ninth
the Yankess tie it up on a grand slam
by the dope fiend
go ahead when the A's first baseman
is knocked unconscious
score again on homers into the bleachers
it's the eternal comeback story
it ain't over till it's over--
it's Siddhartha on the basepaths
rounding third and heading for . . .

Now don't start giving me that crap again
about humanity
about Rumi and Kabir
somebody once told me
I was a Sufi poet myself
I've heard all that crap--
"When there is no Buddha,
be the Buddha!"

What was that?
What was that line about the Buddha?

You never heard that before?
I guess you never watched a ballgame
with someone with a theology degree.

"When there is no Buddha, be the Buddha"