Poems

Poems

Deathless

  • 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
deathless

he gave up searching
and sat

beneath a
tree

                   Kathmandu 2009

Searching

  • Posted on: 25 March 2014
  • By: Joe

While others were searching for the Holy One
I came searching for you

you took me in and fed me
you accept me the way that I am

to you all my faults are a grain of sand
being washed by the Ganges

to you all my pain is a drop of water
floating in the Pacific

what I offer you in return
is my love

and all I ask of you
is the thorn

that's been buried deeply
in your flesh

If the Buddha Was a Woman

  • Posted on: 8 May 2014
  • By: admin

Buddhas at Angkor Wat
with red lipstick and white powder
on their faces

What if the Buddha was a woman?

would she have worn makeup
and a white dress

would she have shaved her head
and worn a saffron robe

would she have said that only women
could be buddhas

would she have darkened her eyes
and whitened her skin

would she have taken the form
of a half-male half-female
walking through the world with
a thousand arms

If the Buddha was a woman
would she still have smiled
that same slight smile
with her red lips

or would she have asked us
to take our own makeup off
to let our hair grow long
to bare ourselves to the sunlight

would the glow of her beauty
have lightened the world
when she rose to dance
like a deva?

Poet's Walk

  • Posted on: 8 May 2014
  • By: admin

on the walk
across the Brooklyn Bridge
I lost the group
when they turned off
and I
hurrying to catch them
on the Bridge
somehow passed them
walking by myself
arriving in Brooklyn
ahead of them all

sometimes you think
you've fallen behind
when you're just somewhere else
on the road--
you think you're lost
when you're already
found--

perhaps at the point
of the Bridge
where you first see
Liberty--
or when you are no longer
on one island
but not yet
on the other

you're afraid you've lost
the way
when the way is right
before you
winding back
to where you began:

the child rocking
in the cradle--
the boy standing
on the beach--
the man swimming
toward the shore--

swimming still

Indonesian Dreads Singing Marley

  • Posted on: 8 May 2014
  • By: admin

under a bare 100 watt bulb
in an old hotel in Yogyakarta
on the island of Java
paint peeling under exposed wires
laundry piled under
soot-coated pipes


filtered through cigarette smoke
and beer glasses
in the cool midnight air
to the rhythm of one guitar


in soft voices
filled with longing
we sing
long into the night
these songs of freedom

On the Rooftop

  • Posted on: 20 September 2015
  • By: Joe

 

On the Rooftop

in the center of the
    city

in the center of the
   valley

surrounded by
   mountains

and the far off invisible
    Himalayas

standing on the rooftop
above the winding stair
I see in all directions:

the rising and crumbling
    buildings

the smoky haze over the 
    highway

the five-colored prayer flags
    swaying

the piles of broken wood and
    corrugated iron

and above it all
eternally:

the curves of the stony
    hills
the sun setting
    behind them

with endless light

and endless
            sky

                              Kathmandu