Thomas Christensen   right reading news service

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Potalakan Castaway

Dunned by print reps, hit on and
hectored by whining demons
masquerading as authors,
buried beneath pages devoid
of content, I wandered
mountains of memoranda,
navigated rivers of
type, fought commas and commerce
until desperate, naked,
and starving I found myself
far from family and friends
shipwrecked on Potalaka,
island of the bodhisattva
And all I got was this crummy
wisdom and compassion.

. . . . . . . . . .

Did the Buddha dream

of irksome colleagues--other
buddhas, perhaps, or vexing
boddhisatvas; of wasted
opportunities; of slow
retorts; of failed assignments;
of lithesome Hindu consorts,
eight arms caressing softly
in incensed chambers; of bombs
in Baghdad, oil fields blazing,
marshes turned to salt, families
fleeing? If reason's slumber
gives birth to monsters, what then
the sleep of enlightenment:
obscurity, confusion,
this mortal world? Or was the
buddha's sleeping mind a spinning
gyre, purring onto dawn?

. . . . . . . . . .

Sympathy for Mara

Mara’s daughters were bad girls
perhaps but they were loyal
daughters, not hesitating
to tempt the meditating
Buddha with their arsenal
of wicked tricks and come-ons:
hey daddy want to have some fun

after all their dad was God
of Death and Desire and how
cool is that compared to dry
as dust Siddhartha pointing
to the earth like some old fart
ascetic all ribs and bones
radiant and luminous
no doubt but not so much fun
for goodtime girls like Mara’s

The Buddha had enlightenment
but he didn’t have daughters

. . . . . . . . . .

Chant des Dames de Temps Jadis

imprisoned in plexiglass
this comb, this cup, this teapot

the woman they belonged to
grew barley by the river

. . . . . . . . . .

Recipe for 9/11

anger sorrow frustration
fallen towers toxic clouds
entomb the living by the
dead in bitter remembrance

fifteenth day of Chicken Month
means Autumn Moon Festival
distant lovers watch the same
bright harvest moon together

eating delicious mooncakes
with sweet red bean paste filling

. . . . . . . . . .

The Kiwi Pergola

this stucco cliff
makes a poor aerie
looking down I see
kiwis in an arbor

. . . . . . . . .

the piggy sestina (for ellen).

. . . . . . . . . .

an ancient scribble that recently fell out of a book (really!).
it probably dates from 1976, when we were in Ecuador.
(today it seems dreamlike, surreal, but that was a weird
period; it's basically socialist realism). God know what
possesses me to put it up here.





Yi jing (I Ching):
a new poetic rendering




I had rather be a kitten, and cry mew Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers; I had rather hear a brazen canstick turn’d, Or a dry wheel grate on the axle-tree; And that would set my teeth nothing on edge, Nothing so much as mincing poetry: ’Tis like the forc’d gait of a shuffling nag.
    — Henry IV, Part 1

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