Saturday, November 26, 2005

Day Seven


breastfeeding on the steps
temple hags beg

body as performance
illustrating desire’s dire results

upstairs testosterone chants in the hall

imagine those boys buttering
each the other up
hill of nervous goats behind

there’s a cloud of flies
at the temple’s door
here for the novelty of summer

gold highest to heaven
moss cleaves the stones
that hold the wall

a single bare bulb
hangs blankly

then you come upon the chapel
of five hundred monks chanting
like of scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark

proof of the despotism of orientalisms
you’re the voyeur leaning over
with digital camera, MP3, sketchbook

long nose in the primitives’ trough
from up here on the mezzanine
see monks and their mantras
and the less devout
sipping, chatting, swapping tales
swapping phones
incurring and repaying debts

overseen only by the tourist

a refuge in this
eyes of compassion
fellow feeling

then here come the Polish breasts on tour
‘tashidele,’ I say


the difference between superstition and religion
like the distance from money to cash

I put an ear to the ancient conch
I hear the world revolve

a tiger, a whole mandala of sand

to stand outside temples
taunting the faithful
whom would that be to mock?

the pilgrim as explorer
monastic slut
smell of the short cuts


on the prayer circuit
a sea of suffering
fed here and now by a river of rubbish

very postmodern

cattle around the cattle skull mound
model human obliviousness

the all-there-ever-is to depict
and is there any other kind?

‘you can go up little goat,’ she said

the etiquette of pilgrims is such
our self made guide grizzled
speaks unintelligibly
but with fervour

the pointing is a sop
sky home blue here

at last I recall it
the line which was lost

the pivot, the light
the mast
which would have lit the poem whole

what was it again?


broken glass crowns the weed high wall
enlightenment is not for all

the three o’clock gong

a report from the stellar regions
saved by the locked door

feet fall forward too – a circle, a mantra

fort da fort da
religion is repetition disorder

finding it can’t be the way

in the west it’s for those
too lazy for philosophy

surely it finds you just
en route
at your business

among all things already lost


a sleight
to claim existence not clung to


: these are the tricks to unfocus desire

comes down to
who’s got the best story

the wonder of all things
primitive as they seem
endow the mind with wonder

faith is what you won’t get round
it turns the world

live by it

but after all

because the breath is wanted yet
and laughter needs pause to resume


the dogma of poetry
let self efface

sutra of the mist descending
which ridges cannot rise beyond

faith is what you won’t get round
it turns the world
we live by it

back on the Bahkor

lice and nits among street vendors
call this a free exchange

‘money, money’
you hear descending
and it’s my language at last

hands out make the ‘gei wo’ sign
adding to this day’s universals

the crumpled form
the dirt clad shape
the old frail hand
which reaches out
to touch the one
I’ll wash ’ere long
I mean asap

last morning

clatter of motors
the day commencing
the rhythm deepens
like sweeping
like chanting on a higher plane
or sex on the floor above

Tibet’s yet to embrace the muffler

a cat tied to the washing line next door
lion like in ambition

this is Wednesday the incense day
weeds deemed aromatic
burn everywhere on the incense circuits

there’s abuse of the shopgirl’s
otherwise silence

taunt of the town in the smoke
which measures out the sky
to call its spirits home

China is an inalienable part of Tibet

without a name
you go to the lama
the higher the better

he’ll give you one

you build a road
you plan to stay
there’s no apology

green of high summer
cloud taller and taller

uncanny the knack of blocking the path
of those just behind you

of turning pristine marble to muck

now that the sack of the city is done
ah but they’ll say – no city before

the jade spittoon of hoary tradition
mucus the colour of jade set in motion
commemorates the friendly conquests

the world’s bright rooftiles
and higher still
the temple jewels
stupa treasures

note the locals

prostrate before the Potala
crowding out the footpath

before the rough timber hoarding
behind which the fortieth anniversary
party dignitaries on their podium
will backdrop the Potala
all China’s long tradition

for this week all tourist permits cancelled

ignorance and superstition
the chicken and egg business
can neither be accounted nor discounted

how colourful those tribes
nation makes various


one muzak there is
below all others
tunes the soul to what is, will be
devised it is and unintended

in heavy traffic
in dense smog
the man with the cured pig legs
six of them in the basket
back of his bike
sways and leans
and finally pulls over
to improve his mobile reception

not even you, my reader
can find this remarkable


Post a Comment

<< Home