William Dean Freeman

three poems

I sought help from Rinzai in Reno,
doing Tai Chi in Taipei –
Zazen or Chachen or
whatever else you might wish to call it,
seeking the jade Buddha in the centre
of the dark lotus,
burning red carnations and black roses
against the graduated pallet of blues and greens
wherein someday I hope to lie.
And its times like these,
eyes at the cores of unchecked storms,
that, with tea in hand, I sit and ask
the one and only Koan:
What would Dylan Thomas do,
were he cast cold into the seas?

Disconcerted by the
kissing Christ-talk hypocrisy
of the bearded hep-cat
chatting across the kitchen,
she sits in the corner
silently, shaman-like,
stridently admiring Sidhatta:
a porphyry-skinned
Arno Breker-woman,
sick and ill;
fetid and faded,
popping pills:
bennies and ludes
and who knows what else,
becoming madcap, wild-woman
up and down,
bitchin’ Bodhisattva
wondering when the world will grow wise
and render chill.

Moment to moment,
Breath to breath,
I close my eyes
and smile in
silent contemplation of
a world both wonderful
and terrible,
burning while a thousand
little Nero-men
dance wildly in a forest
of catgut madness

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