Sunday, January 11, 2009

Buddha Belly

author’s note:

One time, when I was but a boy...

...I won a tiny Buddha on a necklace at the county fair.  I didn’t even pay a dime--I just turned a crank, the toy shovel swung out, then fell down and picked up the Buddha.  Raised in the Bible belt, I wasn’t even sure what I’d won.

However, I never became a Buddhist and have only a limited knowledge of Buddhism.  No matter--I continue to try to reach the Buddha within.


As I bathed
in the belly of the Buddha
I could feel
the golden bowl


I could feel
the hills
outside the temple
hear the goats
from stone
               to stone--
their hooves percussing.

I could feel the prayer wheel
was a turning
in my heart
and the prayer flags
on the line
are the way I often am
after I’ve been washed:
     wrung out but free
     yet securely fastened

while buffeted by a wind
beyond my control--

I trust--I have to trust--
that the flagpole
is indomitable.

© 2008, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Language of Solitude

author’s note:

Yes, I can dangle in mid-air.  But it’s more a requirement than it is an ability.


I came to the operating room
very pregnant
with all I had ingested

but who am I to brag?---
even a child carries too much
impossible to be spoken
or even cogitated.

I lay alone.  No midwife--
only my ability
to dangle in mid-air
could deliver me.

The halls shone so brightly
empty, I even my ghosts
gave up trying to frighten
and left me

alone with a forest stream

that flowed on by,
paying my labors no mind
--I could just as well have been a rock
there among the white trees--

the type of white tree
with bark peeling off
in tender strips --
I wish I knew their name--
       so many things I wish I knew--
I wonder:
how many different types
of pain
do we experience?

This pain was a spade stabbing down.
Down through my earthen floor.
Intense and yet so deep
that it seemed completely bearable.
Almost pleasurable
because it
held me transfixed,
held me silent.

I don’t know the time of waiting.
So long, I ceased to count
and became an open rock--
there, amid the dark shade
of the white trees.

How might I describe that baby?

The baby is like that deep
pleasurable intensity.
Except that it lives in the sun
and plays.
So simple as to be
beyond my comprehension

yet still connected
by a cord
through which
our language flows
continuously weaving.

The language of solitude.
The language of trees.

© 2008, Michael R. Patton
earnest audio
new steps

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