Sunday, May 25, 2008


WISDOM OF THE EAST can be heard on TheSlamIdolPodcast, May 19, 2008.

A love story composed under the influences of Lord Byron and Siddhartha Gautama:


In college one learns that nothing is all there is
and all there is is nothing at all.

On the way to class there appeared a vision of Maya
upon the shoulders of a Hindu god, she leaning back against
an outside wall, bare legs gripping the sides of his chest,
lips in the shape of a kiss, taunting a crowd with a look
that I clearly mistook for spiritual bliss, thus nearly losing
myself in sexual fantasy on the way to Asian phiolosophy.

Barely retrieved from the brink of lust by an
invisible cloud of academic dust sprinkled from
the mustached lips of a professor so old that one
might expect to find traces of mold clinging to
the tips of the hairs in his ears, I was lectured on
Svetaketu with a smile soft enough to wake me up,
to catch me looking about the room for transcendental
visions in the glinting shadows of his eyeglasses and
pretentious tweed.

He read a translation from Sanskrit, the Chandogya
Upanishad, sixth Prapathaka, twelfth Khanda,
the story of a wise man and his son and a tiny seed
divided by a thumbnail until no longer visible,
“That is the Self,” the wise one said, “and thou, my
son, art that.”

Just then my vision entered the room, having descended
from divine shoulders, and found a seat in the lecture hall
with covered legs, looking amused among a group of
girls arranged in an adolescent huddle, about to release a
great tide of embarassed laughter upon the world, not
unlike Moses, it seemed to me, about to drown
Pharaoh’s army.

When she happened to notice me staring, I said aloud.
“There you are!” The professor considered my comment
relevant and said, “Exactly!”

Thou, Svetaketu art that, awash in the sweet fruit slime
of Nyagrodha bearing seeds infinitesimal in English,
massive enough in Sanskrit to be sorted out in the sixth
Prapathaka, allowing the son of a holy man to sort a single
seed from its protective bed of pulp and to take it, not
unlike a flea between thunbnails, and to break it down
to a disappearing scale much closer to infinity according
to the wishes of Aruni the mystic father who asked,
“What do you see?”
“I don’t see anything, Dad.”
“There you are!”

The moldy professor of soft smiles and tweed
dismissed us at last, and there followed a moment
by the outside wall (Hindu god was otherwise
occupied) when I suggested, since we didn’t know
from Nyagrodha, that just the two of us go
to Safeway and get a kiwi, so we did, and we
looked into the kiwi seeds awash in delerious
juices, broken as fleas upon thumbnails to
find ourselves.

Licking our fingers we found nothing, so
we looked into one another, licking
each other’s fingers and found passion, the
tastes of tongues and bodily fluids. No longer
thinking of Sanskrit nor the professor’s lessons,
I managed one day in the tangles of her hair,
the soft breath of her skin, in the innocence
of her eyes to lose myself completely, and she
in her wisdom whispered, “There you are!”


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