The Painting On The Wall

While at first sight it gives us

a mutilated Spring,

all shades of green splash together and merge,

trying hard to bring something into form.

Like a small river in a grove where

a tender-faced nymph appeared

one morning

and walked smoothly into a pool

of algae,

dreaming of her own mortality.

 

Silence is on the canvas but loud in the myth

preserved inside a memory.

The nymph, her nudity on the river bed,

iridescent, the color

of mother-of-pearl.

Ladies Of The Woods

ladies of the woods

Back at my hometown there was a cave where, though a long time ago,

bones of dead women were stored and piled at the first eclipse of the year ,

so they could be resurrected by some unknown forces to become,

as the locals believe, the ladies of the woods.

The first thing these ladies would do was to find their husbands,

if alive, and transform them into tigers.

At night if you heard the racing wind come with roars of some mighty beasts,

It was them, the ladies of the woods and their lovers,

engaging in an orgiastic ritual as the night sky perpetuated their images

into different patterns of stars.

 

My grandma told me this story and she pointed to the cave on the mountain,

“we are all sons and daughters of these ladies”, she said as she wiped her eyes

with the corner of her black dress, the one she wore at my grandpa’s funeral.

“but you can’t find them anymore” .

 

On The Lover’s Night

Perseus

Let the light burn , let the rose bloom

for tonight, it’s lover’s night,

and the bridge that connects you and I arches

toward a river of stars, look, my love,

there is the destination for us, there ,

up on the throne of Perseus and Andromeda.

Gulmohar

凤凰木

so it is the place of the enlightenment ,

where swarthy peddlers sell ice creams

to the unworthy tourists like me.

So here it is , this open valley where the one

lived and left behind , 2500 years ago ,

I thought I could feel his breath in each breeze,

but no , it’s just another empty field ,

another tourist attraction, and the devoted swarm in

with incense and spice to seek him in idols ,

(Oh idols wonderfully clad in silver and gold )

and the garden consecrated )

still I do not know what paths what roads what gateways

lead to him ,No, I do not know,

I’m one of many conditioned in a mock show,

unmoved to the voice from Sarnath – it has dimmed

and lost to the bright rim of the worldly sun,

like right now, it’s all been unbearably quiet and hot,

suddenly, a pillar of fire,  or an illusion

bursts up to an azure sky , soon spreads , arches,

and drips down to a patch of lazy shades .

Gulmohar , the fire tree, the nest of Phoenix,

greets me at the entrance of the holy place .

but I’m wearied , and yearning for shelter ,

I walk into the grand mystery of the tree

who, many a century ago , must have seen

him who came seek shelter under this canopy,

him who came seek alms and blessed

the approaching prince, offering a prophesy.

now I sit and meditate on the same spot ,

with no robes nor medicine in hand, forlorn ,

troubled by Dharmas of all kinds and trapped in forms,

Is my abiding worth the time ? Will I be forgiven ?

Will he approach with the gift of nirvana?

I know he once did , 2500 years go.

I reach out to the burgeoning fire above my head ,

far far away comes a hymn of a Bhiksuni .

Three Stanzas

1.

The morning heat is breaking through the window

and warping the dream into a hot reality.

He stirs; his watch ticks while his heart beats

unrythmically to the moaning summer –

it’s dying in the yard.

A florist is arranging some yellow flowers.

2

So the god arranges the scorching east wind

for us all in the city or in villages;

He also sends in silence with the tolling of bells.

Behind each mottled wall there’s thick smog

that people breathe,

and a murmuring crowd squat at the gate.

3.

The asphalt road is gleaming like black ice,

people built huts around it, ugly huts that stretch out

like alm-asking palms.

It’s not Jerusalem,

It’s not Lumbini,

It’s the consecrated slum we call life.

Persist and live,

for a cloud of dew will come in the heat of the harvest time.