Where does Buddha go when rain falls on the Bo tree?
Rain is called Weather by the sage next door,
but that’s the sage for you. He never fails to find
a universal Word like Cosmos, Nature, World,
all too-big words that along with Weather
mean too little to mean at all.
If there’s a master in the house he wields a stick.
Stay in rain. Lightning imperils
the flesh-and-blood initiate
before he reaches the ancient stage. Imagine
kabuki. Better yet, forget it. Kabuki
asks that you imitate, leave imagination
in the house with the master. If, then, a student
does not know what a word means, ask.
The master will say, Look it up.
It rains pearls shaped like drops of sky.
There is no word for Sky but sky, like Rain . . .
He wields his stick, or begins to,
I flee one storm into town. There,
all the bad habits of the Western World
await, bright nails, sparkling eyes curious:
What do you want? What may I have
you think you want? Is there someplace
west of here we could lie, bodies entwined . . .
What would it cost? Is it blood or money?
When do clouds open? Early? or Late?
What is God called when you are drowning?
Juan peers into the mirror and enunciates,
John Flowers. Words like Leila Shulamite,
Maria Teresa. And where is She
at this moment in the West? Surely not
east of here? Would some gadget of our time
show Her going about Her day,
happy now She’s free of his memory,
believing: It’s best, I need to forget . . .
If You never see him, Eyes,
if You never touch him, Lips,
if his never see You, touch Yours,
bodies living only in photographs,
there are great distances between breaths
that breathe only to start another storm.
I can imagine Love but it is much too big
a word to know. Which one is the Bo tree?
And does it root only in the mirror?
I can tell Her nothing She does not know.
And nobody arrives, nobody leaves.
(2 June 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander