Meeting Buddha on the Road

I met the Buddha on the road
and tried to kill him...

But he used some Ninja stuff and
beat me. He took my wallet,

not the money, just threw out
all my photo ID.

Then he helped me up, put his
arm around me and we stumbled

to a working class bar 
where we sat all night in the back room

sipping Wild Turkey,
laughing about our minds:

how they invented suffering,
how they invented happiness,

how they invented "good" and "evil"
and their need for education,

how they invented "God" and finally
"authority," then gave it away 

to some empty suit they never 
even met in Washington DC,

how they invented War, my God,
how they invented War...

Gray dawn, rainy day, no flower.
Buddha slipped away.

I wondered if I hadn't just been
talking to myself all night.

Listen to this poem read on YouTube HERE .


The master has broken my heart again,
this time hiding his eyes among camellia buds.
I will use my breath to roll away the stone.

Do you understand this?
Have you visited the tomb?

Did you too mistake the gardener for the garden?

I will use my breath to touch the mountain
and put out even the fire that created me.
Do you understand this?

I will send my breath on the Night Journey
from belly to crown, a distance
too great for any Haj.

I will use my exhalation to reveal what is hidden,

and my inhalation to open Mary's womb
like a rose.

Do you understand this?
It is our own lungs that cry
what Gabriel shouted to Muhammad:

Reveal love’s secret 
with your whole body!”

‘Iqra’: Arabic, the first word revealed in the Qu’ran, the angel Gabriel’s command
to Muhammad on the night of revelation. It means ‘Recite!’ compelling the Prophet
to take the message to the people.


I know you are a connoisseur of Truth
because you desire not only the Light
but the Darkness,
not only the stars of heaven
but the dank secrets of the tomb.
You are willing to decompose
in order to find what never changes.
You are willing to stink.
And stay.
You are not content with the quiet repose
of the Answer.
You want the pique and yearning
of the Question too.
The fertilizer the rose comes from
is your first home.
You grow among mushrooms
with the good white worm.
That rainbow must not remain above the earth.
It must pierce your eye and get bloody
like a scimitar.
You long to know this breath,
not as it was in the sky, transparent and blue,
but as it enters your flesh, warm and tainted
with uncertainty, with death,
descending, clothing silence
in the songs of your ancestors.
From the rattle in the nostrils
to the drum in the egg,
you fall and rise.