Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Poem Seven (Redux)

I did some rewrites, curious if this machine functions...



Getting there: A not-cheap ticket, a shaded
deliberateness, a tourist boat’s
muddy slowness. So you can’t blame

mistake, claim you just bumbled
in wanting a milk chai, this
gleaming ashram which,
tallest thing for miles, gloats over
the oil-laced, famous Kerala backwaters.

The shore’s
fat foliage’s eye-speckled wetness
buzzes like the twenty five year old Polish skeptic’s
throat-stuck anti-malarial pill. She’s wishing
she’d bought another carton of that juice at the bus stand,
cardboard mango but still somehow crisper than
the freshest tropics via ice-packed jet
that Europe can muster. Upper left
arm tattooed with an Oswald swirl of dancing bears,

she doesn’t care much about the Grateful Dead—
she likes bears. Krakow and Green Tara,
and the seventeenth Karmapa. She frets the constant doubling
of the Dalai Llama’s influence at the expense of the magical lineages,
naked snowcave monks levitating
wrestler-masked in moss, and
she’s working on not sniffing so much at
escalation up the Virtues.

But even a queasy hour on the boat, palm frond current’s
empty fishing nets, families up to their necks, hasn’t
eased the guilt of her haughtiness during
that bumpy bus ride to the Cochin boarding dock:
The honeymooners from Chennai
come to seek in jitteriness their guru’s blessing,
the drippy groom’s asking her reasons for coming, and
her reply, her grin
cocked snide to quote the ad on the side of the bus, that

very juice she now missed, the slogan’s snaky
script of a mirage barbershop quartet: “Why,
‘It’s time to Jive.’” She
considers her own spiritual practice rigorous
enough, thanks, and
won’t even risk a yoga class inside India’s borders
in case they try to make it more than mere exercise,
bypassing Mind to tuck new, and Hindu,
concepts deep behind her doubts. She recalls
a Gdansk schoolmate’s Vespa crash
amnesia: Regained his address
and phone number but never again remembered
he was vegetarian

and addicted to heroin. However,
the fact of last night’s fight with—
again—her fiancé after his missing evening sitting
to buy some bogus antique coins, their agreement to meet in a week
down the road, this morning’s failed
rendezvous with some Danes she met in Goa—well, maybe she’d
just try the ashram. Research. A day or two. Couldn’t hurt.
Besides, perhaps, relationship
of quality to source’s closeness,
it’s just like that fruit juice, and in India

even the spottiest gurus’
roots run deep truer than those back home grown moldy
in steerage from California. Perhaps India’s seekers, petals
shed by a culture blossomed from soil
gleaming black-volcanic the wisdom
of countless teachers back
beyond time, can sense
true intentions better than Westerners
and demand a teacher have
a legitimate lesson or two up his beard
before they’ll tithe enough to install
central air. (Never mind that she’s noticed
every bookshop in this country seems to stock at least

three copies of Mein Kampf ).
Never mind the grand lesson
of her childhood gutted by the Russians,
they of the grand pronouncements,
whom for, even when pressed,
she can’t summon one compliment:
No matter what they say in Llahsa
intention is not the ultimate.
Disembarking she’ll decide

her intention is silence.
And to take advantage
of the Master’s reportedly failsafe
smoking cure.


At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fucking cool poem!

At 5:10 PM, Blogger P'tit Boo said...

oh god ... the mosquitoes and the heat. It's all i can think of....
but. uh you wanted feedback on the poem huh ? I am underqualified for feedback. I write poems that say things like "the buttocks of the girls walking on Broadway bounce under their flowery skirts."
I am underqualified.
But um. I know this. You are Pete the Poet and damn you're good !
I miss the days of drunkenness and cheap poetry from my paper journal..

At 5:52 PM, Anonymous momster said...

You have painted a wonderful picture...

At 7:07 PM, Anonymous rk said...

man, i love this. i feel dizzy...dizzy....then grounded...then dizzy.... kind of like a narrative ginsberg. it also reminds me of a carnival ride where you drop and spin--then it stops for a moment for you to catch your breath--then it starts again, then sets you down. really great stuff...


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