Monday, March 27, 2006

Poem Twelve


Hanuman Temple, Hampi

Of course these monkeys thieve:
Sidestepped veterans, victims
of the quiver
of time’s clowning
uncomfortably close to real
on the stage of these memory battles,

despite their degraded lineage,
their birthright still contains
the falling axe’s swiftness
harnessed to the chopping block’s

How many twists
up the whitewashed steps? This rocky plateau,
the awe-knotting sunset distance is
for them just for yawning at as
a merely practical lure for loose binoculars,
Germans’ cameras, pilgrims’ bananas.

Rice paddies explode into palm trees.
These Mogul-ruined kingdom scraps
to guidebook speculation: Dance halls?
Queen’s baths? What guesswork calls
a parade ground, the monkeys
call a graveyard (comrades
shredded blackened pink). And,
for long before that, a blessed place ropey clouds
of incense and mint nuzzled sheets of gold

hovering to shade
pools glinting a birdsong of crushed pearls.

Perfection for a golden yuga before humans split
mountain for sword,
this was Kishkinda, Hanuman’s kingdom. And they

were his to raise up!
Army as black wave, thorn static.
They’d achieve size enough to make
ammunition to crush demons with a mere thoughtless toss of

these boulders now dwarfing them, their
tattered divinity’s shit-matted uniforms, boulders
looking as though chiseled from gravity’s curved back,
cartoon impossibly balanced to lean dream against Japanese backpackers.

Every sunset
battles reawaken to press
into cakes of headache
like pebbly straw and dung.

Tacky reconnaissance
for cheapened ambush—
a raid for sunglasses?—
the hunger that swipes,
the hunger that forages leavings, that scalds

like Glory’s indigestion.
The ochre-robed renunciants,
who share this vista,
humble stone temple,

ignore the monkeys with one eye.
When you quit everything,
you need what you keep.


At 11:34 AM, Anonymous momster said...

Maybe it is Monk Eyes. In which case, you should be on your best behavior.

I like this poem a lot.

At 7:42 AM, Anonymous momster said...

Happy Birthday, Pete!

At 4:47 PM, Blogger P'tit Boo said...

Happy belated birthday !
And.... i suck.

One day I'll actually make it to these things.


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