Monday, January 3, 2022

The Importance of Buttered Toast

I have never written a poem about a Buddhist monk
because the one I knew would not open the window of his soul.

He was in the business of unconcern and renunciation,
trying to get the hell out of Dodge for good

so that the the great mandala
would not hook his saffron-colored robe

and spin his karma through another lifetime.
He told me that we didn’t really exist,

which to me is like buttering toast
only to find that breakfast is a scam.

I put a period on a blank page and then erased it.
“Now you’re getting the hang of it,” he said.

I didn’t think it was much of a poem
even though he said it was my best work to date

before assuming the lotus position,
as if he were posing for a Moody Blues album cover.

That’s when I put the period back on the page,
a Zen act of pure whoop-dee-doo,

but I still maintain that it wasn’t a poem.
It was merely a bit of untethered punctuation

taught to me by a gaggle of Catholic nuns
who relished living every day in Dodge.

They were sometimes a mean bunch of black and whites,
but we agreed that buttered toast was buttered toast.

~William Hammett

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