Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Mona Lisa and the Buddha

It is a square peg in a round hole,
the fat, ascetic Buddha
with a barely-perceptible smile
spreading across his lips
like a slender crescent moon.
He was as crooked and gaunt
as the walking stick
that led him to break
and collapse like kindling
beneath the sumptuous shade
of the wise and merciful bodhi tree.
Perhaps he had calories
hidden beneath his saffron robe,
a Hershey bar with or without nuts.
Perhaps he was a puffer fish
bloated with enlightenment
when kundalini turned his spine
into a bipolar serpent of fire.
Maybe there was a wrinkle in time,
a wrinkle in space,
the Buddha stealing away
from his karma at midnight
for a tryst with Mona Lisa
in a Florence feather bed,
for she is smiling too, barely,
and hiding an extra pound or two
beneath her Florentine dress.
Here is how it all went down:
the lovers consumed tea and oranges,
chocolate kisses smeared like a swoosh
on their thin and lusty lips.
In the absence of take-your-own-photo booths,
they sat for wandering artists
skilled in paint and bronze.
Oh, what fireworks and transcendence transpired
between the sheets to produce images
of the eternal, smiling afterglow
when the sacred Ganges
made it with the frescoed Renaissance.
What a show.
What a show.

~William Hammett

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