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Majik's Mala

           (for Harris Breiman)


Majik's mala


click clacking in a quiet room


jerky moves of the bone beads slipping


down the string




Places you wouldn't think pain knew about


open up, we are re-instructed:


Mother Buddha's string of beads,


and a hopeful puppet in her sixties


still on the lookout for freedom




It may not come climbing mountains


as before, or plumbing the depths


and positions of sexual nature


It may not come running high speed


through the woods like a dog in the summer hemlocks


May not come trekking out to find death sitting alone


in infinitudes of winter




But in slowly giving up, in the hand unclenched


the personality cooked like soup


inside the skull


Come all you who are hungry


Come and eat.




Too long fixed in place, the body


becomes an ironing board,


a bicycle standing against the wall,


it creaks into use, the slow spokes,


screech of legs propped up in the living room,


Locked in a photo frame one has time


to observe mortality click clack


it is not unhappy.




No fixed opinion


when fluid motion is yanked away


it might just as well be heads


as tails click clack


these things do not matter.




Freeze frame of Majik Labdrom's mirror


the absurdity of us marching dignified


to a graveyard one step two step Oops!


off the curbstone, down like a man in profile


The Punch and Judy Show


to a crowd of San Francisco children


Wap! He's down! Wap! He's up again!


click clack click clack clack




An umbrella opens, the taffeta hangs tattered


the spokes like a ribcage sing


in the wind


Fluid moves so rare we notice now


when they come up, like animated movies


Goofy drops his gumball down the sewer


Minnie holds onto her hat as she plunges skyward


off the cliff like a kite.




No references, no grave demeanor


considered opinions melt in the soup bowl


of the skull, click clack


Hey! Comes a moment, Hey!


No limping, no hunched shoulders, no stiff elbows


a body is moving easily over the landscape




Hey, what happened?


Majik Labdrom in meditation


her mala serenely around her neck


each bead in motion, in static grace


each bead in fluid motion.




Majik Labdrom, pronounced ladrón,


like a Puerto Rican second story man,


The nice thing about God as a thief


is she takes it from you


willing or not, knowing or not


she takes it, you wake up one morning


and it's all decided: mobility (or good looks


a perfect ass, a capable memory)


has disappeared.




Coming out of sleep, the chrysalis


kicks off its cocoon, the (choose one)


praying mantis katydid grasshopper's


arms and legs are littered across the plain


and works of art, the diamond rings


are swimming down in the muck with the snails.



                                                            Willow, NY, January 13, 2005



Majik Labdron: Female "Mother" Buddha. Inventor of the chod ceremony, she is often depicted dancing, usually in a graveyard.


Mala: String of prayer beads, worn around neck, or on wrist, or in hand. Each bead can be used for a repetition of the mantra.




The Coal Bin Blues


Been hangin' out in the coal bin,


got dust up in my clothes,


Said I been messin' round in the coal bin


got soot all up in my clothes


Who cares about the mess


when my coal man brings a full load?




Coal truck creakin' and a whinin'


makes his slow way up the hill


Said that rusty truck be grindin'


his old slow way up my hill


Who cares how long he's climbin'?


At the top he fills the bill.




Coal man likes to start out spoonin'


like a viper on parole


Say me and the coalman spoonin'


like two vipers on parole


Next you know a cloud of coal dust


like a balm over my soul




Those who say ole folks don't do it


don't be knowin' my friends or me


Them's that say ole folks can't do it


ain't never seen my friends and me


When my furnace needs a churnin'


only the coal man satisfies me.




I been hangin' out in the coal bin,


got that dust up in my clothes,


Said I been messin' round in the coal bin


dusty fingers dusty toes


Who cares about the coal dust


when my coal man brings a full load?




Reading Your Last Book, Fame & Death


Into the chophouse incinerator we go,


It's a Wednesday night


in a week of rain


I've just come from the hospital


where I had the greatest rest


in years-a real vacation:


frequent naps and three squares a day




I'm back with the same


medicine as you for the failing heart


and watch through your eyes unflinching


the round of events your last days, Fame & Death-


reality jostled by the finite witness, the bundle of


synapses, the no more with this ego


come what may.




To circle and circle your head in the photo


with my fingers, like rubbing your stomach


in the old days, intimacy


not entirely forgotten,


Old lover, you said as you signed my book,


I might say, lover, teacher, friend,


and look toward my own gaze through the fabric


at what was real, what is not, the who I ams


that might not climb again, best the uphill


slope, or swallow without hesitation


the final nothing at the top.




The body slides back,


a memory in the egg of the void;


to be quit of all this-reminded


in the medicines of the need for constancy,


a mothering of the heart-I  turn to your last days,


your dream with Peter, your vision


of historic funeral with the lovers talking,




The starry nursery rhymes of a bright old child.


How dapper you look in those clothes-


the shirt from Goodwill, the cashmere scarf:


a well dressed bard.


I love these last words,


this last time with you unencumbered


by futures, a last little human time.



Willow, NY, June 2006