Clang

breath of the ear canal
    shouting self-like, clanging ear-sounds
    shatter an insipid sleep
    secure in the comfort
    of its own noise
    the space of thoughts, ideas
    and the space in front of your own nose
    one space, one knows
come thunder to rattle it all
    we answer with a wild-eyed roaring
    to frighten the wrong away
    then laugh into the void of
    an imagined victory
    nobody can tell you anything
    one knows
so the world becomes
    a self-archiving relic
    the moment I say me
    or you say you and
    some wag-tongue's history underwrites
    then undermines our stories
    propping up a sagging gallery
    fortifying a cherished position
    stories, the ones we know
say it isn't so
    but things are happening
    in the space where intentions form
    before the buzz saw of thought
    gets busy building another shanty
    from the scraps that history
    had no use for
and eyes would not function
    if they sprouted late
    sensors, lumen readers sprout
    bud-like on an old spud head
    full of stuff already seen
    and imagined, but instead
    opened on the face you had
    before our forebears
    before your grandmother's wedding
    before the rise and fall
    of anything you care to name
folds, the map came later
    we used to wing it
    in space, where the offerings
    multiplied to fill the spheres
    before sentient beings
    learned to lose their minds
    in transactions of sum zero
we, who seeing the power lines
    strung above a highway
    full of idling automobiles
    on our way to a dental appointment
    felt struck by a sense of futility
    and reacted in sadness
    instead of madness
we, who run ourselves ragged
    marking the tally of infinity
    stocking the shelves of selves
    in a state we sometimes
    call love, Sangye Menla at the center
    of the mandala of all who live
    and take refuge
clang, the bell emitting clear light
    a sustained glow
    in that space before
    knowing knows it knows
    and recognizes the grasping
    in a moment so sudden and pure
    you will spit your drink
    all over the table
urge, the will to movement
    blind to the calendar's map pin
    always next year's calendar waiting
    seeing the bouquet of youth
    as a fleeting folly
    smile token acknowledgements 
    to fashion a sense of honor
    out of scraps of guilt
    thinking about not thinking
    about it
a stack of bison skulls
    white as sheets
    like a pyramid by the
    railroad stop, taller
    than a courthouse facade
    brittle, sun bleached cone of
    calcium, the milk
    of human kindness
follow, go where others go
    but fight along the way
    and don't give an inch
    unlimited compassion, the Buddha
    herself, at the center of
    every shoving match
    every dirty look
    every soup kitchen brawl
    beneath the flophouse carpet
    and dripping shingle cracks
home bound, where hobos got their name
    war vets, civil conflagrations
    hopping trains and traveling
    the sense of home
    not yet occurring to anyone
    as the here and now
    but do hop a train
    and see for yourself
    everyone makes war, but
    no one wants to call war home
    so go we go, go ahead and go
innocence, no one believes in it
    not really, the castings
    of first stones, in our hearts
    know the knowing, gnawing
    defending the innocent, we
    defend ourselves, side step
    if we can, what we ourselves
    have to answer for
clang, a bell struck once
    rings and rings, and sure
    it fades, a neon-lit arrow
    pointing to the silence
    and that's the mark
    we're far off Broadway
    in a district we call home
    so let's try it once again
    places, and action.

    Maha Shramanah Svaha

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