Treasure Island

Charles Chaim Wax


A True Child of the Buddha in Brooklyn


Mary McCall
one of my students
raped
in an abandoned building
her face
then set aflame
alive
but forever disfigured
no rest
from the nightmare
and when I lay down
couldn’t catch my breath
a fierce rumble of
torment—
Oh, the dear girl
pain
I couldn’t imagine.
“I wish I never knew.”
Then whimpered for a moment
but didn’t cry
mumbling, “I ought to cry.”
Then I tried to cry,
but could not.
“No soul left
in this tattered body, ” I moaned
and left the bed,
turned on the light
sat in the green chair
slowly following my breath
gradually rhythm soothed me
and soon began to muse
on the great matters
this entire experiment
of humanity
wouldn’t last more than a million years
if that long
a blip in the grand sweep
of time
measured in billions
and billions of years.
I inhaled deeply
and felt tingling in my arms and legs
beginning to taste Buddha’s great truth—
Not a thing exists
just the endless transformation of atoms
and a bit of joy entered me.
“No matter what happens
I’m lucky to have come across
his wisdom.”
Without warning
tears
Mary’s suffering
finally
real.

Submitted: Monday, November 07, 2005

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Comments about this poem (A True Child of the Buddha in Brooklyn by Charles Chaim Wax )

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  • Sandra Erickson (3/11/2006 9:35:00 AM)

    Charles: I loved this story (however painful) . thought you might enjoy these poems.
    Sandra

    The Unsearchable

    It is
    not this: not sky,
    or reflections of sky,
    or thoughts, or dreams, or intentions
    of sky;

    Wild swans
    borrow the wind,
    but the sun only moves
    within white feathered wings over
    water,

    divined
    transcendence; It
    is not beauty, it is
    not warmth, it is not light; It is:
    not this.

    2/7/06


    Mercy

    She never smiles,
    this Virgin with Child
    sees too far beyond her youth;

    Sanctified and blessed among woman,
    heaven blessed and full of grace,
    heaven blessed (have mercy on us):

    The Trinity rings hollow promises
    of a sacred heartache love leaves
    little choice but to endure;

    No, the Mother of God does not smile
    as she holds her first born son, and
    her eyes are old long before their time.

    9/29/04 (Report) Reply

  • Keiah Delu (11/20/2005 7:19:00 PM)

    Charles,
    Wow, this was gripping, I felt such strong sad emotions in this piece...thanks for sharing. The imagery sizzled my mind and your details were awe inspiring. (Report) Reply

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