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Charles Wax


The Three Marks of Existence


Billy Mullins trudged into Meng’s
having just returned
from four months in a Florida jail,
possession of marijuana
without intent to sell.
“Bernstein, ” he said seriously
“stay out of the State of Florida.”
“I intend to.”
Then he lowered his voice
to an almost inaudible whisper,
“Almost became a Sissy Mary
but took to writing
and that saved me.”
“You don’t say, ” said Treasure
now interested in the conversation.
A big guy says to me I got cute eyes
and right away I knew what he wanted
but a bigger guy says to join
his poetry club and I won’t have no trouble.
And that’s what I did, and I didn’t
have no trouble.”
“Damn, Billy, ” said Treasure,
“I like the way you talk.”
“Big guy’s name was Larry Littlejohn,
Little for short
and he called his group
the Fortune Cookie School of Poesy.”
Treasure handed the Thunderbird
to Larry who swallowed, then smiled
saying, “All the poems hadda
give the meaning of life
everything else was fluff, Little’s word,
and so I scribbled away
day after day, time going,
days crossed off, and don’t you know
I got into it, especially Little’s
urging, to go deeper, deeper,
but soon poetry shifted to Biography about this guy.”
”You liked him? ” asked Treasure.
“First man I ever met with the Big Three:
courage, compassion, panoramic awareness,
the last one came to me yesterday
from Bernstein’s Tibetan rap.”
“Tibet! ” exclaimed Treasure
staring at me, smiling, then again: “Tibet”
but softer now, almost trancelike
as she whispered, “Panoramic awareness.
A thousand eyes, each twirling turning
seeking searching
all worlds inner outer
no escape from vision.”

Submitted: Thursday, February 05, 2009

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