Saturday, July 24, 2010

Broken Bodhisattva - a poem

Broken Bodhisattva
by N. Dooley

I apologize for my tone.
I have not been myself.
The climate control
Is cold and penetrates.

My smile feels stiff
as if it had been pinned on
and God knows
didn’t  pin this smile on
Do you see any fingers on these stumps?
I do not bleed
On their shiny floor.
I can hear the night watchman’s heart beat
And the sad thoughts of the woman
who sings in Spanish when she washes and waxes
the floors.

I do not bleed on them.

I am
after all.

What I want to tell you is–
I’ve been stuck on this pedestal
a rod up my ass
for 100s of years.
I will never get down.

And they took my hands.
What more do you need to know?
Can’t you see it?
Must I say it ?

If I spoke
my polychromed lips would break and
the Guardian on the next pedestal would wake from his wooden sleep.
Believe me
he is best left alone
and slumbering.
You see it in his eyes, don’t you?
I can no more save you from his madness
than save myself from
this  pedestal.

His rage would
thunder, breaking the silence in an
explosion of fury
where dust motes now
another on waxed floors.

Look at his fists, at his biceps!
Don’t get him started.

The Persian minatures would shake in their cases
and those Grecian kraters, ringed with hard ons following
hard ons would
sending shards and
frozen smiles into a
future of puzzles
that are as simple as this one.

What more do you need to know?
Now can you see it?
Or must I
a Bodhisattva
say it?

Help yourself.

The Bodhisattva without hands that inspired me lives at the Sackler Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge MA. The one pictured above is from the Met in NYC