SPOKEN WORD DHARMA

by Mark Chmiel

Dear Cristina

It’s not that I wish you
The affliction of Fame

But after seeing Remi Kanazi last night
I thought of you

Going on the road
Doing SPOKEN WORD DHARMA

Before small groups and sanghas
Or large wear-a-flower-in-your-hair gatherings

You–intense, charming
Dappled, direct–

Chant your word paintings
Deliver your snapshot poetics

Of all the jobs you ever had
(The Dharma Monologues)

Like Ko Un’s Ten Thousand Lives
Your One Thousand Employments

Of a moment in time
When you recognized the dharma then

Or many years later
When you realized it for the first time

You stand before us
Serene, witty, amazingly detached

But remember even Thay cried
Upon learning of the murder of his social work students

(Even when an American activist told him
That as the general of a nonviolent army

He had to expect losses
No, he said, let me cry, they were my students)

So you can cry
You can pirouette

(You can incorporate–hold it all–
All those years of ballet training)

You can give us the mirror
To see ourselves

When we were 25 and clueless
In the cul-de-sacs of our karma

Rada rada rada! All this yammering
Who made me your agent???

What do I know about “performing”?
What do I know of the Dharma

For Buddha’s sake?
For Obama’s sake?

But I know this
And Jillian knows it too

(The Rolling Stones sang they didn’t want to talk about Jesus
They just wanted to see his face)

U.S. of Amnesia Americans
Need to wake up

Your beaming bodhisattva face
Can be our entry point to the Pure Land!

Your friend in “Say yes!”

–from Improv Wisdom Writing class #8

Advertisements