Looking Deeply

by Mark Chmiel

Bella,

I wrote this while on retreat at Angelique’s farmhouse in the country. Wish you could have been with us to discuss Cao Ngoc Phuong’s autobiography and enjoy the cool, late summer breezes.

Perry

 

I see myself in Donald Trump
Always have to be right

I see myself in Bill Clinton
Charm generates suffering

I see myself in Thich Nhat Hanh
Being a Buddha for even 15 seconds is important

I saw myself in that frightened woman on Third Street
My mother passed on her thirteen year-old’s pain to me

I see myself in. that. cloud. there.
A day, a month, a year—I’ll be forgotten

I see myself in young Nava
Has she received a dose of anti-Semitic trauma from her grandmother like I did mine?

I hear myself in the crickets’ chorus
Soon, alas, the silence

I see myself in Mayuko
“Ice cream in the US is so good!”

I see myself in the charred branches
The Dhammapada‘s warning—“without life, without value, useless as a burned log”

I hear myself in the neighbor’s dogs
Such competitive chattering

I see my books in the tie-dye hula hoop
Destined to be period pieces on someone’s shelf

I see myself in Charles Bukowski
Writing won’t save me from myself either

 

–from novel-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

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