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Category: Travel

POEM: Fitchburg Metta Sutta

Fitchburg Metta Sutta

Kannon Bodhisattva looks down on my van
as I pass below an outcrop of rock
so I do a u-turn & head back for a visit.
The Vietnamese Buddhist temple sits on a steep
hill overlooking a small post-industrial town
somewhere near the middle of Massachusetts.
A journey of two thousand five hundred years
from India to China to Vietnam to the U.S.
ends in the driveway of a 19th-century house
that’s been put to a new use.
Kannon is the embodiment of compassion;
a being who has reached enlightment
but has chosen instead to stay here
with the rest of us until we can go, too.
That kind of work needs to be done everywhere,
& Fitchburg, Mass. is as good as anywhere else.
I walk around the building taking photos
of the statues & the flowers & the signs
(none of which I can read) & then I stop
& bow before Kannon to show my respect
& because I could use some compassion.
A light rain begins to fall.

/ / /

6 July 2022
Pittsfield MA

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haiku: 17 June 2022

he looked through
this missing windshield
as the wave broke over the bow

/ / /

17 June 2022
Provincetown MA

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haiku: 13 June

to see the van as a ship
the road as a sea
the drive as a voyage


13 June 2022
Pittsfield MA

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POEM: Buddha beside the highway

Buddha beside the highway

US 17 South
near Remington, Virginia
suddenly he’s there
in a glass box as large as a house
looking out serenely over the highway
spotlights above & below
who put him there?
who pays the electric bill?
who knew there’d be a Buddhist
in a van on this of all nights
needing a little reassurance
on the highway?

/ / /

6 July 2021
Greensboro VT

(recalling something I saw early in my van life)

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POEM: movement


late in the afternoon on an early May day
the dance unfolds across the house

an essay at the kitchen table
grilling meat on the upstairs porch

one makes a slingshot
another searches frantically for

spare headphones because
who can live without music

the dog naps with a belly full of chicken
the cats naps with a belly full of mystery

one of the Marley kids is singing
through the Bluetooth speaker

I’m writing a poem, trying to freeze
a moment already lost to swift time

/ / /

6 May 2021
Greensboro Bend VT

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