by Taizan W. Alford
After the Last Breath What’s next? This one and maybe that? Reaching for that which I can’t quite touch. How long will I be reaching and touching and searching and dreaming of a day Of a way of Being that I sometimes see in my minds eye?
I imagine monks Sitting for years in the monastery Staring at the wall.
Bodhidharma with no eyelids Cut off, I imagine, in a frenzy of self imposed discipline of no sleep no drowsiness no laziness
I wonder what did he see staring into the cave wall Did his life dance before him as mine does in those wall gazing days How was he able to overcome his own desire for sleep or to close his eyes against that which he did not want to see Being with the whole works Coming and going How often did he bathe? How about the Buddha? Sitting under the Bodhi tree Sitting so long the birds made a nest in his hair.
I bet he was pretty stinky on That morning waking up with the whole world Touching Enlightenment Still needing a bath
Walking into town Meeting the boy that asked him if he was A God He said he was awake Not an angel Not a God Just a Human waking up and realizing all the vastness of the universe Still needing to wash the grime off his skin to begin Again and again to be in the presence of others
I’m sure the crows didn’t mind and the mendicants not so much Awake and still needing a good wash
Taizan Alford is a poet, singer-songwriter and zen monk. He moved from Texas to Appleton 27 years ago and is grateful to be part of this publication.