Paean

I busy myself with
throwing noise at the void,
humming a hymnal myth
till the day is destroyed,
then silence will claim all,
uncluttering vast space
with a hush that will fall
over God’s deaf-mute face.
Will the echoes linger
when my mouth goes quiet?
Will another singer
raise their voice in riot
against the void we know
beneath the paean’s din?
Or will what is below
deafen all that has been?
Myth is a song of lies
sung against the Silence,
rallying Man to rise
to defy…deny sense
of the gulfs in the void
wherein meaning fades fast,
a chorus soon destroyed;
even gods cannot last
within the howling din
of the cosmic spaces,
the deafening within
that steals and erases
all that was sung before,
and all to come after,
singing songs nevermore,
nor words, sobs, or laughter,
nor even the last sigh
of the last thing on earth;
the unsounding goodbye
before a stillborn birth.

Pearls Of Wisdom

Gautama sits in his golden cloister,
mouth shut like a tight, complacent oyster,
silent, his shiny pearls clamped in himself
like a greedy man hoarding his vast wealth.
But what does the Buddha know, anyway?
He was nigh-thirty on that fateful day
when he rode forth into his father’s realm
on a grand chariot, a crown his helm.
He saw suffering thitherto denied
unto him while he long sheltered inside
amidst the opulence of his palace,
his life a draught from the golden chalice.
The bitter dregs were apparent, at last,
though he was still blinded by his high caste.
He saw an old man, a sick man, the dead,
and an ascetic, and though highborn-bred
he still worried about himself, of course,
(not others), and he wondered if the source
for removing such pains was self-denial.
So he sat under a tree for a while,
forty-nine days, they claim, though I do doubt
he sat that long, for he was bound to spout
about how great he was, how he alone
would discover Moksha, all on his own,
and he had to expel his piss and poo
so his bowels could be enlightened, too.
Be that as it may, his lotus soon gaped
and he saw Nirvana when he escaped
from the world’s pains, yet returning to preach
to any poor peasant within his reach,
saying, “You, too, can escape rebirth’s wheel
if you would only submit, bow, and kneel
and deny yourself less than what you now own,
which is already little, and on loan,
but as a prince I can tell you the worth
of such possessions on this fickle earth.
Life is suffering! The world is a trap!
Deny yourself—drink the bodhi tree’s sap!”
Most people shrugged, or only rolled their eyes,
and continued their work, already wise
to the ways of the world, to the hard truths
the prince could not learn from beneath the roofs
of his palace, his birthright, his clam shell,
that privileged heaven devoid of hell.
And then he began to raise his temples,
spreading his message like pox-born pimples,
no doubt using his princely position
to thwart other ascetics, his mission
privileged by connections to the courts
throughout the land, favors, toady cohorts,
his franchise spreading like a fast-food chain
or death-cult concerned with its earthly reign.
But he let go of some earthly trifles,
like his wife and child, that which oft stifles
a cult leader when he wants a fresh start,
free from the past—pure in his holy heart.
But Gautama could not shake his wife loose,
for earthly bonds are stronger than the noose
and will follow a man into his grave,
yet he was, if anything, a shrewd knave,
and said that women could not be allowed,
and, thus, his wife was lost among the crowd.
But after many complaints from his aunt,
Siddhartha did, eventually, recant,
saying, “Women can be nuns, I suppose,
but you are lesser than monks, because bros
come before hoes, and so you must obey
the lowliest monk, and do what they say.”
Then Gautama’s cousin rose against him,
saying Gaut was corrupt, given to whim,
and partook of meat, despite Buddhist laws
stating beasts could not be slain just because
monks and nuns hankered for pork or for fowl,
but only incidentally, somehow.
(What a roundabout loophole to ensure
you could eat sentient life and remain pure!)
But this would be your undoing, buddha,
not unlike Nagas and the Garuda
as the bird stamps claws downward to pin them
as fangs bite upward to sting with venom.
For you, too, hankered for non-vegan food
and though you forbid harm to beasts, your mood
was for pork, which was brought to you forthwith—
you ate it without so much as a sniff
and thereafter fell quite ill, your belly
sloshing and tossing, your bowels smelly,
taken to the grave by a bit of pig,
which is ironic for someone so big
in the world’s pantheon of myths and gods,
your shadow looming large, against the odds,
since you were not meant to be a being
at all, nor ego, nor soul, but fleeing
matter, space, and time, freed from such rebirth
that continues to populate the earth.

But speak, buddha, and let us hear the clink
of the pearls, of what you happen to think
is best for us peasants beneath your throne—
tell us what you think, what you alone
discovered after leaving your shelter
and saw, at long last, the helter-skelter
of Life, of the world at large, and its woes;
tell us what it is, naif prince, you suppose
is the source of our suffering, tell us
what we already know, be not jealous
of your unique viewpoint, your perspective
on Life, the existential elective.
I should like to hear the clink of your pearls
when you speak and your lacquered tongue unfurls.

To Anti-Natalists, Sincerely

There is always bleeding in this world,
but that doesn’t mean you should
twist the tourniquet so tight
that you kill the limb—
better would it be
that you twisted the
noose
and stepped off the edge
choking off your own hypocrisy
midsentence.
While I have no children
and dislike suffering
and am sympathetic toward Buddhist notions of
nonbeing,
I never thought Sisyphus should just
quit the hill;
it has some lovely
views
along the way
if you know where to look
amidst the day-to-day drudgery.
Ingrate, why don’t you
trade places with any among the
innumerable dead?
If they could speak on their own behalf
they would likely exchange with you
readily enough,
trading swarming maggots
for airy breath.
You’re upset because you were
dragged into this world by your
umbilical cord, kicking and screaming
while covered in filth.
So were we all,
and while we may complain, we also
get over it.
Existential consent matters most to you,
you say,
so consent to suture the bloodflow
to your head
so these anti-existential thoughts can be
reconciled summarily
with nonexistence.
If euthanasia is such a mercy
then go pay a visit to
Dr. Kevorkian
and take a ride on his famous
Thanatron
straight out of Somewhere.
Funny, you wouldn’t be able to endorse
Death
if you weren’t such a failure
in following your own gospel.
But if you weren’t such a coward
you would simply not be at all—
silence the sound and the fury
if it signifies nothing,
needlessly,
but stop grumbling beneath the yoke of
Life
like a slave beneath the whip of his
master
and unchain yourself.
Throw yourself upon your
double-edged sword of
Reason
or else be quiet.
Petulant children decry the strict
governess, too,
but never choose to flee to the wilderness
for long.
Instead, they grow the fuck up.
Life is a bitch, as they often say,
so take your mouth off the teat
if you don’t like the sour milk.
Make room for those
more grateful for the taste.

Cronos

Cronos, the Present, is a cannibal king
gnawing at the bones of his stillborn offspring
and castrating his father with his pendulous blade,
the Past and the Future, his ancestor and heirs unmade
with his endless ascension to the impending throne
of Cause and Effect, this ceaseless Sisyphean stone
that grinds on and on, up and down, without end
and never settling for good, like a restless wind—
what a horrific king to devour his own young
until only he remains, a blasphemous emperor among
the shivering sandy wastes of the spinning hourglass
where grains neither fall nor rise, nor ever pass
beyond the fulcrum’s gyre, all at a strangled standstill
while the Present chokes on what has been, and what never will.