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two women watch
a man    his hand
under his cloak
or in his pants    the act
that causes one
to grin, the other
wryly looking on
as in a dream
a procession of
old whores & madams
bearing fardels
& a gallant
from a former time
lined up along the base
of a grey mountain
holy crones
& well-laced fathers
of the inquisition
A Pilgrimage for San Isidro

who but the dead
can scream so
with their eyes rolled back
their mouths
like black holes
whom a blind man leads
strikes a guitar
& to his left
two men in black
two women in half-white
without a face
devouring his sons
whites of his eyes
as brilliant as
the red blood flowing
from the severed
blood on his hands
his penis hot
& throbbing
man fighting man
with cudgels
drawing blood
a stream of red
across his face
& sinking
ever deeper
into the mud
a poor dog
hidden in the brown
& yellow mud
that could be clouds
– the way they suffer
without sound –
The Witches Sabbath (1)

Satan as a great
goat    black
& holding court
before a ring
of men & women,
too deformed
from watching
the small figure
covered with
white shroud,
& at the edge
a young boy,
almost cut
from sight
the only
gentle soul,
whose screaming
mother hollers
at the assembled
The Witches Sabbath (2)

red more brilliant
than her eyes,
the blanket set across
her mouth,
poor doll & witch,
& yet the eyes
are turning backwards
in her head,
the one who flies with her,
a rock between
his teeth, a tongue
made stone,
the yellow wind
spiking his hair,
who has no choice
but points a finger
at a hill in space,
a city on a hill,
that vanishes.
Nothing has changed
since then,
try as we will,
nor will it please you,
friend & father,
the ragged soldiers
aiming guns,
the line of pilgrims,
barely seen,
circling the lonely fell,
the old witch
like a sibyl
arisen from your dream
ready to tell it all.

The Treasures of Dunhuang (1)
2000 Buddhas
for Armand Schwerner


a faceless buddha


a black buddha


buddhas with silver mustaches
& chin hairs


three transvestite buddhas


buddha with heads
around his head –
dozens of whirling heads


2000 buddhas


crouching buddhas –
slits for eyes –
looks sleepy


a buddha with a dozen faces
& a thousand hands with eyes 


buddha holds a fern –
he wears a scabbard
& the scabbard grows a hand


rays stream from buddha’s eyes
– or tears


eyes wide in terror
open anguished mouth with fangs
he holds a dish with flaming ryes
but haloed

can this be buddha too?


thin buddha
starving buddha

sitting hand to chin
& smiling


The Treasures of Dunhuang (2)
for Robert Kelly


a buddha behind bars


black buddha face
with marble eyes


five bodhisattvas
in a row
each with a flower


how big this buddha’s hands are


buddha’s palms
lie open
waiting for stigmata


two buddhas sit together
one without a forearm
one without a hand


with knotted muscles
on their chests

a lion face
& baying

like a warrior
in armor


a giant painted

his hands that look
like feet

his feet

push past the garment’s

beneath the image of
a dragon

& a snake


the buddha on the right
is dark with age

an old man’s face
& bald

what does he know of man’s fate
or of woman’s?


beyond the door
buddha lies dying
a choir of mourning monks
behind him


a paradise of buddhas

everlasting bliss


The Treasures of Dunhuang (3)
for Anne Waldman


a man with wings
& pointed ears
long feathers growing
on his arms

& others
with heads of animals
& human bodies
a white tiger
wingd & galloping

a bodhisattva
with a green beard
& red lips
left arm half up
without a hand


a meditating buddha
a practicing buddha
a preaching buddha
an enlightened buddha
a thinking buddha

a musing buddha
a performing buddha
a didactic buddha
an irradiated buddha
a pragmatic buddha

an absentminded buddha
a fabricating buddha
an authoritative buddha
a radioactive buddha
an obstinate buddha

an oblivious buddha
a counterfeit buddha
an imperative buddha
a degenerate buddha
a disobedient buddha

a paralyzed buddha
a vicarious buddha
a tyrannical buddha
an apostate buddha
an anarchical buddha

an anarchical buddha
a disobedient buddha
an obstinate buddha
a pragmatic buddha
a thinking buddha

an apostate buddha
a degenerate buddha
a radioactive buddha
an irradiated buddha
an enlightened buddha

a tyrannical buddha
an imperative buddha
an authoritative buddha
a didactic buddha
a preaching buddha

a vicarious buddha
a counterfeit buddha
a fabricating buddha
a performing buddha
a practicing buddha

a paralyzed buddha
an oblivious buddha
an absentminded buddha
a musing buddha
a meditating buddha


like dancing angels

right arms bare
both shoulders covered

round necked robes
high hair buns

crowns of precious stones
hair down to shoulders

lower bodies
under skirts

fine folds descending
thinly covered

twisted at the neck
& waist

flat chested


round faced

like dancing angels


three rabbits
at the center of
a lotus

chase each other
touch & form
a triangle

around which
dancing angels
fly & point


in the world to  come

smooth roads

seven harvests
from one planting

clothes that grow
on trees

lost things returned

safety at night


fat buddha

while musicians
blow & drum


some plough
some sweep up leaves

some harvest wheat
some make a wedding

in the world to come


at the death of buddha

the mourners
pierce their flesh
with knives

one cuts his hair
one slits his nose

one thrusts a sword
into his chest

one cocks a hand
over an ear

one waves
both arms

two hold
a third back

one screams
from open mouth

one’s arms are covered
with black knots



with red body
four eyes &
four arms

the sun & moon

two dancing
at each side

Asura: (Ashura in Sanskrit, Asura in Pali). It is a peculiar path in the Six Paths. They are the enemies of the devas, and are the mightiest of all demons. In terms of material enjoyment and psychic power, it is similar to Deva. However, in some aspects, it is even worse than the Human Path. The male Asura is extremely ugly and furious, and they always fight with each other. The female Asura is as beautiful as an angel

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