Five Poems

The following poems are excerpted from Poems of the Laughing Buddha, published this year by Shining Tree Press.


O Laughing Buddha,
That laugh!
Mouth open, lips curved upwards,
Not unlike a crescent moon!
Or the shape of my eyelash
Floating down in front of me!

Or the bottom edges of my eyelids closed!
Or the curve of my earlobes,
Not as long as yours, dear Buddha,
But mine, too, have wide and smiling shapes
Holding them up
So they are falling down, and laughing up.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

I look down at my breasts
And see the top halves of my nipples
Grinning up at me
Like the wrinkles on the tops of my knees
When I straighten my legs.
Even my belly button's
Curling upward!
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho.

My tummy's lines are smiling
(Only partly from the silly, perfect
Of smoky-cheesed pizza I just ate).

The bottoms of the lobes of my lungs
Are laughing, as they should be:
Without them you would never hear
My giggles and guffaws!
And even my belly button's
Curling upwards!
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho.

How could I not have always known
My body was smiling and laughing
All the time?!



That round, round head!
It makes me smile and think of
Other globes, not only planets
But also balls to juggle:
The balls of my feet! Or the balls
In the joints of my shoulders and hips!
The orbs at my elbows. my wrists and my ankles;
Or the balls in the air
Of all my electrons,
And protons
And neutrons!

Yes, let's shake things up
Let's shake things loose,
Until my juggling body
Is a perfect circus -- clowns
And all the children laughing



I have a laughing Buddha in my garden.
The neighbor's dog just visited
And peed all over the Buddha's left hand side:
He wet my Buddha's head, his belly
And his heart

And my Buddha's laughing
Ha, ha, ha, ha,
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.



Please. Could I not take everything
So seriously, and be at least a bit like you,
My Laughing Buddha? You laugh at it all:
Sunshine, earthquakes. You laugh if it rains;
If it floods, you laugh, as if knowing that in spite of it
Or that because of it, that all will be well.

I mean to let go worrying,
I sense that all this worrying
Is just the same as saying prayers
For all the things that make me scared.

Let me focus instead
On your ample belly,
Think of all the perfect food
That you have loved and that you love,
Of how delicious it all is, has been,
And be a witness to your body's celebrating it
So visibly, roundly: the tastiness, spiciness,
The chicken dumplings, wines, the breads and sweet cakes
All sustenance for LIFE.
Let me focus on your ample belly,
Proof that you have had enough, and have enough;
And let me understand that I, too, have enough
And always will.

I see you there, so happy in my garden,
The wooden ducks I gave my mother
Bleached and weathered at your side,
Unlike your stolid stone, untethered ballast,
Strong as the courage that I seek,
Courage untethered and immutable.



Many women I know have facelifts
To tighten their cheeks
And eliminate the lines
Around their mouth and chin.

I have my share of lines as well
But pay someone to cut me?
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

When all I need to do is smile
And all the wrinkles disappear!