“For I have learned that every heart will get
What it prays for
it is the simplest
and also the most difficult
the most reverential thing you will ever do:
admit you were wrong
fall on your knees and cry out: 'i have sinned'
not for the deeds you have done but
for the imperfect way in which
you have done them.
if you were a better person
say, the buddha--or mahatma--
if you were christ himself, a peaceful warrior
whose life was a candle flame of love
well then maybe you wouldn't have fucked it up
to quite the monumental proportions that you did
but you're not the christ, you're not siddhartha
hollowing his cheeks beneath the bodhi tree awaiting
the vision that was soon to come.
no, in the end you are just you
making an admission: i fucked it up
and i'm sorry about that, i'm sorry i didn't do better
that i wasn't a bigger person back then;
i didn't even know there was a bodhi tree and if i had
i'd have chopped the damn thing down: that's
the kind of person i've been.
i know better; i know something about love
and love is not what i was doing
though i thought it was--i was sincere,
if sincerely, absolutely, fantastically wrong.
and it's not like it gets better after you admit
you're an asshole--not if you've confessed
to the catholics or the fundamentalists, devil
might as well have you if that's what you've done--
because sure as hell
you find yourself alone before almighty god
the one you'd been hoping didn't exist.
you know the one, the old-style god whose face
must be covered by the wings of seraphim
so that you will not be roasted to bacon bits
just for daring to stand before him and plead your case:
o god, o most terrible and sacred and ancient of days
please dear god, give me one more chance
before you throw me in that lake of fire, just once
to do something that resembles goodness
that resembles the kind of love
i came to this life to learn.
you might even throw in a prayer to god's mom:
mother of god, you think to yourself--
you're his ma, maybe you can plead my case--
maybe you can make him less of a bully.
jesus, mary and joseph
cut us a break, will you, won't you, please
show us a little mercy?
good for you if you can get some--
that sweet milk of understanding, those honey-lipped
words of forgiveness--without the slap of the caveat:
forgave you this once, next time
it's the lake of eternal fire for you, buddy
so mind your p's and q's and study the Word,
that's right--the capital Word.
in the end it seems better to go back to square one
which in this case looks a lot like
a bodhi tree with a very skinny man sitting
quietly in meditation, waiting on a vision
waiting on the next thing
maybe waiting for christ to stroll up the path
and join him for a pot of rice.
waiting with the patience of a god who knows
all is not always lost;
mercy is always and ever available to those
who have nothing else to fall back on
who are here to learn about love
no matter that they've fucked it up
over and over, so many samsaras and second chances
so much karma wrung from the eyes of their hearts
that it seems a river must flow deep enough
to water this bodhi tree for centuries
which is never too long to wait
once you have been forgiven.
KB © 5/13/2013