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All Dharmas Are Marked with Emptiness


I'm talking now about the destitute and the wild-eyed, I'm
talking about the lady who made the head of the Virgin Mary
out of cut up pieces of magazines and broken glass and a
can of carpenter's glue—and then there's the girl I know
who works in the supermarket, who printed an entire anthology
of poems on a single eight-and-a-half-by-eleven sheet of
Xerox paper and folded a hundred copies down to wallet size
and passed them out to anyone who dared look her in the eye.
You know what I mean: there are all those lonely, desperate,
weird minds—yours among them for all I know—and the
Dharma is everywhere, books and words and people thinking,
beat-up notebooks from the dollar store, scribbling the world
into them—a man has a mystery, a woman has an adventure,
the kids are banging rhymes together like tin cans full of
old nails. Where's it all going, this clatter, this wonder,
this rant against anguish? I tell myself to stay calm. I tell
myself to step back and take a breath. I twist and shift in my
tall black chair. I can hear the city coming in through the kitchen's
window-screens. Night birds, crickets in the unseasonable heat,
some might say dead souls keening in their rivers of fire or
choirs of angels out in the eucalyptus trees, but beyond it all you
hear nothing but the deep nothing—or maybe that's the far-off roar
of a motorcycle: If the night is just right, if the moment is perfect,
you know as well as I do that you don't need to tell the difference.


Frank X. Gaspar

Late Rapturous
Autumn House Press


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