1. Today, Tibet

One day I have fifteen minutes to stop the ruination.
Today, Tibet.
Other places, other days, but today Tibet.
This thin air makes me dizzy.
I breathe not deeply but partially, and I slip on the sleety condensation.
Bones keep at this altitude.
Mountains top the clouds and I have come with the lowdown.
Prayer wheels and a hollow wind at this altitude.
Now fifteen minutes of the ghostly as I tour the rim of a rice bowl.
They are clothed in shadow who breathe deeply and sit censored in the monasteries.
What low chant, what undertone of peace, what karmic rumor can sweep away an army?
Necessary to show them calm targets.
Necessary to suffer the hollow wind to moan, the bones to clack and a stench
to settle in the rice.
One day I have fifteen minutes on the front page.
Other places, other days, but today Tibet.

2. Tomorrow, Tibet

Yesterday, a people.
Tomorrow, an obit, a footnote, an explanation.
Yesterday, an earthen water vessel.
Today, the chipped, the shattered, the missing, the buried.
Those high-pointed hats to top the stars.
Those spinning tapestries of prayer, now shreds.
Tatters that thread the wind with fringe, gut, remembrance of things past.
Coins for Hamlet to take up alms.
I don’t want to hear this, chants that catch in the throat.
I don’t want to see this, like a dead fox mounted on a barbed-wire fence.
Travel the back country, it’s Tibet.
Fuss a little, make good time, see the sights, it’s Tibet.
Tibet the land that was, is, and shall remain . . . unwritten.
The wind exiled, the clouds scattered, a people sacked.
How shall we move mountains when Tibet disappears in thin air?

{ Marvin Bell }


About Klassy

How Klassy got her groove back.

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