John Blair The Buddha in the Walls

Every wall you see you

want to sound for hollows

like fingertip-tapping

a fontanel until

something gives up a ghost.

You still live in the same

cold sweat that you've lived in

as long as you have lived,

a long beatitude

of withholding, a bliss

of hiding-behind like

a monk bricked in a wall

to become a Buddha

in the flesh, mummified

while still alive, eating

only bark and bitter

roots and drinking tea steeped

with wood varnish for one

thousand days of dwindling

then walled up with a bell

and a bamboo breathing

tube, ringing the bell once

a day until the day

when the bell doesn't ring

and they pull out the tube

and seal you newborn up.

Your mindful moments shine

you like a carillon's

brassy cups into six

octaves of undisturbed

to keep you tapping. Not

because of the Buddhas

but because of the walls.

Because there are no walls.


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