Poem – Sweeping the Temple with a Straw Broom (By Mankh)

Sweeping the Temple with a Straw Broom – By Mankh

Dazzled by the pageantry and bright lights
some lost their names
having given them to God
but the Nameless One had no use for them—
that’s why the people
were given the names in the first place.The refulgent spotlights on saviors
in those not-so-ancient spectacles,
theatrics of fear, the mob rule, floodlights
even Noah couldn’t have gotten away from:
all foreshadowed the night that appears as day,
the bright lights of the dimwit media,
the totemless poles of electricity
pumping into the bloodless hearths of gadgetry—
and why is it their screens glow
but their faces are as pale as phantoms?

In the whirl of the dervish
you can remember your name

in the spin of the dreidel you can find
the centripetal force that birthed
the angels on that pin

spinning in place
the doors open
though the body goes nowhere

precession of stars,
arcs of sun and moon,
the angle of the dangle,
curves of the womb —
glimpses of holier geometries.

Somewhere a bureaucrat is crunching numbers
while his boss cracks walnuts poolside,
somewhere a bureaucrat is crunching numbers
while his boss twists the bus-boy’s testicles for grins,
somewhere a bureaucrat is crunching numbers
of surcharges and late fees, disinterestedly
racking up totals of interest to charge
while his boss cracks walnuts poolside
dropping the sharp bits of shells
into the bottomless cleavage of America

Look back to the pure times
when the heathens lived with the heaths
and mystics stoked fires and the natives
were never restless

look within to find them again.

You think you know it all
until you talk with the guy at the hardware store
and he solves your problem without a PhD,
you think you know it all until you hear
the waitress’ problems,
you think you know it all until someone gives you
the reason they didn’t follow through
and you have to admit
they are off the hook

and the moral of the story is:
don’t think too much,

Hold fast to the eternal in physical form:
the flame, the earth, the water and mountain air,
the mountain itself, your soul, all manner of beings
when the sun puts a shine on them,
what the rain does to the skin, feathers, coat, scales,
barks, how the night holds and nurtures us
like earth surrounding seedlings.

Really exercise your mind,
feel it, the heart-mind connection!

But spare me the sickening buffet of slaughter
by the priests, Torquemada and the crusades,
Project for the New American Century, and those
lacking the inquisitiveness to ask themselves
the questions of faith . . .
and then to await patiently
the answers
from the Nameless One

Jesus with his arms spread wide
sans nails,
Jesus with his feet dancing
sans nails,
Jesus with the Nameless One’s heart
open wide,
Jesus with a grin like a drunken sailor
on his first night home from the sea.

Jesus not whipping people into shape
just training himself with the twelve disciplines

St. Francis in the shade of the forest
communing with the animals

Buddha not proselytizing
just sitting
with a tree

travel with Moses
and there’s no need to book a reservation

don’t just repeat what Mohammed said,
listen for Archangel Gabriel, yourself,
don’t just mimic what Jesus said, what your
teacher said, your father and mother,
don’t quote me on this, the man on the street,
the woman at the beauty parlor,
don’t just quote Buddha
when you can’t speak Pali or Urdu or Sanksrit—
we are all lost in translation,
all remembering ourselves,
all meeting and greeting ourselves again,
cracking the codex that was written
before we became vellum and onion skin,
nerve and original sinew.

a Sherpa with a pebble in his shoe,
an Eskimo wrestling with global warming,
an atheist experiencing something he has no words for,
a beauty queen with a pimple,
a child with deep spiritual perception,
a chef whose only recipe is on his tongue,
a virgin who is pregnant with ideas,
a man who is pregnant with emotions,
the sickle of time
ultimately cutting us all down to size—
the light that transcends even that

in India, bauxite lives in the mountains of Orissa,
extracted it is worth trillions
but its real function: making “the mountain a porous reservoir,
which holds water, that irrigates the plains”1
This is why we must look within,
this is why we must stand with the forest people,
must swing with the jungle people,
ride with the river folk,
float like butterflies and pollinate like bees

This is the time of the battle of the ageless,
the eleventh hour with no clock, game on with no teams,
last call at the bar that serves no drinks, last slow dance
before the reincarnated janitor pulls out a straw broom
and sweeps the temple, before the androgynous messenger
unrolls his-her paperless scrolls and lays down the natural law,
the last clean-up before the fall from grace
is put back in its proper place.

Go placidly amid the false projection of reality.

Wake up!
The prana2 has hit the fan!

Redshift over Europe3 where,
over five centuries ago, the capitalist garbage barge embarked
with its boatload of patents and copyrights,
trademarks and proprietary formulas,
papal bullshit and paraphernalia
listing to port with its lust for cheap fashion accessories
to the crimes.

Redshift aura of permanence
emanating from the Mystery,
geomagnetic auroras signalling the end
of the centuries of bitter pillage that was swallowed
by the history books hook, line, and sinker,
bitter pillage on the backs of Indigenous slave labor —
but now these auroras . . . invisible to the naked eye,
and this is why we must look within,
gather strength with those of this wavelength,
learn from the Fatherly Skies, from the Natives
who knew something long before the Nativity scene,
long before the staged directions and make-up,
long before the bright lights of the big cities
and the sprawl of totemless poles wired
on information and have-I-got-a-deal-for-you adrenaline.

Wake up!
The prana has hit the fan!

Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. His newest haiku chapbook is “so many people go hungry.” He also hosts an audio show “Between the Lines: listening to literature online.” You can contact him via his literary website.