Why I Am Not a Buddhist, with commentary
[This poem appeared on Poet.Org's "Poem a Day" on June 25, 2013. The poem remains on the site, but the commentary has been removed.]
Why I Am Not a Buddhist
Reality cons me as it spur(n)s me.
This is the road to eternal
Consanguinity, eloping with
Hope and leaving me to pick
Up the proverbial bag.
But that's the argument for.
I have a companion poem in The Sophist (1987) called “Why I Am not a Christian” (taking my title from Bertrand Russell’s book of the same name), which has two lines echoed in this poem, “You always throw it down / but you never pick it up?” Then in Girly Man (2007) I have a poem from 1988 called “Why I Don’t Meditate”: “Mental health is probably overrated – a little anxiety / is a great source / for poetic composition & besides I prefer sitting / on chairs with heavy cushions & a footstool / if at all possible” – a poem both sophistical and sincere (a favorite combination).
My concern is more What is false? than What is truth?
All true poetry comes from deep fear, immobility, timidity. (I love Walter Benjamin’s essay on Hölderlin’s timidity.) This is our common ground, our temporal consanguinity (blood ties).
Reality is not kind.
I’d tell you in an instant, if I could.