A Hundred Gourds 1:4 September 2012
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Matthew Caretti – US

Coping Mechanisms

She has cold hands, then by the old German aphorism a warm heart.  But telling her she is a bodhisattva is not well received.  Too much strain, I suppose.   Her touch remains with me, though.  The clock shows eleven-eleven, I smile and make a wish.  I think of African sojourns, New Orleans’ champagne toast, Boston’s cannoli.  They all belong to her.  To us.

laughter’s peal –
lone façade broken
by echoes

I leave her beside Lake Washington, where Cobain wasted his body.  His suicide the most dire response of all.  Perhaps the band’s name was ironic, samsara overwhelming him.  All these years later, I still think I shot my soul dead there in the very same way.  Yet I live on, albeit with a couple of holes.

spiral path
of windblown flurries –
safe landing

The protagonist in our class’s novel employs cricket as the means to manage his pain.  Out on the city pitch, he meets others of the fringe, those cast to the margins because of the color of their skin, their accents.  But originating from the most rural of places, I must do otherwise.  Coping for me, it seems, comes in the form of these obscure little poems.

now shedding
the night sleet –
mourning dove

*In Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva is one who achieves Enlightenment though chooses to remain in the cycle of rebirth (samsara) working compassionately for the liberation of all sentient beings.


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