How They Ran the Buddha Out of Town


The following poem was revised by the author and the version Steve Wiegenstein performed live is slightly different.

How They Ran the Buddha Out of Town

at the strip mall street corner

next to the payday loan place

at a city bus stop

seated buddha-like

the jolly fat one

not the emaciated ascetic one

with WalMart saddle bags

winter hatted and coated

on a summer day

disciplined sitting

rocking gently to

a rolling mantra

spoken gently from inside the ear

whispered softly to him from an unseen guru

he sat patently and patiently alone

fulfilling has dharma

disguised as a homeless person

arriving from nowhere to take his station

then taking his leave to the same place

as regular as the cycle of life

he was an appearance

that became a fixture

refusing proffered gifts in kind or money

mutely smiling them away

he was hermetically sealed

against heat, dust, moisture, hunger and thirst

meanwhile there were letters to the editor

with rhetorical flourishes

amazement and indignation

among the congregation

since he just was

until he was no longer

after he was denied tenure

notified of the decision by enforcers

from public works

who showed up in bright red city trucks

then duly informed of the decision

by the removal of the bench

they are both still gone

and that is how grace leaves the world


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