Sunday, June 21, 2015

Paul Sampson

A Middle Manager, Newly Dead, Learns That Tibetan Buddhism Is True

Bardo, they call this. Jail is more like it.
"Don't worry," they tell me. "You'll be out in no time."
No time! Little joke there, eternity humor.
Very funny. "No time." Cute. I get it.

So this is the deal: you keep doing it over,
no telling how often. "Get it right, get it perfect,
you can stop, no more troubles." It doesn't sound likely.

And doesn't seem fair. Each "Life," as they call it,
you start over, pig-ignorant, misleading road map,
expected to learn what you missed on the last trip,
in spite of distractions, incessant annoyance,
orders from everyone, dozens of voices,
all claiming authority, threatening punishments,
always enough to keep you off balance.

Then on short notice, it's pack up, it's over.
The return trip is usually painful and scary,
and back in your cubicle at Bardo's Head Office,
you desk has been filling with karmic account books
that need straightening out. "So how was it?" they ask you.
"I scarcely remember. Too short, that's for damn sure,"
and you get down to business, reporting to demons
(this much seems familiar) until the next journey.

The end of it all? The retirement program?
"Nirvana," they tell you. No details to speak of;
"The End of Desire." It had better be worth it.

--Paul Sampson

fr. Dirge in a Resolutely Major Key [Unicorn Press, 2006]

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