༺ Mahabodhi Moonlight ༻


the abbot at Lamayuru
really loved my magic tricks
they called it ‘jadu’
a Hindi borrow word
it became my nickname
for a month or two

one day he asked me
to show them to an old yogin
who had been on retreat
a group of elite monks gathered
as I twiddled with a lighter
some elastic bands
and general foolishness
with sleight of hand
the old man stepped back
and lifted his hand towards me
and started chanting in Tibetan

somewhat confused
I did another trick
and the abbot made a comment
in Ladakhi
I didn’t understand
but the old man suddenly stopped
and then everyone roared with laughter
the monks doubled over
pulling each other around
their tears rolled down their
nut brown
creased faces
maroon robes
dotted dark

at last the abbot told me
“he thought you were a sorcerer
and was doing the ‘quelling magic’ mantra
because you did another trick
I told him that your jadu
was stronger than his mantra”

later he asked me to teach him
“this magic makes people happy
come to my room after lights out
and show me”
so I said “I’ll teach you my secrets
if you teach me yours!”
again the laughter
I don’t think you are supposed
to talk to rinpoches
that way
but I went to his room
late at night
and showed him everything
at one point
we both rolled on our backs
our feet in the air
holding on to our stomachs


at the nonsense of it all

Pen behind the ear
Pen behind the ear
HC: 2020