Saturday, January 13, 2007

So Marked

The Rockrose Moon (A Serial Fiction) Part 25

I don’t have a spiritual life okay? There is all this stuff they talk about in yoga classes and that is fine. I recently read Living Yoga by Christy Turlington but heck, I also read the January Vogue which has a lovely little picture of Turlington with Kate Moss, smiling like they are genuinely happy, both in black with those long long legs.

My mom was agnostic and had a good laugh about horoscopes and stuff. She did believe in luck though. My dad, well he was as Buddhist as much as a bond trader gets, so I was curious when someone gave me a copy of “Shambhala Sun” the other day because of the article about Leonard Cohen. I read it out loud to Christian yesterday.

Then I took the magazine to the gym with me, though I would have preferred a podcast, there is something quaint about reading on the treadmill. Anyways, curious about my dad I read the article called “What Makes You a Buddhist?”

In it Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche says that there are four statements spoken by the Buddha himself known as “the four seals”. Then he defines seal as meaning something like a hallmark that confirms authenticity.

I got to thinking about what this might mean in terms of poetry. I realized I didn’t really know what hallmark meant so I looked it up. Duh! So duh. Very Elvin indeed…Originally so marked at Goldsmith’s Hall in England to indicate quality or purity.

So if there were seals for a genuine woman poet in America today it would be she has to be thin, has to have slept with the right men (or in special cases men and women), has to have a teaching post that pays over $100,000 and of course be published by some prestigious press, which of course means sleeping with the publishers too, or at least to be well versed in the fine art of blow jobs. Drug use and celebrity for other reasons are also helpful.

But I was wondering in my fantasy world what the four seals would be for real poets that had to do with their work, not who they are and who they know.

They would have to be original, have something fresh and yet universal to say. They would need to have talent. And dare I say it??? Discipline, enough to have read the masters and still have their own voice. To be genuine in this truly absurd and cynical environment you have to want it more than anything else and be crazy enough to believe in yourself against all evidence to the contrary.

Wanting it badly is not enough.


Blogger With Hammer And Tong...The LetterShaper said...

I very much enjoyed my time here; as a poet and an avid reader, I found it both enlightening and enriching. Thank you...

2:01 PM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

I like the mix of cynicism, bitterness and then - there, catch it while you can - a mote in a slide of sunlight; that sharp and earnest glint of eagerness ...

11:42 PM  

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