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Roy Bentley

You're Not the Buddha

Once again an hour is bigger than its souvenir brightness.

In a yard beside oleanders, at the machined edge of a lawn,


grasses transmit the wing-motions of birds crossing a lake.

Somewhere on the lake’s surface is a sequencing of waves 


and the narrative of wave-displays evening elects to reorder.

In the kitchen you decide something, looking out a window,


but you’re not the Buddha. You’re not close to being wise.

Light and wind aren’t about ownership; they say as much—


one lectures about Illumination and traveling at great speed,

the other has authored A Treatise on the Nature of Change.


Now, on your iPad, Tony Montana carves up a Communist

as a favor to an influential friend. After, Tony is washing 


dishes at a diner. Goons stop by to offer a job collecting 

from Colombians. In America, you’re either the Redbird 


of Prosperity or about to free yourself from desperate men, 

one of whom is unpacking the chain-saw he’s dying to use.


On the screen, the crone with an Uzi turns up a television:

cop-show violence will mask torture noises. The saw stalls


and one of the Colombians pulls a starter rope. Pulls again.

Curses, in Spanish—if there’s an immortal soul, it’s on loan.

Roy Bently

Roy Bentley's poems have been widely published over the years, notably in Crazyhorse, Shenandoah, Rattle, The Southern Review and Prairie Schooner. He is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and fellowships from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Ohio Arts Council. His fifth book, Walking with Eve in the Loved City, was a finalist for the Miller Williams Poetry Prize. A new collection, American Loneliness, is available from Lost Horse Press in Sandpoint, Idaho.

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