Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Richard Fein


Birthday Jettisoning

Finally down to serious discarding, I
go deep into the closet
and find everyone's threadbare overcoat,
older than my memory of buying it.
In a pocket, a paper
with writing faded almost to illegibility.
Something once was noted,
and I've never been known to throw something important away.
I try on the coat.
It no longer fits.
Now I'm trapped within a hoary skin.
And I clutch
a memento that's as yellowed and wrinkled
as a jaundiced old man.
It's time to pitch this rag heap.
As for the paper, my very unfolding
tore it apart.


Midnight, and my hand reaches for another hand.
I find one, grasp it and am comforted.
It is my other hand.
It opens and closes when I wish, and moves only where I want.
It never demands reciprocal comforting.
Neither does it suddenly withdraw its touch,
nor grasp another hand in secret.
It is my dearest love.
There is never any risk of its not being there.
And without risk there is no fear,
and without fear there is no need for comfort.
So my hand need not reach out for another.
It remains perfectly still by my side,
as I lie here on my cot staring
at my ceiling too dark to see.


Here in my garden, I've witnessed Gaea or Buddha or one in the same
crawling on my compost heap.
This denizen of decay is the final incarnation
ending the cycle of the corporeal by being totally corporeal.
Now a creature solely of instinct,
it no longer comprehends heaven, hell, dharma or karma,
or even where it's heading.
Its naked skin simply glides along moist soil.
A most high divinity crawls at my feet
as a gastropod Bodhisattva, as a glistening earth mother slug.
But where does my guru lead?
Should I get down on my belly,
with my face pressed against the earth
and eyes turned away from the stars?
For if Gaea is indeed the goddess earth
then crawling on her is embracing her.
And if oblivion of self is nirvana
then my backyard is blessed with a trespassing Buddha
laying out a mucus trail for me to follow.


Richard Fein has been published in numerous web and print journals. His second aesthetic interest is digital photography.

© Richard Fein

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012