For some reason, perhaps that I’ve been thinking lately about the Dalai Lama and other assorted ocher, saffron and maroon robed individuals, I thought of this poem today. I wrote it in a fit of inspiration at a Poetry reading following my attendance at the performance and sand mandala destruction/dissemination/distribution of some visiting monks from the Trepung monastery.

Not to imply that you don’t, she said,
care about “Poetry”;
to which i replied, you’re right,
it’s not the “Poetry” that means anything,
but the life that leads to it –

like an orange,
which could be a
mandarin, tangerine, tangelo, color, mood, or aura;
like an orange,
which in its microcosmic sense, is a
bumpy circle which meets in a navel and finds its way back ’round again;
like an orange,
which can suffer greatly from an early frost;
like an orange,
which often bruises in its fall from the tree;
like an orange,
which hides its sweet and tender meat tucked safe inside a bitter shell;
like an orange,
which lets itself be squeezed, its juice drained off and bottled up;
like an orange,
which blends its anger red and hot with the warmth and mellow glow of sunshine;
like orange,
which in flame, is where the black and white lights meet;
like an orange,
which could represent the antithesis of the apple,
that some say Eve found quite appealing.

The orange represents
passion,intuition, gut reaction, first impression, and life
The apple represents
bookish learning, knowledge, logic, bribery, and ultimately death.

Not to say you don’t, i think,
care about the power of life and living,
but, to spend time over books comparing fruits and “Poetry”
means no growth for the poem’s seed.

It’s a metaphor for life, i want to say to you:

There’s no orange for the teacher;
moms don’t produce orange pies.
There’s no worm inside the orange,
and no orange of my eye.

But life is like an orange,
for to be most happ’ly lived
you cannot core it like an apple,
but must squeeze it in a sieve.

In the East the holy man wears orange
and in fact, it’s true –
the sound sung by the universe
is orange in its hue.

APR 1994

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