This One Precious Human Life

by Ken Ireland

for Grant Dillon
“One theory says you won’t remember dying any more than being born.” – Franz Wright

At noon
they sat the lama down in front of TV.
Some real experience of life
outside a meditation crib
seemed like a simple request.
Remote control in hand,
he flipped to All My Children.
Stop. “Stop!
“Oh watch out!” he cried inside.
“Amanda, you can’t hide your lies, silly bitch.
“Jake knows David is the daddy.
“You’ll never get away with it.
“How can you be that stupid?”
Where did that thought come from?
These families, really?
Westerners, really.
Love your momma.

Flip more.
One Life to Live.
Now we’re getting somewhere.
Better title—
Too Many Lives to Live.
"No—Oh no, David, don’t kiss Oliver!
“Please don’t!
“That Path leads in only one direction—
“All the Teachings agree, male or female,
“male and male, female and female, no difference,
“Good luck. Looks like trouble ahead.”
Real tears for imaginary men.

Can’t fast forward.
The lama begins to slump.
General Hospital
ends badly.
Gunfire. Ears. Ouch.
Dominic hustles Sonny into some big black car.
Max, Milo, and Jason escape. Whew.
Joey wasn't so lucky—
Oh dear, bodies scattered all around.
Joey asks a vagrant for help,
who snaps his neck as quick as a skilled headman.
“Is the homeless demon posing Joey's body
“for the final fire?
“He walks away, tosses a coin,
“‘Keep the change.’
“What can that mean?”

“Can I see some reality less intense,
“perhaps more real?” the lama asks.
“How many times can I do
“Powa with full blast visualization—
"high pixel resolution, all that compressing,
“surround sound?
“I'm tired out,
“and lost count.”

from the base of the spine
to the middle of the heart
the remarkable
bodhichitta starts to show up in all its glory.
Lama, loud and clear,
“Cookies and milk all around!
“Ordinary Hope is dead.
“Three cheers for Samsara.”

*I do not even own a TV, but I confess, I have seen All My Children, One Life to Live, General Hospital, and Guiding Light. The story lines used in the poem are real as real can be.  Trust me, but if you can’t believe it, check out As real as real can be. The lama’s inner voices are all made up.
This work is copyrighted by Kenneth Ireland. Reproduction or quoting in part with attribution is encouraged.


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