person Daniel Paul Marshall, three poems

Daniel Paul Marshall lives on the island of Jeju, where he runs a guesthouse & bar that he built with his wife. He has had poems published in a few journals, including Four Ties Lit Review, The Contemporary Haibun Online, Underfoot, and The High Window.

danielpaulmarshall.com

A handful of prayers & the day’s work is done.
Time to sip expensive Yemeni coffee
& build an online presence with their iPhones
& cheap | superimposed wisdom they’ve yet to fully grasp
the complexity of. Seeing them | it tires me
to hear people defend Buddhism as a philosophy not a faith |
as if that somehow discounts them from the usual charges
pitched against contesting branches of ideology.
It is an ideology: has drawbacks & is led by powerful men
with slot machine eyes & a thirsty wallet.
Their cartoon image | bright crystal-ball heads |
eyes squeezed shut | a lotus in their cupped hands
—this image is a bigger mystery to me than sutras
: a means to disarm & mediate abulia in tourists
: a bag of rice for Buddha is ₩10000. 10000 days of prayer
₩300000. i may be cynical but | i wouldn’t put it past them
to steal out into the jet streams of the mountain night
& from beneath the eyes of Siddartha’s 50ft replica |
filch the oblationary rice & steam it for breakfast.
i see the pretense of humility. See.
The real thing would be to know the end
of the mind is acknowledged failure

& pray
with inverted hands.

It no doubt started with one of those
4-D visions he gets | in the mirrored cube of his head
: Dangun raising morale as the long exodus
from the Pamir range wound down at Baekdusan
—his knackered caravan of followers in need
of their burdens lightened | so Dangun took out his
tungso flute & blew their tired to smithereens.

No silicon dipped idiosyncrasy of Internet
to teach him how to carve a tungso flute |
Daesa-nim set out for Jiri Mt in S.Jeolla province
to a bamboo forest | & steadied into meditation
—called on the forest’s collect-call-consciousness
which one of you wouldn’t mind being hacked
down— the canopy hushed… one well-knit & brave agreed.

He became the bamboo’s devoted pupil
— interviewed it | asking what steps I need to take
to transmigrate the wood into immortal
instrument— it whispered lessons plainly in his ear
how to file | sand | shape— the right
amount of ℉ & method to scorch holes
that starve enough oxygen to forge a note |

the right measure of varnish to embalm
& how to carve the lip plate | to resurrect
the tunes which weather cradles in wet & wind.
The job done | tungso like an old man’s cane |
he had to learn deliverance of notes with bated breath
—that too the tungso helped him with: seared the scores
into the hind of his thoughts to plot their own path

up cracks of light like vines
in his shamanic altar.

Leviathan impaled upon a cypress tree |
its throat bust open like a sinking ship.
A poet’s posture | mimicking the anglepoise lamp.
A sack of hammers lobbed at a hive of bees.
Foucault demurely yawning | asked to unify
his theory. Watch a person embody the inversion of
a stereotype & flabbergasted wonder if a whole life
inside an office cubicle | letting the key
strokes presage crow’s feet in the temple…
See this shoe box here | this jumble of cables |
if you can untangle them without frustration…
The fulcrum of an idea on the tip of 2 kids’ minds
— a lamp switched off then on. A child
to point at the sun & say where’s it gone?

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