Benares McDonalds – a poem

US Navy flier, New York City beat poet, mendicant monk, songwriter & a lovely human being! On the campus of the Sanskrit University, Banaras, 1965, as ordained Theravada Monks. BENARES McDONALDS

The first corpse of the morning
is a priest
burning on a sandal pyre.

His wristwatch ticks hypnotically
then melts
conjuring the frankincense
three wise men offered Christ.
Forgiving mankind’s sins
mandated crucifixion
so we might opt for freedom
if we dared…
shedding the tax on our flesh
as a serpent leaves skin…
continually becoming what was inconceived
’til then.

At the time
when the veins on the back of the hand
first cast a shadow
the monk goes out
each day to beg.

At the moment
the full-moon
touches the horizon
he shaves his skull
(hair, beard and eyebrows)

At the point
when his thinking
is muddied by his lust
he spends a season
in the charnel field
and lends a hand
at odd cremations.

Ritual consumes belief
that no thing is forbidden.
God’s a corpse.
The abstract only
manifest as fiction.

Sanctified myth
holds the species in thrall
and politics is chosen first
(like poppies)
over freedom.

Vultures spiral heavenward
through clouds of human smoke.
A monk
warms his hands
on the burning cadaver.

Peter Monk 1988


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2 Responses to “Benares McDonalds – a poem”

  • Think also of surrealist melting clocks, time is another
    mutable concept that does not meet the basic idea we have
    of reality..layers of the three gems and the four truths. Thanks again, you all, for bring him to speak once more. P.T.

  • P.T., did you know him?

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