September 14, 2016

Keep your Guru, I’m Embracing my Mess. {Poem}


spiritual new age authenticity bullshit


To be a Zen master,

enlightened and at peace,

must be so boring.


How do you create art

without some tasty angst

coursing through your veins?

Unless it is terrible paintings,

like the kind hung in hospitals,

of pastel beach scenes

or cottages in the woods

that are happy and lovely and completely lacking soul.


The question is, if you are on a spiritual quest

do you want to be an artist, or a guru?

Do you want to paint giant canvases of your days

full of crazy whorls of color

or act scenes of wild abandon,

a Brando yelling up to a window in New Orleans?

Or do you want to be serene all the time,

the sharp points of life bouncing off you

as you meditate in your cocoon of perfection?


To be a guru seems a bit of a nightmare,

always being in the moment

and with that small smile on your face

and always wearing robes (even invisible ones)

and always eating bowls of rice

and saying wise things all the time

and absolutely loving

scrubbing the floors of monastery

cause you’re so in the moment and full of bliss

that f*cking and scrubbing floors are interchangeable to you—

and I find that sort of sad.


And gurus, they can never gossip

with their coworkers

or cry in an empty room with loneliness

or yell at their lover with veins pulsing

or feel completely annoyed because

someone left the top off the toothpaste again

or put their coffee mug in the sink

instead of putting it in the damn dishwasher.



I have no interest in being completely enlightened,

let me have some sin and ego

to keep things fun and dirty.

Let me jump into the middle of the chaos

with a Whitmanly barbaric yawp

as emotions and doubts and mysteries

blow apocalyptically around me

like life is a summer thunderstorm

with the sky turning green

and the leaves showing their pale underbellies

and shaking like Hawaiian dancers.


Life is supposed to be messy

like a house full of love and crumbs on the floor.

I don’t want to be perfect, I want to be alive

and all the good movies have plenty of chaos

and we are all actors in the greatest movie ever made.

I have no interest in levitating above it

pondering lotus flowers and love;

I love love but anger and melancholia

are worth exploring too…

there is enough time for sleep in the grave

and enough time for peaceful bliss

when you float out of it. 


Author: Benjamin Watson

Image: Elephant archives

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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