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, and I stop to erect a shrine in my waste land

by Julie Adams

For 10 days
a monk tends to
the Zen garden
at the epicenter
of my fleshy sanctuary
located, much like Manahatta's Park,
in my torso.

I know he is there
I hear him


At once
unaffected and overwhelmed
by sudden famine,
he dutifully manicures my waste land
shifting stone and sand,
...his gardens back home miss him.
Energy pools emerge under his labor
in the mirage of my mind
no solitary blue deer or peyote
along this desert stomach floor,
though he is waiting,
patiently for something

Through the long summer of my fast,
days six, seven, eight,
mineral rains persist,
down a steamy alkalized labyrinth
of lemon and cayenne and maple stained veins;
all else remains beyond the moat,
but him.

In bounty's absence and Zen tradition
he tailors a gift of thanks
upon a solitary petal
he manifests
7 golden lotus seeds,
placed upon my Chakras
vibrations blossom an offering
upon my soul, awoken
to what is, what be—

He vibrates my middle-ground
unearthing dormant land mines
like a tremor in the desert
where rubble shakes
memories from canyon walls
over time
not unlike polar glaciers
melting into inevitable floods
of truth.

He tills my empty plot
down to the fossils
carefully buried, once
over. Time
crawls into bed early
and invites me to join him.
Amber rays flicker
into fiery flames stretched along the sky
before they begin to smolder
into night.

Still, the monk
draws circles in my mind
with his rake, causing ripples
in thought, patterns
flowing outward
along veins, like roads
or empty branches,
I pause to look

, and I stop to erect a shrine, to honor
with scattered petals, singing bowls
and poetry scrolls,
to remember
this pilgrimage.

Each comb
of the rake, and pause,
rake, and pause
gently pulls night in
to my eyes
to my garden
like a shepherd come dusk,
or a child, with dreams to attend to.


Through his eyes
I perch on a rib or two
and yell
into the cavernous belly
for an echo

or echoing
borrowed words.


Author's Note: This poem is the first phase of a new plan to offer a postmodern rendition of T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land.. This phase has not yet been likened to his work, as it was an afterthought really, but may offer some tribute to Elliot's genius with time and revision. This current poem/version will, however, remain in my library.

Posted on 05/01/2006
Copyright © 2021 Julie Adams

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Charles E Minshall on 05/02/06 at 03:01 PM

From my garden of praise I praise this work Julie. Very well done Julie...Charlie

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 05/02/06 at 05:01 PM

Colorfully eclectic combination of images Julie. Kinda like Salvador Dali put to poetry, leaving interpretation as personal as individual readers.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 05/02/06 at 05:02 PM

P.S. Great title also!

Posted by Richard Vince on 05/02/06 at 06:35 PM

impressive. evocatively painted. smouldering.

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 05/04/06 at 10:56 AM

a wonderful assortments of words that capture the rapture of that one hand clapping applause to your Opus.

Posted by Leslie Ann Eisenberg on 05/08/06 at 03:56 PM

this is absolutely amazing. i read it the first day you posted, and voted POTD, but was too stunned for words. i will have to dive down and read it at least a hundred times to even begin to unravel the many images and meanings here. it is easiest to echo jon's words, who is the site expert in these matters. i agree with every word. PK

Posted by Christina Bruno on 05/16/06 at 04:37 AM

the wasteland is my favorite poem. this is very good. ilove the scattering of images here...i've always b een tempted to write somethign near the wasteland but it is too intimating adn tehre are so many themes to touch (impotency, death water/dry,)...anyway, i really think this is impressive and well written. i haven't been to your library in so long - excellent, excellent job -can't wait for part II :)

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 05/16/06 at 07:08 PM

I liked what Chris said about the piece being like a Dali painting put to verse. Very impressive, indeed! Well done!

Posted by Frankie Sanchez on 10/04/06 at 06:56 AM

i am beyond impressed with this piece. it pulled me in and kept me satisfied. intriguingly mysterious, spiritual and... sexy. this was a perfect read.

Posted by JD Clay on 04/21/11 at 06:50 PM

I love the way you’ve not only personified the Monk but the way you make a Zen garden of your mind. And like your garden/mind, this poem is groomed to perfection. I believe each verse could actually stand alone as individual poems but the correlation to one another in succession is absolutely beautiful. It’s filled with challenging metaphor and holds the readers attention throughout. Impressive stuff, Jewels!

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 04/23/11 at 02:53 PM

I was not aware of this masterful piece. A very fine POTD!

Posted by Linda Fuller on 04/24/11 at 02:27 AM

This is quite wonderful. Congrats on POTD!

Posted by Clara Mae Gregory on 04/24/11 at 04:56 AM

I can add nothing more to what has already been said. Good stuff, Jewels...good stuff

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