tai tai bodhisattva
— elbert s.p. lee
Wandering in the mall
you move gracefully
in your occasion-perfect outfit.
At your sight, I hold my breath
treading my path of faith
in the crowd’s midst.
This is the routine you go through
from day to day
casting beautiful reflections
on shop floors and glass displays.
This is your work, this is your faith.
I keep my silence as I meditate
from place to place
casting doubt on the proceeds
of your day.
This is my work, this is my way.
Through your lips
blossom speeches of angelic accent
spoken with the precision
of a teutonic gauge–
you pause, at times,
to remind us that we are
but laymen in our mundane presence.
In my mind,
a language of karmic accident
reflecting nothing but cosmic dissonance–
I waver, at times
being aware that we still share
the same table, same bread, same nuisance.
Near the day’s end,
in a matter-of-fact manner,
you draw out your fan of cards
to mark the end of your royal charade.
And I–I try to keep my manners,
to live without too much disgrace
in this God-forsaken place.