Bodhisattva showed us how to combine

all our fears into one living thing


So it can be seen,

instead of just felt  


All our fears go into forming a great monster,

from our kid stuff to our current stuff


It’s a combination of oldies and greatest hits and new stuff–

which really is just a buildup of all the old stuff


When complete, and standing in our doorway,

we can assess its height and weight,

just as we would a persistent bully on the playground


The hope, and the enlightenment, is that

once seen and faced,

the beast will lose its ability to frighten


Instead, it will awaken our ability

for compassion and understanding


There will be empathy for it,

and, in turn, ourselves 



His monster was named Mara,

and he was described as a Demon God

I picture a huge, hairy beast

with protruding fangs and malicious intent 


Today, my monster took the form

of a Metro Bus driver named Bob


He said that he wanted to be called “Robert,”

but felt that it might come off as pretentious to his riders


He was stopping by after a long, difficult shift,

looking horrible and sad


He smelled of stale cigarettes and the city,

and every minute or two he would knead

the back of his neck and clear his throat


I offered him tea, which he accepted,

balancing cup and saucer on his knee


A little bit spilled on his pants,

but he seemed not to notice 


His clothing was worn but clean,

his face deeply wrinkled

with skin that looked as though

it had rarely seen sunlight


His life, he realized, had been focused

on making sure that all his passengers

got to where they were going 



Right on time, every day,

after day, after day, after day


Bob was a tired old man

who had traveled many miles

in service to many people


But he had no journey of his own


He knew no joy of his own


He held the cup up high to get the last sip of tea,

carefully placed it back on the table

and quietly left the room


I looked at the empty chair and still warm cup,

while listening to his footsteps retreat to silence


I found myself wishing he had stayed longer


A hairy beast with fangs and malice would have

been somehow better, the fear for bodily harm much

preferred to deep and genuine sorrow  


Bob, the monster that showed itself to me,
was actually selflessness


The belief that being committed to everyone’s journey

but his own would somehow find him favor in the eyes

of loved ones, peers, and a deity never seen but believed


Selflessness showed itself for what it truly is




Now, the room is so very still


I find myself in a new alone


Asking if those I serve so faithfully,

I serve out of love and caring


Or because it’s easier to serve them

than to love myself…