Nude Descending/Transcending

               Behind these gates of redwood slat
the faded gamboge dome of the monastery resembles
a second sun in this haze along the early autumn coast;
beneath a canopy of unfolding sky and enclosed within
birded, garden walls the Buddha of Ocean Beach walks
barefoot among stone & blossom & blue pools of clear water
warm in a gelee of September high-pressure, his yellow sandals
lost among the fallen leaves of giant schefelera & rubber plant ficus;
alligator lizards sun themselves in the rocks where nasturtiums
have spilled their ocherous spice across the mulch trail;
there are more finches than fruit among the damask
leaves of the plum tree, the chatter of so many songs
echoing on top of itself in shrill warbling crescendo.

      Above his head a ring of young bananas,
upturned and ripening in the fertile light,
and below, the deepred sheath hanging
heavy & pendulous & drawing insects to its seeping, sticky nectar—
he disrobes & wades delicately into the largest of the pools,
feeling skin draw & tighten in the shaded volume of his full
measure now diving to the pool’s deepest recess, then
lungs bursting, air bubbles opalescent in the underwater translucence,
he swims upward towards the sun, towards the light of day
& the fallen leaves & petals & drowning wings that bejewel
the calm ceiling above him, and exploding onto the surface, and regaining
full oxygen & consciousness
floats dreamily on his back, a white lotus slowly turning pink..

       Beyond the edge water, the shimmering pools, the youngmen
naked against a vast blue horizon, bottled waters held in languid hands,
    high tropical clouds fleck the sky,
plein-air pieces to a puzzle left unfinished,
while El Hurican slams into the Baja headlands
a thousand miles to the south of these beautiful,
bellies & foreheads.