five buddha machine

Past Buddha in a green waterfall making music from the falling drops. Spinning on a small rock, talking to a turtle. Red doves pecking at grains of sand on the little beach. That effortless river flowing backwards through stillness and fire. Gauze of the waterfall’s spray in the surrounding air, a song whose chorus fades out just before completion, the refreshing loop and gurgle of memories floating away. Leaf boats on the surface of the water, the honey-coloured rocks lending the stream a sheen of treacle or molasses, reeds shimmying in the submarine breeze.

Present Buddha sitting in a glade for several seconds, then gone to perch like a ladybird on a wet leaf. An eyedrop rolling down the chasm of the upturned leaf, a pinball in the fern’s erratic machine. Watching loneliness float away like a trail of smoke in the glade. Buddha was just there. The scent of sugarcane burning through the night. The manic energy of that desire in the dark. Candles of skin. Miniature whirlpools and short, sharp cracks. The earth rolling over. Poisonous berries growing from sunset-coloured fungi. Entropy, the waterfall’s big wheel.

Future Buddha on a plain immense, a turtle mountain, scanning the horizon for gold, or a rainbow. Fingers playing with tiny wheels. Setting soft cogs in motion. Observe the effects: a day comes rushing like a myth, backwards, from the mouth of Buddha, a little sparrow. That universal whistle blowing through space, through your eyes. I watch and say nothing, for my heart is too busy telling me, with each trembling thump, just how constant is that friend called time, and how determined its inevitable foes. Sand falls from the sky in diamonds.

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