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I am Tibetan (Unabridged)

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Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010
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I am Tibetan
Not that anybody is asking
I am Tibetan
Just because…

I am a thousand different things; I am nothing
put a finger on me, you’ll dizzy yourself to death:
A bastard child of history, Superstar undefeated
I am a juggler of hats, tightrope walker
the last sad clown, the one who wouldn’t go down

I exist, one amongst the earthly millions
a complete whole to myself, invisible to rest others
Unregistered is my status, adrift my ways;
Between my one step and the next
even the ground I walk on, refuses to remember

Like the rainbow-colored, multi-limbed deities
at whose feet I wake up every morning
I am a puzzle that won’t fit,
a truth that feels like a trick
My smile is the face to my hate, my rage is bliss

The Version 2.0 of my kind I am
made safe by my exile, here and not there
behind the Himalayas, inside death’s own mouth
I am the one who lucked out; small price, I figure,
for unoriginality, for being less than what I am supposed to be

I am Tibetan
Not that anybody is asking
I am Tibetan
Just because…

My clothes I wear them better than my neighbors;
Even the white dude, whose American passport to him was guaranteed
before his grandparents were toddlers themselves,
then went to college, drank beer, forgot on their contraception,
next by my side, he looks like a villager

I drive a nice car;
hell, I even own a motorcycle
my way, you see, of tricking that amnesiac ground
into thinking I am its Siamese twin
joined at hips, doubly here, never gone

The designer sunglasses I wear are big and pitch black,
They serve well my imposter self
when sometimes the sky pretend not to belong over my head;
then to it I feign: I am me,
and sometimes: David Beckham

When I talk to women
it is with the language-shifting tongue of Buddha
making love to them, back to me they say my name
which in their multitude of accents, are given new births,
new confirmation that I exist, am felt, deep

I am Tibetan
Not that anybody is asking
I am Tibetan
Just because…

Like an insect I have trampled on,
in this and my many previous lives,
I crawl, scavenge for food, curry favors, dance for luck,
but mostly, I pray, so that I too will not be buried in the earth,
before my time is up, by an insect that has grown legs, now wearing boots

History weighs heavy on my shoulders
ghostly fingers point to where I dare not see
from across memory’s oceans, ancient faces peer back at me
I try to breathe; its not the air that enters my nostrils
but blood: in its stinging, unyielding, coldness

Everyday, I dread turning on the TV
for, too well, in it, I know my part
as the one forever offering his skull
to baton-wielding Chinese soldiers,
as the one forever looking up
the nuzzle of a gun, and sometimes
in between the darkness of his closed eyes,
for a chance Buddha to appear

There was, once, I was told
a battle between gods and evil
in which the gods lost,
were driven up the mountains
and now so that they might remember their way back
we still send up smoke signal,
string colored flags across the sky

Sometimes I push my fist in the air
give words to the rage that killed my father
from carrying it around too long,
unspoken and not acted upon,
and I wonder how long will it be,
before I too will disappear…

…into the woods of prayers
which lie next to the mountains,
from which the gods never returned

I am Tibetan
Not that anybody is asking
I am Tibetan
Just because…

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