ON LOSING AND FINDING IDENTITY
Traveling alone to Konya in 1984, I managed to lose my passport. I’m not sure how I checked in to the Selijuk Hotel without it, but I did. It was early evening. I walked along the main street and came upon a visionary nutcart, lit with glorious lanterns and heaped with perfect pyramids of every kind of nut in elegant wooden compartments. I bought a quarter’s worth, a newspaper cone of pistachios, impossible abundance. As I came back in the hotel, one of the men watching television called out, Bul duc! Others chimed in laughing, bul duc, which means “I found it” in Turkish. The name of the hotel in Ankara I stayed in the previous night. They had found my passport at the I Found It Hotel. Ceremonially I went from chair to chair in the darkened hotel lobby, bowing with the paper spiral, Please.
WITH YOU HERE BETWEEN
Lovers work, so that when body and soul
are no longer together,
their loving will be free.
Wash in wisdom-water, so you will have no regrets
about the time here.
Love is the vital core of the soul,
and of all you see, only love is infinite.
Your non-existence before you were born
is the sky in the east.
Your death is the western horizon,
with you here between.
The way leads neither east nor west,
Test your love-wings and make them strong.
Forget the idea of religious ladders.
Love is the roof. Your senses are waterspouts.
Drink rain directly off the roof.
Waterspouts are easily damaged
and often must be replaced.
Say this poem in your chest.
Don’t worry how it sounds
going through your mouth.
A human body is a bow.
Breathing and speech are arrows.
When the quiver and arrows are used up or lost,
there is nothing more for the bow to do.