Thursday, April 9, 2009

Han Shan Is Sleeping

The man sleeping on the bus stop bench is the poet Han Shan. He is dressed as a modern
bum. Layers of shirts, tattered sweatpants. His worn out, busted shoes, neatly side by side
underneath the bench. The last five mornings I've passed him as he slept. Today, I stopped and
watched him.

No one that passes us realizes that it's him. If they could only see him, they would. Right
now, he doesn't care that he's Han Shan. He is too busy searching of the pure kingdom. I know he
has found it because he is the epitome of stillness. He has transcended the body and left it to lie
on the bus stop bench like one would a parked car.

Keeamouku Street is virtually empty at dawn. The sky is a blend of purples and oranges.
The condo towers and office buildings are lit up but without the bustle of life they seem cold,
lonely. A short, pudgy man with a vente Starbucks cup in his left hand and his cell phone in his
right passes within inches of the sleeping Han Shan. His voice is loud, disturbing the morning.
Grates the nerves like an ambulance with sirens wailing. He has no respect for 5:47 am. His
sentences are punctuated with short laughs, exaggerated dagger like exclamation points. Han
Shan's balled hands, that had been resting motionless upon his chest for the last twenty-two
minutes, twitch then relax. They are small gnarled knots like the above ground roots of ancient

Han Shan begins to stir. His left eye twitches 1, 2, 3. Spirit has returned to the body. He
senses that outside of himself, the sky has become gently illuminated, suns splendor impending
and can't be stopped. More bodies pass him. North to South. South to North.

Han Shan wiggles his toes. His white socks are surprisingly clean. I fear his eyes opening.
I don't want him to see me standing two feet from him, leaning up against a sign that indicates a
bus will stop here. But no buses will stop here for at least another hour. Han Shan will know I
was watching him. Studying him in this vulnerable reincarnation. If he catches me here, we will
both feel awkward and lonely. Before either wise eye opens, I walk off, west to east.

1 comment:

  1. This is written in the perfect tone for the subject. I like it