Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mr. Lucky





Mr. Lucky

By Richard Kohn

“Of all the gin joints in all the world, you have to walk into this one.”

A billion cold rocks, scarred and pitted,
Hurtle through space. Given the odds,

Aren’t we lucky, so unfathomably, incomprehensibly lucky,
Just to be alive.

A stray beam of light careens from one of these rocks.
Hits something. Bounces to something else
In a thing called my eye.
Behold—a magnolia in full bloom—
hanging like an apparition above the San Francisco Bay—
a lotus field from a Buddhist paradise.

How can I say I am not lucky? When a billion years of intergalactic
accidents have conspired to bring me this gift.

Indecision. Right? Left? Right? Left? I walk through a door
and there is the love of my life.

How lucky, how unfathomably, uncharacteristically lucky that I just
didn’t blow it.

Her face reddens and strains. She screams. Another minute surely she
shall die. Or I will. Then the baby’s head emerged, tiny tired perfection,
weary as an old man, radiant as an angel.

How can I say that I’m not lucky? Just to be alive.

A doctor walks in. She need say nothing. The answer is etched in her eyes.
Those shadows on your liver are cancer, metastatic cancer.

But how can I say that I’m not lucky?
Just to be alive.
Like you.


Richard Kohn (1948—2000) was a documentary filmmaker, Tibetan Buddhist scholar, photographer, poet, and author. His best-known book and award-winning film are both entitled Lord of the Dance: The Mani Rimdu Festival in Tibet and Nepal.

2 comments:

steven said...

hi dan, man oh man that's wickedgood writing!!! richard's name is new to me. so off i'll go this afternoon to see what i can see. thanks!!! steven

Dan Gurney said...

Thanks, Steven—I'm glad you enjoyed this poem, too. It's pretty powerful writing.