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.


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.