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  • Crac’h 11, Luffange, Tal er Roch (Bas-Bretagne), and: Blowing the Buddhas to Smithereens
  • Hillel Schwartz (bio)

Crac’h 11, Luffange, Tal er Roch (Bas-Bretagne)

Two diorite axes Splitrock: as the dying turned their backs &, folded up, turned to stone & bonefield, what they traded for lives (suppose) in halfmoon of Morbihan— severalness, like lines of menhirs pointing toward [End Page 98] the last, not horizon but else, & more

Nine greenstone beads or less: wordlessly worked & reworked for the palm, for exchange, a day or so from coast but sand unequal to this softness, even the rubbing of rock underwater of rock, no, the green grows in the hand almost forever, like yew, & in nines, so much

A rock crystal bead & so clearly remnant of the finding, cloud-eye thick with later light yet itself spiriting no loss, imperfection of grain or growth its bond, what it was before they had come to where they were going in the afterlight of passage, nothing at all intangible, a way of being at once touchstone & invisible, how they & now we hold to incidentals

Flint points & other angles, fire or fracture, hundreds of small wounds, a digging [End Page 99] at outcrops, what comes blue grey in midmorning midsummer walking sun: the hunt returning to the pit, flake to hearth & bole of cliff—facing away, away, deep inside the grave, like cerement

Eight barbed & tanged arrowheads but so common we want to pass them by, cliché of the millennia, you counting shafts of afternoon horizon, barbs of signpost telling us what they (suppose) wanted not to pass them by so worked into flying thorn to stick by them across the long dark air

A Grand-Pressigny dagger as if at the hip a flake moved flat out along the bone, not the ribs we call up for gender but hip ritual this for that for that other across what’s called neoliths or Altneuland, sons, daughters, thunder, asunder, mumblety-peg finger to foot to hip to earth

A Kerugou pottery fragment to fire again, something special in the very notion of fragment, yes? a something of infinite incomplete presences, this angled passage [End Page 100] grave of the Morbihan an afternoon’s devotion for us, almost idle curiosity, hoard or hold or last impression at sunfall an avalanche of dark & an ark of clay pieces not so far from Finistere & the ends of the earth.

Blowing the Buddhas to Smithereens

Nose & toes, abs & pecs & 8-fold poses, sandstone, limestone, dharmastone, schist, kablaam, kablooey, Khandha-ka-Dukkha. Nothing of course further from the truth: arms & legs & heads & fingers go shooting off into lumps, bundles, boulders & heaps— a ricochet of the senses, a shrapnel of righteousness—& all that happens is Pabbajjā, another & another going forth, & Samsāra, another & another going around, restless with explosion of desire, the outrage of Anattā, a thousand cubic meters of stone Buddhas smithereened by mortars proving the self unstable, contingent on desolations of demolition, incontinent volitions. Obliteration teases out the iterations of the Iddhi, dominion of the spirit behind the copper faces, copper fingers, long-ago copper, long-gone copper of giant Vairocana, of lesser giant Sakyamuni, [End Page 101] the way the chunks tumble kick & fly from their niches up into blue Afghan air then down to the Bamiyan sand, almost chanting with the rocket-launchers & tank grenades upādāna upādāna, up then down then down then down this world historical site, each 32,000 years comes another Sammā Sambuddha or somebuddha else to help us into smithereens, Gautama or Tathāgata, the Perfect One, the “Thus Gone.” [End Page 102]

Hillel Schwartz

Hillel Schwartz’s work has appeared in Field, Fiddlehead, and Beloit Poetry Review. He is the cotranslator of a book of Korean poetry by Ko Un, Abiding Places: Korea North and South (Tupelo P).



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