Homage to Chagdud Rinpoche 
 This poem was written in the Trinity Alps of Northern California at 
 Rigdzin Ling, the main center of Tibetan Lama Chagdud Tulku. It was 
 my second time there. I had the yurt, a canvas covered, circular 
 structure secluded in a meadow, all to myself. At night the moon 
 cast spectacular beams through the plexiglass skylight, spiralling 
 them around the room. On moonless nights the stars were brighter 
 than I'd ever seen. Night was my favorite time. I sat at a makeshift 
 desk, basking in the meager warmth of a little woodstove, brewing 
 tea, reading texts, and writing by light of a kerosene lamp.
 The Buddha of Sawtooth Peak                                        
 by Pema Gonpo
 the Sawtooth Peaks
 erupt from deep pine valleys
 squirming against the floating 
 blue vibrant sky
 cast in shadow
 of glacial ice and snow
 grey rock
 reaching for the heavens
 stars are pinlights
 in distant galaxies
 pointed at the earth 
 at the skylight of the yurt
 dartplayers hurling beams of light
 with a twitch
 a flick of the wrist
 186,000 miles per second
 piercing this tinted bullseye
 an eyeball observatory
 through which I swim
 into aquamarine midnight sky
 silhouettes of darkness
 ridge and rising mountain
 a pulsing mass of fuzzy pine
 a surry with the fringe on top
 a geological freight train
 slowly steadily unstoppably
 from the bowels of the earth
 until bursting
 erupting from deep green valleys
 the Sawtooth Peaks
 holding up the afternoon
 early spring sky
 I sit alongside the path
 connecting yurt and house
 across the footbridge
 over the swirling stream
 then up the rock steps
 the steep path to the clearing
 little patches of blue
 peek through the clouds
 like babies fighting sleep
 a mosquito hovers
 a few inches from my forehead
 a bumblebee swings
 two tight buzzsaw haloes
 flies away
 returns twice
 each time 360 degrees
 the Buddha of Sawtooth Peak
 smiled upon me today
 I could barely see the haggard form
 steadfastly meditating
 for the benefit of all beings
 amongst the glaciated boulders
 of the Trinity Alps
 as wind whipped snow
 transformed the alpine desert 
 into sandstorm fury
 the Buddha's eyes opened
 in a wide mouth grin
 to bow to the Sawtooth Peaks
 in anticipation of Maitreya
 the coming Buddha 
 of enlightenment
 for all sentient beings
 I prostrated half a dozen times
 kissing the enlightened earth
 that blesses me with raindrops
 which have flowed unceasingly
 from person to air
 to cloud communion of molecules
 then back again and again
 uniting the three times
 connecting each thing to the Buddha
 connecting each thing to the Teaching
 an unbroken verbal lineage
 I stood with my eyes 
 upon the distant snowy peaks
 feeling the strangest truest feeling 
 that the Buddha of Sawtooth Peak
 had risen from the ice and snow
 and stood in the bitter wind 
 to watch over my approach
 to ease my suffering 
 by extending a hand
 to see me through to a place
 far beyond the Sawtooth Range
 perhaps a smaller mountain or a valley
 as a bodhisattva
 serving all sentient beings