A Taste of Self-Esteem

From poets.org:

Surf Buddha
by Matthew Lippman

There is a sandalwood Buddha on the desk that has my stomach
and I don’t suppose to call myself a Buddha
or even pretend to know much about Buddhist whirlings
but Rachel gave me the thing and it’s got my belly
the one my father has got
and the one his father had
and I know this bulge the way I know my name,
and can’t believe I’ve become the language of fat
that the boys in my family have kept quiet.

So I encourage my stomach out into the world,
rub it on a daily basis and think
that if I ever become a religious man
there would be god and glory to find there,
my rib cage distended,
my love of ice cream as sweet as my love of Rachel

who put the Buddha in my palm a month after we met and said, have this,
and I said, I already have this,
my hands in motion around my belly button and then today
noticed for the first time that the little bastard has got some serious nipples on him,
thank god, and breasts too,
he’s the perfect kind of godlike statuette
even if I am a Jew

but the days have been glorious and people die in truck crashes
and men beat their wives and flowers bloom purple
and the cardinal I’ve named Jack always comes around my way at this time,
4:40 in Baldwin on the Island,
Wes Montgomery on the Sony
and I don’t know if it’s his song Cariba or the wind on my swollen toes
that makes me pick up the little guy, stick him in my mouth,
swirl him around between teeth and cheek,
place him on the edge of my tongue and let him surf there,
through the neighborhood of my white heat,
on the curl of my pink waves.

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