I’m the last cigar store Buddha.
Saffron shorn, tourists pop seven yuan
for photos with me. Prayer wheels broke,
what the Cultural Revolution
didn’t kill, Han businessmen will.
Lhasa’s a Potemkin Disneyland.
The Johkang and Potola shells of themselves,
monks look like they could use
some Prozac. Vegasoid hotel lobbies
(“museums with commissions”).
fire sell priceless fake thangkas.
In the sweatshops below, children weave
antique rugs to pawn off on Beijing’s
new bourgeoisie freighted in
by the trainload. Native-dressed ladies out front,
behind the scenes Party
ciphers instruct their stooges
through tiny unseen wireless dongles
when the price is right
to conclude equal opportunity sales to
gullible customers whether white or yellow.
Pleased by their prowess,
still ravenous, visitors munch dim sum,
burgers in plastic malled shrines
nicely duded up in prayer flags
since quickly flipped from rundown stupas
in what’s called the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
Orwell’d be proud.
Gerard Sarnat is the author of two critically acclaimed poetry collections, 2010’s HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man and 2012’s Disputes. He has been published in over seventy journals and anthologies. Harvard and Stanford educated, Gerry’s been a physician who’s set up and staffed clinics for the disenfranchised, a CEO of health care organizations, and a Stanford professor. For The Huffington Post review of his work and more; visit Gerard Sarnat.com.