Love Beads for Sale | Gerard Sarnat

Llasa Tibet.2007.Sarnat

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  

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