Buddha's Tooth


Of course, my resemblance is
strictly occidental.

By all that's holy, I'm
the gift of the gob.

Here comes a chopper:
you must bow and scrape.

Roll out the red carpet
of your tongue.

I am a far better draw
than the Queen. Some crown.

I am not in Taipei:
that one's up a gum tree.

Feel it, the pull of the tooth:
fang for the memory.


[May 1999]

From the book Labour Pangs

One of Buddha's teeth drew crowds in Hong Kong. There was said to be a second one in Sri Lanka, but the existence of another in Taiwan was hotly disputed.