Posted by Ben Koch

When my faith in the power and relevance of poetry has faltered, I’ve found a new spark of hope and energy in the quote below by Allen Ginsberg.  It’s no coincidence that Ginsberg was a practicing Buddhist–I believe the expansive cosmic worldview of vajrayana Buddhism, with its balanced disposition of compassion and fearlessness, evolved him out of mere rebellion and into a more spiritual aspect of poetry. What does this quote mean to you? Below the quote I include a poem of my own which I believe begins to embody a “vajra poetry.”

Poetry is unhesitating and doubtless proclamation. Proclamation of what? Proclamation of the actual mind, manifesting your mind, writing the mind, which goes back to Kerouac but also goes back to Milarepa.

 – Allen Ginsberg


The Saint and the Slug

by Ben Koch

some days you’re practically a saint,

the light from each incandescent bulb

reflecting off the diamonds in your smile

to evaporate the miseries

of every lost dog

or demon.

others you’re like a slug

pulling a chariot

of fat men

hurling insults

and cups of piss

in your path.

either way, here’s the secret

they’ve been trying to tell you

all along—

rest in the Awareness

that watches

the saint and the slug,

as if it were a really cool

3D movie,

and it’s pretty much all good.


About bensten

Teacher, writer, blogger and spiritual practitioner. Managing editor of

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