Monks and a Drunk

Three ochre and maroon clad monks walk into a bar.

Whaddya havin?
asks the stylish existential mid-twenties female bartender.

The first monk orders a scotch on the rocks.
The second monk orders a rum and coke.
The third monk orders a long island.

I have to ask,
the bartender says,
but doesn’t being a Buddhist mean you can’t drink?

Who says? replies the first monk.
Who cares? replies the second.
Who said we were Buddhists? replies the third.

She makes their drinks
and they guzzle them quickly.
They excuse themselves and glide single file to the restroom.

When they return, they are wobbling and laughing profusely.
They start an argument with the aging Bukowski-looking drunk next to them.

You shouldn’t drink, declares the first monk.
The body is Buddha’s abode, proclaims the second.
We don’t drink at all, we’re Buddhists, states the third.

The man laughs and coughs and sparks a cigarette.
He looks at them with a light eye and says:
Fuck you Buddhists! You think you’re funny!

And the monks laugh with the man and say, in unison,
exactly, blessed sage, exactly,
and pat him on the back, one at a time.

+appeared in Haggard & Halloo, April 20, 2007

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Filed under poetry, published work

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