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The Beforelife
The Beforelife

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Someone once told me about a Buddhist
monk who on awakening

each morning said, "Master!"
Then he would answer

"Yes, master?" And then
in a loud voice demand

"Become sober!"
Listen to what I am saying,

but listen especially
to what I am not saying--

Of all the powers of love,
this: it is possible

to die; which means
it's possible to live.

Now it is possible to die
without being mad or afraid.



Description of Her Eyes

Two teaspoonfuls,
and my mind goes
everyone can kiss my ass now--

then it's changed,
I change my mind.

Eyes so sad, and infinitely kind.

Excerpted from The Beforelife by Franz Wright Copyrightę 2001 by Franz Wright. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.