Oil Change (Baghdad Shiva)

My Facebook status was: “Heading to Jiffy Lube with the Bhagavad Gita”, because that was what I was doing.  The Gita, as it affectionately called, was the last book on our list of required reading.  I would have to write a paper on it soon, so I was carrying it around with me on my errands.

As I sat in Jiffy Lube the line was stuck in my head.  And I was struck by the fact that I was reading this ancient sacred text, while mundane life was going on all around me.   So I started to write on the blank page at the back of the book.

One of my friends later made a Facebook comment:  “What the hell is this Baghdad Shiva stuff?”  And so, here it is.

Oil Change (Baghdad Shiva)

Headed to Jiffy Lube with the Bhagavad Gita,
thinking that life doesn’t get much sweeter,
Someplace to go and a good book to read.

Routine maintenance and feeding my head
with words that Mohandas Gandhi once read.
What more could a yogi in training really need?

In anticipation, with a true beginners mind
I sit on the pleather chair and slowly crack the spine,
ready to soak up the divine inspiration.

Removing myself from the room around me,
sounds, smells and people that surround me,
and the constant drone of the cable news station.

While I read about things we must put aside
Greed, lust, attachment, passion and pride,
the newsman continues to babble on and on

about a recent disaster on an Italian cruise line.
It was dangerously close to the shoreline
when the ship went down. The man in charge was gone.

Captain Schettino; charged with manslaughter,
a full investigation is now in order.
Several passengers are still missing in the wreck,

The young woman next to me, with her mother,
reads some slick subscription or another,
a Roman Numeral tattooed on the back of her neck.

She points to a car in the magazine.
It’s “just the sexiest car” she has ever seen,
and she has to have one, but “it must be light pink”.

In a hole in the floor is a poorly paid man
who is changing the fluid in my oil pan.
I close the book on my lap, shut my eyes, take a breath, and think.

We are shackled by hopes and tormented by fears,
and we only have so many years
before our time in this (un)holy vessel is done.

No matter the qualities, size, shape or name,
all things are equal, all things are the same,
smaller than an atom, or brilliant as blazing the sun.

In a flash, in an instant, it is there. And I know.
The primordial poet says “Just let it all go”.
Nothing is yours, there is nothing that you need.

Sitting in Jiffy Lube with the Bhagavad Gita
knowing that life doesn’t get much sweeter.
Somewhere to go and a good book to read.

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