The Monk and the Marlboro Man

I got on the ferry when I saw my first monk.

Now, you might be wondering, why Thailand?

Why Asia?

Well, there were a few reasons

mostly I wanted to see what I had read in The Way of the Tao and the I Ching

I wanted to see how people lived having been breast fed these truths and legends

it was like I believed in Santa Claus again

and I was looking for every way I could to tug on his beard.

My first tug came with that monk

dressed in the customary maroon and gold of the Thai-monk, shaved head

and smoking a cigarette.

I studied his every inhale and exhale

as though he knew something smoking that cigarette that I didn’t

some secret that has been locked away in this orient

far off in the heart of the jungle

the secrets of life

written in a book in Thai or Sanskrit or some other language that I would learn

so I too could read and know what that monk knew.

I’m sure he never knew how disappointed I was to see him flick his cigarette butt over the

railing and into the sea.

I figured he would have kept the butt somewhere in his palm or robe

or little orange rucksack he carried with him.

That was the second thing to strike me about the monk, his rucksack.

I wondered what could he keep inside?

It wasn’t very big, maybe big enough for a couple books and his pack of cigarettes.

I felt foolish stumbling off the ferry

with the weight of my knapsack, guitar and skimboard, causing me to lose my balance

while the monk, carrying his little bag, walked slowly and evenly past me

cause he carried less baggage.

I caught another boat to Ko Sumet.

getting there after a few hours

paying fifteen dollars for the ferry ride to the island.

I would pay three dollars total coming back a week later.

Amazing how much wisdom a week can bring.


2 thoughts on “The Monk and the Marlboro Man

  1. Steven Myers

    freaking funny.
    burning books may be bad,
    but burning our preconceived notions is the best damn bonfire
    if we got the guts to do see it…
    and to think of all those recovering catholics swearing by buddha as the ultimate savior
    or new catholics swearing by jesus or whatever people swearing by whatever they swear by…..
    yeh, this is some home cooking here-your experience.
    that’s the best teacher as far i can see. thanks for sharing.


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