The Monk That Got Down

Today was strange.
The sweet, quiet, solemn, solitary
who lives in the cork-lined antechamber
inside me
was dancing.
This is not something I have ever seen him do.
I went to visit him,
expecting the usual: him
hunched over his mahogany desk,
pen in hand, eyes narrowed
hawklike tracking the words that
bled black onto his parchment,
but this time I was shocked
when I entered to what could
only be described as monk-funk,
a check-a-chow-check-a-chow-wow-wow
blaxploitation guitar riff, backed by a sledgehammer
bass drum husbanded to cavetemple chants,
and there was my monk, engaged in self-contained
spells of spastic bop, which soon flowered in range
and elasticity, his arms freewheeling Baptist-revival-style,
his sandaled feet doing the hot coal jitterbug,
and if all that wasn’t strange enough,
my monk was wearing a purple three-piece suit,
the kind that stylistically crossed Prince with Dean Martin.
I was astonished.
This was unprecedented.
My monk
had lived inside
the cork-lined antechamber
inside me
since forever,
and not once
had I seen him
wear anything but his brown robes,
nor had I ever seen him
bust a move of any sort.
He was not a move-busting monk,
he was a still and solitary one
who split most of his time
between scribbling on parchment
or meditatively pacing
around the room
staring at
or into
the cork-lined walls
or at
or into
the bare floor,
but really those
were just impressionistic
reference points
for his staring
and dwelling deeper within
Once when I asked him
if he got lonely,
after all I was his only visitor,
and my visits were few and far between,
he smiled and said—Happylonely
and his crescent smile,
so sweet, so gentle,
made me want to cry.
My monk,
the happylonely, quiet, sweet, solitary
who, at this very moment, is standing on a chair,
rhythmically pangliding his index
right to left, his other hand slapping
thunder against his thigh as he shimmypops
from knees to chest.
I close the door
and leave my monk
to his impromptu getdown.
Dance motherfucker dance,
I hear him shout
to no one in particular.
I have never heard my monk curse,
nor speak three words in succession.
His radical behavior concerns me.
And excites my sense of wonder.
Does this mean
that the others
living inside me,
the ones whose behaviors and patterns
were regulated and predictable,
their methods of operation
habituated and specific,
does this mean
that they might start
transgressing expectations
and defying conventions
and acting differently?
In what ways
would they act different?
And what will that mean
for me
as their singular, host entity?
I return to the door
of the antechamber
peer through the peephole
and see my monk
dancing freely
and wildly
amidst the parchment
that is now whirling
confetti-like around the room,
and I begin to understand
the true nature of revolution
just a tiny bit more
as I walk away from the door,
happy to know
there’s a dancing monk
who lives inside me.

About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, spoken word performer, and playwright, John Biscello now lives in Taos, New Mexico. He is the author of three novels: Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. His fiction and poetry has appeared in: Art Times, nthposition, The Wanderlust Review, Ophelia Street, Caper, Polyphony, Dilate, Militant Roger, Chokecherries, Farmhouse, BENT, The 555 Collective, Instigator, Brass Sopaipilla, The Iconoclast, Adobe Walls, Kansas City Voices, and the Tishman Review. His blog--Notes of an Urban Stray--can be read at Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
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7 Responses to The Monk That Got Down

  1. You’re so amazingly adorable. Your story here in this poem made me gradually smile bigger and bigger.
    The revolution, the evolution. Things I life to look forward to ❤️


  2. I like your John Biscello changes on the blog. A lot

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. The new photo header is from one of the Baja pics. I watched this boy hanging out in the water, playing with his shovel or scooper thingy, and then sauntering all solitarylike onto shore. Anyway, later when looking back at the photos, I realized that the mood and tone and feel of the pic was very much like a part of me, or a specific part of my interior landscape to which I feel connected. Mist, solitude, blurred softness, childhood, play, space in which to explore. Elements which all harmonized pleasantly 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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