The Legend of Gary Snyder and the Buddha Cat

The Legend of Gary Snyder and the Buddha Cat

A long time ago

we were struggling

to get a reading series

up and running. 

We asked Gary Snyder

a neighbor

a nice guy

to help us raise a little money.

He did.

We did.

Raised some money.

A lot of money.

Set us up


We did the show in an abandoned

car dealership


The place was cold

had rats


The rent was cheap.

We rounded up some chairs

a couple hundred chairs.

Printed up some posters

and tickets

blabbed it up

on the community radio.

People came.

A lot of people came

Snyder was wonderful.

The restaurant next door

had its own issues

the cook was cranky

always in need of a clean


the food was questionable

but the rats lived well.

Spent their days

in its garbage cans

and evenings

exploring the old garage

looking for warmth.

That’s when the Buddha cat

showed up. 

Walked out from behind

the curtain

to Snyder

rubbed up against his boot

and walked on.

Then back again

and again, and again

and several more times.

Always looking up

past Gary.

The rat was up there

over Gary’s head.

Way up in the exposed rafters

walking on the water pipes.

With the Buddha cat fallowing

from the stage.

People started noticing.

The Buddha cat finally

laid down at Gary’s feet

got comfortable.

Cleaned its face

stretched out.

Gary kept reading

telling stories


the audience

smiling at the cat now and then.

The rat seemed nervous.

They’ve since

sold the old restaurant.

The new people

fixed the joint up

planted a garden for outdoor serving

made it a nice place.

Got rid of the rats.

The owners of Buddha Cat

moved away.

Buddha Cat moved with them

became a legend.

Snyder stayed up on the ridge

keeps a gentle hand

writes his poems

does okay.

The Poetry Series

ran for fifteen years

a lot of good memories.

Snyder and the Buddha Cat


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