Daily Archives: July 27, 2005

Onrefni Setnad Taeper*

I am an arctic gypsy
come hither to enjoy the warm, crackling fires of Hell.
I have ferried
across the Mississippi with a hooded man;
he had a record deal
and told me he once had played the drums,
mentioning that the sticks had given him his lively hood.

I nodded,
more to appear polite than out of genuine interest in his dilemma,
and asked him
if his place had air conditioning.

I got a piece of yellowtail
from a girl hanging out at the barbeque grill;
she said it was the in thing,
and would I please stay outside
while she pulled herself apart.

I read briefly
from the book of the dead
(which she had in translation)
and waited for the morning
for her to come to life.

She said it could be a really cool town
if you liked to see red.

I met a man who had composed
a benediction using a stanza or two
from Rushdie;
he sang it in a delightful monotone
while reciting his intention
to duplicate the splendor
of Gregorian chanting.

Although it was hard to decipher,
and now I am rather confused;

I met a man named Lucy –
Lucy Paul Smith,
and his neighbor, Lucy Anna Reed;

as a matter of fact,
everyone here seems to have the name
Lucy.

Not wishing to pry,
I asked a red-faced gentleman,
“What’s Lucy for?”
and waited
while he had a fall
and then recited something about needing a light
and meeting a lot of smokers.

I signed a petition
and walked down a forked path
where a door said,

“Tonight Only –
Glad It’s Night and the Pit,
with special guests
the Beezle Bubs.”

All hail the contract players.

1993

* subliminally, onrefnI s’etnaD taeper = repeat Dante’s Inferno

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The Ten Percent Solution

Lobotomy perhaps provides the clues:
that with what meager portion of the brain
society encourages us to use
and education bothers us to train,
we think, and therefore are, so far reduced
from what potential might be in the whole
that in our ignorance we have deduced
the object and observer’s separate roles.

What lies beyond? The best minds only guess,
and courting madness, let conjecture fly:
that limitations serve, under duress,
as a protective shield. No one asks why
in fact such armor should be status quo,
or further, why we seek to find defense
against a world we barely even know,
imagining it a cruel experience.

Let science define borders, create lines —
the territory is more than a map
that presupposes theories of design
and satisfies itself merely to slap
a label on a place or thing, and feel
sufficiently content it is defined.
Such actions no more help divide the real
from the imagined than a sandy line
splits an expanse of beach neatly in two,
or marks a boundary between mine and yours.

Besides, conditions in the lab are too
unnatural and sterile. To use “pure”
as a benchmark for quality or right
when we our ourselves are amalgam and blend
is to constrict the possible so tight
that we are left with traces, and pretend
our grasp is all the world extends to fill,
our footprint covers the whole earth entire,
our mind a mirror of some Divine will,
and all creation slave to our desire.

27 JUL 2005

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