Tag Archives: allegory

Deep End Abilities

You coughed, turned your head,
said are my eyes still red?
Some mornings I just can’t get out of bed;
feels like I’m sleeping with the dead.

You laughed, rolled your eyes,
then you cried about the suicide.
Some mornings I just can’t seem to decide;
feels like I want to be denied.

Underneath the rolling thunder,
I sit and begin to wonder:
how to segue to the final number,
how to break the spell I’m under
standing.

You coughed, lit a cigarette,
then wrote some letters to the alphabet.
Some mornings I just can’t seem to forget;
feels like I haven’t happened yet.

You laughed, began to frown,
then you sent a package underground.
Some mornings I just can’t hear any sound;
feels like I’m in the lost and found.

Underneath the quaking ocean,
I sit and think up foolish notions:
how to muster up sincere devotion,
how to make myself go through the motions
again.

You coughed, turned your head,
then asked, “Are my eyes still red?”
Some mornings I just can’t get out of bed;
feels like I’m sleeping with the dead,
or just a worm who’s not been fed.

1992

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Perigoric: a bestiary

It has strong legs and sturdy wings,
and for them both has need;
although the legs grow weak with age
and will get cut and bleed.

Two wings, then, of the standard sort:
half butterfly, half bat;
quite useful when it just must dash,
or fuel a lively chat.

The hands, or claws, if you prefer,
its clutching, pinching tools:
for picking nits, and wiping shits
and scratching eyes from fools.

The torso? Lean, but runs to fat
toward its middle age –
especially when fed on crow
and left in a small cage.

The eyes, both pairs, are large and round.
One tends to humanize
their often sad, pathetic looks
when coupled with their cries.

And yes, the voice, the squawk, the squeal:
like metal on a plate;
a symphony for sadists
it’s hard to appreciate.

The whole, in sum, is quite a feat
of luck in blind design;
that this poor thing survives at all
is in a word, sublime.

15 NOV 2010

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On Milton and Dante

To each their own: let others speak
of hells where self-damnation wreaks
eternal havoc on the mind and soul;
its torments let their thoughts embrace,
imagining some devil’s face.
I will not heed such useless folderol.

It should suffice that where we are
has troubles quite enough to mar
our whim’s concept of beauty and heart’s ease,
but to repel all good there is,
for unseen promise, is hubris,
and shows our vain humility in shame.

What hells you make, keep for your own;
and if that means you must disown me,
then so be it — I am not to blame.

I do not worry for my fate,
on sulphured brimstone meditate,
or wince imagining my flesh on fire.
Instead, I seek right now right here,
to walk straight on, and have no fear,
accepting both the roses and their briar.
For if you’re acting kind and nice
in hopes of reaching paradise,
you’re only seeking payment or reward,

but I try to do good because
it’s worth the doing. If that’s flawed,
I’d rather know that Devil than your Lord.

20 JAN 2005

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The Secret Undertown Ministry

Once upon a time, although since as a dimension, time is a relatively unstable paradigm and cannot often be trusted to remain in the tense that one would expect, in a land far, far away [and distance too would seem but an illusion that our physical bodies must endure, but that our minds can easily dissolve with a modicum of effort], there was a very small planet that circled its medium density star – one tiny speck of dust in a mighty dustbowl of a universe.

It was a planet of contradictions. A planet of unusual propensities. A planet that called itself a world sometimes, but at other times felt like a planet.

The inhabitants of this strange planet who had an interest in such things at one point unanimously named it. Those who did not require a name for it seldom acknowledged such activities, regardless of how much circumstance their participants conferred upon them. They may have been thinking, “What’s in a name?”, but they also might not have even noticed. In the seventh-most widely spoken language of the inhabitants who populated (either by chance birth or through destiny motivated relocation) the most diverse range of climates, the planet was known as Arthel – well, the name was not actually a word in that language, but in a language that was used by a majority of the dominant inhabitants, a language no longer actively spoken on the planet, but revered as a way to escape the need to define things to the non-dominant inhabitants. You may already have begun to guess at some of the unusual propensities to which this planet was inclined.

The inhabitants of this planet, Arthel, were fortunate enough to have been able to develop, propagate and thereby populate it, thanks to a remarkable compatibility between their requirements for survival and the resources available from the environment in which they did these things. The significance of this fact cannot be overlooked – there were many other planets that would not have nurtured these inhabitants in such a successful manner. Many of these inhabitants marked this significance by embracing a sense of their own uniqueness, their innate skills; many others did not. Some of those who chose not to mark such things?were among those who had no “name” for their home – at least not one that was widely circulated or shared.

As one might typically expect on a planet that embraced contradiction and an air of “mystery”, the species of inhabitant that was most abundant on Arthel did not “control” Arthel. It may be that they did not wish to control it, or it may be that they simply had no conceptualization of control with which to apply that construct. In either case, the primary inhabitants of the planet were not the most vociferous planetary residents. There was far too much planet, it can be assumed, to cause much of a reason for worry about which inhabitants got which resources. Think locally, you can almost hear them saying. Work with what you’ve got at hand. Of course, many of the majority inhabitants did not have “hands” – hands were an evolutionary development that concerned only a small number of Arthelans. Most Arthelans enjoyed other physical traits that more than compensated for opposable thumbs.

But it is the Arthelans with opposable thumbs that concern us in this story. This is their history, more than the history of Arthel, although the two are intertwined so closely that few can see light between the threads.

2003

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The Siren’s Song

Like Odysseus, our great commander in chief
(who likes his reports and his facts just in brief)
has ordered himself lashed and tied to the mast,
and in the ears of his councilors, wax plugs made fast

so he can go forth and destroy his named foe
without hearing anti-war Sirens scream “no!”
(at least, though he’ll hear them, he will not be swayed,
for his eyes are trained on fortunes to be made)

And the millions of Sirens, deprived thus of voice
will be faced with a terrible, depressing choice:
to admit defeat, and crawl under their stones,
or watch as the war machine destroys their homes.

For me, though I know that my song goes unheard
by those who hang on our brave leader’s each word,
and often gets noticed as “bleeding heart” stuff
(which can make those brown-shirt boys act pretty rough)

I shall sing it out loudly and hope that out there
are enough others who do not say “laissez faire”
but seek for the truth without question or pause
and only want war for a more noble cause

And as for Odysseus, let him go lame
There strapped to the mast in his imbecile game
I did not elect him my hero in chief
Nor do I think his acts reflect my belief

In a nation’s nobility, part of the whole
where although a great people, we do not control
the fate of the planet with missiles and threat,
but work hard for world peace, and do not forget

that absolute power corrupts absolute
and turns politicians into lying suits
that make long careers out of power and greed,
but should be but servants, who seek what we need.

Odysseus, hero? This Siren thinks not,
and sings to avert him and his evil plot;
And though he ain’t listenin’, perhaps someone will
and sink his foul ship before he does more ill.

I’m not saying kill him, or any such dreck,
nor sabotage his machine, causing a wreck;
Just sing, all you Sirens, as loud as you can
until perhaps we can stun sense in the man.

18 FEB 2003

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