poems / stories

The Problem with Poetry

The problem with poetry that it’s not
just anyone who can afford the time
to flit about in fancy and bumptious rhyme.
Not with all the pending projects and reports and contracts meetings and deals networking research with subsequent analyses marketing mergers layoffs (downsizings) powerpoint presentations objectives functions audits projections (not to mention daytime fantasies involving manager janet of the beautiful calves) brainstorming sessions spreadsheets miscellaneous operations and of course The Product (whether sold or bought).
And so it comes to pass that certain souls will forever remain poetically unthought.

The First Theremin Concert for Extraterrestrials

lonesome ball
hurtling through the abyss:
where are your peers?

sad little ball
dragged across the minutes
the hours and the years

centuries & eons
an eternity?
perhaps but

who cares really?
wasn’t it buddha who said
that the knife (after a cut)

is of less importance
than the wound?
and yet to refrain from why’s—

is this not a necessary consequence
of consciousness?
to probe that which underlies?

irrational rationality!
and what (alas)
if (in the end)

this is it?
in fear and loneliness
we fashion radio waves, send

them out into the abyss.
cold static reciprocates
our anxieated giving.

where are our peers?
perhaps nothing smarter
would keep on living.

The Man on the Horse

I.

The fabric of dreams disintegrates under the influence of the morning sun’s first rays. Shemhamphorash awakes. It is mid April and the air is chill. The sun, white and cold against the horizon, infuses the landscape with a pale-blue hue, renders it harsh and monochromatic. Shemhamphorash, eyes open now, blinks and adjusts to the severe lighting. He is on his back, warm within the folds of his beaten orange sleeping bag. He can hear the mounting murmur of traffic, the first traces of the morning commute. The city, like him, is making the reluctant transition into consciousness.

He stays like this for a while, unmoving, as if deep within his bag there’s a fragile piece of eternity that must be protected against the bitter temporality of day. So thus he remains, resigned to watching the steam as it slowly curls off the wide expanse of the river below, a macrocosm of his own thin wisps of breath.

The traffic turns into a persistent hum, and eventually he succumbs to restlessness and decides to walk down to the park. He rises arthritically, swaying on his feet for a second, before reaching down again to fumble with the folds of the sleeping bag. After a second he resurfaces, holding an old plastic grocery bag, tied at the top and filled with birdfeed. Shoving it into a jacket pocket, he glances at his campsite, as if to make sure everything’s in order. Then he proceeds, chin to chest, down the path towards the park. Shemhamphorash likes feeding the birds, but hunger has no personal significance for him: gods don’t need to eat. (more…)

palabras

and word itself
is an infanticide.
a self-defeating thought
both itself and its successor.

that which shapes the lips
into a crowning question
and yet with a simple sound
is stilled.

yet in spain
half-forgot beneath a tangle
of perplexing semantics
is a gate left gap-wide
onto that savage plain
of an a, and an a, and an a, and


Published in The Warren Undergraduate Review, Spring 2013.