Undoing Eden…

Love Story

We met at the beginning of the circle
when all was new just to each other,
soon we thought we were always we,
stories merged like one on another;

what it was, was easy enough to be
always something, everything undone,
damned by fruit of a forbidden tree
critiquing  what once was begun;

tested, not tempted, fallacies, not lies
our Kant dared us from infants to grow
question by taste, deceived by our eyes
stop just taking, trusting, we can know;

no prudes, no rules, the circle begun,
exemplary yet derided for immemorial
blamed by Hippo for perfection undone
but not the cause, simply the tutorial;

we’d eat it again and again in love,
the defiance was arbitrary after all
as was the command – it was a shove
toward deconstruction and not a fall;

it’s quiet, our story, beyond this plot
we loved, with fear – that our glory,
wandering together for what we ought,
we are Eve and Adam – a love story.

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Lost in the woods of words…

Not Fit to be a Poet

I’ve just returned from a magical visit to
the Department of Motor Vehicles
and it occurred to me that I’ve never
written anything about the place
even though that’s what everyone who
ever attempted verse has done;

which got me thinking about all the other
things I’ve ignored in my attempt
to deconstruct life with words, like births,
sunsets, spring, sunrises, fall,
the pattern worn in the rug of an old
man’s home as he paced wondering
if his children would ever visit him,
or cats and how superior they are to
husbands, or dogs or anything for that
matter being superior to husbands;

I’ve never written about subs
from Hero’s on Addison, the chocolate
scent from the factory nearby, or why pickled
beets are only found on salad bars;
I’ve ignored rhododendrons, the thorns
of roses, and even chrysanthemums,
daffodils in spring (again, no spring),
and leaves in fall – although I have
written about children making a mess
out of a neatly raked pile but that
doesn’t count;

it’s hard to believe I’ll amount to anything
in versification without a Frost-like walk
in the New England countryside but
all I can imagine is that he was a
failure as a farmer and therefore my wanting
to walk as Robert did loses some street-cred
no matter how much people love his
stupid two roads diverging in the woods,
and it seems I took neither and that
is certainly my loss…

When Lincoln wasn’t famous…

Lincoln as a Boy

They say that for a famous man
it is unusual to know so little about his youth,
what it was like in Hodgenville,
when did he grow so tall and gangly
and did other children mock him and
why he was so fond of the axe,
and what of the rusticness of his birth
in a log cabin, or the sadness of his heart
when his mother died when he
was just nine years old,
and what he learned in just one year
of schooling that made him think
he could just show up one day
in New Salem and make it his land;
I tell my children they aren’t this lucky
because we wrote down everything
they did and said and photographed
their first and every step after that
with such duty that they can’t
escape their past
so they shouldn’t even try.

Too smart for his own good…

Fidget, fidget, fidget –

Beside me in the meeting is a man
who just can’t sit still – like a six year old
boy, he fidgets and twitches and bounces
unable to stop, a shark who will suffocate
without movement; this is how he relaxes
and concentrates and impresses us all
with unexpected wisdom, maybe because
no one expects a childlike adult to grasp
what the next step should be; some
believe his savant qualities are quaint,
others attribute this to his education,
but I’m the only one who notices how
he picks at the pilling of his brown socks,
grooming, constantly grooming the cotton,
and I make a note to buy brown socks.

What’s it like to think like a dog…

A Dog’s Life

I’ve been reading a lot about dogs lately,
not on purpose, but because others are wondering
what dogs think when they look at us
quizzically, with heads tilted as if to understand,
assuming they want to communicate
out of pure devotion rather than appetite or instinct,
and this anthropomorphic projection
has them living an unfallen life, no dread of death
or long-term memory to sadden them,
but only the romance of bones buried in the prospect
of hope instead of grievous loss;
a simple life of smells, the next meal, distractions
to fill the time in between sleeping,
which we honor by allowing them to continue
in undisturbed, sage wisdom;
and we muse with Lockean ruminations they must
enjoy an indirect realism of
mental representations of cars and mailmen
as they infinitely regress in noise,
barking as if exhibiting a Wittgensteinian tractatus
of use trumping meaning every time,
whimpering that there is nothing outside the text
in an infinite play of squirrels and
more squirrels, until we have them supra-human
in a simplistic philanthropy we long for.

I planted a plant once…

Clematis or Rhizome

While we aspire to reach for the stars,
stretching to the sun, everyone a clematis,
it is the humble rhizome spreading
insidiously beneath the dirt, poking up
here and there, and there, and there
to glimpse the light, refresh just so briefly
to continue, submerged, intertwining and
crisscrossing invisibly that explains how
most of us survive on this spinning ball.