Do you often catch yourself living in the third person?
When you think of others, do you include yourself?
Is the reservoir of black thoughts in your background
internalised, so much so that it goes
all invisible when you look at it? So what?
On the outer banks of looking inward, magpies
imitate emotions. This can be confusing.
I watch myself as if I were not blind.
I watch as if the extras in my film
were not all me, or were. You ask, ‘So what?’
So what is a lot to ask. What I believe
is that I believe is this, I think, right now:
I believe the answer often is to forget the question.
Is that so? we ask. We answer, or we would,
but we remember that the question was so what.
Saint Peter thanked her lucky stars and wondered if that were appropriate.
She noticed her own subjunctive-for-condition-contrary-to-fact ‘were’ instead of ‘was’.
In her present and eternal job it wasn’t the stars she should be thanking. Still, looking at the large pit bull before her lectern, Saint Peter was thankful that she was a giant turtle with a thick shell.
The pit bull growled. Then he tried whining.
‘I’m afraid puppy sounds won’t help you here,’ Saint Peter told him.
‘Do I have to wait much longer?’ asked Fred. That was the pit bull’s name. ‘I’ve been told that all dogs go to Heaven.’
‘To,’ Saint Peter answered. ‘Not the same as into Heaven. Not in your case. You killed that little boy.’
‘He would have grown up.’
‘He might have become a Democrat.’
Saint Peter sighed. She shook her head. Fred could not see that because she had gone back into her shell.
‘He might have become a Republican?’ Fred tried.
Saint Peter extended her neck, looked down her beak at the pit bull. ‘And?’ she shouted.
Fred shrugged, attempted a tail wag. ‘I had to try,’ he said. He stepped off the cloud and disappeared.
‘Next,’ said Saint Peter.
What a lovely word, the Spanish word for ancestors: antepasados.
Pásale; aquí te espero. — Go ahead; I’ll wait for you here.
‘I passed for human,’ the squirrel confessed.
‘Whatever for?’ Saint Peter asked. She and the other turtles were deeply shocked.
‘The drink. I blame the drink,’ the squirrel replied.
On the edge of the pasture nearest Twisted River
in his trailer on its settling cinder blocks
the man confuses his faith with his liver
when he speaks French. He wrings and hangs his socks
above his cot. He pretends he would forgive her
if she’d come back. The wind of winter rocks
him not to sleep but every other way.
‘But loose,’ he says. He lives another day.
Here it’s five degrees. It’s twenty in Valencia
so, QED, there it’s four times warmer.
Pure math provides my faultless referencia
and Mother Nature’s never let my logic harm her
though she does insist we split the diferencia
to leave me five and give twenty to the charmer
who put new math in my-cold fingered reach
in my igloo while he trots off to the beach.
The weather up north’s German (as they say, ‘wetter’).
Dutch polders that aren’t frozen float in rain.
Down here in Spain it’s drier. Warmer. Better.
Though Oslo slows from powdered snow, the pain
of seeing that on TV does not fetter
my feckless glee. Orange blossoms help me gain
perspectives that permit me to endure
my winter where the sea today’s azure.
published in THE ARMCHAIR AESTHETE and in THE OLDING MAN
‘Corn doesn’t know he’s lying, so it’s okay,’
Medusa says, defending her meal ticket.
‘You mean Cornet,’ is what I try to say.
Medusa cuts me off: ‘The press can stick it,
that ‘et’ suffix, onto other horns:
Trump-et and Baritone-et. But my man’s Corn.
Corn lies a lot, okay? But he was born
in a weasel-wording world with lies as norm
in a wealthy world where lying was the norm.
He grew up lying. It made him who he is.
He doesn’t know he’s lying. Pundits fizz
about the lies he tells because he can.
But until truth catches up, Corn is my man.