I check the time and see that it is now.
Outside as far as I can see is here.
What I can choose to do comes down to how
I evaluate and act upon this dear
and precious present — what a perfect word.
Here-and-now is all we have in the absurd
cat’s cradle we construct from might-have-beens
that curdle while we conjure larger skeins
of wished-for lies that we fantasise are wool
that, if we weave it well, will give us full
control and meaning for the lives we lead —
or, better, follow — out of some daft need
to imagine our existences are more
than moments to experience and adore.
She picked up her watch from the table in the dark.
She put it down again.
She could have looked at its luminescent hands. She did not.
Time marched on.
Or maybe it stopped. In the dark who knows?
The evidence is thin
as to whether time exists, she thought,
including especially my own.
The snails come by us, slow and navigate
their turns, glide up the chair, and slide away
to seek soft shade where they will pause and mate
the way their forebears always have: by rules
their genes dictate, for them a simple task
they need not ponder with their large brain cells.
Compared to us they have few cells to mask
whatever fear or lust or love that dwells
within their minds and shells and silvered drool
that they must admire when trekking in the dew.
Perhaps — who knows? — they think we are the fool
to have such tiny brain cells as we do.
Both species share the same atomic plight:
such empty cells can seldom reflect light.
He chipped and putted down the pristine fairway.
She climbed the rock face scraping hands and knees.
His money grew more money while he showered.
Her research cured a terrible disease.
His caddy’s Caddy zoomed him to his Bentley.
She mountain biked to the college where she taught
methods for reducing children’s pain.
He bought politicians friendly to his whims.
Here adjectives are superfluous as is emotion
in preventing or even slowing down these deaths.
Things that were lose urgency, and commotion
surrounds us changing little but itself.
What counts is care and using common sense
to keep distances till vaccines can be found.
The lunatic in office is so dense
that trusting him would leave all of us drowned.
With emotions damped and thinking caps in place
our healers sacrifice to save the many
and scientists seek solutions in the race
to save whole populations while there’re any.
If suns set into graves and did not rise
or if they hung continuously in skies
we’d think them less than we this moment do,
impressed as we are how our Sun swings through
its constant orbit that revolves round us.
For fifty-thousand years, old human tribes
wrote history picture books in which the scribes
inked pens with blood of brothers killed for wealth
they redistributed by force and stealth
but we’re enlightened now and so we’ve stopped.
Today democracy is how we rule
and every girl and boy enjoys perfect school
and learns exactly what they need to know
and finds in happy work their chance to grow
so they all end their long sweet lives fulfilled.
We’ve learned that judges settle our disputes
so everyone finds fairness and recruits
his colleagues for endeavours and high pay
in satisfying jobs we do each day
now no one is too rich and no one’s poor.
Now everyone of us resembles God
as we portray Him: He’s well-dressed and shod
in golden slippers that reflect the Sun.
He shows His Face and makes sure everyone
is never sick or lonely or afraid.
We study history to remind us how
the animals: the horse, the dog, the cow,
were made for us by God so we could eat;
and every sundown sees us singing sweet
songs celebrating how our deeds are good.
Oh, I could write a dictionary
and people it with words.
(The married couple to my left speak
soft thoughts mildly slurred.)
My lexicon, my book of words,
would brim with definitions
so right and potent they would serve
conversationalists with munitions.
Philosophers (they slur as well)
would couch-joust with my terms
and, sneezing, spread my nouns and verbs
ubiquitously as germs.
But I’ll no right their wrongs today,
nor give them words to munch.
I’ll sit here outside in the springtime sun
and savour a springtime lunch.