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.
In the rough dangerous waters surrounding Charybdis and Scylla,
unlike the approaching sail-and-oars ship of Ulysses,
I do not need wind or muscle. I steer my Zodiac
powered by monstrous diesel motors that roar
haughtily and aggressively. The gods
themselves recoil from this din of modern men
then recover and melt the blades from my propellers.
Everyone whom I know well is part fictitious.
They are souls, the way I see them, living in
high rises that have, for now, beat back the vicious
tenant microbes to their cellars. In truth Lynne
Margulis got it right: the forms of life
that rule are not the macro but the small.
Bacteria are butter on the knife
we wield. We call the knife’s swishing sounds free will.
Seeing this poem today reminded me of Lynne Margulis, one of the great scientists.
Aprender poesía es un buen ejercicio para la memoria.
‘Faith, that constant enemy of knowledge
and comforter for when we’ve not enough…’
I pause in hope that the jackdaw will acknowledge
my profundity. He simply says, ‘That’s tough.’
He hops and waits. Eventually I say, ‘What?’
And he says, ‘Gotcha! When you rabbit on
like this it’s always certain that you’ve got
no fresh ideas. And the one you have is wrong.’
‘So, knowledge is not a thing that faith impedes?’
I ask. The jackdaw hops and shakes his head.
‘Your starting point is wrong. Your thinking needs
a reboot,’ he says, ‘inside a clearer head.’
Downwind from Winnebagos, big mistake,
we stake our claim for tent space, pounding pegs
into the rancid sand (a piece of cake)
and slap mosquitoes from our arms and legs
and ask ourselves how is it that the dregs
of as it were our high society
afford the biggest campers (they’re not free).
A sudden noise makes the gators rush,
the possums wince, the pink flamingos flee.
All nature quails when Winnebagos flush.