Πασ μεν απιστος απιστει
Asking you to develop an awareness
of something unpalatable—and then
do nothing. This is the ethics
of our day. Is it our day?
Edgar Allan Poe is smirking slightly,
staring past you. Apparently,
he finds something amusing. You don’t
have to be a Zen master to write a poem,
(to point out the obvious). You might
write little horse poems, or poems
about little horses so that you might
seem nice. You can write nice poems,
nice about all the right things:
things miniature, or horses,
or a cartoon grape. Or poems
about nice sentiments, about how bad
you find spiders, especially Nazi
spiders, and pederasty, or detonating
candles dipped in feldspar and boiling
potash; about how Spiro Agnew is bad,
or how Ed Snowden, who wants to be Russian,
is a hero like Luther King, or Garibaldi.
That’s fine, that’s all well and good.
That’s understandable, it’s more
than understandable. It’s not nice
to ground up, dry, and smoke the horse
for pemmican, that it might keep
for later. Furthermore, it’s bad.
But I find myself succumbing
to irony despite myself.
I learned Cantonese in Hong Kong,
visited Surinam for bauxite,
then tried to find the constellation Swan.
And these are subjects too,
and vast as cosmorama in their long view
and their worldliness. In conclusion,
to sum up, we are all good people “at heart”.
Really, I say this sincerely. But perhaps
it is better to forget ourselves, and preferably
in strange amusements: in the extraction
of a green color from coffee beans;
in the distillation of sea water;
in silvering the backs of looking glasses;
in setting fire to spirits of wine
with musical flame and the rays of the sun.