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Gullible and acute at once,
his humor strikes and bites
His tragedy’s real
There are other people like this—
but not many shine through our opacity
You have to look for them to see them at all and,
if you focus on what you know,
you’ll miss the point

She’s lost, he said, as he interrupts our conversation
He gets up abruptly in the cafeteria
to help an agitated blind girl as she tries to extricate
herself from the wall in front of us
He saw her uselessly tap, tap, tap, her thin white stick
He saw it, so why didn’t I?
This world of ours isn’t always kind
but he was kind

Now I tell the cider donut guy—
Give me three donuts, please, plain
Three, he asks, three (as though to say, not 4, not 2, not 1, not 7)?
That’s right, I say, three
So he gives me three with sugar on top
in a small white, grease stained bag
I tell the coffee guy—give it to me black, please
So he gives me black coffee with milk

The silent, persistent, unseen, unanticipated,
unmovable and discontinuous...
They make subtle, complicated, useless equations
designed to narrate the past and predict the future
as though everything that hurts us bad
has already happened and will repeat at some predictable point
His feisty lady doesn’t sit around and moon over him much
but she’s a sweetheart, and likes him pretty well

Here’s what I know—
The coffee guy likes his coffee with milk
and the donut guy likes the sugar donuts
I know this because, we think everyone likes
what we like, and deep down that’s what we know
However, I don’t think that explains why
empty, sedentary, pretentious know-it-alls,
choose to restrict their circulation with neckties

Speaking of which, there’s balloon head on TV again
He watches him pontificate
When balloon head was a young investigative reporter
he did us some good
Now it’s just talk, talk, talk
Evolution’s relentless, random— it lets the world survive
There’s some people in suits
whose company, when he’s sober, he just can’t abide

We imitate each other and flock together
Mountains aren’t triangles
The rooted circumference of trees aren’t circles
There are no straight lines here
and only humans built pyramids
The light hits the replicated little mountain
made of mountain rock the same
as it hits the earth’s real mountain

These people didn’t carve their faces in the mountain
so for that, they got to see the mountain’s actual face
They show it to us now instead of their fame
Each nerve more exposed, more sensitive, that’s how it felt
Each performance more radical, more authentic, more expressive
That’s how it was
No wonder he loved his opiates much more than our hype of him
even more than our acclaim, even more than us

 

 

-February 8, 2014-