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Nietzsche’s horse

I too shall not age gracefully...
When Mom gives birth to me
I’m sure it wasn’t just for me
That sculptor’s so attuned he can
conquer the world with one good hand
He portrays the coarser fibers of this life
like some vibrant, renegade sensualist

If you squeeze your head in your hands
and cover your ears, you won’t hear
anything bad—“Too much adrenaline,
too much adrenaline, too much!”
Why whip that horse? Why...
Who is it that he’d beat the life out
of an oily, sacred, helpless old horse?

Nietzsche grabs the horse’s neck
and clings to it in the street
“Stop it, stop it, stop it...” he screams
Two policemen come and
gently release his hands,
the hands of a schizoid philosopher
who weeps and goes mad

Whatever other humans do
is part of us too
Mom’s advice:
“Never shop at Gristede’s
The prices are too high
Always buy fresh killed turkeys
They’re worth it”

Once she was roasting duck
and worried that it would
turn out badly—a greasy
unpalatable mess
So she roasted a turkey too
in case some of the guests
wouldn’t eat it

“Schizoid” may be the
ugliest word in English
Let’s list the qualities of
true soldiers and patriots:
stupid, gross, intelligent, cruel,
beautiful, black, white, brown,
yellow, fat, lazy, determined,

possessed, lithe, god-like, intense and
frightening in their dedication to death
We beat the horse of our
life because we’re stupid,
schizoid, violent and weird
Why else would Howard connive in
and embrace his own ragged descent?

In those days we went to Jon Vie
for cakes and Sutter’s for
apple and cherry pie (my favorite)
So much pastry, so little time...
Meaning is never fixed
It’s the slippery sinew between
our thoughts and our acts

Wendy writes patriotic poetry—
High-flung doggerel, if you ask me
In disgust with himself
because he humbled himself
In rage with himself, he doesn’t
sleep that night and, instead, lies
there quietly and clenches his teeth

The work will be carried
out beneath my shadow
“Yes, I finally saw the actual sketches
drawn in black chalk by Michelangelo
They’re kept in a big climate controlled
drawer—I wasn’t impressed because
they look exactly like their reproductions”

We brothers had them bring a
hospital bed and oxygen home so Mom
could die, as she wished, at home
I remember her deep staccato breaths
I remember her death—how the
coroner came and collected her body
in a big, black, vinyl, zippered bag

 

 

-March 3, 2018-