- The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve, and: Taxonomy of My Fossil Megafaunal Heart, and: Why I Never Amounted to Much: My Graduation from Ohio State (December 1988), and: Lament for the American Space Program on Halloween Night
The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve
Huh! That bumblebee looks ridiculous staggering its way
across those blue flowers, the ones I can never remember the name of. Do you know the old engineer’s
joke: that, theoretically, bees can’t fly? But they look so
perfect together, like Absolute Purpose incarnate: one bee plus one blue flower equals about a billion
years of symbiosis. Which leads me to wonder what it is
I’m doing here, peering through a lens at the thigh-pouches stuffed with pollen and the baffling intricacies
of stamen and pistil. Am I supposed to say something, add a soundtrack and voiceover? My life’s spent
running an inept tour for my own sad swindle of a vacation
until every goddamned thing’s reduced to botched captions and dabs of misinformation in fractured,
not-quite-right English: Here sir, that’s the very place Jesus
wept. The Colosseum sprouts and blooms with leftover seedspooped by ancient tigers. Poseidon diddled [End Page 40]
Philomel in the warm slap of this ankle-deep surf to the dyingstings of a thousand jellyfish. There, probably,
atop yonder scraggly hillock, Adam should’ve said no to Eve.
Taxonomy of My Fossil Megafaunal Heart
Oh fat whale with the flatulent spout! Musclehead marbled to the bone. How many times must this cold fish
get gaffed, flensed, and rendered? Avast! At only fourteen, sweet Lisa Rodenbeck sat on my lap
for a sweaty bus trip home and to this day I’m pincushioned by fragments of those hand-whittled harpoons
from that antediluvian event. Sophomore year Linda Lozier tried to goad me to a bull’s snort but got only
pizzle and mope. Brenda King stampeded me off a cliff and went at my carcass with a hatchet of stone
but took only the hump. And at Ohio State Juanita Mettler
scattered her dainty saurian footprints across the landscape of ash left after my Paleozoic spews . . .
And as for my ex-Mrs. Meteorite, even God’ll tell you she
looked like oxygen. Like bacteria’s last hope. Like nothing else ever since. Since then? I’m still thrashing
in the shallows undecided about flippers or thumbs, gobbling plankton and steadying my final quivering inch
to add to the sixty-five million years of coal beds a mile thick. [End Page 41]
Why I Never Amounted to Much: My Graduation from Ohio State (December 1988)
It was ritualized foregone conclusion, like the resignation of President Nixon, and, just like the resignation
of President Nixon, reduced now for history’s sake
to a single image. In the foreground some blurry officials crouch, ready to roll up the red carpet.
Far in the background, waving all of my furious farewells, I stand sweaty, stubbled, and stooped
next to a woman enduring nights of delusion and rancor,
my pockets bulging with bad paper and a half dozen miniature bottles of first-class airplane booze.
Lament for the American Space Program on Halloween Night
The ten-million-years-ago stars, those glittering fool-makers, impassively contrast their frigid perpetuity
with my heart’s transient thud-thud. At my feet, the leaves
skittering across the driveway say: Thanatos! Thanatos! as if to shush me with the bug-holed currency [End Page 42]
from life’s latest bankruptcy. But let me tell you all about this year’s spooky costume, an idea filched
from an old song: I’m a disgraced cosmonaut in tinfoil pants festooned with pulled ripcords & severed
oxygen hoses, peering through the scratched visor of a dented
helmet. Patched at the knees, stripped of all rank & privilege, I’m vodka-soaked & etched all over
with busted capillaries. Tonight, the neighborhood zombies & lipstick princesses flit by, children gone feral
on the incomprehensible 21st century. Insensitive leaf-kickers!
Reluctant moon-gazers! Apparently, the moonwasn’t worth the effort, comrades, I tell them in a villainous...