Better say first,
the gargoyle requested,
I doubt he’ll appear.
A fragrant character at most,
he’s so metal, and hard to woo,
and God knows I’m terrible
the pushy box of tissues,
and kindly on-the-clock
neutrality. It’s exhausting,
how the whole’s designed to scrub
our greasy pan of sorrows to
a gleam in which we’ve actually paid
to see ourselves. Caveat emptor?
To talk and talk like this is what
the age calls progress—
that peculiar human rage for moving
forward, like tourists walking off
of cliffs while taking selfies.
But since I’ve come to talk,
and urged to use my similes:
it’s apt to say I feel
most like a Fenian Incursion—
the third botched skirmish,
specifically. God bless the Irish,
(those poets), for thinking they
could hotwire Canada, then sell it
to the British.
Though, this makes perfect sense
to me, another unsurprising
outcome of an ill considered plot,
conjured awkward in a haystack
near a town namesaked for that
rebellion’s leader, one John O’Neill—
a man with such a gift for losing,
he finally thought he’d really rather
not die trying,
(and proving, therapeutically,
it’s best to recognize your limits).
Charged with speaking honestly,
I’ll confide I think it late for
custom-order hindsight, or rigged
stories spat into our mouths when we
were only infants by the one hostile
fairy not invited to the party.
What patterns there might be
with inner portents left
for me to sort, then artfully
ignore for half a century. Maybe that’s
the weight we grown ups mule, being
un-translated books the book club
never votes to read: its measure
heavy as the Easter Island glyphs of
Rongorongo, a mystery bitten into
wood by ancient shark’s teeth.
Maybe it’s enough to recognize
ourselves unsolvable, half trash,
half glitter bomb, dropped along
the trench by dying stars.
The French say, Who can say?
And since they basically invented
what we know of dread, and food,
and love, this seems a likely place
to make like Ginger Rogers
forever waltzing backward down
the stairs, partnered with a man
who never liked her;
that feathered, practiced creature,
bleeding in her heels,
her steps not what I’d call the act
of any faith, but more a process
of elimination. Until she finds
the bottom, searching for her mark,
spinning toward the promised spots of light.