Robert C. Knox
I am a husband, father, rabid backyard gardener, and blogger on nature, books, films and other subjects based on the premise that there's a garden metaphor for everything. Still utopian and idealistic after all these years, I cover the arts for the Boston Globe's 'South' regional section. My poems have been published recently by The Poetry Superhighway, Bombay Review, Semaphore Journal and other journals. Some poems were also accepted for the upcoming anthology "Peace: Give it a Chance," and a collection of poems (titled "Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty") will be published in 2016 by Coda Crab Books. "Suosso's Lane," my recently published novel about the Sacco-Vanzetti case, is available at www.Web-e-Books.com.
i. He gets really sick, you have to,
to think about things
He thinks about life, the world, meanings shift in the night
when the shades are drawn, the wind blows,
old building voices blot out human ones,
when darkness appears not a threat but a different sort of —
freedom, is it?
Large truths, the simplest ones really, stumble into the room
and you hug them and cry
So, yaddi-yadda (the villager calls), tell us, enlightened one,
'What is life?'
It's love. Next question.
ii. He sends the inner poet on a journey of pain,
chewing up his insides
trying to keep clear of those big, old wounds
the scars of ancient operations, fallen empires,
tiptoeing around potholes from an old hell
The inner life? Ask the surgeon,
he's the only one who has truly been there
He finds the places where they keep the underground springs
the holes in the road
the plain-out crazy things that leap out at him (him!) from the darkness
because his brain is sending out casting calls,
a universe of free-lance entertainers desperate for a shot
at the spotlight
fugitives from the watch list of the subconscious
drawing on the ink from a very dark pool
like the night they moved him in his sleep to a parallel time, empty
of the familiar, the comforting furniture,
an old armchair where his wife kept vigil
and he wondered how far he would have to travel
to get back...
You need to hear the bird cries in the morning,
even if the spring is false,
and you're only dreaming, after all.
iii. Still, awake or dreaming,
little to choose,
when you've strapped yourself on the back
of a very rough beast
and you're managing, somehow, to ride it.
Don't fool yourself
Things were always this bad
The difference is
our weapons are so much better
©2016 Robert C. Knox