I viewed a knight errant; he was

It's a labyrinth by Joris Louwes - 7090758467_a3045477dc_z

I viewed a knight errant; he was
dressed in humble garb; he
knelt gingerly upon the sidewalk
avoiding cracks and mumbling
as if in contemplation;
a mantle of plastic wrap
he clenched about his shoulders
like a favor, a sturdy buckler
of greasy cardboard
pinned between his elbow and
ribcage (on the left wide
where he keeps his heart);
his shoes sprung but serviceable;
his equipage stowed in ample pockets.

From the bent of his spine
and his questing gaze
I guessed he was seeking
a suitable weapon
and a world worthy of his service.

 

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Siddhartha as a boy is willful

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Siddhartha as a boy is willful:
shirks his chores and doesn’t listen
to his Mom — who maybe knows,
but doesn’t really care that his en-

lightenment one day inspires
a needful world. Instead, she’d quite
prefer Siddhartha do his homework.
Tell me (she says) this enlight-

enment, it pays? You’ll need a job,
it’s no fun living always tighten-

ing your belt, believe you me.
At least a fall-back when enlighten-

ment won’t make ends meet!  — It’s well
Siddhartha pays no mind, content
to poke about, mindfully aimless,
ambling toward enlightenment.

 

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The Hangover

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Zeus had quite a head on him
after last night’s binge
too much nectar and ambrosia
hoo boy! So this morning
when Athena in bright armor sprang
full blown, well sure
he was proud of himself
(who else could have after all?)
but honestly he could have done
without the clanking and
(Ye gods!) the glare!
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Nobody ever went to jail

Robinson_Jeffers_Hawk_Tower,_Tor_House,_Carmel,_CA_2008_Photo_by_Celeste_Davison

faith is a coherent structure
of lies, but the insistent
endless inhuman beauty
of things is incoherent truth

and nobody ever went to jail
for making well-wrought urns
but not by these
shall we come to glory

mumbled the old man squatting
in his handlaid tower
looking out over the sea-churn
high up and foreseeing everything

including its inevitability

.

then standing stretching
walked away from what should
have been the tied-off
end of it all

descended the stairs
stepped over the doorjamb
walked into town
to buy groceries and gin

the traditional unwilling challenger
impassioned, nearly all-powerful
but drunk with it
hardly a friend to humanity

ruining everything like always

.

always doing that one more thing

 

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No story

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There were never two men named Charles
in spite of what they both said
there were never two wives of two men named Charles.
There weren’t four children of two wives of two
men named Charles, and they didn’t
have eight pets, and forget about everything
you think you know,
nobody ever gave them sixteen names
thirty-two Christmas presents
or sixty-four walks around the park.

None of that ever happened.

 

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There you were

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There you were
helping your friends
who were not yet married
before their reception
by cutting something small
smaller,
carrots or cucumbers,
something.

You were being mindful
of the knifeness of the knife
and how strange it was
not because it cut
but because of the way
it cut

and in consequence
you were working
slowly,
holding up
everything and everyone
that depended on you.

I loved you for
your mindful sluggishness,
and how you were unconscious
of your beauty
in the beautiful moment

so now
I think sometimes
how if that beautiful moment had lasted
I might have married you
and you me
and how eventually
someone else would have had to take over
for both of us.

And I think:
how lucky
one moment
doesn’t lead to the next.

 

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Now it occurs to me

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Now it occurs to me that some day
our son who is about to be born
will wear this knit cap
that was given to me
quite some time ago
by someone I was in love with
quite some time ago
and I’ve never told you this.

There’s keeping and then again
there’s keeping it to oneself
but sometimes I think about her
and what it was like to be in love then
and how it was different
from what it’s like to be in love now

and that some day our son
who is about to be born
will wear this knit cap
and he will not know a thing
and you will not know a thing
and she will not know a thing

about it, the way the yarn
follows the yarn.

Won’t that be something?

 

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Paris was fine

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Paris was fine,
though the girls stared at us
whenever we took the bus,
and the bus we boarded
was never going to our destination.
Paris was fine,
and then we left it
and haven’t thought of it once since then.
Until today
Paris was just fine.
But today there were
these girls on the bus
who cast knowing glances at me
all the way, who giggled and
who as they got off
spoke loudly to each other
in a language I didn’t understand;
who left me on a bus
that wasn’t going to my destination.

 

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Scylla and after

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Εὐρύλοχος:

… and said, “Trust me so all ends well!”
So we prepared to follow, yet again, Himself.
Turned out he was no wiser head, who, wanting but support,
Would steer us safely through the strait.
We hesitated once, though, I recall

And might have done any of three things, then:
The first thing, or the second one,
Or else what finally we did, which now
At least we can rule out
As an effective plan.

We could have fled; we could have gone
A longer way around; or else we could have done
What, as I said, we did, which was
To follow orders, rise above,
Pull oars, and carry on —

Only to see our shipmates, one by one,
Grabbed up and gobbled as their ship raced on.
Now, our surviving few starved and marooned,
Captain Nobody having gone off to commune
With some god or another, what’s there to be done?

Meantime these farting cattle, said to be the Sun’s,
Grow fat as we grow leaner. I say, Come!
Has any sign we’ve had yet been this clear?
Men live on beef, not prayers.
Then let us do what’s clearly to be done.

***

Their Captain slumbering in the hills, his men
Put flint to iron, steak knives to the hone;
Meanwhile the gods, as ever fanciful and grim,
Brush up on animating carrion,
Seeing (they always see) what’s to be done.

 

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