Nobel, #193

We are chasing the muse
in her black hose and high
heels. We are hoping
that running beside her
down the sidewalk will lead
to a whiff of her dust,
that seductive perfume
that intoxicates us,
inoculates us from
the meaningless chatter
waddling through our brains.
The prize, for capturing
the muse for a moment,
for lovingly holding
the imaginary,
like a wee leprechaun
or lightning bugs in jars
in the backyard is not
anything that will keep
till tomorrow, the prize
is the right and the juice
to make a thing mostly
meaningless, of no worth
and without consequence.

One must embrace the news
of a birth, of a shy
and noble child, born
of royal parentage,
embraced by the nation,
a cause for a fanfare
of a proportion not
before seen, one must say
that each birth, the first day
feels like this, unlocks,
like weddings costing much
more than needed, the sense
for a moment, that you
and me common folk could,
with the right twist of fate,
be royalty. But us,
we must pay back the mound
of debt, the tuition
for college and diapers,
the bills for the wedding.
What cuts off royalty,
all men made equal
and well-endowed at birth,
are the dollars and cents.

A gas that will not lose
nor gain electrons, shy
and unwilling to play
with the other children,
noble in its hidden
secretive properties,
its penchant for glowing
at the touch of power.
Turn and twist us, capture
us in long perfect tubes
and switch on the music,
let lovers pirouette
and sweat underneath us.
Let their bodies suggest
a rhythm. And later
after the club closes,
let them ride around town
trying to find those late
night hangouts that cater
to intoxicated
and insomniatic
brethren, to be fathers
sent on missions of birth
clutching dollars and sense.

How gallant, amusing
lover who appears shy
and coy, whose hands caress
like the swift touch of heat
and from whom I quickly
pull away. Honestly,
let us admit it, you
are simply too pristine,
too lovely, too well-known
for me. I must retreat
back into my nothing
from where I came. And you
could come with, if only
for a moment you could
step down off the bridal
and saddle you have strapped
to that horse you saunter
around on. If you can
lift those robes up over
the dirt and the asphalt
that makes up life, grounding,
for the rest of us. Come
now, is it actually
that difficult to drop
your guard, let a left hook
split the unending girth
of our lives and pretense.

At stop signs one must choose.
What stopping underlies
is a crossroads and choice,
chance to be a hero
or normal, everyday
folk, to make decisions
that will lead to on-ramps
on the highway or to
old country paths bending
around farm houses, trees,
bending back to the fork
where Route 9G hands off
the fifty-five mile
gentle wind for the trees
that canopy the old
cider mill, it’s great chute
poking out the backend
of the building, spewing
out the stems and peels
into the pickup truck
bed. Before you even
turned the corner, walking
home from school, the knowing
first, then the site of it,
and at last, an autumn
come to life with the mirth
of an array of scents.

He may have lit the fuse,
blown the terra sky high,
he may have been the man
that invented those course
red sticks and set us down
a roadway of bigger
and bigger explosions,
but that is not the note
on which his name will sit
scribbled generations
down the road, at least not
if his last wishes can
annihilate the war
he ignited. Always
we will watch the Wily
Coyote with his drums
with skulls and crossbones,
holes poked in the bottom,
and that long fuse chasing
him across the endless bluffs.
Nobel, will you living
catch up with us, can we
hope, beyond hope, somehow
your prizes will outlast
the great force invention
unleashes, and the dearth
of opposition and sense.

The boy would sit, watch shoes
pass on the mat, rest by
while shoppers browse aisle,
select a collection
or two and fill coffers
for Barnes and Noble, Order
a coffee in the shop,
drowse mindlessly the stacks
and aisles looking for
people, not for the books.
If one could stop, even
for a moment, could see
the boy prone by the door,
devout primarily
to himself, to his cares
and fears in life, not to
who might see him that day
riding around the town
in some souped up, about
to explode jalopy,
that comes later. That comes
after the violence
after the armpit hair
and the long thin stranding
of personality
on an island. The earth
is not enough, too tense.

The prize, an overused
excuse for telling why
you could make such objects
and then, later in life
could come up with a game
that politician play
and academics try
to conjure up and win.
Get tenure and bonus,
have kids signing up
just to be in the room
with you. Their own rebirth
of a viscous offense.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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