Very Bad Poetry

Maybe there are reasons we fracture like slate rather than, say, deteriorating like shale. Maybe there are bones we have yet to discover, lurking under this organ, behind that flap of skin that wasn’t there yesterday. They claim Hobbes penned his Leviathan on the move, having an ink reservoir built into his walking stick and, I suppose, amounts of paper stashed away in his pockets. It’s the kind of thing one expects to see when visiting the Taj Mahal. Or those send-ups of the Taj Mahal one discovers along the byways. In Oklahoma, say, when one is fleeing a past so cruel and out of the ordinary, ballads spring up in its wake like flowers. Petunias and snapdragons. After all, the flagpoles have no angles for a reason. If we aren’t sure, though, why something behaves the way it does—why the garbage smells like pine trees in the morning, and vice versa, why the giraffe has to bend that way to drink—it’s proper policy to pretend like we understand anyway. That we have been in touch with this truth for decades and wouldn’t part with it for a substantial amount of money. Which is not to argue for a subconscious decision, but simply to point out where we have allowed the globe to spin too closely to the fire and so have inadvertently burned off otherwise innocent realms, like Madagascar. Have turned the whole of civilization, in other words, into mere pockets of respectability, places where you might find a decent brie, if you go in for that sort of thing, but nothing of real substance, like the triangles we remember from our textbooks. Those with such elaborate lines and illustrations placed within them, you couldn’t tell if they were there for your broad edification or simply to carry you off with the carnival that was just then leaving town.

Charles Freeland | Mudlark No. 35
Contents | Not Yet the Sounds of Speech