THE CALL TO RATIONALITY
We could live the life of chaos.
Waving to strangers from the windows
Of yellow houses. Ordering tea sets
For yachts adrift in the Interstate median.
Professing our love of horses
To the mad young boys who ride turtles
And condemn the grass. There would be
We could do. But our lives are regulated,
Beginning to end, beginning to end, one thing
Ended and another beginning.
For our purposes a cigar
Is always a cigar, a train tunnel
The dark of the journey. Waving
From the murderous windows of yellow houses
Is an excitement for people without mortgages.
Wave with me anyway.
The boys are strapped to their turtles,
The grass has had its come-uppance,
And everyone loves horses, loves tea sets.
There are strangers just over there. Wave!
They pull off their blue shades and look at us,
Regard their watches, one
Starts at least a half gesture to wave back
And you can see cause and effect
Weighing on him. He will make
An independent decision, and our world
Out of that one humid fact might go on.
His fingers in the air like bamboo
Twittering as though at the start of a race,
His wave, the sleek economy of it:
Beneath the bed she can hear
The ocean heave, lap at itself,
Crest and growl: independent.
She does not know how long she
Has been adrift, or this room
On the third floor awash. Years
She has not peered under the bed,
Vacuuming with the length of the hose:
No smell of salt, no cry of seabirds,
No clatter of exoskeleton joints.
How long has the ocean hidden, how long
Did its infinite biology transpire
Beneath her bed – the bed
Barely as wide as she, barely
As long? Brine and octopus
Calligraphy, mollusks as danced out
Through centuries of washed stone, the joy
Of fish in ordered numbers.
She has suspected.
Now, ever so cautiously,
She leans over the side, pulls up
The drape of cold, night blankets. The
Clear sea breezes bring as well
Some stench of what gets cast
To the shore: the sea’s refusal
Of failure, the inept and worn out,
The decay of creatures falling behind.
Her hair is free to wash across the floor;
The spray there is mineral and oily.
She leans farther, past the box springs,
Balanced with only a fistful of mattress,
Wanting only to look, to look deeper,
To witness the joy of land-loving mermaids
Giddy with the sea, gasping in air.
After years of impersonating a Systems Engineer, Ken has retired to watch his wife of forty+ years continue to break both Masters and Open world raw powerlifting records. Ken’s two current poetry collections (“The Book of Robot”, “Victims of a Failed Civics”) and three short fiction collections (“Constant Animals”, “Avenging Cartography”, “The Revenge of the House Hurlers”) are available from Amazon and most book selling websites. Visit him at www.kpoyner.com.