Friday, November 15, 2019

How Am I So Profoundly Trivial?


The last time I consulted a comet,
She pointed out, rather ominously,
That from her perspective, the Earth

Was responsible for everything on it
And everything pinging out away from it,
With no artistic distinctions to be made

For aesthetics, intentions, or species.
“It’s all one and the same production to me.”
I responded by suggesting that icy comets

Crashing into Earth made or at least
Contributed significantly to our peculiar seas,
But she only laughed at me. “Comets crash

Into all kinds of satellites, name as many kinds 
As you please. I don’t see any other planets
With oceans that foam with inventions like these.”

Like these what? I demanded, a little insulted. 
“Whatever! Cells, teeth, oxygen machines.
Carbon chains churning polycarbonate rings.”

She had me. But then, she wasn’t a real comet,
Was she? Only another ping from among Earth’s
Inventions—hungry water, words, omens, me.

Money Makes the Monkey Dance

Any system for moving resources 
Enumerably founds itself on the unstable 
Partnership between intrinsic asymmetry

And increasing fungibility. As far as I am
Concerned, money numbers do not matter,
And how I’ve used them doesn’t matter,

Only why I‘ve used them matters, as a matter
Of character. But to others, my character
Is literally immaterial, and what matters,

Understandably, is what I’ve done with numbers,
How I’ve moved resources toward or away
With them, enhancing or decreasing them.

What matters to me about money can never be
Equivalent to what matters to others, nor can 
What matters to them mean the same to me.

That’s the asymmetry. Money’s fungibility only
Ensures increasing fluidity and instability 
Infect that pure asymmetry, which kills me.

Pain in Another

We’re not so different
About what we want
From poetry, but
We differ in how
We want what we want—

We want to feel weird,
To sense mind-music,
Closer to insight
Than we’ve felt before,
A justified awe.

We want to feel known
By someone unknown
Or something unknown
That bears us goodwill,
Our doubts as our hope.

But the uncanny,
Musical wisdom
Of understanding 
And affirmation
In one person’s thoughts

Is the bland, toneless 
Or the dark, clanging,
Echo of ancient
Pain in another.

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