Poem: Scandal

the misanthropeIN MEMORY OF EUGENE KONIK, born February 27, 1936. R.I.P.


And although I don’t share your candid misanthropy

I understand and I am sorry.

Father who left us all too soon

I understand and I am sorry.

Our species, the one you claimed to despise, having peered inside yourself and

all around the carousel, having seen dazzling cruelties

reckless greediness



worse than rodents – the worst we’re capable of inflicting on ourselves and

those we claim to adore

like they were our firstborn son, the one that will always be first, the first in the family

to go to college

and see the Loire Valley

and lose a wife.

Father who left us all too soon

I understand and I am sorry.

This morning, walking into the sunrise, something you liked to do —

now I like to do, yippee! hurrah! yahoo!

to be ambulatory, perambulatory, arms-swingin’ bells ringin’

digging the groove of the pneumatic tube

construction acrobatssending power blasts to the nail guns and bolt blowers wielded by

hard-hatted Latino acrobats making new nests for wealthy winners

to ensconce themselves,

swaddled in accomplishment and credit card statements and maybe, for a premium, a view

of Sunset Boulevard, where all-nude girls may be inspected from close range in exchange for

money in the form of $8 cranberry juices. It is oh so nice to look at exposed vulvas and cleanly waxed

assholes, but it is even nicer to have a nest to come home to, whether or not

your safe haven green sanctuary meditative monastery

was built by newly enslaved immigrants or by your uncommon wit and remarkable good looks.

Some people don’t, you know. Have a nest, that is. Oh, you didn’t know?

Sacred are the distractions that shield us from the awfulness of knowing.

Our screens, our fake concerns, our loudly declared passions —

they keep us close to the perfect state of ignobliss

modern achievers deserve

and should therefore seek constantly, never waking from the down pillow fugue

of blessedly incomplete lives, whole and well except for that one large hole of hell in the middle

where all we acquire and consume and excrete and repeat

gets packed in tight, stuffed in the crevasses by the Hi-Flo™ feeding tube fattening our goose liver.

Maximum return on investment and productivity and exploitivity.

The treatment has worked properly

when a viscous film forms over the irises

and the Iris Screens and everywhere we might chance to look without a chance.

The cataract shield.oedipus painting

It’s gentler than stabbing out your eyeballs like Oedipus. And less scandalous.

When you’re blinded voluntarily you’re spared from seeing

the invisible harm.

That woman your age, the one who looks like she could be related to your favorite Auntie

when she was younger – she’s invisible now, too. No one sees her feeding herself

from the garbage her educated betters leave in trash bins, among the dog shit.

The parts no one wanted for the people no one wants. Ah, there it is! There’s the poetry of

all systems functioning perfectly, the way God intended for the freest and bravest

among his naughty children.

Father who left us all too soon

I understand and I am sorry. You used to bring us boys to the municipal dump

where the village’s lawn clippings were collected in great green fragrant heaps

that more learned men might call herbaceous, or chlorophyllic or pastoral idyllic.

We saw there – because we still could in those dewy days – the leavings

at the bottom of the salad bowl

your favorite part, you said. The left behind.

trickle down theoryWe didn’t know then and we tried not to know now or ever

that whole communities form based on what more civilized communities do better and bigger.

They form like honeycombs and maggot hives, on and around and merrily about

the world’s greatest

most monumental

megalopolis apocalypse drop off

point: the city landfill.

The mountains built from the leavings, great grey fragrant heaps

less polite men might call foul, or diseased or infested with fleas.

Amusement, you see, like kindness and cruelty, can be found in the unlikeliest precincts of calamity.

You just have to manifest the correct positive attitude and refuse to be one of those negative people

who don’t yet know that all you have to do to get

whatever you want

in Life

is ask nicely and persistently and

all will be delivered. A guaranteed pizza. A zither.

Look at it the fun way and all those

children crawling over the garbage mounds become semi-clothed vermin

delirious at what’s been forsaken and forgotten by the better angels.

Creatures who share 99% of your DNA shall best serve their higher noble purpose

by becoming a vague source of pleasure,

not scandal.

It feels altogether better that way, hey? Now let us pray.

Father who left us all too soon

oh what aI understand and I am sorry.

When you walked, singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!”

the shoes you wore, the clunky brown ones with no redeeming fashion quotient,

now they’re on my feet. They fit, as you knew they would.

But when I walk, singing – yes, just like you – I sing the song of my soul with all new notes

that float and shimmy like a dust mote

in the light near your sin. Though I see the crime

that you articulated best in the language of flight,

I won’t crash. I won’t let you.

I will see and then I’ll say and then,

when ghosts are visible to the blind,

I’ll flap and flap and then I’ll

gently carefully willfully tearfully

outstretch your broken wings and help you float above

all this.

Your flight to the sun.


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