by Carl Nelson (May 2023)
The Garden Of Armida, John Collier, 1899
…for poetry makes nothing happen —Auden
… leave a record, real evidence.
I must have over 700 poems,
like paintball strikes all over the office.
The place looks like a sour cream lover’s pizza.
The meanings I have scrawled!
Poets are spurned in this manner,
by their own material, all the time.
It’s a common schoolyard game,
in which the Furies circle like jackals.
So, like a crazy person the poet really must
decide for themselves what is real, what is good—
Kick the meds!
And then stick with it.
First, make nothing happen. And then,
make nothing even more pressing.
Stare at the reader like a void,
until it’s almost stalking. When finally,
at 701 poems, they squeal, “Uncle!”
Virtue is getting sliced so thin, you can see through it. —Prior Frances
Virtue has gotten so cheapened, as has sin,
through the inflationary practice of therapy-speak,
that God, Himself, might not recognize merit,
or Saint Peter parse them so as to assign judgment.
And lines of complaining and sniveling heaven bound
are loitering before the Gates
where boxes of tissues are being handed about.
The Bible, first of its kind
in the Self Help category,
is feeling the pressure nowadays
from its contemporary competitors,
who contest its Biblical narratives,
factual vetting, and its general
‘outmoded theory of Evil’,
plus the priestly confessional
which is now felt unnecessary due to
current advances in patient/doctor privilege.
Carl Nelson has just finished a book of memoirs and poetry celebrating his current area of Appalachia titled Become Remarkable. To see this and more of his work, please visit Magic Bean Books.
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