TO CREATION Creation gave us the eagle and the snake. From myths, celestial waters mingling with the oceans of the Earth. Evaporation happens between worlds, leaves the flowers stiffened and the clouds drooping. Some drops stay behind in tiny rock-bound wells. The eagle can take wing and quickly disappear. The snake slithers beneath heaps of stones. Ascent is answered by descent. Moss-pocked trees provide shelter from sun-fire. Fields flutter like green handkerchiefs. Wind is a scented gift. The grass plays like children. The eagle’s head is as proud as a mountain’s jaw. The snake’s skin is an ancient hieroglyphic. Life sprouts unalike in different places. Used tenderly, nature is a mother’s lap. Even graves grow beards. AS LUCK WON’T HAVE IT I purchase the newspaper. The others in line buy scratch tickets, play their favorite numbers. I’m willing to give my life a rest for a while, delve into page after page of how badly others have it. But my queue-mates are caught up in the idea of luck, usually bad, but just a chance, maybe, who knows, that good will come of it. Try telling that to the victims of a Bangladesh tsunami. Or a gangland shooting in our own fair city. These men, these women, figure they’ve dreamed enough, it’s time to take their chances. They hand over the money, then stash imagined millions in their pocket, or take out a coin, rub away, unveil fate. Sure they’re disappointed when ping-pong balls disobey their clenched-fist prayers or the symbols don’t line up. But hope’s a cruel master. Next day, the day after that, we’re back in the same line. I purchase another round of someone else’s problems. They dig into wallets, purses, intensify their own. THE KISSING COUPLE I was witness to, on the steps of the courthouse, contradictory compulsions operating publicly and passionately at full speed. There, in the shadow of a Gothic edifice of logic and reason, a couple indulged in a fervent, ardent, hug and kiss. It may have been impromptu to them but, to we unwitting subjective onlookers, it was an action totally at odds with those judicious surrounds. The things is you just can’t succumb to over-agitated hormones in sight of three lawyers, a judge, a US marshal, two taxi drivers, and a passing school bus. An overwhelming sense of decorum applies every day to where everybody is. Your emotions have a responsibility to the rest of us. Besides, who knows what effect a stranger’s happiness can have on an unwitting onlooker. I might be recently widowed. That well-dressed woman could be the one hard-done-by in a breakup. So, if you’re going to be shameless, please choose surrounds more amicable Or try a little self-consciousness. That way no one will know you’re there.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review.
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