By Thomas Page

 

The Tourists of the Sargasso Sea 

Marine biologists have been baffled by the Sargasso Sea’s tubular tourists—

The eel. 

 

The eel 

Seem to be the true 

Sexless 

Ageless 

Birthless 

Originless creature swimming along the warm streams. 

 

They have baffled the likes of philosophers and psychoanalysts 

With their knavish resistance to be studied

In any way documentable

No one has seen an elver come to be 

Or how one comes to be. 

 

They apparently just appear 

Like magic. 

 

The Horseflogger 

Nietzsche is dead. 

Nietzsche remains dead. 

And we have killed him. 

How shall we comfort ourselves, the horseflogger of horsefloggers? 

 

Friedrich came into the square betwixt the hours 48 and 72 

And saw the man seeking his comforts through the sweats of the horse 

Its eyes as icy as Seward’s Folly only reacting to the driving of spikes in its hide 

Asking where is superman, where is superman, where is superman? 

And he, like the laurels, hung himself around its neck 

And assumed the pieta and cried for the cheval

Calvary days before the Epiphany 

A sorrowful mystery 

Counting the thirty-nine lashes. 

 

Hands from Turin 

A shroud of Arimathea

Try to pull the graying philosopher from the horse

A man amor fati 

A man amor pati 

Crying a thousand tears not just for the horse 

But for himself casted for lots 

By the Romans in devils’ masks 

Searching for a reason for mens rea 

A world forged in the nothingness. 

 

The death of the philosopher came years after the death of the theologian 

Both asking for some paternal hand to come down 

And point to the bodhi-tree 

And ask for him to eat of it 

To find some light coming from the end of a black hole 

To mean something 

Anything 

To justify the gnashing of joints in the fields 

While the tree sits in the orchard of the plutocrats. 

 

Friedrich slumped on the ground hanging onto the horse 

As the hands went to cart him off for the last phase 

The philosopher fazed 

The man sans his own nature 

To live in obscurity while dreams of the horseflogger occupy his memory 

Like the winters of Dostoevsky in the Gulag 

Licking the sealant off the walls of St. Helena 

Painting sunflowers hiding from its petals 

Collecting the dust of an artifact 

Breathing in the fumes of a chair seated by the window 

Looking out at the square 

Trying to distinguish it from the fields. 

 

Whistling in the Dark 

I’d imagine in fifty-year’s time when I’m seventy five 

That someone may sit me down and ask:

What was 2020 like?

How did you survive? 

 

I’d have to ponder for a minute 

While stroking my Whitman’s beard and respond: 

Well I did a lot of nothing 

And stayed inside. 

 

Then they would press on and rephrase their question. 

Something to the effect of this: 

What did you think of it?

Being in the heat of it?

 

I’d rock back and look at the horizon 

To fall back into the hourglass:

I thought it was horrible; 

A real F- of a year. 

 

They would rack their brain 

Trying to think of a key to a unique take:

Was the entire year like that?

A constant stomach ache?

 

I’d pop the air from my jaw 

So that I could roll my neck:

Pretty much a constant stomach ache.

I think we went a day without there being some issue. 

 

They would gently sway 

Trying to think about how to proceed:

When did you know that “it” was coming;

The virus?

 

I’d get very still 

And let a bit of soul escape: 

Officially, the 13th of March 

But we knew about it in December. 

 

Their eyes would widen 

Then they would ask:

You knew about it in December?

Did anyone do anything?

 

I’d turn to face them and say 

With the memory of generations:

When I was a child we lived in Tampa.  

Charley was coming and my aunt told my mother to come up to Orlando 

To protect the five of us from the hurricane.

We stayed in Tampa ready to weather it 

But the storm turned and went past us towards Orlando.

That was a year before Katrina did the same thing. 

The problem with storms is that you think you know what they are going to do. 

I remember Irma marching past Tampa Bay.

Her rains darkened the sky and dumped onto the palm trees. 

It looked like something from a horror movie 

As we sat in the dark watching the winds reconfigure the sky. 

It’s just human nature to want to see the storm. 

 

They would sit in silence in the pause 

Like the scant moment before sunrise before I would continue: 

My parents told the stories they were told about the Spanish Flu– 

It being as distant as Corona is to you—

One of those horrible things that changed households 

Forever 

And the nations of the Earth pointing fingers like children point at stars 

Hoping to connect the dots into a constellation.

No one wants the blame and everyone wants the answer–

A clydesdale trotting with its blinders and harness holding it 

While speaking of its mustang days as if they were tomorrow. 

History repeats itself often. 

 

I’d sink back into my chair as they would 

Think of the correct response to this 

And as I often did in my younger years an answer wouldn’t come 

And we would sit in silence until 

Something would stir us again. 

 

The Zoom Partner 

I have spent many hours on my laptop 

As I worked from home this year. 

 

I have also been privy to a certain feline 

Who likes to sit and watch me as I work.

 

When I worked in the dining room 

She liked to sit on the table and stare at me.

 

She also liked to meow until I would pet her 

Giving the impression that I was feuding with something offscreen. 

 

She also liked to walk across the keyboard 

Right in front of the camera.

 

When I would work upstairs 

She would meander until I was in the middle of a meeting.

 

She would occupy a cubby in the desk 

And bat at me like I was a bluefin.   

 

She, a Santiago of Hemingway’s pen, 

And I, the marlin, trying to discuss education.

 

Often she liked to take her perch at the window 

Looking out at the birds and deer passing by. 

 

In the olden days of this language

Some would pay rent to a parish to become an anchor.  

 

These anchors would sit and work in a sealed off room 

Often with a cat with them to keep them company. 

 

I wonder how many times a little head popped up 

In front of the psalms and wisdoms? 

 

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