By Thomas Page
The Tourists of the Sargasso Sea
Marine biologists have been baffled by the Sargasso Sea’s tubular tourists—
Seem to be the true
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
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
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;
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
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?