By Thomas Page

Le Masque de Lycées

We waltz to a beat of six feet apart 
With our black masks hiding the stories of our teeth and beards 
Relying on kind eyes to say hello and good morning—
A masque of sorts—
To hide in our rooms in thirty-odd desks with only one occupant.

Cinderella's clocktower chimes eight times 
As the video feed ends and another one begins 
With thirty-odd blank profiles looking back
As if the lights were off at the witching hour. 

I may as well be on the moon or the wild arctic: 
Floating away as the world slowly turns or
Watching the blinding snow cover my window 
And I could shout into the wilderness and not get an 
Echo. 

They keep saying that this masque will end 
Eventually 
But what if we are Poe's guests at his ball 
Waiting for the Red Death
With nothing inside?

Tralfamadore

Tempus fugit may seem silly nowadays when time melts as slowly as syrup, 
Waiting for the Tralfamadorians to whisk us away in their tin cans
Philosophizing zoo animals with astrophysics in the midst of handsome beauty. 

I can count the lightyears on my fingers and my toes that has transpired 
Since I have eaten semi-stale bread at a restaurant 
Or seen previews in a movie theater 
Or anything really. 
So it goes. 

The luminous spaghetti that weaves me to you and you to me 
Cannot comprehend the little jolts of static electricity 
That come with the setting moon and the rising sun 
Over my head like a mobile made of ozone 
Foretelling my printed fate swirling over me 
Like a maelstrom in the North Sea. 

But like the hurricane, 
All I do is watch the cells approach 
As water becomes clouds becomes rain 
And pours on my head. 

Tempus lente fugit.   
 

I Am a Man Now, Now What?

After years upon years grinding the gears 
I am a Man now--
A Man who pays taxes 
A Man who pays health insurance 
A Man who has to worry about the air in the tires 
A Man who has to worry about seventeen issues at once 
A Man who does. 
 
Now what?
 
What other vistas do I have to see
Or the trenches in the deep blue sea?
 
What other lions do I have to tame 
Or escape another bear's maim? 
 
What other burdens do I endure 
Making my liver the eagle's lure?
 
There's no lesson on  what comes after happily ever after 
When the royals and the magicians close the curtain
On this little play that is merely an entr'acte 
 
The sun hits my eye as the sky turns pink 
Over the summered fields of grass and grain 
As the first of many summered fields 
Without signposts. 

Normal People

Normal people have book clubs
      Like the one I was having with my coworkers
      And the topic of deep-sea divers came up.
Normal people drink wine
      Like the sugar-sweet white given to me
      That reminded me of Austrian antifreeze.
Normal people discuss diets
      Like the vegan one of my bosses is on.
      He has a famous vegan cookie recipe.
Normal people complain about work
      Like the absurd emails we have all received
      With the most casual demands made.
Normal people don’t finish books
      Like me and the other men did
      When the story didn’t advance.
Normal people will says things
      Like: “Being a deep-sea diver is not what normal do,”
      But what is?

Uncross the Road

On a particularly warm March morning
I was driving past Margaret Brent where the road curves into the hill
And saw the divided remains of a cockerel
Scattered like the centerpiece at the lamplight.

Why on this day did the cockerel meet the steel demise?
How many oxidized bloodsplatters have I seen on Point Lookout,
Cast aside as a piece of refuse?
Could I ever perceive its eternity-bent head?

I suppose that when I drove back in the opposite direction
That the carcass would be removed as if it were the ether
And that I could forget all about the cockerel I knew posthumously
As just a prop of my disgust.

The Gray Water

I have become an aquarius, 
A washerman of sorts, 
Carting out buckets of gray water 
In a resistant shop vacuum
Which likes to roll over my toes. 

When I moved into this house I believed that the ways of aquaculture were more than they are. 
I only discovered where the gray water from the house went when I mowed the lawn 
And saw a jettison pipe 
Over the lush lawn. 

I can only look at it for a mere moment 
Before my gray cat decides that as I am pouring 
That this is her moment of freedom to hunt sparrows 
And like a bolt of greased lightning
She is gone before the thunder strikes. 

3 thoughts on “Le Masque de Lycées and Other Poems

  1. All the poems are so powerful that I read each poem twice. Thank you for sharing.
    All the best wishes
    P. S – It is hard for me to say which one is my favourite.

    Like

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