In My Alternate Reality
My left meniscus shows no sign of weakness
I act more than I feel
and seal my words with deeds
No one begins a claim with “as it were”
though people use the subjunctive correctly
and since cruelty must exist, it lives
only in the tines of a fork
kept under lock and key by a female panda
No one argues with her
Pleasure has a less pretentious name
and the man playing Ol’ Man River on steel drum
on the subway platform at 72 Street –
I remember him, I get
to tell him, I
In the Optative Mode
you hope. That is the job.
You may or may not believe
all things tend toward ultimate good.
Then, you would be an Agathist.
I like that crowd. They are not
too good-looking nor do they think
all things for the best.
In the optative mode,
an orrery, which shows
the relative positions of planets and moon,
heliocentric, allows us to imagine
ourselves in the sky
with Deus Absconditus,
who is slightly better company
than Deus Otiosus. The first hidden
to us (by intention); the other
idle, tired, retired, willing
to be supplanted.
My money’s on the hidden,
(though I do not like the impulse)
because you can always choose
to be found. The other has given up
and I can’t work with a god
who has surrendered her claim.
I don’t have to pee and am not cold
My kids both asleep in their firm beds
My husband snores my earplugs sigh
and You woke me up an hour early
Modeh ani, Modeh ani
My soul tired of wandering, time to come home
Up with the bankers and brokers back east
Up with coyotes from canyon adjacent
Up with the troubled, the reveler, baker
You woke me up very early indeed
Have You something pressing that only me
And my soul can accomplish before the day?
I see that the shadows needed attention
I see that the nursery rhymes needed rewriting
The silences absences needed recording
You thought that I needed an extra hour
And You tired of hiding, I know You are hiding, You
Do not have to pretend with me
In search of an idyll
en route to Maidenhair Falls via Hellhole Canyon
boulders and dry waterfalls.
These are what they seem.
You may also find Mohavea Confertiflora
a ghost flower
which looks just like Mentzelia Involucrate
Sand Blazing Star:
five bracts, five sepals, five cream yellow petals –
paper with a burned edge –
an invitation – and serrated leaves.
The Mohavea mimics the Mentzelia,
does not want to be the Mentzelia.
The former enacts
no exchange of goods and services,
produces no nectar to attract
unsuspecting bugs, who come
The savvy imposter relies on its looks.
Insects visit, fertilize and receive
no reward. You could say the fake flora
provides beauty –
I do not think the tricked bugs
traveling through Little Surprise Canyon care
about that, their short lives
a study in survival
but without consciousness perhaps
it’s not so bad.
Less comedic than the name, the position
asks body to bow like the curved part of the weapon
not the taut string
asks body to bow more than the lightly curved
rod with horsehair stretched
asks body to bow like the arc of certain letters
not bow as in bow down, not bow
as in the front of a boat
beginning an epic voyage
not bow as a child tying her shoes
with loops and a knot, the aglet’s stiff conviction
holding her efforts in place
And not bough as in the hazardous
branch of the nursery rhyme, though perhaps some affinity
with the golden bough
in Turner’s painting, the sacred grove where one tree
grew day and night
and one might say, don’t they all?
and studies say they do (circadian rhythms).
This pose cannot be done
asleep, you must be awake even as you think of the fruit
you imitate, stimulating the body’s meridians,
energy conduits ideally
clear and open. Think half of a giant circle drawn
around the earth, North to South Poles,
contour like the obdurate willow.
Think of the moon’s phases, the gentler side
of a waning gibbous or waxing crescent
bending to and into something even
if you know not what.