To be or not to be?
The ticking of the sun determines life
Amongst us earthlings; we’re beholden to
A trillion nuclear explosions. Flares
Upon the solar rim determine cloud-
Movements and weather patterns and daily life
Here on the earth. Millions of miles away
Our future is decided, predecided,
Concocted in a boiling brew of atoms.
—One knows not how one should react to this.
Is horror most appropriate? Or awe?
Or wonder? Or is fear more sensible?
Or maybe suicide is suitable,
Since life in such conditions seems for naught.
A “floating” Earth—embedded in a viscid
Cosmos—which travels on a curved straight line
Around a (literal) space-coagulation
Unendingly—or, billions of times—
Is quite indifferent to the destiny
Of helpless little lice inhabiting
Its many tufts of hair—which they call “forests,”
And which, stupidly, they shave away,
Thus leaving only a bare scalp with scars
All intersecting, grey, ugly;—and yet,
At least, they give the lice the means to keep
(Because of some bizarre connection between
Such scars and liceal regeneration).
And so, in short, the black enormity
Of crimes perpetrated by space and time
On us poor lice, together with our crimes
Against ourselves as well as gentle Earth,
Lead one to think that....—no, just to despair!
There is no point in thought, nor action! We
Can only sit in immobility,
Thoughtless, despairing immobility,
And wait in trepidation for the end.
—Right? ....No; I disagree. I choose to live
In wonder, and in awe all full of love.
Yes, love! That thing poeticized to death,
Yet utterly deserving of the praise.
Forget about the horror! Think, Chris, of Lauren,
Your “soul-twin”—or the Vietnamese angel
You talked to yesterday, while your heart
Grew wings! Think of when she bent over,
And her....—well, yes, it was a pretty sight.
(That’s all that need be said.) I wonder when
I’ll see her next. Tomorrow? Saturday?
I wonder if she’s interested in me.
And when will Lauren come to St. Louis?
I wonder.... Ah well. Earth, keep orbiting!
You have permission to ignore me. But
My fellow lice, you do not! I want
Your love, because I love you—stupidly,
It’s true, and mindlessly, instinctively,
And blindly, but....well, after all, I’m just
A louse! You can’t expect too much from me!
Blind love is all you’re gonna get. Blind love
And blinder wonder. –So say your prayers and love
Your neighbors, and live Christ-like lives (Good luck!),
And love your cosmic insignificance
Because it means you’re just a visitor,
A tourist without responsibilities!
And Lauren: I’ll see you soon, I hope, and when
I do I’ll let you tear apart this poem.
(Your critical sense is more refined than mine.)