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

Proliferating parasitically

(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.)

NOTES OF AN UNDERGROUND HUMANIST

© 2014-2019 by Chris Wright