Tuesday, August 21, 2012



The sun goes away at night
but only comes back
the next morning.
Did you know that the earth rotates
at fifteen degrees per hour?
So the sun went away
and came back and
on the sixth day of seven
the Adaptation of the World began.
History prospered and
many important events
were told through dance.
And fruit hung from every tree.
But the nomads began killing.
War was invented
and the sun went away
and came back many times
and no amount of prayer
or wishing or hoping
would stop it.
There’s no turning back now.
That’s the sound of nature exploding.
And history took
small, ecclesiastical steps...
the written word,
the spoken word,
the word that’s heard.
And the world shook
and screamed
and shrieked
like an army of banshees,
like a thousand hornets,
like white thunder.
The elements writhed in ecstasy,
the wind blew,
trees were uprooted,
crops were destroyed,
the fire burned,
the waters rose but it didn’t
wash away all stains
or forgive all our mistakes--
especially the elusive ones:
the mistakes that live in seeds
and grow when nurtured
or the mistakes that
float on the wind
and settle in lungs.
So the sun went away
and when it came back,
machines were everywhere,
machines that ate
and slept and moved
and breathed and cried
and the Adaptation of
the Cool Frontier began.
Then the world laughed
because it thought of a joke
it had heard a long time ago,
a joke an animal told,
so the world turned
and chuckled with irony,
and the poet spat blood.
History stopped to
watch itself on television,
the newspaper headlines read,
and the sun went away
and came back many times
but now it does so impatiently.
Birds no longer sing,
the air is stagnant
and nature shrinks and hides.
No one dances
or goes on picnics
and everyone feels
a nagging doubt
like a throbbing pain.
They all said,
“Don’t believe in things you can’t touch”
and Mother and Father
and Teacher and Policeman
and President asked in unison,
“What new world
are you talking about?”
and I said,
“The one that never came.”

©JEF 1984-2012

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