Keith Moul's poems and photos are widely published. Finishing Line Press will release his latest poetry chap, The Future as a Picnic Lunch, September 2015
CROWN OF THE OBTUSE
(She speaks first.)
We disagree about this.
For argument no resolution right now is likely.
For glum crisis our formulary has no antidote.
I don’t want to think you are dishonest.
But our worlds may as well collide
and so they have, to hear us speak.
Two spheres always synchronous conflict:
your truth would explode in my medium;
my truth could poison any known millennium.
Are we so mad for the crown of the obtuse?
(He admits his failings.)
My anger passes. No, not mad.
Memory unblocked permits fair sighting,
untamps fuses planted in our atmospheres,
will not lead us to assert royal prerogatives.
Our fools’ faiths ignore our codes,
will sprawl us toward triviality.
(He disowns his pride.)
I respect you. May I?
Do not align with those to whom respect
for me is unimportant. Our better angels
relent as well, will welcome us; console
our single creed of opinion fairly disputed.
At twenty-one, while Lexington gulped
and went down, dad bobbed, more flotsam,
more buddies than he had time to make, lost,
drinking their fill, more than he could count.
Never fond of swimming, dad popped up,
dogpaddling, rolling, hoping for yet
fearing rescue from Coral Sea swells.
Later, dad must have wondered: "Why save me?”
Why not limp into port once more,
at ease with night, shielding civilians
from these twisted hulls, the scars,
the latest blood? Why hurry healing?
Before Lex dove, fatally hit, seamen bounced
like bears in banzai shooting galleries;
toward his radar seat tracers trained
on sailors’ little chance to choose
which way to dance their little dance.
What's twenty-two to him, or thirty? -
treading oblivion, flailing at the crest,
awaiting orders he was trained to obey?
Dad demobilized when told how freedom
had been won; wore to rags his working blues;
floated forty more years in a sea of wail
like ingots make lost to air for the final time.
whether cool or mad
naturally subtract the extraneous
to get to an essential ease of position
for their joyful, guttural utterances
eat at the same table, lie
with fretful thoughts voiding sleep, swim
against the same tides, laugh
at the expense of others, deny
conjectures of infidelity:
opportunities to self-instruct:
a predilection to self-destruct:
opportunities to others:
If she sees coming
reminder of old commitments,
she would not be ready
to put on a new face, to dress to seduce.
If after he delivers his message it is
tacked on a bulletin board in a public place
he is unlikely to figure
how to react to her refusals
how to make his defense
how to avoid places his name is known.
Each remembers dusky rooms
filled with objects whose importance is lost
that smell too much of the effort of loss
that are not lighted to serve other purposes.
Nothing happened here except a brief try at pretend love.