Three incomprehensible poems

I found these drafts (interrelated to some extent), dusted them off, and share them now. No, make that “inflict them now.”

I wrote them more than a year ago. The third seems particularly timely, though its first stanza cautions against leaning too heavily on that.

Some day I intend to learn the actual forms of poetry, though I’m probably too old to master them.

I. Red Menace

I didn’t really buy the domino metaphor
especially when the dominoes were half a world away.
But anyway, I thought it better to suffer evil,
(maybe) than to do it.

I subscribed an official form
to that effect: 1-O.

II. Black Menace

Is it uncharitable
even to put those words in the mouths of my countrymen,
or between the lines of some bright, frightfully bright,
dark essayist?
The data seem clear, don’t they?
The pressures in sub-Sahara
wrought by climate change
and hyper-fertility
surely will push people northward, no?
If a young man there can muster,
say, $2,000,
surely a one-way ticket is
far and away
his best investment.

“Either we accept this invasion,
and we cease to be who we are,
or we take the necessary measures to stop it,
and cease to be who we are.
There are no other options.”
Thus (or something like that) the dark.
French novelist reportedly said.

“The coming migrants
aren’t interested in the
moral dilemmas of Europeans,”
the Anxious One said.

If so, I’m back to
“better to suffer evil than to do it;”
an even clearer choice:
better to “cease to be who we are,”
whatever that is,
than to do evil.
Maybe we’ll even be better
when we cease whatever “that” is.
Maybe the “invaders”
know some happiness we don’t know
that they’re so fertile.
(But they surely don’t know everything
or that one-way ticket
wouldn’t look so hot.)

But I could be wrong.
There’s always that possibility.
I was wrong once.

III. Addlepate

“Perilous times.”
Were the times ever not perilous,
the omens not fraught?

Maybe Lewis was right:
that if he and a German fired across the trenches
at 11:30:00,
each killing the other,
they’d be clapping one another on the back in Paradise.
at 11:30:01.

I never really bought that, either (see supra),
but maybe the right thing to do is to fight
when your tribe says “fight!”
But which Chief do I heed?
I won’t belong
to any tribe that will have me.

(The dark, the dark.
Scylla and Charybdis lurk there.
The safest course is no course.
Just sit here, becalmed.)

Some plutocrat wants to nuke Mars.
to make it habitable for “us”.
Proud plutocrats make me wonder sometimes.
whether extinction would be the better choice.
He’s white and cisgendered, too, by the way.
It’s de rigeur to mark such intersections today;
that makes him all Privilege, a very low-status
drive he his Tesla as fast as he may.
About Mars: Speak for yourself, white man.

The dispensationaists and the post-millennialists
still battle in my head:
Will the world just get worser or and worser
until King Jesus raptures us away?
Or will the world will just get better and better
until Christ comes to take his throne
with us His vice-Regents
(O Happy Day)?

The battle’s over when
the amillennialists step into the ring.
But in some dark nights (mercifully rare)
I wonder how much worse it could be, really,
if Satan were not chained already.

What work can I do –
not workout, but work
not just to move my portly flesh
but to escape my embattled head?

A vessel blows in my battlefield,
massive and fatal.
Will my last cogent thought really be
“Darn! Just when I almost had
This All Figured Out.”
(No, make that “grammatical ejaculation,”
not “cogent thought.” Gracious!)

I’m looking for the intersection
of Fact and Truth,
or of Data and Wisdom
(It’s the same intersection, I think).
That’s the intersection I want.
“Maybe I’ve gone too far south
on Fact and need to turn around,”
but the sunk cost fallacy sinks me.

Seventy-two years!
I confessed at 49
that I’d been under a delusion.
Is much of this another delusion, too?

Wisdom cries out

“No! Do it!
Turn around!
Delete unread!
Close the browser!”

(Wisdom has long told me that sort of thing,
but at 72, it’s getting more urgent.
It won’t be long now! I have finals to prepare for!
I always did prepare too much by cramming.)

“Seventy-two years of inertia
is all that stands in your way.
Maybe writing some bad poetry
will check your momentum.”

I’ve never had a suicidal ideation.
I’ve tried to imagine that much desperation,
but always came up short.
That hardly makes me an optimist.