Sunday, September 6, 1992

APPROACHING THE ARGUMENT



APPROACHING THE ARGUMENT

Persistent as the flyswatter, 
already two wasps have fallen;
Sunday promises to be a three-wasp day.
The Protestant bells knell
extolling the piety that is Amsterdam,

and Cartesian logic of canals below sea-level:
who can outmaneuver the sand?
End of summer—the radiant enigma
of sun-warmed bricks yielding
to the icy vault of kitchen windows

still raises apparitions of endless hunger
droning toward our morning's commerce.
With the ceaseless clerical dance peculiar to wasps,
they bless unlikely converts: the empty yellow cup,
the slender black supplications of my pen

­on the familiar altar of paper.
Voraciously they worship stale food odors
with the same dogged zeal I tried to define love—
making such a nuisance of themselves,
the only alternative is a quick and simple death.

At first we tried to warn them; now we too
are indifferent to the tender compound equation
of a glass prison against the pane,
and the sudden freedom into open air.
Escape is temporary; they return,

and each according to the laws of nature,
we respond, sacrificing our daily wasps—
the flotsam of small corpses
in an encroaching sea
of stinging words.


6 Sept. 1992
 Amsterdam

2001 Fourteen Hills
1993 Green Fuse


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