Poetry from James Whitehead

About this Whole Nature vs. God “Thing”

	I recall it now, in a time of plague.  
	I was in love with someone.  
	Who it was is rather beside the point.  
	I loved her and she loved me, that much I remember.  If it was the person I am with now, then the story makes no sense to me.  That love is still good.  And I associate the story with a fall.  So, I am pretty sure it was a failed love.  That we loved each other, but that something went wrong.  
	What happened, which was not the terribly wrong thing that took away our love, was this:
	We went to a ballet.  It was almost that simple.
	Other people went with us, friends, family members, they all joined us.  We had enough tickets, that we all sat in a row, alongside one another.
	I had family there, she had family there.
	I had friends there, she had friends there.
	We both were surrounded by other people.
	I hated and hate the ballet.
	It felt like something forced upon me, like life itself.
	What I mean is, metaphorically, no one chooses to be born.
	But once born . . . we choose to live.
	I did not want to be there, but, there I was.
	And during the entire show, I only remember two corresponding sensations, which, combined, informed me about something . . . taught me something about this experience I never would have chosen to live through.
	To my left, I felt, repeatedly, an elbow in my ribs, and, whenever I turned, the person to my left kept saying, repeating, “Look at that DANCE!”
	To my right, I felt, repeatedly, an elbow in my ribs, and, whenever I turned, the person to my right kept saying, repeating, “Look at that DANCER!”
	So I, listening to both of them, trying to learn from both of them, how I might best enjoy this living experience, looked at what we were all there to witness and experience.

	And I kept seeing the same thing.
	Whether I looked to the Dancer, or to the Dance.
	It all looked the same to me.




Aren’t Judas I just perfect, given the money? 

	I give my money to the brewers of the world because they are truly great human beings. Still it does me no good for answers when I question almost daily the accident of my life, sitting in my apartment loft, reading Henry Miller, staring at my diplomas, wondering about my father, whose first job was holding live pigs’ hind legs, while the animal doctor cut there, or my father, whose last job was holding stock, or wondering about my mother, whose first job was teaching special children, or whose last job was teaching her children. 
	My life does me no good for answers, petting two cats, one named for disappearing, one named for being seen, or listening to music – name the genre –or sitting next to a well-lit globe outlining already outdated countries – the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, all other countries all running their mortal course, including our own, or typing on an outdated machine, one worth more than a third world income, or wondering why these thoughts of mine do not inhabit another – a Muslim woman burning alive in more than the sun for being unveiled, a child of a disappeared Pole in a forest near white Russia, a South African miner, ass daily probed, giving the merry widow its glow, a rubber worker from Indonesia, his grandfather killed in 1965, in the uprising, an American nun, who taught sharing – that’s what she called it – in South America, now somewhere in its Incan ground, or a revolutionary living in a world without accidents of fate . . .  or wondering . . . hung up, if he loved Mary, because he could, or if he loved her instead because he could not . . .
	 The money that pays the next bills, it gives no answer, no clue, doesn’t it, as I give it to the brewers of the world . . . 
	this well-lit, mortal world? 



Because


They raised the children to be unkind because the world was unkind
because they raised the children to be unkind because the world was
unkind because they raised the children to be unkind because the
world was unkind because they raised the children to be unkind be-
cause the world was unkind because they raised the children to be un-kind because the world was unkind.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *