Today's poems are by Karl Elder

Making History

Zero gravity or depravity,
yogi or yokel, Roman numeral
X or I, you think you've got a shot and
what you've got is exactly that—one shot.
Victory? Nowadays it's victors' vice,
underwritten by Nike, and we're not
talking goddess but stylized "V," that
"swoosh" so ubiquitous as not to be
read as logo, symbol, or word but a
quip on equipment that doesn't bear it—
phantom confetti. What we need is an
old-fashioned future where what is won is
now to be earned. "You wanna fat loan? Give
me a lien," Nature says, witch that she is.
Likewise, if you want a forest, plant trees.
Keen on poetry? Read. One whose action
jives right with carpe diem sees the day
in his sleep, before which the sheep he counts
have profiles less of lambs, more like mountain
goats, and a proper number of iambs
for that climb to a dream of the sublime.
Every good boy does fine, scales his way back
down inclines where history's his story,
crescendo or no. Absent plot it could
be you: airy obit writ by Mort at
Acme Mortuary, who came up short.

A Disappearing Act

Zowie, word in a hummingbird heard—gone.
"Yikes!"—what it seems to say with its lofty
exit, its scaredy cat, peek-a-boo play.
We the peephole to hell, perhaps, remain
virginal in terms of maiden flight to
unparalleled heights, but on unchaste chase
to unearth heaven here, I say, "Holy
scat, no angel if not Tinkerbell's soul
rates wings like those." Still, should time come for res-
cue—fire or ice—would I kowtow?? Does the
pope in his garden clamor for ladder
overhead, that bee-line and blur in the
noise of the hummingbird, thin rope of hope
more like from a toy helicopter and
less a flying saucer? I don't think so.
Kaput means kibosh, ash for balderdash,
je ne sais pas. Dare one stare dead in the
eye of the beholder seeking beauty
here with mirrors, or does one shudder,
gnostic who pictures black behind the glass?
For fortitude—out of fortune, fear or
egress—is faint ally to existence,
dawn the round nemesis of time's eclipse,
cyclical as it is, as is the coy
buzz, the quick charge, the discrete retreat of
all muse, that, game won, song sung, vanishes.

Copyright © 2005 Karl Elder All rights reserved
from Beloit Poetry Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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