Today's poem is by Feng Sun Chen
Fire was not worth it
but I won't take it back.
The birds were not worth it. The trees were not.
Nor the red boil of sky. Nor the froth of the sea.
Not even Paris.
It was only a little trick.
A little slant of the eye.
Don't go near the women, father said
until you've been good and hurt, and the girl too.
I suppose pain is fancy like that.
Though it began like that. The gods are very pretty.
But have you ever seen
a girlboy lashed with wings? It was their
walking carelessly under a skyhole or two
suddenly struck by golden rays on the shoulder blades.
They are so appreciative
of anything we give them. They speak in tongues!
I wasn't trying to impress anyone. The Olympians
can go suck on the clouds.
What can one do? I could not die
for the suffocating awakeness; the gods are like sharks
and do not truly sleep. We sleep as androids do. In pretense.
Not even love. Though it came close.
You'll never guess.
It was the man pulling his teeth out in the woods
for his dead wife. The inverse song.
What is as uniquely satisfying? To think that I should never
satisfy this eternal itch!
My livers could fill whole oceans, several planets worth.
Meaningless livers. Endless livers.
I can't say it. The word is ripped from me daily.
I have become a huge liver. A liver of it.
Copyright © 2012 Feng Sun Chen All rights reserved
from Butcher's Tree
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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