Excerpt: The Attack on Humanity


For Margaret

Written on an Aspen parking permit


There’s sometimes more to place

Than just the mask of any face:


I am more by space defined

Than by any identity I find,


And the whole great planet I might pit

Against the fiction of the intimate,


Putting all my faith in where I am

Rather than that psychic scam,


That cult of Grecian me and Grecian you

Where only selfish things are true.


Rather than my own blind eye,

I put my trust in gathering sky,


In the grim sublime reality -

Now what I think, but what I see,


Taking the winds of weather as my guide

(I do not blink: I might decide) -


Lolling on the glacial scree,

Enveloped by pomposity -


The hillock, drumlin, vale, and rill

That nature turns to when it’s still.  


Here illusions of the real

Are undercut by teal,


The tawdry rite of day to day

Ripped apart by shades of grey,


Where the way the sunlight slants

Matters more than circumstance,


And a scudding line of cirrus

Is what the inner landscape really is.


Here no pathetic fallacies

Or fallacious pathos frees


The cowardly portefeuille

With a laissez-faire trompe-l’oeil,


Pulling Lock Ness monsters out of ponds

Or colored handkerchiefs from wands:


Philosophy is no excuse

For logic out of Dr. Seuss,


For blaming galaxies of rain

On the presence of the brain


(As if the simple fact of pork

Were dependent on the fork),


Denying that a cosmic hole

Could be greater than the soul,


A world aghast to think that wit

Proposes to impose on it,


Not accepting that instead

The sky is just about our head,


And the proper fallacy is to think

The world might vanish when we wink -


The opposite of course is true:

We exist because the sky is blue:


Humanity is minute-made,

A side effect of stellar shade,


The only carton of the infinite

That the brushes of the air permit.