So, yeah. As I keep sort of explaining. There's this photographer Reuben Radding who I only know online, through our dear mutual friend Yvany Peery. He posted one of his photos, an important hand outside the window of a big black car, and Yvany commented that it reminded her of one of my poems, of which she offered a big chunk, about how sometimes when Stalin retouched Trotsky out of photos, he forgot the hand on the shoulder of the person next to him, so there's this floating hand, leftover. The point is, Yvany bossed us to do more match ups and it is fun so far and careful work. Here's our third on purpose.
From On The Propagation of the Species
We parse the problem, nouning out the principle
players: friends, families, prospects. I interview
the possibility of a child;
ask it questions. Intone the word: Interested?
Then: Want to learn the word for widget?
Want to read Beowulf? Want to get named?
Shall we grin and bear it?
I admit, existence is where woeful
was conjured. Nonetheless, to recommend it,
there is Jell-O; average rainfall; the anchovy
app at Luna’s; and the fact that in the middle, many
change their minds on the whole shebang — get
a good one off in both directions. But you and I
are going to have to choose.
It is our autobiography
we are eating; you snooze you
lose. Still, in the midst of going too slowly,
all hell has been known to break loose.
A gang of snails attacks a tree sloth, steals her wallet.
Down at the station, police chief
questions: How’d they get ya?
Sloth says, I dunno, it all happened so fast.
The photo was taken by Rueben Radding in Brooklyn, NY in 2015. The poem excerpt is from my second poetry book, Funny (Wisconsin, 2005). It was first published in In Posse, where you can see it in its entirety. It occurs to me that it was also in the Best American Poetry Anthology 2005, when it was special edited by Paul Muldoon. I wrote it when I was figuring out whether to have kids. I did. I'm nodding at how well it reminds me of that feeling of trying to figure out if the odds were in favor of such a drastic move.
I'm writing prose right now on the mystery of why people have children and I'm taking the stance that it is a real mystery. I get why they're okay with it once they do it, the kids are rewarding as hell. But how do we know that before it happens? Why would anyone take on such a responsibility, expense, potential for pain. I'm starting to think there is no answer to that question. Better to just ask how we feel when we have done it, and how it feels when we have not. Happy Mothersday-Late.
Anyway, I'm sharing these here, so far weekly, and I hope you are glad about it.