Wit: A Poem

[there’s] something to be said … not much, for the
idea that everyone ought to commit suicide once in a while

Hayden Carruth

Listen to the hiss ­ zigzag
aggressions, depression, graphs ­

while calmer heads ­ shake their souls --
stirred in sadness

do the best they can?
Who wanted to be the kid

parked in an alcove reading runes
till only peace could come,

like a scum, a sediment obscuring
penis assessments in locker rooms?

Who nurses the savage complaint?
Games, old boy ­ as if

some Cartesian evil genius
were whispering

What --
about me. But what

about the me?
Parking in the Garden,

[Strapped to oxygen]
Lying on rocks

(page change)

Or sitting in aloeswood
scented air conditioning

This sentimental act of tail
-wags-dog: ‘Why are we here?’

deflects the slow drag
throb centered in

the nothing

Viz., be kind.

Wit (2)

A crow flaps up and croaks
(I think): Well, fuck you.

Suchness ­ a cloudy sweep, an open palm
indicating the four corners, the

totality … Guess what.
No answer.

Wit (3)

But death’s a portal into
Where you master the art

Of farting it off,
The anteroom ­

The drowning rescuer ­
Adverts for pie in the sky . . .

I was the wrong midwife.
Whither? Whence? Why?

Great Valley Spirit
Tao, she’s the mother

For whom even a casual cough,
A crow’s croak

Is part of the art.

Wit (4)

‘We’re spoiled,’ laughs the woman
in the cool

like stadium

supermarket, ‘We’re the
cool ones, we

used to lay out under trees
on days like this.

Dew point heat
on a day of global warming

paper thin blood blistered
struggling ­

‘Though you might disavow kinship,’
she adds, ‘I am your twin.’

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