Nov 302015

by Mark Vogel


Surely better not to know.

how many there could be,

how often puny humans lived wrong

in patterns now documented by academics—

like when ancestors herded mammoths

over the cliff, until none were left.

Or gleefully slaughtered enough passenger pigeons

to feed the world, until they were gone,

no chirp remaining—nothing but

the Smithsonian stuffed stare.

How often the misguided circular

killing/eating/fucking excess established,

beyond individual/communal free will,

how a dance or shuffle could end

with no planned goal, no epiphany—

Amen blue fin tuna delicacy until

every big one is caught.  How often

a culture can bubble in oblivion,

like the decades in exotic drinking desire,

ancient addictions like a rhythm

as the boring destructive norm.

Tiring how seldom the glossy textbook

reminds us how bad we can be,

a thousand times unlearning language,

blinking through wisdom, smiling as

we wound.  How often we have stumbled

toward pared death, believing any movement

is progress beyond, though the ground

opens for miles, and Mother shrinks into herself,

and beyond us a thousand clones

blithely drive cars toward family extinction, 

into new/old colors so neon bright,

labeled as frontier.  Like yesterday

when the land was gaudy and too bald,

and we posted the scene wading in

the same flowing wild muddy rivers,

polluted with our own waste.  It seems

inevitable someday we will forget

how to laugh.