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Lengthy Analyzation of His Poetry Reveals the Obvious

We peel his poetry like an onion
Strip away the twenty-nine layers of deep meaning
It said: You live, you suffer, you die.
We smell the onion and our tear ducts perform the rest.
Finally, "This is the meaning?" we ask, incredulous.
Evidence, please!

Chapter #1:

For a Brief Instant, A Classical Scientist is the Antichrist

It had lain in the ground, mouldering
Beneath the oppressive weight of worm-laden centuries
Wooden coffin long since rotted away
In life, It had wished to be free of the pestilence
In death, Its suppurating buboes had been consumed by fungus
In life, It had been lucky enough to die before most; they buried It while rituals and rites were relevant.
In death, It had been average: It lay in Its coffin and focused on the day when it would rise again.
For in the days when it was born, and lived, and suffered, and died,
The dead slumbered feet to the Holy City
So that when the Antichrist ruled Jerusalem
The silent sleepers would stand and salute him.
Now It hears a scratching, a tapping, and It thinks to open and eye whose eyelid has long since become farmer's fertilizer, but It has no iris to reveal
(For that matter, It has no brain to think-- proof of a soul?)
And the sky falls in--
Resurrection! It shall rise again from ashes--
And a man with a shovel steps away from the faded bones of a medieval casket, jotting down archaic notes

Chapter #2:

Lost in the Labyrinth Alone and Scared Waiting to Die

She's in the dark
waiting waiting waiting
Left behind to wait
To die
She's scared
It's dark
Soon enough her breath catches
She descends, alone, to the place beneath the earth between consciousness and life

Chapter #3:

Surveying a Vast Field of Living Men and Finding Oneself Checkmated

He's not afraid to-- what?
Say that it is lost?
He reviews the maps one final time
Pride, ambition prick his side
The iamb of machinery grinds without him
He is a god and a purveyor of souls
He is a soul in the Great Machine
An eye flickers, fingers traces the rivers--
Move the artillery across that blue line--
Abstractions, abstractions
Almost as if he is separate:
Above somehow
Almost-- but someone is storming the tent-- Machine gun burst-- Unclear who wins or loses--

Chapter #4:

And We Are the Ships Passing in the Night

They had seen ice
Ice for miles and miles and miles
Beneath their feet crevasses lingered
Pits of ice
They took ponies
But Amundsen brought dogs, and ate them when the loads lessened
The absurdity of Shetland ponies at the South Pole
Was matched only by the sight of the Norwegian flag
They died on the side of a ridge
Only three men left (no ponies)
Succumbed to the cold
But had that flag been British-- had they won--
Would they have awoken in the morning?
Walked to the other side of the ridge and seen the coast
Walruses sunning themselves, honking penguins, half the British population of Antarctica,
Waiting to welcome the victorious
Or would they still have perished:
Three men in a tent
On a cold Antarctic night
Less than a mile from salvation?

Chapter #5:

The Blue Light Special on Aisle #3 is Now Ending in a Dynamic Influx of Post-Modern Irony

She walked down the aisles, pushing a cart
The baby is squealing in the cart, playing with the straps
She gets a jar of peanut butter-- glass-- a dead cockroach lying on the shelf-- she screams-- the jar falls--
It breaks.
Peanut butter all over the floor
She cuts her finger on a shard of glass
She dies of tetanus a week later
The baby grows up in dirty foster homes:
Gets addicted to heroin.
Doesn't die of AIDS.
123 years later her name is in the Guinness Book of World Records. She's the world's oldest woman.
A day later Tiffy, her longtime companion dog, bites her; she dies of rabies within the month.


Dinner is a Multi-Faceted Symbol! Exclamation Mark!

We ask-- "In a vast universe, what significance does my life have?"
We're exasperated.
We throw up our hands and try to stuff the peeled onion down the garbage disposal.
It breaks.
We cook the onion then, boil out the taste and serve it as a garnish with the steak.
(I'm a vegetarian! I protest)
We eat onion salad.
And then it happens. No wind. No voice. No choirs of angels. The dishes don't even rattle and break in the cupboards.
Spelled out in the alphabet soup:
"When I wrote the story, it was simple. A garden, some snakes, a man and a woman."
(It was a big bowl)
"They're the ones who screwed it up."
A pause, and then: "I don't pretend to know the meaning of this life."
We took the onion and threw it out the window.
We were alone again.

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