nthposition online magazine

Rod Serling's funeral, 1975 & Dead bees are indomitable


[ poetry - december 09 ]

Rod Serling's funeral, 1975

It's either a bulldog or bullet ant, lovingly
transported, expected to go unnoticed
in the particular shadows of the asphalt.
Up above, the gargoyle has flashbacks
to World War Two, even as a crane lands
on a tarp over the door. Someone entering
comments, he was the son of a butcher,
but would never have hurt that bird. 
Inside, a series of photos, beginning
with a camera whirl, and Serling with a smoke
steps out from the bushes, monochromatic,
to explain a beginning, a restrained blackness
in the suit. In the crowded room, someone
nearly knocks one photo over, and a pocket
of old ladies hoot like owls. The one child
has disturbing eyes, pulls a string
and her doll asks Mama, will I ever win?
In a corner, a young man first hears of sushi,
comes up with a sharp, awkward metaphor
involving the rings of Saturn. It was season
one, 1959. And then everything changed,
another camera whirl, strong as an embrace.


Dead bees are indomitable

Dead bees aren't seditious, they simply fly
with vague purpose, wear suits made of rain,
whatever else is all around them - they've
got fingerprints on you, put you in their last
will and testament, make their own music
as a way to tell themselves it's all right.
They ride the backs of living bees to reassure,
saying whoops when they bump something, or
when a living bee is snapped up by a bird, it's
a chipper that didn't work out now did it?
They still sense currents of air, citrus giving
them Jell-O legs for a moment, a short fever.
They're still fuzzy, but don't carry the electrostatic
charge to collect pollen. They look for summits
and connections, dazzled that as you slapped down
your newspaper, a car exploded in Paraguay.
They're sometimes knocked insensate by it all,
and can be found on your shoulder, recovering.
If we were to kill all these tidy little butlers,
we'd follow them, and in an afterlife of sorts
see the swarm like the fuzz on a signal-less
TV set, and beg them to take a shape, please.