Daily Archives: April 23, 2021

A Tub of Eels

Behind a small head of smoke
on a Friday night, taking care
of business, keeping it real, tight
and clean, at the same time weeping
at all these near-exhausted cliches
which so perfectly summed him up
without one ounce of novelty needed
to make them more precise;
how did it happen
that he had become
so easy to describe?

He’d stopped trying,
he guessed. It didn’t feel
at all that way to him,
he felt so tired
from what he’d thought
was strenuous work to maintain
his freshness,
yet here he was:

it had to be a clerical error.
It had to be a mistake in the math.
It had to be in the calculations
that decided what was effort and
what was just getting by.

Behind a small head of smoke
on a Friday night, baseball on the
television, words slipping
around themselves
like a tub of eels, the way
they always have. Taking care of
business, the business
of herding eels; looking for
the outlets they use for escape —

and still he’s so tired
of himself. So tired and stale.
He’s been doing this
for longer than the cliches
have existed. They were cut
to fit him, tailored to his form;
they fit too well to just throw away
no matter how worn they all were.


Coherence requires
contrast; aberration
affirms the norm.

In daylight every thick shadow
opens doors and offers

at night, even at a distance,
any pinprick glow
will do the same.

I grew up thinking
this was nonsense,
of course, encouraged

by all that is considered
normal to maintain purity
of existence, strict protocols

for what should happen when,
what should be where. I think
the first time I saw the moon

in the same sky as the sun and realized
that even in daylight its dark side
remained hidden yet was also present,

the pins that had held down
what is and is not normal
began to tumble within me

as if I was a cylinder into which
a key had entered, and full delight
was opened to me in that moment.