Issue 2:1 | Poetry | Mark Harris

3 Poems
By Mark Harris



Mood: The first native storytellers would describe matter-

of-factly the supernatural in the story--the Virgin birth, star, angels.

And the animals would most likely talk, not moo or chatter. 


Plot: The explorers, of course, would be the Magi on a mission, 

with just the reverse goal of the Spanish, French, and English: the Kings

traveled to worship the child they found and to give him things. 


Setting: The Puritans would find the meaning beneath the pageant,

with Christ occupying center stage, the loving parents

and adoring Magi rightly back, foreshortened. 


Props: Enlightenment thinkers would fixate on the gold, frankincense,

myrrh, and the gold.  They might, Franklinesque,

criticize Herod for not treating people, e.g., baby boys, with respect. 


Theme: Good-citizen Sentimentalists, amidst alas-ing for what-was-not,

would find the moral in Marys situation, also pointing out that Joseph

wrongly assumed a fallen woman.  But his soul-searching makes good subplot.


Character: The Gothicists, the Poe and Brown crowd, could have a ball

examining the recesses of diseased minds, such as Satans.

But atypical protagonists Mary and Joseph didnt go toward the fall.


Moral: The Transcendentalists, those easternized explorers, would exhort

us to emulate the Christ-child.  After all, as plot facts show, we conform

to Him.   But for Emersonian self-reliance, no room at the inn.


Dialogue: The Local Colorists would capture the 1st-century Aramaic speech.

And theyd of course minutely narrate and describe each

detail of the stable, mud on the innkeepers arm, frown on his face, etc.    


Cause and Effect: Those sour Naturalists would have a tough time; how to

pretend that what God ordained was all chance and fate?  No class taboo

either, with the King of Kings being born in a stable amidst low-life shepherds.


Denouement: Modern enlightened pessimists would say its all a symbol.

But the more cummingsly-optimistic ones might see the event as that rare

search for meaning that comes up full.


Conclusion: those happily insane        postmodernists love this story 

i mean, its so absurd                           and surreal that            it must be true 

Who could/                                           would think/make         it up







Driving through the streets of town,

a quiet, cosy hum coming from the highway

a couple of miles down the road,

like a bird my car glides in

from the residential section of town,

as first stop signs appear; and then stoplights

start to replace them; the houses thin out,

and trees stand back safely on the banks.


Then the trees part for the concrete jungle:

towers of neon and bright color, fast color,

shrieking colormanifold reds, oranges,

browns, and golds (no greens) on

fifty-foot signs!


The words on the signs are short enough

for me to drive right thru and still read them.

(First a forest of woods, now one of words.)  


Every restaurant has a drive-thru

if inside isnt fast enough for you.

My car follows the lines around the curve,

stops in front of a garish and informative menu,

and the speech-fast speaker squawks,

selling me a meal with a luring name. 

Ill settle on a #3. 


It occurs to me that my meal is a number.


Banks have them, burger joints, pharmacies too:

You can get 5 twenties, drive-thru, and a prozac refill

without ever leaving your car. 


What could be better?  Whats next? 

Drive-thru school?

Pull up to a window at 7:45 a.m., pick up your work,

and ask for some fries with that algebra?


Drive-thru church? 

Pull up to a window at 11 on Sunday, give some money

for some guilt-relief, and ask them to monster-size it?


Drive-thru marriage? 

Pull up to a priest on Saturday in June & ask for the combo: 

a spouse, 2 kids from a previous, and a side of personal baggage?


Why am I sorry that my number has come up?





We all come to it, be it

via the walls crashing down

around us, or the bright light

focusing our first sight.


When viewed in perspective,

it all comes to a point

the background and foreground,

the lines, the design

draw to a point.


Foreseeing but forestalling,

the Welsh poet missed the point.

Dont rage against the dying

of the light; see

that the lights out.


A great height isnt the point.

Ascending to the Alps apex,

look down.  Your bootstraps

break, and airs beneath

your feet.


Picture that air.

The point dawns

that you dont

Let there be light.

Mark Harris