Issue 2:1 | Poetry | 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.
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 Maryís 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 Satanís.
But atypical protagonists Mary and Joseph didnít 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 theyíd of course minutely narrate and describe each
detail of the stable, mud on the innkeeperís 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 itís 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, itís 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 colorómanifold reds, oranges,
browns, and golds (no greens) on
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 isnít 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.
Iíll 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? Whatís next?
Pull up to a window at 7:45 a.m., pick up your work,
and ask for some fries with that algebra?
Pull up to a window at 11 on Sunday, give some money
for some guilt-relief, and ask them to monster-size it?
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 pointó
the background and foreground,
the lines, the design
draw to a point.
Foreseeing but forestalling,
the Welsh poet missed the point.
Donít rage against the dying
of the light; see
that the lightís out.
A great height isnít the point.
Ascending to the Alpsí apex,
look down. Your bootstraps
break, and airís beneath
Picture that air.
The point dawns
that you donít
Let there be light.