Bio Note: I write poems, fiction, and newspaper copy for The Boston Globe. My novel Suosso's Lane treats the Plymouth, Mass. origins of the Sacco-Vanzetti case exactly 100 years ago. A second novel was selected for publication a year ago, though still has no publication date (but who's complaining?). I've had poems recently in The American Journal of Poetry and New Verse.News. A couple of the poems below are taken from my recent poem-a-day project begun, for no particular reason, in early February.
In "Emerson and Thoreau Meet the Bhagavad-Gita," the poem that I hope some day to write, our two great American spokesmen lean on the wisdom of another age, in another dispensation of human consciousness, to seek a guidance for their conduct, or so I see the matter, in the crisis of their day. The Bhagavad-Gita, one tale -- one narrative gesture within a gigantic cycle of mythical stories dating from a millennium we don't have on our side of the world -- in which a god not easily understood in Western terms, Krishna, speaks to the chief warrior of his age, Arjuna, on the doorstep of the his culture's primeval "World War" as he decides whether or not to participate in what is essentially a civil war, as all wars are, if humanity is your family, and which he knows will result in great suffering and stupendous loss of life. Yet Krishna, Lord of All the Senses, Friend of the Afflicted, (but also Beloved Cowherd and possessor of 105 other common titles) explains the history and meaning of almost everything in order to show the reluctant warrior hero why he 'must play his part' in this most terrible battle of the world in which he is fated, destined, and therefore must choose to live. Just so Thoreau, and more reluctantly Emerson, came not only to condemn slavery, and to aid in the escape of fugitive slaves, but to praise the violent deeds of the anti-slavery martyr John Brown, even at the risk of plunging their nation into what proved to be an enormously costly, bloody, endlessly consequential, Civil War, leading us to consider, What Do We Do Now?
I Save Myself for Chocolate
Money never free 'Free' and 'Money'? A paradox, no? What I will say That I lay awake past-dreaming of Beautiful People I Have Known that often I am the first to arrive the last to speak that I am happy never, like the heroes of a poem, to have died young or gone to war or stood for office not even for Class President a role I imagine now as Facebook Friend to the universe, that I am sorry to be so close-pocketed and happy to be so free to be whatever I am saving myself for, especially chocolate
Romance of the Rose (Updated)
In youth we romance the rose You always give a little blood For nature's beauty has its price As every grower knows Never mind, you'll learn to be a cultivator and rise upon life's elevator But pain is part of all that's where and which One day you'll wake, uprooted, in a ditch, the band no longer playing the woodchucks near are sniffing your lover vaguely if-ing and the hogs will eat your toes But -- next month! there's a dance in the county! And the count is a walking asshole -- on his way no doubt to be President -- You all know how that goes Better to stay home and grow your very own Violets -- for Remembrance? Tu-lips? How positively feature-istic Pansies! How thoughtfully they've blown Before you can approach the rose, you must stumble through rasp-berry's canes where the crows feed on the leftovers from the latest crucifixions Rome wasn't built without pains But love, Ah! the test of love the rose that no one knows, I will follow the tale of troubadours I will weather windy, future blows Infection, desiccation white as mold, Everything dies in the wintry cold We are trapped between asters and daisies cross paths with the lost, meet a few dozen crazies And swear to never grow old Meet me then in piney woods where we pine for what is snot No one promised us a rose garden We curse the day that hearts were born and kiss amid the thorns
©2020 Robert Knox
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