An Actual Hawk
after reading Sampson Starkweather’s “The Hawk”
I’ve filled my cubicle w/ postcards of paintings.
Before I read Sam’s poem, I just assumed
it was because I was an art lover, that I was
artsy (see: poems, etc.). I was wrong. It turns out
that I have some innate desire or need or whatever
to look out the window even when there is
no window. Maybe especially when there
is no window. Out this window, I see two pink fish
dead on a white cloth, carefully placed on the sand
(my cube overlooks the sea). Out another, I see
a wedding taking place. Over here, a nude woman
toweling off in a parlor chair. A Boston terrier
posing for a portrait, an angel visiting a penitent maid,
a train pulling into a covered station
guffing clouds of smoke. This doesn’t make me
like my job any better. Maybe it would if they were
actual windows and I could see an actual hawk.
The Room In The Elephant
Right now, I’m supposed to be editing a section
of a science chapter about parasitism.
Which is funny, because just last night, I went to a lecture
on how ideas can cause this same kind of harm
in us. Watch an ant, the speaker said. Notice if it climbs
to the highest point in the field. Flick it off.
Does it race right back up? Then it most likely
has a parasite that can only complete its life cycle
in the belly of a cow. So it drives the ant
(like an SUV, he said) straight to the top of a blade
of grass, increasing its chances of being eaten
by a cow. Point being that organisms who
harm themselves are typically infested.
He explained that toxic, or parasitic, religions
act similarly. People are flying planes
through the tallest blades of grass, because they too
are infested. What small thing is piloting them
away from their genetic fitness? Or maybe
they have a whole country inside. Our country.
I wonder what’s inside of me, not doing
a damn thing. Here I am, at work, not wanting to be.
The speaker mentioned that susceptibility
to hypnosis used to be selected for, since it
guaranteed you health insurance. I wonder if this
still holds true. Today is one of those days
when ideas seem to unravel themselves
right out of existence. Justin just emailed me an article
that says the newly found Gospel of Judas
may reveal that Jesus told Judas to betray him.
What to believe. I wanted to believe that philosopher
last night—I was so ready to deconvert.
Maybe I believe that poems are mutualists
and should drive us to the highest point of ourselves.
But instead of perishing in the belly of infinity,
we would thrive. Here. Now you’ve got one.
I hope you start a scourge.