Saturday, April 22, 2023


 Pantheon I

Art, the guttural human yelp, an attempt

To warble the lyrical language of the gods

But ignorant of words, without access 

To any syntax of the celestial tongue 

Without knowing if they differentiate

Between nouns, adjectives or verbs 

If they recognize any grammatical constraints 

If, as gods, they even know themselves as “gods”


We have at it with our
Novels and poems, paintings and sculptures

Gnawing at deeper divine scriptures 

Adorable little toddlers babbling nonsense

About our very special drawings

Our rictal scribblings, our measly tracings

Crying when mommy doesn't pay

it any attention, that fake smile pouty-

lipped wide eyed look we know so well

Compels us to reach for the pen,

the paintbrush, the lump of clay

with a renewed sense of thwarted rage

Shame is how we get better,

some of us so mortified they veer

closer to the sublime than others

That’s the problem with monotheism—

It demands a self-loathing Shakespearean toiling 

in every corner coffee shop

or Rodin with a slab of bronze

chiseling away in 

an overpriced co-op loft 

How could any of us mere mortals

hope to glean the secret metered verse

of the One True God?

Polytheism is better for depressed 

anxious mediocrities like us

who sense inscrutable whisperings 

of ancient agitations deep within 

and do our best to translate

what we think we hear  

The lesser gods suit me just fine.

It isn’t settling it’s

becoming a little less blind 

I don't need Athena, Poseidon, or Apollo 

Take Christ, YHWH and Allah off my plate 

I’ll even grant you the Nereids, the Fates and the Furies

I myself worship the god of thwarted passion

The god of thankless tasks

The god of a late afternoon Martini at the end of summer 

just before the sky catches fire

The angel of a parsed elation.

The nymph of pointless routines 

Once a year I prepare a feast for the seraph of lassitudinous

meadow grasses mesmerized by spring breezes 

Don the ritualistic robes for the god of the frozen dawn

Light votive candles for the god of holding hands 

under a blanket of fire

on a throne of thorns 

The god of getting so engrossed in an old Catholic 

exorcism manual, you’re the one who gets tossed

From what you thought was your own body

The god of a child’s laugh

The god of making someone you love laugh 

The god of smiling at a stranger’s child 

The god of strangers, together as children, all laughing 

The god of being touched just before 

you thought there wasn’t anything left to feel

The god of trying to remember the one good thing 

And the god of never forgetting even the slightest pain

I kneel before an altar in the temple of the god

of empty cafes playing lo-fi John Coltrane 

on autoloop, interrupted hourly by the shatter

In the back of a dropped saucer 

Break bread with me for the god of shy glances exchanged

across a room that never lead to what they ought 

The god of regret, the

god of feeling blessed 

The god of running away, the

god of getting caught 

The god of shooting stars glimpsed

and of all the meteors I’ve missed

We haven't enough words

for so many odes

Most of them will suck

maybe one will stick

But these are the only grammars

most of us can realistically speak

or at least make do

Like a proud American dad having lunch

with his family in a street bistro in Paris,

English-to-French dictionary in hand,

fumbling his way through 

an order of cassoulet and CĂ´tes du Roussillon

Give the man a break 

He’s known this moment will arrive

And that he only gets one chance to speak

The sacred words that bring it to life

Not trying to be Zeus here

but we all can eat.

A little for you

A little for me

Plenty to go around

in the forgotten pantheon 

of everyday nameless gods


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