Monday Poem

“Several males hold a hand or foot of the rival so the victim can be damaged at will.”
— Poet C.K. Williams on chimpanzee behavior in his poem “Apes”

Survivable Bliss

seeing DNA’s serpentine double helix
a thought occurs that Adam’s snake
hissing from its tree was another kind of knowing
not thought of in those many-years BC when,
like the louts we were, tooling up,
grasping at straws, muddling in the muck of our minds,
pulling up gratuitous finds: dirt-caked fistfuls of hard nuggets
easy for even a simple basket of synapses to hold,
we set these word-stones before us on a log to see
and try to understand a new perplexity

We arranged our grunts in natural tropes
that came easy enough to temporarily allay
this snake’s hard truth, now so painful
to our ears, as if a thousand-mile bank of
the speakers of Metallica
had suddenly boomed in Paradise
impossible to unplug even to today
when what we really need is a little quiet;
not a silence of the lambs, just the bare stillness
required to hear something other than a hiss
so as to learn to spin the chimpanzee twists of DNA
into simple survivable bliss

by Jim Culleny

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