Monday Poem

“In erratic times one cannot be too attentive, too
ready to stand or duck.”
—A. Skutočné


what’s real depends upon where a thing lands—
how far along it is from ultraviolet to infrared
(from invisible to invisible), but on the
spectrum of real, it might be said

if it’s a matter of life-or-death I’m inclined to think
whatever’s coming at me now is most real,
so I move, I snap to

but if, instead, I’m lost in the contours
of the coming bumper that will ice me,
lost in chiaroscuro,
lost in its seductive curves,
lost in the way fenders sleek and silver slice air,
lost in the hood’s patina,
in the way its lacquered finish
creates a bright steel mood,
if I’m gone in its pricey logo
cast in chrome
……………. …… — if at that moment
my real is just beauty, then realities collide,
aesthetics gives way to physics (the most
essential real of the moment) and the
reality of beauty dies

then too, but late, the meaning of distraction
would’ve suddenly been real, suggesting a deeper take
on the meaning of lies

joy and sorrow
are both real

some say money is real
and it is, the way it wrenches things—

anything with that much clout,
anything that so shapes the mind of the world,
anything that so pummels and rips the fabric of love
is surely real

but what’s real is ephemeral as mist:
thin       thick       opaque      divine
depending upon where and when it lands
on the spectrum of real

real is different
at different times

Jim Culleny