Two poems – Casey FitzSimmons


It lay squirming, the coil of steel that had bound
the pages of his notebook, twisted off
in a neurotic moment. Not a center-fleeing
or center-seeking spiral, but a transparent conduit,
its ends crimped in warning
against past and future turning. The world of thinkers,
she thought, the great mandala, the merry-go-round,
adds people as they’re born and begin to think.
Approaches to thought repeat themselves, cycle
through the collective mind, each new recurrence
of romanticism, pragmatism, humanism, and what not
simply informed by scientific advances, by literature’s
hopes for the future, seducing the careless onlooker
with the notion of progress. But there was nothing new
or mysterious about that. Pity the mind
that latches on to rotation not in his or her
proper century, critics calling that mind
a throw-back. It could just as well
be a throw-forward, of course, but it is the critic’s
prerogative to regard as important
only what has already happened, wedded
as he or she is to the importance
of textual support for his or her opinions.

The steel coil rolls across the desk, now only
to lament the loss of its function to hold
together the pages of writing: experience
journaled into metaphor, polemic
commemorated in dialogue.

I Can See How It’ll Happen

I can see how it’ll happen, probably happen,
that I can’t come to grips with the work I’d have to do
to get my stuff out there, promote myself,
or how whoever it comes to won’t want to stop
what they’re doing to do that. It makes me think
of all the log cabins that after all that hewing
and stewing and diphtheria or whatever plague simply decayed,
fell apart, and rotted with time and weather and bears
and weren’t even useful as starter for anyone to try again,
and all those pianos and sets of china and hope chests offloaded
and left pathetic by the side of the track just got ground up
into the wake of turf and detritus alongside the ruts
that can yet but barely be seen and the effort
put into those things both in the making of them
and in the pining for them is just passively nullified
and nothing remains of them, nothing.
It’s just the cellulose and silica being redistributed,
whose mass is conserved but whose real value
in psychic, spiritual, emotional, intellectual terms
is unaccounted for, unaccountable, just cybershit.
It’ll happen like that, just in a smaller way.

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