Based on Epictetus
APPROACH LIFE AS IF IT WERE A BANQUET
Your rightful portion averts your ireful potion:
Caress what can’ t be blessed, cup shadows under breasts.
Let pass what’ s out of ken: lover, job, riches,
a ripe peach
until it reaches you.
Bring salt for your honey, lime for your grenadine.
Money’ s not your fault.
You’ re a feathered peahen
preening for marzipan men.
Impeccable models, often peccable,
drop their pants at inopportune instants.
Implore no more
for what is, is no more.
EVERYTHING HAS TWO HANDLES
Whether to grapple the hurt or hold
the calm: Can reason spread
where ire infests the mind?
The handle you refuse
to grasp proclaims you more than one
you lurch to reach.
Why mire in the right/wrong amphora song.
No vigilance in this choir of one.
No fast hook in the urn’ s
Vie with hot verities.
The pie is getting cold.
OUR DUTIES ARE IN RELATION TO ONE ANOTHER
Feel unique in roiling solitude? Oh, you are not alone
though you may feel fallen, snow up your nose. Join
with others in your dank reclusion.
How do you find something worth saying?
How do you find desire to find desire
to find something worth saying?
And yes. That is where you might be: twice —
or is it thrice — removed in a receding
mirror of acedia. Finding a way to
find a way to want to find a way back in
to conversation. This is what negative numbers
(a negative soul) feel like: You want to want to want...
If you go back far enough — lateral excavation —
will you hit bone? So many converging lines yakking
to themselves over a haywire switchboard
you used to find out who you were through
cookie crumbs tossed down your own path.
Now that you have no crumbs, don’ t
even have pockets to turn out — only the memory
of such acts, such things. How weary, stale, and
profligate it seems to be to plasticize these
lines. You’ re in a hamless state of mind.
Now get out and talk to anyone your age: Like you
they’ ve all got Death studded on the tongue, which
livelies up the talk they walk.