Monday Poem

“What the earliest scriptural-literary texts . . . do is attempt
to find a language to come to terms with . . . the contingency
of being.” —
Amit Chaudhuri, from Storytelling & Forgetfullness

A Skeptic’s Critique of Storytelling

what is a story anyway but a trip through landscapes
inhabited by characters bent by other characters
shoehorned into imaginations, pulled
as a potter does a pot drawing up water & clay,
the stuff of earth, forcing it into free-standing somethings
into which are pitched or placed our most concrete
dreams of the day to display our freshest bouquets
in rooms we inhabit among stars?
………………………………………………  what are they but songs
skewed by future disharmonies no matter how
religiously we hang their notes on staffs
to assemble sounds harmonious and appropriate
to the day they were first sung?
…………………………………………….what but
parcels of recollections & hope, Jenga game blocks
assembled to be disassembled as need sees fit
to salve a wound or wrench moments
into the most convenient configurations
of top dogs of certain times —histories written by
winners and losers but whose top billing in texts
depends upon coincidence, or something even more mysterious
which bends the arc of future tales in the peculiar direction of
Who Knows What?

Jim Culleny
9/22/19

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