In the age of malformed tools
I was mistaken to think I was a man.
Would a man lope beside the loping river.
Would a man shatter the neck of a chicken just to see
If he could perceive the honesty of its death. Would a man know
How dearly torches look like eyes as they float above the river.
Would a man become hollow with wishes. Would a man lie in pieces
In the garret of a dead building. Would a man leave hands of clay on
Everything he loves. Would a man bear terror like a fine coat.
Would a man never have had anything to bruise. Would a man be
Without anything between his legs. Would a man try
To fill that absence by sinking into his earth
A cherry switch, unlit candle,
A crescent of dead bees.
The most famous hibernators are Bears (see: The Bear). Many will be familiar
With the sight of a bear wrestling with incredulity. This bear is often accompanied
By smaller bears, just as a man is often accompanied by smaller men who bear
His phobias to the public sphere. This sphere is bright and vacant, and to escape it,
A man must gather up his emissaries and climb into a winter maw. There, he can
And will cover himself with soft roots and leaves, and sleep for a season. The season
That passes is one of degradation. There is no human need to record it. The word
Hibernation could mean winter-state. But when hibernating, sleep means very
Different things for a man and a bear. A bear actually sleeps, and will not rouse itself
To eat or rid itself of waste. A man will sleep, but a man may also debase himself.
A bear will stop just through the gates of sleep. A man will not. A man
Will seek something deeper. A man will take hibernation as his
Crest. A man will wear this helmet into the ground.
These poems are from the forthcoming chapbook, There is another poem, in which the news is erased and rewritten, published this December by New Michigan Press.