John Poch

Light and Dark
September 23, 2023 Poch John

Light and Dark


I like that the word light is powerful and yet so gentle, like a good man. While it might simply mean something that isn’t heavy, it also always conquers the dark. But I stand corrected when I come to understand that black holes suck planets and asteroids and even stars made of nothing but gravity and light into their clutches and conquer the good after all like some Satanic dream of justice. Still we hope that the light isn’t completely destroyed and will  reappear in another dimension beyond a wormhole, its energy not dead but traveling on and on to do the work of illumination and glory in eternity.


We all know people who are metaphorical black holes. They suck the joy out of us that we are so happy to emit like photons. They call themselves the light because: 1. Lucifer 2.  they think they are what they eat. If we hang around too long, before we know it, drawn in, we ourselves are turned inside out like a pair of pants in the hands of an evil seamstress whom we thought might merely help us with a hem. For her we must maintain the disdain and calmness of martyrs. I wish I could be sucked into a black hole every time at a poetry reading when the poet reads dark poems and then says, these next ones will be a little lighter heh heh and then everyone laughs along like we haven’t heard the joke before. But I digress.


It happens like this: one minute in the afternoon light I’m writing a funny poem about a small mammal, but then I’m thinking about how we’re mammals, and this one I know seems to want to do me in like a bear or a lion, me a man without even a stone within reach. It’s only hyperbole, but I feel the hate like fur that you feel before the monstrous claws. It tickles a little. If it must be so, let it be the lion who asphyxiates its prey mercifully rather than the bear who tears and tears and tears with such boredom, nearly sloth. Who wouldn’t rather go into the dark quickly with power than that slow ripping around and around the inevitable like a piece of torn and disintegrating paper swirling toward the pipes that lead out to the sewer?

John Poch’s work has appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, the Nation, and many other journals. His most recent book of poems is Texases (Wordfarm 2019).