John Fitzgerald

The Charter of Effects
October 18, 2019 Fitzgerald John

The Charter of Effects


Dramatis Personae

Counsel is a lawyer driven by money.

The Likeness of the Universe is a poet addicted to life-changing lines.

The Idol is whatever gets in the way, here taken by mouth as needed.

A Commentator analyzes.

Various Muses, including Summer, Orpheus, Presence, Polyhymnia, Faith, Xena, and Hope, appear at their leisure,

With cameos by O’Hara, Rilke, Crane, and Berryman.

Everybody looks disgusted.
Her image drives me to the breeze.
Plays tricks on a teardrop, to compensate,
as if some very deep scar affects conviction.

The Likeness taught the muses what they mean.
They didn’t make him poet.
A molecule could muse, for all it’s worth.
What is it fireflies glow about?

Recall the ever lovely Summer,
junkie of the mind, gone off on her spell to relate:
Incite me. I’ll portion up your lot in life.
Agitate the mighty clay, and blow the dust about to spite me.

To attribute with purity just doesn’t seem right.
What of her dangerous wit can I conceive?
I’ll flay the beams to their never known knees,
and just barely get by an equation.

So what next? An understanding?
I don’t think so, at least not yet.
Feelings look different among themselves.
It would be sheer luck if two were the same.

Hunger’s as close to pain as a burn,
or as fear is to manifestation.
And feelings like loneliness zoned to hurt,
seem like, in fact, no more than breaking.

I float like a streak into mirth.
Row three hundred miles into ocean
to verify ancestral darkness, where sure enough stars exist
amid Great Rifts and Coalsack nebulae.

Darkness and cold is the natural state.
Enough to petrify a flame.
I am diviner, look in my eyes at the next best thing to light.
Background black, specks silent.

It doesn’t throb, the earth is turning.
The Likeness predicted it would.
Thought he was wrong when he was right – his first mistake.
The idol hurts to do its work.

Counsel evolves in isolation.
He pleads, he moves, reiterates,
gets worked up just talking to himself.
The Likeness says quit your bitchin’.

Would still convert a bank to a café.
Hypocrite! Make sure all you want is to be alone.
You’re angrier at yourself for fearing to break the law
than for pretending to have principles.

Counsel pisses the Likeness off.
A general fanfare follows everywhere he goes.
He stresses each embalming syllable.
Has a consuming dissatisfaction this makes up for.

He could be condescending but thinks few would understand.
Is more like pain than anything that is not pain.
I rest my forehead in my hands,
take comfort in their seeming to belong.

To be alone?
Do you even know where the Tylenol is?
You’re like a lobster seller at McDonald’s.
And this, the first few minutes awake.

Mirror, you’d better do a better job of faking.
A hand just slid across your throat but decided not to shave.
Who knows what that means?
How much does your head weigh?

Oh man, little Orpheus tearing it up.
At least five layers of tongue erased.
Everyone trusts me more than I do.
Counsel has a Likeness to displace.

Somehow, became the Likeness
designated monitor to one poetic evolution,
referred to, increasingly, as sort of a yearning.
And this is not just muses’ doings.

The Likeness would stone himself for a structure.
Is multiplied into composite numbers
faster than factored back into his prime.
A hologram with its entire rage inside it.

He trained his children not to kill him.
Is thirty years it at tag for lack of effort.
Was happier when he still believed in magic.
In self-fulfilling phases, fades the Likeness.

Muses jump from mind to mind,
black holes swallow galaxies, the universe itself a tie.
If only he knew everything.
A Zoroastrian, pansophic Spock.

He could write then.
Prefer his own thoughts to your voice.
Muses draw the music out,
fingerprint an afternoon. Euphonic!

Deeper feelings fear the light,
which lets them finally see they bleed.
They bled in dark too, just hadn’t noticed.
Talking about it wastes me.

Pain is methodical, don’t make me prove it.
You’ll be an animal inside a week.
Unleash the predator, canny, resigned.
Make sure he hasn’t had his cake.

Let loose the ghosts in a fight to the life.
Nobody bothers to quote me.
Sleep might as well save me now.
What is left for me to glean?

John FitzGerald is a poet and attorney for the disabled. His poetry collections include Favorite Bedtime Stories, finalist for the Julie Suk Book Award, and The Mind, semifinalist for the Alice James Book Award, (both from Salmon Poetry). Other works include The Essence of Life, Primate, a novel and screenplay, and the non-fiction For All I Know.

He is widely published in literary journals and anthologies, notably The Warwick Review, World Literature Today, The Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, December, From the Fishouse, The American Journal of Poetry, Plume, Human and Inhuman Monstrous Poems, From the Four-Chambered Heart: In Tribute to Anais Nin, and Poetry: Reading it, Writing it, Publishing it.