Poem by Robert Joe Stout


The Old Philosopher Begins His Work Day

Computer screen a blank, opaque. Forehead
against thumb he re-thinks Zen and meditation
…clear the mind, achieve a oneness

that is all and nothing… Nods …achieve
then let it slide away, details of daily
living always creeping in…
He taps

the ? key, squints at its curve …man
pulled in opposite directions, one part
seeking to become the everything

and nothing, the other wanting the unique,
the I am I, singular and separate…

Starts to type then stops …primordial man

edged away from the perception
that he was part of all around him—left
the Garden as it were but kept the yearning

to belong to something greater than
himself. Formed groups, communities,
nations even: I am Manichean, noble,

Lion, Whig, seeking always that return…
The screen catches movements of the light
behind him, clouds that form, pull apart

then form again …like human particles
in a great moving mass…
He sighs, peers
down at blue-veined, wrinkled hands

…distinct for just a twinkling, the I am I
a fragile myth, death the uniting force…


Artwork © Richie Montgomery
Artwork © Richie Montgomery


Robert Joe Stout writes about Mexico, people, life experiences, politics, baseball, being young, growing old. He has spent his literary career among journalists, dropouts, indocumentados, softball players, actors, mechanics, liars, editors and artists. He currently lives in southern Mexico.

Richie Montgomery: “My philosophical surrealistic drawings are known for their unique twist on life and our perspective of it. The “hidden in plain sight” details of my work are ruminants of the great masters like M.C. Escher and Salvador Dali. I have been drawing my entire life and have had no formal training other than just my own desire to create from the time I could hold a crayon or pencil. I enjoy many different types of art yet surrealism holds my passion the most.”

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