Poem by J. H. Johns

 

The Reptilian Brain v. The Philosopher King

There was a time and place
when the latter took leave
from the former,
but,
when?

Wow!

If before the dinosaurs,
how did it survive the impact?
If after-
now differently-
what were the chances that it could survive?

Oh,
we know about
the other one;
it was always about survival;
as Charles would undoubtedly agree-
it is in its “history;”

yes;
survival;

and all the ugly inevitability
that went-
and goes-
with it
has
made its way-
all the way-
to our present;

as has the other,
with perhaps,
as long an inevitability
as the other;

more subdued-
almost hidden-
it did-
equally-
find its own way
to survive;

one instinctive;
the other
deliberatively reflective;

two lines;
strains;
variants-
of what ultimately
came to be called-
humanity;

one to reflexively act;
the other
to reflectively decide;

we find,
encounter
and
endure them
not in their ‘final form”-

“Oh!
God! No!’
for one?

and

“Oh!
God! Yes!”
for the other;

no;

their final form(s)
is/are
at the event horizon
of
our final days(s);

no-
again-
we are not with them-
they are with us;

permeating;
rekindling
the reality and possibly inescapability
of a long-ago-
conveniently forgotten- past-
with
an embryonic
dream of a future;

they will not change-
neither of them;

they will rally their forces
and
those who cannot
make “the right choice,”
will be lost-

forever.

 

J. H. Johns “grew up and came of age” while living in East Tennessee and Middle Georgia. Specifically, the two places “responsible” for the writer that he has become are Knoxville, Tennessee and Milledgeville, Georgia. Since then, he has moved on to Chicago- for a brief stint- and New York City- for a significantly longer stay. Currently, he is “holed up” in a small town where when he is not writing, he tends to his “nature preserve” and his “back forty.” His goal is to surround his house with all sorts of vegetation so as to obscure it from the gaze of the “locals.” He is assisted in this task by his coonhound buddy and companion, Roma. J. H. Johns was a 2018 Pushcart nominee.

Judson Evans is a full-time Instructor in the Liberal Arts department at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where he has taught a range of courses, from a Poetry Workshop on haiku, prose poetry and haibun, to a course on theories of cave art and the role of the cave in ritual and philosophy. In 2007 he was chosen by John Yau as an Emerging Poet for The Academy of American Poets. He was one of the founding members of Off the Park Press, and published work in each of its three anthologies responding to provocative contemporary painters. His most recent work has been published in (print journals) Laurel Review, Folio, Volt; 1913: a journal of forms; and Green Mountains Review, and (online journals) White Whale Review and Amethyst Arsenic. He won The Phillip Booth Poetry Award from Salt Hill Review in 2013. He has collaborated with composers, such Mohammed Fairouz, Mart Epstein, and Rudolf Rojhan, who set several of his poems to music, as well as with choreographers, dancers, musicians and other poets, including Gale Batchelder, and videographers Nate Tucker and Ray Klimek.

 

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