Poem by Paul R. Davis

 

Diamond Dreams, Coal in Your Hands

Like walking in chains,
like dancing without holding,
your mouth spits wormwords,
you sigh a mountain of complaints.

      Fifty years from now
      coal will still be coal.

The only diamonds you will ever see
will not even be on your fingers.
Take greedily your paper scraps
and stuff them in your idle eyes,
watch them grow into
wastebaskets of transient satisfaction.
Oh look! See my new, new, new.
Tomorrow it won’t be.
Watch! See the bombosses
explode in your desk.
Watch! See the gratitude of your dreams
mean more than uptight neckties.

      Did you read the paper?
      487 miners had their lungs made useless,
      their eyes burned closed.
      It does not matter where it happened,
      only that it did.

And you think you have problems.
Are your children drunk after school,
pregnant, or only in jail?
Still, it makes great conversation.
Philosophy of bragging dictates
your incessant domestic monologues.

A letter arrives, misaddressed.
St. Paul’s lost epistle
to the Martians.
He tells them to stay put,
we have only coal here,
tells them we invented
the curse of hours and competition.
Did you know Martians
have no faces?
They have only one hand,
they can’t applaud or congratulate.
Still, they eat diamonds of bloodlove,
eat and become fatter
than the universe itself.
They know the reality of unlimitedness.
My species is too timid,
too tired, too satisfied
to go to Mars.
They think there are
facets in diamonds that divide light,
they see a clock of minutes,
not a sun they are a part of.
Twenty-four hours are quite enough,
we really do have to get our rest.
For what?
Dog food, reports cards
and nursing home visits?

Above all, do not forget
the lesson you were
never taught in school.
The education of the eyes
is the greatest show on earth.
Ponder this question;
it may earn you promotion
to the front of the class.
If life is a bus ride,
what seat is the safest?
To sit in the very front
provides best view, greatest danger.
To sit in back
grants perspective and solitude.
The middle is companionship
of shopping bags and wrinkled shirts.
Do you hear the rumble of the wheels?
I did not think so.
That is what is important.
Not so much the what,
but the how, and how long.
Destination is a diamond
you can reach for,
taste with your soul.
Coal is what takes you there
and sustains you.
It is a tragedy of nature
that we have endings,
are not like air,
have places that we belong to.
Watch the streetcorner accident
happen as you stand
impatient to cross.
You are late and the store is closed.
Damn the dead for their mistakes!
I am too important,
I have a life to live,
my clothes are waiting,
my shoes are cranky
and need to be shined,
my underarms question
my neglect of hygiene.
To hell with them!
I have a life to live,
ice cream to eat
and phone calls waiting.
I have nothing
but coal in my underwear,
a diamond for a handkerchief.
I sneeze a rude awakening of death.
Death! Why any mention of death at all?
First, a diamond,
a piece of coal.
Death is the living dream,
a fish thrown back
into the lake of wondering,
a friend you haven’t
successfully seen in years,
the garbage you thought
someone else threw out.
Dream back to the minute
you were born.
That is the diamond,
that is the death of the diamond,
that is the coal you hold.
Surprised?

 

Photography © Allison Goldin
Photography © Allison Goldin

 

Paul R. Davis lives in Central New York State with his wife, parrots and cats Now retired, he enjoys operating model trains, philately, gardening, and preparing meals with his wife. His work has been published in Latitudes, Comstock Review, Comrades, Hot Metal Press, Georgian Blue Poetry Anthology, The Externalist, Centrifugal Eye, The Good Men Project, PoetryRepairs, Halcyon, and others. He believes in a simple poetic philosophy: to wit, the joy of expression, the necessity of communication.

Allison Goldin is an artist living in California. Her work is a collection of spontaneous drawings from the imagination. The most common link throughout her art are the semi-recognizable creatures scattered amongst and bringing together the surrounding doodles.

 

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