Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Walter Bargen: Which brings us to one certainty. . .

sure, tell me the sun sets, rises, 

you don’t even have to predict the phases 

of the moon or solar flareups, 

but can you tell me the colors 

sweeping the sky this evening, 

can you tell me exactly the volcanic-ash 

effects, the drought and dust effects,

the shift of light along the spectrum, 

the slashing red as these little erupted stones 

melt into the sky as the pall of dust drifts deeper,

and if nothing is ever certain, not even 

that two thousand or so years later I may 

or may not have inhaled a few atoms 

of Caesar Augustus, so Et tu Brute again, 

and maybe Charlemagne, probably not Trotsky, 

how polluted is the air in this town 

when so much lingers for so long, 

hacking historical inversions, we deeply 

inhale each other, so if there is no point 

but the mingling there’s nothing to belabor, 

and then we simply declare the nothing of nothing, 

distilled down to the clichéd butterfly in Brazil 

that sneezes, sucking in Mansanto’s poison 

then Balsanaro’s fires inhale its wings, 

and then the last three people in London die. 


Copyright 2020 Walter Bargen

Walter Bargen is the former Poet Laureate of Missouri. His latest book is Until Next Time (Singing Bone Press, 2019).

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