Or Is It Love?

Or is it love that holds us

like pickles in the brine

turning sour against our will;

Or flat out upon the board,

the knife-thrower’s model, waiting

for the moment of truth, in which

we must inevitably be pinned?

O custom is the caterer: our hunger for acceptance,

rooms too filled with furniture,

schedules kept as that routine we call necessity;

lame excuses we make: age, children, propriety,

that job, the-without-which-not there is anxiety.

In the end a tender look, a touch,

a hope, perhaps, for an evening of passion,

is that which secures us.


An occasional Freudian slip tells the tale

of another prison, this one without walls,

an appliance inserted unobtrusively into the hippocampal web,

a kind of button

that makes sybaritic cyborgs of us all.


see note #25