"Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy" - Thomas Lux


"Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy"
(Thomas Lux)


For some semitropical reason   

when the rains fall   
relentlessly they fall

into swimming pools, these otherwise   

bright and scary
arachnids. They can swim
a little, but not for long

and they can’t climb the ladder out.

They usually drown—but   
if you want their favor,
if you believe there is justice,   
a reward for not loving

the death of ugly

and even dangerous (the eel, hog snake,   
rats) creatures, if

you believe these things, then   

you would leave a lifebuoy
or two in your swimming pool at night.

And in the morning   

you would haul ashore
the huddled, hairy survivors

and escort them

back to the bush, and know,
be assured that at least these saved,   
as individuals, would not turn up

again someday

in your hat, drawer,
or the tangled underworld

of your socks, and that even—

when your belief in justice
merges with your belief in dreams—
they may tell the others

in a sign language   

four times as subtle
and complicated as man’s

that you are good,   

that you love them,
that you would save them again.

"Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy" by Thomas Lux (1946-2017) appears in New and Selected Poems 1975-1995. Lux lived in Atlanta, a town that knows a thing or two about hot-rainy-weather spiders and other crawly things. He was the Bourne Professor of Poetry and director of the McEver Visiting Writers program at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and directed the Poetry @ Tech program. He downplayed the idea of surrealism apparent in his work, but commented that "Sometimes there are lucky accidents though I think they’re more likely to happen if one has sweat a little blood." His collections INCLUDE Child Made of Sand (2012) and God Particles (2008).

PISSING IN THE SAME SPOT OVER AND OVER LIKE A DOG WITH ALZHEIMER’S - Alx Johns


"PISSING IN THE SAME SPOT OVER AND OVER LIKE A DOG WITH ALZHEIMER’S"
Alx Johns

There’s more territory out there, don’t you know?

You, person who might have been you.


You used to want to roam

so far so bad you’d strangle yourself


on the leash to get to nothing but the need

to get to somewhere else, poor dog

or whatever you are.


Here you are forgetting where you just were

or where you want to be,


so present in the moment of relief.
 
 
What you’ve got left: your
 
 
ability to slowly eat, see

the liquid through your body, pee, recognize


shape and scene

though not what they mean


or connect you to, you
 
 
close-to-blind canine Buddha being

setting down your leg,


your tail already in a coma,

your nose playing tricks on you.


You are born again again.

 
"PISSING IN THE SAME SPOT OVER AND OVER LIKE A DOG WITH ALZHEIMER’S" is from Alx's new collection of poems DARWIN'S BOOK OF SAINTS, which is available for pre-order from Aurore Press in Cincinnati and will be published this month. "If you think you don’t like poetry, I bet you’ll like this poetry. If you do like poetry, you’ll need this book to carry on." — Matt Hart