Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Poem by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Eyes to See

The flavor of carrots is generated by 36 genes;
29 of these genes,
inserted just so in the human genome,
confer near immortality--
works on 11% of us.

Folks don't react well, knowing
the people next door are going on without them.
Disaster on this scale is a cultural tsunami.

Not content with their brief
day in the sun, many of the 89%
               burn, rend, scream, kill:
               embrace death,
               if only they can take some
               immortals with them
               to the vanishing point.
It's over.  No one speaks of that time.

After the Mayfly Wars we begin the Live:
               artworks on a grand scale,
               literature refined to pellucidity,
               but creative breakthroughs, not so much,
               that's a game of youth
               and there is so little of that.

Carrots, carrot genes,
everything tastes like carrots
               broccoli, corn, potatoes, carrots
               tomatoes, peas, raspberries, carrots
               filet mignon, even human flesh:
               carrots, all.

Then folks get desperate, but
nothing works
the taste is in us
not the foot
               potting soil
you can run, but, you know . . .

So I'm trying to remember that genetics shtick
and it's hard, oh so hard, after unnumbered years
of purposeless satiation,
but I'm teaching this kid,
and she's getting it, and I've never prayed so hard
               for eggs, potatoes, rosemary,
               onions, chicken, pepper, apples,
               chocolate, artichokes, mango, mustard,
but no carrots.

David C. Kopaska-Merkel lives in a hollowed-out gourd hanging from a red oak out behind a house occupied by a colony of artists far more accomplished than he is.  A leaf lacquerer by trade, he edits The Lacquered Leaf and dreams of a day when his gourd will be hung from a black walnut.

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