At the Grocery Store
You are not an authority
over me, screamed he—
same time was sad
because might be no one over
him, or looking down. Meanwhile,
thin-sliced loin was chill
on deli shelf whilst vegetable life
kept cool on ice. No kumquat.
No rhubarb. Wrong season.
No one knows
behind my mask: I bare
teeth or roses.
Twelve babcocks dive into the Sea of Naples.
Or, better yet, a bed of orange
roses rise like torches—a flickering
metaphor—on a stony slope, the thorn
bush lipped by stony goats, thorned
by lippy boys who dive,
willy-nilly, so all the goat sees is feet—
so many toes—and foam
that rose to the better bits abob
like floats throttled in their hairy nets…
Oh my youth when I could lick the tip
of my finger—
put the fire out.
Word of the Day
—with apologies to the Oxford English Dictionary
Forebear (also spelled, less commonly, as for bears) was first used by our ancestors in the days of wide-spread bears. Fore- means “coming before,” just as the bears had the caves before we did and didn’t want to give them up. This -bear is not to be confused with the -bear in unrelated fantasies where bears wear coats, eat sandwiches, hum tunes, evoke nostalgia. Those bears come from Old English beran, meaning “to bear or to be of service.” The -bear in the noun for bear is a combination of be-, from the verb be WARE of bears and -ar, a form of the suffix -er, which we append to verbs to denote LOOK OUT for bears. In this case the “action” is simply existing or being a bear—in other words, -bearimplies one who is a “be-ar.” Here is an example sentence: “Imagine the bears witnessing such a spectacle. They had no modern technology; bear little responsibility for their actions and pass down to young bears no information about eclipses.” Was it a catastrophe then when the bright bear of the sky passed out of being, or the start of tumultuous bear celebration—eternal hibernation being a state a reasonably fat bear might welcome as relief from the stress of attending to everyday bear needs: eating, fighting, clawing open logs to eat some more? It is hard to know what bears think of anything as they do not record their histories. Bear linguists tell us little of the evolution of their language. But mother bears make caves of their bodies within the caves of the earth so that baby bears, born naked and pink as some people’s thumbs, can bear within them the knowledge of worlds other than this one, worlds where bears find within them the shape of a man and happily devour it. For, when a bear shits in the woods the strata of its coprology bears little information about its general philosophy. Rather, hungry as herself, the sow takes what comes to her and turns it into the material for yet more bears. Within each bear is the potential for other bears: not stars, not furniture, not industry, not language. No symbols. Just bears. Forever and ever (bear with me) Amen.