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Sunday, October 08, 2006


by Steve De France

Drinking morning coffee.
Out my front window I watch a man
standing in the rain--- stolidly
cleaning rainwater off his car's windshield.
Stoically he disregards the weather
as traffic flows about him.

Everywhere there are people like him
executing a superfluous rite,
exacting an extraneous task
partaking of some kind of human ritual.
Performing some private ceremony
that tells the mind I've cleaned a scrap of dirt
off my little piece of this world...
I've done something! I am not part of the chaos.
I look back out the kitchen window
And he still stands like a stone in a stream
Yes, he has the audacity, the balls, to stand
cleaning his God Damned wet Windshield,
as if he has all the friggin time left in creation.

I have a second cup of coffee.

Well, it's days like this
that just piss me off.
Days full of endless lines
of well-meaning chaps
down on their knees
cleaning a smudge off the carpet,
old crones sweeping the alley,
Park Rangers picking up leaves in the forest.

Watching TV--- I pour a third
cup of coffee. CNN is showing

citizens blown apart---bodies
smoking in the streets of Iraq.
Telling myself that caffeine
facilitates all thoughtful people
into reflecting on chaos.
I decide to consider uncertainty,
Then the lilies of the field,
Then the Aurora Borealis

I pour the remaining coffee into my cup.

Here we are on a one-way trip
pushing into a perplexed cosmos,
a cosmos spinning into, or out of,
some scientific fiction---a fictive thing
called an unknowable black hole.
Feeling philosophically vulnerable I speculate---
then extrapolate on a black hole in space,
a rip in the universe...sucking all of us
into an eternal vortex.

The rest of us stare from our respective windows
at the devastation of the ignorant. We see a
world mortally wounded----broken.
The death cock crows---as by fading light
the Savage Armies of Darkness race across barren
ground where they crash into a thing called eternity.
Even now
souls are being weighed against a feather.
I finish my coffee---the old man drives off.

Even now
Chaos is much closer than I thought.

Steve De France is a widely published poet, playwright and essayist both in America and in Great Britain. His work has appeared in literary publications in Canada, France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, India and Australia. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry in both 2002 and 2003. A few recent publications include The Wallace Stevens Journal, The Mid-American Poetry Review, Ambit, Atlantic, and The Sun. In England he won a Reader's Award in Orbis Magazine for his poem "Hawks." In the United States he won the Josh Samuels' Annual Poetry Competition (2003) for his poem: "The Man Who Loved Mermaids." His play The Killer will have its world premier at the Garage Theatre in Long Beach, California (Sept-October 2006). In 1999, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Chapman University for his writing.