by Thomas Fortenberry
Johnny Weismuller threw Jane
across my screen -- or Maureen
O’Sullivan; him, Tarzan, whichever --
and ripped off her dress
as she took the plunge
into the crystal clear waters
of primordial lust.
Some things crystalize in memory
like black and white shards of broken glass
which are all so clear and shining,
but can cut to the bone if you pick them up again.
I’ve been falling out of trees all my life --
no, wait, I’ve got it backwards,
I mean I’ve been climbing trees and falling out
of love, but always searching for the next
thrill, the next height, the next swing
into rapturous adventure.
Is there a noble savage
lurking in every untamed breast?
about everything, I try to live up
to my recycled name
in search of wounds
as some sort of stigmatic proof
of what? Why? Who cares?
Trapped as I was in urban jungles
and suburban wastelands, it is no wonder
my gymnastics died an early death,
so unlike that most famous companion
bouncing, rolling, and rub-a-fur grinning
Cheetah the chimpanzee
who became the oldest living cousin
of man in the history of the world.
Old monkeys never die,
but what about libido?
You only have to watch the old apes
humping each other with abandon
to abandon all hope
of normalcy. Is it wrong
to hate the origin
of things from time to time
since everyone is so intent
on reminding you what the definitions are
for hypocrisy, bigamy, adultery,
and on and on the list ever endless
in its cruel descent through humiliation
until there is nothing left but the monolith
rising above the apes bum-bum-bum-bum?
I can’t do that, Dave.
But 2001 has come and gone and
there was neither Y2K nor Apocalypse.
Not even a return to the moon.
Just more staring at the dirt
and wondering how to wetwipe
a soul burned on the back burner
one procrastination too long.
Nothing ever changes
your mind about things
since things are determined to stay
put in memory, unless of course it fails
a la Alzheimer’s (What a way to go
ruin a good name, right? Sounds like an Elder
God out of Lovecraft returning
to usurp our place in reality.)
Twain had it right: Darwin was wrong.
We’re not witnessing the Ascent
of Man, but rather the Descent
of Man from the Higher Animals.
It didn’t take many letters from Satan
to figure out the damned
human race, but it sure helps
that I have known
many a flesh-clothed demon.