Three New Poems 7 November 2013, Copyright Doug Stuber

The Sycophant

Proof that you are alone comes on the ark when, though
expected to be full, you clear your throat and speak to
two women. That’s all. No one ever clamored to get
aboard, flood or no flood, no one came with a fire truck
even thought the world was on fire. No one offered to stop
driving their car, so you drove on, fully enthralled by the
directions handed down by the creator. “Make your best work,
give it away, be happy to have the courage and ability to create,
to push new meanings at the world, so sail on when so many
others will burn, drown, have skinned peeled off. “But wait,
this is not the Creator your grandmother spoke of, not the one
who instilled in all living creatures and plants the ability to
make or not make a solid life, who are all their own gods. No
this new Creator men speak of takes sides, determines winners
and losers, no longer welcomes everyone home, but apparently
only those who ascribe to that exactly correct, man-made philosophy.
So welcome Islamists, Buddhists, non-believers, sinners (aren’t we all!).
Karma outweighs destiny, defines destiny, no matter who says it is
or isn’t so. Peace and brotherhood are all that matter. Do not be
swayed by the war mongers trumpet call. He profits from your death.


Moody gray barely
makes contrast
against white-bright sun.
On the quad
you might miss a bench,

or palmetto on fog filled
days that, though rarely lasting
past noon, mark time in
brains both atrophied by hearts.

You stayed. Roanoke
fit you, gave
more than it took, meant
people cared,
your complete life, a

full swing at
everything: video, art,
music, religion, howling
on moon walks, peering
over the edge, under the

star, at lit
ants snaking through seven-hill
valley. Where
have all the protests
gone, what inspires enough?

your talent past meds sir Ed.
You lend a
hand, guide when you can,
nurse those unrepaired

psyches around you and have
yet to get back what
you deserve.
Doesn’t a local ballpoint come
right out and

scream for you to write
again? You write it, I’ll push
it. Heron
Two is in
Russia’s library

now; if we keep trying they
may yet let us bash
down the door
for a flurry of public,

readings, an award
from this or that high
council on
the state of
poesy? Or to die

trying, that’s
what I say. I have a
son, so there’s
a chance these words will
live on a while, but

you sir, need
to crank it up again, and
soon. If not
for personal gain,
to help those in pain.


Two gargoyles, both chalk white schoolboys, one waving, the

other staring off into the distance, both carrying books, because

only books and higher grades can improve the lot of boys

growing to men, one gregarious, the other stern, both well

groomed, but only the outgoing statue will ever live outside this

rural, simple, “boring” country. Who is the lucky one? Between

the two a seven-year-old pees on a Sunday. The school now

is used as an art studio and gallery. Today it hosts a group

of forty oldsters who come to hear a philosophy lecture based

on slow moving Chinese Tai Chi. A yellow butterfly circles

large pots turned upside down, acting as car-park bumpers.

Autumn temperature is perfect. One kid’s aunt calls from the

upper window as the meeting breaks up. Today’s drama is

the strange death of a yellow and black caterpillar that was

vomiting blood for a half hour before succumbing. Yellow, red

orange and green play off each other in the valley as women groom

each other as if baboons, high heeled, middle-aged, naturally pretty

yet less concerned about the teachings of ancient China than you

might have guessed. A dog barks a kilometer away. Three boys chat

about science, the gargoyles remain friendly and remote and solid.

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