That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one.
I have become one of these humans.
From beyond I return in the literal way,
with account of both the transit and its feeling.
Thought recedes like a land bridge covered with sea
in the days when the flood struck awe in every heart
to set me once again among you — it has been so long.
I come down from above your lights,
on a redeye over metropolises, aglow with electricity,
from Atlanta to far stretching City of Angels.
I come down, backward in time,
across shades of altitude and night,
it has been so long.
Atlanteans, Angelinos, I pod unto thee, over waves
and basic cables, fiber optically, eye-glassed and fire worked.
It has been so very long.
I reappear thrice great to now,
philosopher over all earth’s meanings,
an architect mistook in scripture,
a little one, already ancient, with cracks for veins.
To the latent, pagan icons,
to the Latin, and classical Greek, it has been so long.
To the offspring of Ardi and Lucy and Ötzi,
to the Jutes and the Saxons and Celts, it has been so long.
Humans! Time to move. We are of another age, revising.
Reliers on dogma, so long. Borders all over the globe, so long,
for I am lover of the word since the beginning,
and that earth seems to move I believe.
It is a fool who grows a crop then does not harvest,
for he is left with a crop of insects.
The thoughts of the mind are a crop.
Take these in and realize.
So long, disconnected descendants.
Misleaders and users, so long.
You knew, or should have known,
what gets scratched by flesh into stone.
Thus I am born among Sapiens, to exact humanity.
You swear, when you hear, I am coiner of words,
my poem a garment, painted rosily. Sing to it. Erect it at the fair.
Impress whatever tiny spark in you may listen.
114 million years ago the first flower spat
its never seen color out of earth.
A flower heretofore latent in humans is about to burst.
Spread the word, now understanding is at hand.
The new human, with a book 13 billion years in the making.
God, it has been so long.
John FitzGerald, Favorite Bedtime Stories (Salmon Poetry, 2014)
First published in The Toronto Quarterly and in The Examiner.
At forty plus the drive at night,
it takes all day to gather rain,
and the sounds change whenever you open your eyes.
Truth was not my father’s name, but he died anyway.
Since I was in the center then, he died because of me.
How far into the future could he see?
After death, he made the man you see before you
even more so than he did in life.
He released me from the center in a dream.
When I was 36, my father was dead as long as I knew him.
As a child, I played a game, in a dark room with a flashlight.
The sun could not have been much bigger.
The object was to touch the beam against the wall.
Like a fading actor after a spotlight,
that is how I chased the center.
As a joke, it would run across the ceiling.
Light was a magical thing in those days.
The only rule was you couldn’t turn it off.
In a few months I’ll be 42, the age my father died.
I was overseas, in the service, at the time,
and didn’t find out until 10 days after he was buried.
As I waited in the lobby to hear the news, I already knew.
I crossed his name off the list I was making.
I knew it couldn’t be mine.
There are 2 kinds of silence — one awkward, the other, appreciated.
The first stems from things that need to be said.
The second comes after the rain.
John FitzGerald, The Mind (Salmon Poetry, 2011)
If an ant sees me as a tree, then how does it see a tree?
I observed them to death, in their farm.
I was a tiny person then, with uncomplicated thoughts.
I told you, the mind knows what you can take,
and proceeds in order, doling, distributing, unfolding,
with milk, at first, not meat.
My first recurrent dream I can’t describe, except to say it scared me.
It had to do with growing smaller.
But if it were that things got bigger, what difference would it make?
I did not choose him to die,
any more than I chose what the sum of two minus one would be.
It happened for him, and not for me.
There is a universal reason.
Hope has footsteps none can hear.
Yet, they say, he is right outside.
What I might glean from the lives of others is incidental.
They exist apart from the lessons they teach.
Let them be in the center of the world, not me.
Favorite Bedtime Stories on the Salmon Poetry website:
Favorite Bedtime Stories on Amazon:
The Mind on the Salmon Poetry website:
The Mind on Amazon:
John FitzGerald is a poet, writer, editor and attorney for the disabled in Los Angeles.
A dual citizen of the United States and Ireland, he attended the University of West Los Angeles School of Law, where he was editor of the Law Review. His most recent book is Favorite Bedtime Stories(Salmon Poetry, 2014). The Mind was published by Salmon Poetry in 2011. His first book, Spring Water, was a Turning Point Books prize selection in 2005. Telling Time by the Shadows was released in April 2008 by Turning Point Books. As yet unpublished works include Primate, a novel and screenplay, and the non-fiction Everything I Know.
He has contributed to the anthologies Human and Inhuman Monstrous Poems (Everyman), Poetry: Reading it, Writing it, Publishing it (Salmon Poetry), Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology (Salmon Poetry), and From the Four-Chambered Heart: In Tribute to Anais Nin (Sybaritic Press) as well as to many journals, notably The Warwick Review, Barnwood Mag, World Literature Today, MadHatters Review, and Lit Bridge.
- Favorite Bedtime Stories Amazon
- The Mind Amazon
- Telling Time by the Shadows Amazon
- Spring Water Amazon
Favorite Bedtime Stories (Salmon Poetry, 2014)
The Mind (Salmon Poetry, 211)
Telling Time by the Shadows (Turning Point, 2008)
Spring Water (Turning Point Books Prize, 2005)