Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Tempest of Lives

...and if money only serves to create and maintain social distance?

Away a few days, we return to a deluge—
ankle deep in the basement—
window-leaked above, over-saturated beneath: the papers and maps
scattered all over the floor past salvage: we tear
up sodden carpet, peel heavy strips from concrete, try to envision
how to free it, sticky adhesive-backed, from loaded shelves, with maximum efficacy.

But first I command, Come see,
standing at the door of a little girl's closet and a deluge
of dozens and, to my limited vision,
identical pink plastic shoes, whose meaning
I can't help but mull: the tyranny
of shop, shopping, shopper—life's map

wiped and remapped
with permissible destinations, borders, sights; filling the sea
of need with things that will not satisfy but deter
motion in a deluge:
and just in case the love of flip-flops does not suffice to halt all movement
she's tethered to television,

house to car, bedroom to kitchen, breakfast to dinner, no division
on this crucial point.
I meant
to mention the summer season
at the children's theater where I work, deluge
my friends with appeals to watch a show, volunteer

to host her, if she'd like to act, tear
her away a while, but revise
my speech before it's begun, deluged
by Disney, by princesses, by product tie-ins, each mapped
to one movie or another, her life its own sequel
which, without the urtext, means

nothing. Nothing will come from nothing. Meaning
that King Lear's on stage this weekend tearing
the eyes of its characters, its audience, to make us, if not see
better, at least look at the world through another lens, caught up in the vision
of a father who orders the future on a map
that none will honor when the rains

arrive, as if his reign meant
something more than a few dashed lines on a fake treasure map, torn
and divided, written in water, then swallowed by the sea.
Wendy Vardaman, "Reason Not the Need"

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