Friday, October 18, 2013

Only Human

Jogging along a gravel road that runs along a saltmarsh
I spotted a long-billed curlew about to spear a mud crab
when a red fox suddenly intervened, wringing its gloved paws.

"Stop this madness!" it exclaimed. "I warn you, cruelty

will consume you, and your children's children
will inherit your crazed bloodlust!"

The curlew stared with minuscule eyes as cold as asteroids

then skewered the crab straight through its shell and raised it to the sky.
The fox picked up a muddy stone and hurled it, but missed.

The curlew gave thanks, consumed the crab,

then, flying toward the sun, vanished like a dream with wings.
I jogged on, indifferent to the ways of wild things.

The fox ran up beside me. "You must die," it said, "for you

have seen a thing that humans mustn't know."
It bit me in the tendon. I fell. It lunged at my bare throat.

We grappled in the mud until I managed to subdue it

by knocking it against a stump until, stunned and bleeding,
it lay quite still. "Now listen," I hissed, for I could tell

it was only playing dead  -- "You think I have no soul

because I'm Man. Well, darn it, you're wrong.
I listen to Coltrane too, just like the rest of you."

"Coltrane?" it said. "You know Coltrane?" It's eyes

grew wide with fear. "How could you - a mortal -understand?"
I whistled a bit of A Love Supreme. It wept.

I offered it my handkerchief. It blew its nose, then gave it back.

It offered me its magic boots, which I refused.
(How could I write poems with magic boots? That's cheating.)

We argued a bit. It was convinced that Coltrane wasn't Man

but was the manifestation of the soul of Wolf
descended from the heavens.

We agreed to disagree. I jogged home, scratched and bleeding.

My wife scolded me for playing with undomesticated foxes
and insisted I get rabies shots and new glasses.

I said she should listen to Coltrane more, and stop wasting her time on Facebook.

She didn't understand. How could she? She never jogs on gravel roads
and besides, she's only human.


  1. OMG! - lol

    (just for the facebook reference, but oh so much more!)

    Love it! (can't help it; sorry Ed!)

  2. Urbanwild dreamtelling.

    A bridge to what's more-than-human, just around the bend and worth noticing.


    1. You say it so beautifully, Rachel... thank you for commenting from that place that you inhabit so loverlyling!

  3. Wah-wah! I enjoyed this read immensely. Reminds me of your apocalypso poem from years ago, also the hot new viral music video "The Fox" by Ylvis. And also reminds me of having stumbled upon the First Church of John Coltrane in San Francisco around 1994. It was on Divisadero. I sat in back as a dozen musicians on the pulpit played a song I didn't yet know. All to say, mucho gusto!