Poets’ Brew – October

Elaine Smith

Oh, here is light again

another Thursday
pulls you out of bed
throws you in the kitchen
to let out the cat

desperate green tomatoes wait
for late fall sun to turn their jade
a little yellow

long afternoon shadows call up
chill draughts and bone ache

not yet frost but soon
fierce arctic wind will twist
down broken pine limbs

So, hunker down like garlic knobs
and minute pink potato babies
or sunflower seeds dropped
unpecked by goldfinches

and weather this
tilt of earth
‘til it lifts us
to a summer Thursday

Kathleen Smith

The Dice Rolling

In the town of Paradise, just and unjust vaporize
in their burning cars. Barely any bones
remain among the ashes. But Starbucks
still stands strong on Main Street.

The hurricane was said to wipe out Zika
in Puerto Rico. Turns out, not so. Death,
like false hope, offends us but nothing galls
like the sheer arbitrariness of fate.

In moments of madness we long to hold
those dice in our soft and clawless hands.
But in all the ER’s of the world, dread
clutches the throats of those who must decide.

Brad Hatfield

Pascal’s Wager
         “There are two great pleasures in gambling; that of winning and that of losing.” – French Proverb

It is because there is no God to dread
–At least not one who hovers overhead,
Like translucent Charlton Heston–
That Pascal was wrong to shove chips all-in.

Better to take responsibility as we live
And bet on the categorical imperative
Behave as ladies and gentlemen,
sinning when we must, not when we can,

and then, mostly sins of the flesh,
for which we absolve ourselves afresh.
Odds are, life, well-lived, requires
no extension when it expires,

then, when consciousness discharges one night alone
our regrets won’t linger like stale ozone,
after lightning lances the desert floor,
fouling the air as it starts to pour.

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