Two Poems — Poetry by Robert Knox

Windows @ Home

When I look at the screen, does the screen look back at me?

(Apparently, judging by the ads)

When I’m virtually here, pecking away for hours, busy as a nuthatch on a spotty branch,

Am I really here at all?

Windows, as I started to say, those actual glass portals

on the world outside my inside,

as opposed to these virtual, but insistent openings

to a universe inside a machine

(which one of us is the ghost now?) – not those, but

these open see-through faces,

eyes which do not see,

universal apertures, frames without a point of view,

probabilistic sight lines enabling me to connect the dots,

assuming a continuity which cannot be perceived,

resolvers of epistemological skepticism,

comforters that God is not a deceiver,

reassuring that if/when I look up from those other two-way membranes,

those sinks of pixilated stimulation – not there, but here

some living, laughing something other still remains,

all right, call it nature, the world

(admit it, you like the old ways of naming)

 O, these are my friends and companions,

my frères and semblables, so to speak

watching me, but oh so silently, nonjudgmentally, without calculation,

although (I sometimes wonder)

as I look through them,

do they see through me as well?

 Do we lose the mystery of the real,

The depth of now,

That other screen of otherness

We so seldom poke our noses through

(yes, that screen, not this one)

When we walk through space/time, the so-called world

Our noses narrowed on a hand-held universe of shadows?

 The world is not, I say, without us

It needs us. It calls to us…

Even now, as I huddle, with my windows@home,

And my other Windows, warming my fingers

On the agitated electrons beneath their caress

And my eyes upon the glassy imitations

of all that messy sensual data

 I remember my love of trees and

My sadness at the death of trees

And the ordinary song of a still deeper world

Beyond my window and my Windows

 So when I step outdoors

to take in the sunset,

(released of all my media)

the shortest days’ greatest show,

I point and click on “Twilight over the Backhoe”

Or the dump truck

Or the dirt pile huddled amid the laughable orange cones.

And the little tent with the green plastic roof (looking like

the nubbly cloth yanked from the picnic table )

to protect the pipeline diggers on a rainy day

 Yes, the world beyond my windows

Remains a garden of enchantments

It’s just I hear my indoors ring


Hot Shots

In the full New England sun

I’m bleached into a ghost, a limp winding sheet

Do not even imagine

The tropics

The flowers are hot and bright

Some cool green things wilt beside them –

which am I?

I try to capture

On the lens of my brain –

Not to mention the Sony Cyber-Shot

I drag around each day to memorialize the radiance of my best students,

my garden stars

Like heroes on the gravestones of time

— the quality of air

when no two-leggers are afoot

Even flying things seem quieted

Bees have no buzz this perfectly sweet

and soporific afternoon

The birds are down to

a few scattered postprandial cheeps

And the echoes of man-made engines hovering above

sound merely like the pleasant burbles

of some contented deity at his afternoon nap

dreaming of lazy, self-indulgent days

Will I ever learn such wisdom?

Robert Knox is a husband, father, freelance writer for the Boston Globe, rabid backyard gardener, and blogger on nature, books, films and other subjects based on the premise that there’s a garden metaphor for everything.

His short stories, poems and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous literary publications. He was named a Finalist in the Massachusetts Artist Grant Program in fiction, and a story about his father (“Lost”) was excerpted on the Massachusetts Cultural Council website.

Robert’s poems have recently been published by Verse-Vitual, The Screech Owl, Bombay Review, Earl of Plaid and Rain, Party, & Disaster Society.

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