Thursday, May 31, 2018

Three Poems by Eric Evans

Our Lady of the Perpetual Calendar

Bow down before
the almighty alter of

Embrace the to-do list
as gospel,
as scripture,
as legally-binding
under penalty of
examination of your
suspect motivation
and dubious level
of commitment.

Make way for the crown prince
of the checkmark, his path strewn
with the shreds of memos past,
his head festooned with a paperclip
crown, his wrists adorned with
binderclip bracelets clacking
their dull administrative song.

But most importantly hush and
mumble as we cancel all noise
for our lady of the perpetual
calendar, each grid a brand
new chance to get things done,
to fill the blocks to overflow,
seemingly unaware that each
thing done has its way with each
thing still undone, the unattended
clamoring like the desperate
faithful with outstretched hands
hoping for a mere graze of her
rapidly passing robes.

Mercury Cougar, Circa 1973

There sits, in a Northwest parking
garage, a Mercury Cougar, circa 1973,
its tires flat, its luster long dusted
over -- was it pea green?  a shade of
gold?  a mustard hue?  who can tell
after all this time?  a matchbook
sits atop the dashboard, tickets
and a ballpoint pen nested in the
passenger-side seat, its owner
20-odd years passed after locking
its doors and setting off for what
became the beyond.

When the doors are finally opened,
and they will be, in the name of
commerce or progress or curiosity,
when this Michigan-made time capsule
spills its deep-seated secrets, what
will it share?  The last plume of
smoke from an unfiltered cigarette?
The final strains of a then-new,
now-classic song?  The news of a
celebrity death, another disaster
gone too far, another war?  Will you
hear the raspy laugh of an off-color
joke, the pissed-off rant of the
over-taxed and under-served, the
catch in the throat of a man broken
one too many times?

At the pop of those long-pinned locks
will they traffic in fact or fiction,
actual or mystery, what was, what
is or what maybe, possibly might've
been?  Does the story simply exist
in insinuation now, fragmentary,
jigsaw pieces that will never fit
together no matter how much you
bend and shape and pound.  That
orphaned Mercury Cougar, circa 1973,
is its own answer now, the drive-in
screen for everything we project
upon its faded, dented hood.

Theatre of War

"Would you exchange
a walk-on part in the war
for a lead role in a cage?"

                -- "Wish You Were Here,"  Pink Floyd

It's an odd phrase, isn't it?
Theatre of war?  I mean,
the similarities abound, of course--
both traffic in directors and producers,
in leading roles and ensemble parts,
in production values and the easy
     applause that follow,
in uniform costumes and the messages
     they convey,
in a universe of props so heavy
     with symbolism,
in a story to tell and a complicated
     relationship with the truth, lies
     and obfuscations their building
     blocks and craftsman's tools.
And both, without fail, depend upon
     the inherent illusion of resolution
     but the thing is, at the end of Hamlet
     all of the dead rise from the stage,
     remove the blood and head out
     to the bar.  Dead men may tell no
     tales but those who play them most
     certainly do.

Eric Evans is a writer from Buffalo, New York with stops in Portland, Oregon, and Rochester, New York, where he currently resides.  His work has appeared in 1947, Parody, Steel Bellow, Decades Review, Dead Snakes, decomP magazinE, Red River Review, Posey, Xenith Magazine, Anobium Literary Magazine, Pemmican Press, Remark and many other publications and anthologies.  He has published eight full-length collections and three broadsides through his own small press, Ink Publications, in addition to a broadside through Lucid Moon Press.  He is also the co-editor of The Bond Street Review.

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