Saturday, September 17, 2022

Three Poems by John F. Keane

The Haze of a Sweet Afternoon

Slow moments clad in flame dance between
dormant memories.  Coverts of yearning
stroll sun-slashed afternoon alleyways like
bechoning streetwalkers murmuring with

honey-slick voices.  This is the time, this
is the time to make eternal experience
they say, in the haze of a sweet afternoon
too perfect to endure, and never to return

slow moments clad in flame dance between
dormant memories.  The blazing instant 
lost, the brimming goblet spilt, the afternoon
that might have been discarded in the trash.

Incel in the Rain

outside rain pelts from grey
I ask my Stacylite friend if she
will share her umbrella with

me to the station she agrees
but anxiously checks if people
are mistaking us for a couple

she says the rain has slowed
she must hurry home fast
because Chad is waiting

she cannot endure walking
beside an incel subhuman
with people looking at us

I reach the station soaked
forlorn to the freezing skin
for the homebound train.

The Consolations of Philosophy

Always strive to make the maxim of
your action a universal law because
if you don't then everything we admire
will come to an ignominious and futile
end like a former rock star in a nursing
home, leaving nothing whatsoever of
interest to anyone as the earth spins
through the void towards eternity.

If no one bothered to have any kids
(which is a dirty job though some poor
bastard has to do it) then civilization
and all the achievements of our species
would crumble to dust and be forgotten
leaving vultures and grizzlies crapping
all over the White House floor and
bats roosting in the Bodleian library.

If no one ever bothered to go to work
(even if almost everyone hates their job
except famous athletes and performers
or professional beer and wine tasters)
then society would grind to a halt and
humans would devolve into illiterate
hunter-gatherers with no mobile
phones, coffee shops or hospitals.

Don't tell malevolent lies or practice
fraud because it will erode trust values
turning all communities into debased
and violent autocracies with oppressive
police forces and corrupt government
with everyone being even more hostile
to each other than they already are
(if such a thing were actually possible).

Above all, don't take hard drugs because
if everyone was high on crack cocaine
or crystal meth or even strong skunk
then trains would never run on time and
there would be loads of car crashes and
apps would not work properly because
software developers would not know
their asses from their elbows.

So there it is, ignoring the categorical
imperative and not making the maxim of
your action a universal law will result in
corrosive chaos with ostriches, crocodiles
termites and other low IQ, uncultured
lifeforms knowing jack shit about anything
inheriting the earth, never composing or 
reading poems and being utterly boring.

John F. Keane lives in Manchester, in the UK.  A software developer and securities trader, he has published poems in a number of British anthologies and publications.  These include the Live from Worktown Anthology 5 (2018), the Poetry from the Platform Anthology (2021), Prole (2010), Best of Manchester Poets Volume 3 (2013) and The Bread and Roses Award Anthology (2018).  In addition, he has published poems in a number of international publications including Analog, the American speculative fiction magazine and Jubilat, literary journal of the University of Massachusetts.  He also won Bolton Station's Community Partnership contest in 2020 and the 2021 Ekphrastic Poetry Contest sponsored by the Friendswood Public Library, Texas.

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