"If God is Art, then what do we make of Jasper Johns?" One never knows what sort of question a patient will pose, or how exactly one should answer. Outside the window, snow on snow began to answer the ground below with nothing more than foolish questions. We were no different. I asked again: "Professor, have we eased the pain?" Eventually, he’d answer me with: "Tell me, young man, whom do you love?" "E," I’d say, "None of the Above," and laugh for lack of something more to add. For days he had played that game, and day after day I avoided your name by instinct. I never told him how we often wear each other’s clothes— we aren’t what many presuppose. Call it an act of omission, my love. Tonight, while walking to the car, I said your name to the evening star, clearly pronouncing the syllables to see your name dissipate in the air, evaporate. Only the night air carries your words up to the dead (the ancients wrote): I watched them rise, become remote.
C. Dale Young - 1969-
The Philosopher in Florida
Midsummer lies on this town like a plague: locusts now replaced by humidity, the bloodied Nile now an algae-covered rivulet struggling to find its terminus. Our choice is a simple one: to leave or to remain, to render the Spanish moss a memory or to pull it from trees, repeatedly. And this must be what the young philosopher felt, the pull of a dialectic so basic the mind refuses, normally, to take much notice of it. Outside, beyond a palm-tree fence, a flock of ibis mounts the air, our concerns ignored by their quick white wings. Feathered flashes reflected in water, the bending necks of the cattails: the landscape feels nothing— it repeats itself with or without us.