Spinoza in the Ghetto

Sketching in the ghetto, Spinoza smokes, 
drinks a Dutch beer. Happiness is a chat
with friends. Enemies? He has none. He jokes
about the seen. His invisible is fat
with stars. Love keeps them spinning, and God who 
is everywhere is also infinite
and nothing, just like death which isn’t true
to life experience and best forgot.
At forty-three the grinder’s sick. The good
is what he calmly wants, and he is good,
his friends affirm. He’s swallowed too much dust
from grinding lenses. His lungs aren’t clean, 
time isn’t real, and grim with glassy lust
for God as space, he fingers the unseen.

From Mexico In My Heart: New And Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2015) by Willis Barnstone. Copyright © 2015 by Willis Barnstone. Used with the permission of the author.