24 March 2007


I conceived this poem during an episode of CSI involving a schizophrenic woman. At the end of the episode, Grissom is talking to the woman about how she lives. She just goes around picking up things and putting them into her cart. When Grissom asks her how long she thinks she might be at this she says until she finds the "last thing." And then what, he aks. "And then," she says, "rest," with the same look on her face, and in the same tone of voice she might have had if she had said, "And then I'll marry the man of my dreams." Note: Use of the first person personal pronoun does not mean that this is somehow autobiographical. Thought you'd like to know.


a poem

Why literature,
she asks, in a clean
well-lit place,
bleary eyed
from study of topics
that never concern her,
or burn her heart
within her,
in wonder over-riding
the body's need for sleep,
for food or drink.

To fill the cart, I say.

Don't you want
to get ahead?


A question!

As if being qua being
is not pointless
as long as one is employed,
being about the business
of getting ahead
of the pointless,
one step away
from the nada.

As if being on about
something is anything

to be on about,
rather than the raw
pursuit of answers to questions.
(Aye, there's a bit of a rub:
as if being one with an answer
is less pointless than pointless being!)

Is the unexamined
really so unworthy?

And so I push my bag-filled cart
here and there and everywhere,
in search of anything
superior to a cart
full of notes and quotes,
from hundreds of books
I’ve read leading
one day maybe
to some overwhelming conclusion,
the answer to it all.

We believe Darwin
because the contrary
does not comport
with our sexual mores,

and the examined life
is impossible

and I believe I’m reading Plato
despite the fact
that its been copied
and translated
over and over and
commitment to states' rights
necessarily requires as a matter
of strict logic a commitment
to slavery, and I wonder why
it makes sense to some
to talk about laws of nature?
if not hasty generalization,
universal affirmative propositions
(in the indicative mood no less)
derived from particular.

A single event in and of itself
cannot form sufficient grounds

--search your feelings
you know this to be true--

for any hypothesis, but I know
a succession of experiments
performed over an arbitrarily selected
period of time is first an hypothesis
and then a theory and then
at another arbitrarily selected


point in time treated as a fact.
And from the stuff in my cart
I know there’s no difference,
between a single occurrence
and a hundred

-- yes, I know this much
is true--

And no one ever sees;
no one’s ever seen
a cause or necessary connection.

See the solution!

But I know there is cause,

So we can assert universal affirmatives
as the best explanation of the particular,
the impossibility of the contrary,
Kant's transcendental logic

--it's so elegant,
oh, so intelligent.

And when I reflect that God is just
and that his justice cannot rest forever
I tremble for my nation,
and wonder about the big bang,
the break down
of the laws of nature,
the singularity,
which raises the question
since there can be no cause or effect
what caused the bang, and
we know,
we think,
how it all began
how will it end?

With the sound
of disco music
and porn stars’
heavy breathing,
I suspect.

And why do people act
as if we elect a fisher-king
who gives to us health
and wealth and long life, making us
to live long and prosper
of his own super-intending,
life enhancing
chief-executive will.

Can he make the troubled waters

Can he make my beloved
love me back?

Structurally speaking
everything’s literature;
"All writing is rhetoric."
(Somewhere I read that
and stuffed the note
into my cart.)

And why did the more Christian
east outlast the less Christian
west by a thousand years
if Christianity was the cause;
and can the filioque
really have anything
to do with why Istanbul
was once Constantinople--
before she got the works?

Can we ask the Turks?

Seeking some justification I,
like a schizophrenic bagman,
push my note-stuffed inquiring cart
up and down the streets
and in and out of the alleys
of the republic picking up
bits and pieces
of this and that
(wheat and chaff)
little facts
(a groat’s worth of wit)

--the madman, said Chesterton,
is not the man who has lost
his reason--

--have you found Jesus?

old scraps I find
like stale old stogies
a hobo might have found
(short, not too big around),
searching in this pile,
and in that stack
until I find it:
that last thing
and place it carefully

oh so carefully

into my cart,
and then rest will come
and I'll write that definitive work,
the one that finally and fully answers

--who’s John Galt?--

all the questions requiring answers—
before I decide that being employable
is superior simply to being at all.

Of course speaking
literature is nothing.

A question:

When you get
where you're going
where will you be?

What’s it all about?

The bagman knows,
but cannot be disturbed.

James Frank Solís


About Me

James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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