The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday, Girls Trip, Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey

Rat Wheel, Dementia, Mont Saint Michel
By C.K. Williams

My last god's a theodicy glutton, a good-evil gourmet—
peacock and plague, gene-junk; he gobbles it down.
Poetry, violence; love, war—his stew of honey and thorn.

For instance, thinks theodicy-god: Mont Saint Michel.
Sheep, sand, steeple honed sharp as a spear. And inside,
a contraption he calls with a chuckle the rat wheel.

Thick timber three metres around, two persons across,
into which prisoners were inserted to trudge, toil,
hoist food for the bishop and monks; fat bishop himself.

The wheel weighs and weighs. You're chained in; you toil.
Then they extract you. Where have your years vanished?
What difference? says theodicy-god. Wheel, toil: what difference?

Theodicy-god has evolved now to both substance and not.
With handy metaphysical blades to slice brain meat from mind.
For in minds should be voidy wings choiring, not selves.

This old scholar, for instance, should have to struggle to speak,
should not remember his words, paragraphs, books:
that garner of full-ripened grain must be hosed clean.

Sometimes as the rat wheel is screaming, theodicy-god
considers whether to say he's sorry: That you can't speak,
can't remember your words, paragraphs, books.

Sorry, so sorry. Blah, his voice thinks instead, blah.
He can't do it. Best hope instead they'll ask him again
as they always do for forgiveness. But what if they don't?

What might have once been a heart feels pity, for itself, though,
not the old man with no speech—for him and his only scorn.
Here in my rat wheel, my Mont Saint Michel, my steeple of scorn.


I watched TV most of the day. I was pretty okay while Ford was testifying, even though it was obvious the Republicans wanted a prosecutor not to get at the truth or even protect them from sounding like assholes (since they were perfectly comfortable all day sounding like assholes) but to try to make the story about the Democrats playing politics while they pretended to feel sorry for the assault victim. As soon as Kavanaugh came out shouting and ranting, though, with Lindsey Graham declaring that this is the most despicable thing he has seen in politics -- we need to put him in a for-pay prison or send him to live in Flint -- I had to get out before my blood pressure became dangerous.

It wasn't all bad when I decided to live in denial for a couple of hours. I did back-to-back Mewtwo raids at the mall and got an invite to what we all hope will be a Deoxys raid at Starbucks next week, then when Paul got home we went out for Mexican food with Karen and Jim. I needed something funny and feminist when we got home, so we watched Girls Trip, which is fit the bill pretty perfectly; I was worried that the infidelity-and-forgiveness story was going to take over one character's arc, but that was resolved greatly to my satisfaction, and the acting was spot-on and hilarious even when over the top. Here because it relaxes me is the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel:









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