After six years in retirement contemplating the “Whys” of life, Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1965-66) has concluded that all the corrupting temptations of 75 years have failed to change him. He has been honest enough in life to fend off wealth and fame. However, realizing his lack of genius and talent, Tony has achieved just enough in writing and education that he appreciates how remarkable but incomprehensible life is. So in old age, Tony scribbles a poem, now and then, and with great effort plays a tune or two on the saxophone hoping to back up Chuck Berry or Ray Charles in the great hereafter.
Late Night Conversations with e.e. cummings
by Tony Zurlo
life is “puddle-wonderful,” e. e., even when city
showers linger, we can make up nonsense games,
after school in the autumn fog and ignore salespitches
for wireless typing machines that double as phones.
truth, the solution? “the question” behind “your
eyelids’ flutter”? queen annes are weaving lace,
and sisters pass out buttercups, my eyes admiring
butterflies snacking on wisteria, but truthfully e. e.,
truth, the solution, as airy as declarations of peace
and politics and—feebleflimsy and downydelicate,
chimerical, e. e.,. theories derived, deduced, reduced,
and minimalized to one, simple leaf alone down floating,
tonight if we utter “truthshallsetyoufree” while strolling
on the beach, beneath the balloon moon, and we hear
the response “sancho panza,” we will hear in tongues
and from the sea scientific and philosophical fumes–
simple as pealing bananasdammit, and accepting
seagulls’ naughty invitations to ride the waves, e. e.
first i must shred my diary, vacuum the rug, fix the faucet
and program my phone, but my damn dog keeps interupting….
quantum crews string smoke and mirror from buildings
to celebrate the discovery of Higgs boson…don’t ask e.e.
yousee they say that in the invisible world you and i inhabit
particlesinvisible to the naked– like your balloons too high
to see deflating–well…see this is nolonger dr.einstein’s world.
we can’t really see reality to determine what truth or solutions
or magic works, or what flimflam, circus barking science wants
tosellus. e.e., it’s a “hell of a good universe”? comeandjoinus
This poem was first published at http://andreazurlo.wixsite.com/andreazurlo/single-post/2017/03/31/Late-Night-Conversations-with-ee-cummings
Andrea Zurlo (not related to Tony) is a novelist and film script writer, residing in Florence, Italy, with her family. She was a finalist for the prestigious Premio Planeta de Novela award for the best original unpublished novel in Spanish in 2016.