Later now, but and other poems by Ed Higgins

I can still remember how we kissed then

the buzz of bees in our head. Or was

it the Zinfandel we had with Reuben sandwiches

you said you made better than Ruben himself?

Knowing he hadn’t invent them. Liking his nudes anyway.

Or just what we tasted of beginning

with our breath, or finally no breath at all. Finding

your neck smooth as a Greek marble nude

I once touched in an Athens museum

and was scolded by a female guard

but who also smiled too knowing why.

And how we lingered there in this knowing

of wine and those sandwiches. The moon bringing

more fire down that only time would flameout.

Imago Dei: What God’s Good For

Solvent for the implacable,
eraser of mortality,
time’s relinquishing hourglass: vita brevis

Bearer of wanton unbearables,
hidden omnipresent: Deus absconditus

Flagrant forgetter of prayers,
piety with Pentateuch penalties,
and those other mysteries: Deo gratias

Head scratching contingencies,
underwriting the provisional,
our stumbling trial and error: tabulae rasae

Wishing well for unknowing,
holy/wholly/holey trust in: Deus ex machina

Fierce O.T. woe-froths,
furious fulminations,
corybantic power(full-ness): Dies irae

Reused, refused, infinitely,
death, disease, dis(ease), etc.,
non-assumable probabilities: Deus Caritas Est

Lunch-guilt koan

Preparing a bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato
and avocado sandwich:

Decadent-shamed, the egg’s
orange Cyclops eye glares at me–

Odysseus-like I pierce its accusation
and flip the egg to fully cook.

Three pepper-bacon slices sizzle,
hissing their cholesterol warnings.

Rationalizing guilt, I eye the cutting board’s
summer-ripe quarter-inch heritage tomato

slices, heart-healthy cut-up awaiting avocado
alongside green vitamin-rich romaine lettuce.

Toasted whole-grain dark rye, one slice omega-3
mayonnaised, the other dijon mustard slathered.

Zen-tranquil I meditate upon the readying nosh.
Outside, slanting its transcendence, sunlight.

at the edge

of my iris
a straight razor
pressing against
my right
or is it
my left
depending on
how one
even on the pull
of gravity
it is
although there
are still
old fashion
straight razors
out there
yet I can
gawk in
the mirror
help or cut
somehow or other
into discovered
drifting across
my corneas
entering the
waiting rods
and cones
of my eyes

Yeah, well

Can’t believe next month I’ll be 65! Wow, getting fucking too old here–tho, considering the alternatives I’m not bitching all that much. Still, you gotta smile when you start reading the AARP magazine cover-to-cover. And looking forward to it coming every month. What’s especially amusing is all my celeb contemporaries: singers, actors, ex-dictators, forgotten TV stars, politicians, various has-been assholes, etc. are showing up in AARP profiles and articles. Unless they’re dead, of course. But if I hafta see another article on “tiny, talented and terrific at 65” Sally Field I’m gonna puke up my Centrum Silver vitamins. Now, Diane Keaton at 65 (“Sure, calcium is great for my bones. But who knew it was so good for my skin?”) still looks pretty damn good, and “I’m reckless,” she admits. “If I haven’t changed by now, I never will,” Ann-Margret, too, at 65, looks fully fucking hot still roaring up Mulholland Dr. on her Harley Sportster (pink with daises painted on the gas tank). Of course Willy Nelson looks like 65 hell, having been dragged like a string of bouncing beer cans behind his tour bus from Texas to N. Dakota in a heroine hailstorm heading for another Farm-Aid concert, bless him. But, then, he’s always looked like hell. Nevertheless, I’d kill for that way-cool grey ponytail of his and the pot-stained melancholy voice. And there’s not a chance I’ll ever look like Paul Newman at 65, or however eternal and blue-eyed he is. No matter how much Newman’s All natural, no nonsense Three Cheese Balsamic Vinaigrette I soak onto my arugula, fig, mango, goat cheese and pine nuts salad. Whatever, I keep eating kale, blue-green algae and blueberries—with the more-than-occasional glass or two of pinot noir or zinfandel. Always hopeful. Who knows, maybe red wine, dark chocolate, and my one aspirin a day really will get me up at 65! on inline skates.

Looking for signs

Can we ever know the holy beyond its fleeing shadow?

Snap clearly its image to our mind’s eye? Leap the fissure
between us? Make appeals to it?

Who’s to say, really? Or even pray to that sometimes
capitalized word God, Indo-European for “to invoke, to call.”

Our desire like a child’s on a swing, kicking higher, higher
still toward the blue sky. Clouds catching at our soles.

Always pulled back by earth’s gravity after touching
something on the way up there, outside the air.

Once as a child pumping the swing ever higher
I thought to leap out at the arc’s apogee, fly over heads

of all who were watchful below. Oranges on the trees
beyond the playground scenting the afternoon air.


Ed Higgins’ poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals including recently: Peacock Journal, Uut Poetry, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Tigershark Magazine, among others. Ed teaches literature at George Fox University, south of Portland, OR, USA and is Asst. Fiction Editor for Ireland-based Brilliant Flash Fiction. He and his wife live on a small organic farm in Yamhill, OR where they raise a menagerie of animals, including a pair of Bourbon Red turkeys (King Strut and Nefra-Turkey), and an alpaca named Machu-Picchu.

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