Of course, when I think about fun,
I think of a man in a short buckskin skirt,
shirtless, walking down the street
of the Bridge of Flowers
with a cross-bow, a quiver of arrows on his back.
About fifty, an ordinary man
I wouldn’t have noticed
but for the crossbow and his half-nakedness–
in other words, his way of sticking out
in the crowd of tourists going by.
He was just walking, a man in a suit
walking beside him, both of them
with a sense of purpose,
both obviously on the way to somewhere.
The street slanted up a little and they bent forward
to accommodate it. That must have been
their mission that day–onward and upward.
The bow rattled on his back,
the arrows quivered.
His hair was white–if that helps.
The problem with such fun
is that nobody explains it. It enters stage left
and goes off stage right into the wings.
Then for years, it keeps going off in your mind
like flashbulbs. It takes on weight, metaphor:
Father Death, Creative Spirit.
Gosh, I wish I’d known the whole story–
I could put the puzzle to bed then–
if only I knew the meaning of it all.
—from Rattle #18, Winter 2002