James E. Allman, Jr. is a Southerner, with degrees in biology and business, but sees life neither dissected nor austerely economized; is now a Database Administrator due to the recent paucity of poet laureate positions on monster.com (he blames the current recession). For that matter Burt-Wolf-Substitute would suffice but has failed to materialize; would also consider Glutton, Wine-Snob, Cigar-Aficionado or Resident-Genius if pay far outweighed workload. In the meantime, he lustfully admires the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mary Karr, B. H. Fairchild & Charles Wright between DDL, DML and DCL; also in the meantime, he has found himself a semi-finalist in the 2009 New Millennium Writings Contest and published (or forthcoming) in the following online and print journals: Anemone Sidecar, Black Words on White Paper, The Centrifugal Eye, Glint and Splash of Red. Additionally, "The Omnivorous Empire" is one of Splash of Red's official 2010 Pushcart Prize nominees.
The Omnivorous Empire
You have learnt something. That means, you have lost something.
—George Bernard Shaw
See. He has genus Amoeba for eyes—
of the family Amoebidae, order Tubulinida—and lids like pseudopods
Secretes itself; the light limpid, lube like, and oozing spies
the world and eats it. Not in parts; not quite but neither
completely different from a snake bite—unhinges
its aqueous jaws, runs and salivates
(runs and salivates), leaves an undigested lump in the gut.
Eat or be eaten—
it’s only the vigorous, the healthy, and well fed that survive.
There isn’t profitability without extinction—
great destruction is required.
No specious arguments,
or ambiguity. Rely only on advantage:
the long catalogue of dry facts
like an animal’s diet listed on an exhibit placard.
A Grocery List:
loaves of ciabatta ranch houses,
beds of pulled pork mulch,
clouds of meringue,
something supple and easily bruised like peach meat,
meat stew (with or without Pelops),
a swaddled stone passed off as a god,
bread and wine, likewise,
a mortar and pestle to pulverize,
an electron microscope and a centrifuge.
Remember, Natural Selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing.
Hide in the Manichean darkness from the light eater; who bares eye-teeth
for chomping—pupils unoccupied, hollow and wide—
swallow, promising redemption from opaqueness and recipes
for everything—mis en place; everything in its place and mended of its mystery,
then written into formulas of tablespoons and measuring cups.
The infinitesimally small is somehow related
to the profoundly ignorant;
but then again so, too, is the immeasurable
A Recipe Card:
With a cleaver, chop the turkey necks into bite-size
pieces and blot to remove excess blood.
Make a roux. Add the turkey necks and simmer an hour and a half past sepia.
Salt to taste.
Don’t we all consider books without equations
too much pinch and dash chemistry—more like incantations then gastronomy?
We cry, “Let’s make the small bits into bologna
and eat the elephant one mouthful
at a time.” But the monstrous, the kraken, the gorgon and the god
present us an altogether different challenge. They resist Malthusian
assessment, the wet mount slide, the omnivorous empire;
are themselves a darkness that is a kind of light even if appearing as emaciation
(even as bunk), and who appreciate that food, like the interrogated,
has value in its unknown and undigested
Theology of Fitness
…there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence.
A nursling’s so unlike living fossils
like rhinoceroses or elephants dressed up in grey granite
armor or crocodiles in cardigan gravel:
who’ve a record against extinction,
can take an honest-to-God punch,
and don’t have glass jaws—weak chins—glass
skin. Finds itself ill-equipped for this life of bare-knuckle boxing;
rather, in successive snivels is the nursling—suffering
Yahweh with tiny pleas in every whine and wail,
yearning for solace—the slough
of granite plaits from mastodons, throwaway
calluses to patch the porcelain of pummeled
calfskin—unfit for the world. Observe the newborn thinness
of its buttresses, the baby soft
of its skin. God knows its no frame for igneous,
and I suppose cherubs to model a more durable
material. But didn’t Darwin distrust immutable
things; observing the frequent struggle for existence, he preached
a vatic if not natural sanctification
ringing though with scripture: “made fit through suffering.”