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  • On a Marriage that Was to Take Place atop Half Dome in Yosemite National Park


    for Nick and Katie


    Yesterday, right when our call got dropped,
    I was going to tell you something about marriage.


    I was going to tell you something gnomic,
    a maxim worth getting engraved.


    I’ve since forgotten,
    but I believe it was akin to saying that, like Truth,
    marriage is impossible to define in verbal space.


    So, I guess I’m glad I forgot. The words
    would’ve seemed either too hastily conceived for their subject matter
    or else weightless, enigmatic – without impact.


    I think it was Auden who whined, “Marriage is rarely bliss,”
    though he lightened the phrase by encapsulating it in the context of modern
    physics –
    namely, at least it has the ability to take place,
    and that should be enough to bring bliss equal to Buddha’s Emptiness.


    So, I’m happy our call got
    for the dial tone was
    the pithiest aphorism on marriage any sentient life could’ve produced.


    The key word is “produced.”



    This is what marriage is not:

    Socrates gurgling hemlock

    on his dusty prison cot,

    giggling as he glimpsed a dikast’s deformed cock;


    glittering light on a sundial,

    in front of which two boys, dressed

    to give witness at trial,

    fight. Both of them give it their best


    as red balloons filled with helium

    become tiny, nondescript dots

    against a sunset and fumbled rum

    speckles their t-shirts with spots;


    Nietzsche tenured for philology

    at Basel; Nietzsche feverishly etching

    Fick diese scheiße! on a Jena clinic’s wall; biology

    predetermining the team for which he was pitching;


    a poem; a hot dog; cocaine;

    a discharged Kalashnikov

    engendering generational pain

    somewhere in Saratov


    circa 1942;

    this is what marriage is not:

    hatred, jealousy, ballyhoo,

    obsessive yearnings for a yacht;


    this is what marriage is not:

    anything one pair of hands has wrought.

    August 22, 2013

    Michal Kubík


    Thumb out, he hitchhikes from Prague
    to the south of France, floats
    the Marais Poitevin face-up
    on a flatboard, sees
    the last sunbeam slip behind the Louvre, sings
    a song he calls “To California”, snores
    on one more of his friends’ floors,
    four euro to his name.




    Say there’s a boy that has two dreams,
    one concerns business, one fishing in streams;
    but which is the more real my friend?


    A wolf licked an Eskimo’s blood-covered knife,
    licked it till it cut-up and bled out its life;
    but are wolves’ impulses wrong my friend?


    I saw a terrible play with a terrible end
    and horrid lines no writer could mend;
    but do you think I missed the point my friend?


    Someone opened a door and let a dog in,
    unaware of where most strays have been;
    but what is real kindness my friend?


    One hundred slaves wept at their fortune,
    united, killed the tyrant, and began to run;
    but don’t they still work for their livings my friend?


    I found a pocket watch in a patch of tall grass,
    hoped selfishly, watched centuries pass;
    but weren’t we told time heals wounds my friend?

    About The Author

    Christopher Gorrie

    Christopher H. Gorrie is a poet, writer, editor, and musician hailing from San Diego, California. His work has been featured in such publications as the Aztec Literary Review, pornSad, and the San Diego Poetry Annual. He is a co-founder and editor of Synesthesia Literary Journal, an online arts quarterly, and also plays the bass guitar in his band, Liquid Whip. His first book of poetry, Orchid Minuets for Emily, was published in 2012.