Robinson Crusoe Dips His Foot


Robinson Crusoe dips his foot in the river

checking for piranhas

watches the grasses of the glade
checking for vipers

squats in the tallest tree branches
checking for cougars

barely relaxes at twilight or dawn
cocking his ears at every crack or twitch

in the air around him
squinching his eyes nearly shut

snapping them open at the next sound
his whole being shocked alert at his

very existence in this new world
in this next life after drowning

Shipwreck his mind on the shoals leaving
just enough provisions

having to ferry them to shore and then
inland to his invented habitation

visited by toucans and gibbons
and a crawling earth all around him

ready to pounce

He’s Adam naming his solitude
and he names it Despair then amends it in

time as time goes on
to Endurance then gradually to

Survival then to Watchful Subsistence
then The Emperor of Nothingness

King of All He Surveys
loss upon loss

until nothing is left
(and it’s not even Friday)

and blue sky hangs above him
like a bell ringing for

him alone
bereft now only of

bereftness itself

soul hitting its highest pitch
and dazzling there


Crusoe found himself
where he’d never been before

just as we do
going where we go

Surrounded by exotic foliage and
hot turquoise waves lapping

blackened shores under beaten sun and
leavened moonlight


So it’s no wonder he at first couldn’t
recognize himself when he met himself in

Friday’s form not the living
shadow of himself but his

real self of which Crusoe himself
was just the

bleached holy ghost of the
unity of the two of them

lost together on a
single island

two atrial valves on either side

in the sea’s tumultuous breast


“The revelation of the Face of God
is from within the

events of our lives”
thought Crusoe alone in his


neither slave nor king of all he

but a soul within that “within-ness”
and a soul apart

seeing with the single
eye of his heart


The island Crusoe lived on
became the hat he wore

and the shoes he wrapped around his

the arterial streams his arteries
and the ocean the world at large

He’d been on all the peaks and
looked down every sheer cliff

Birds scattered at his noise
and when he held his breath

the air snapped shut
and life took center stage

He was the drama of a
lost soul under the stars

His thoughts were the
unobtainable gazelle that

leapt over the ridge
into the long lush valley below

It’s true he gave up thinking of escape
or dreaming of flight

but as he entered anonymity among the
dull rocks and stones

the winds and stalks
his light one of the fragile candles

another kind of darkness became
his darkness

Loving fingers of it from behind around his
middle that

stretched him out at night
a night he seemed to be

transported through the air in
from ocean to ocean

side to side of his
own islanded sides

and the sides of the world
the full dimension

sprung from form
whose island as he rose

disappeared from
under him

12/24/12 (from Next Life)

Categories: Poems