Monkey Chews the Cud
(after Octavio Paz, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Stéphane Mallarmé)
Brilliant in his rising, a new sun shines on monkey’s world,
dispersing darkness, fragmenting it into shadows.
Sunshine and shadow: heads and tails of an age old
combination sealed back-to-back on the self-same coin.
¿Cara o cruz? Heads or tails? Sunshine or shadow?
Solombra, perhaps? Or is it just the act of perception,
as Wittgenstein would have us believe, and nothing more:
the metal always spinning on its milled edge, never falling,
the coin on its axis, a new day with its potential,
sunshine or shadow, thrown dice still skittering,
a new world imperceptibly poised in its own making?
Monkey scratches his head. Such enormous depths
are not for him to plumb, this early in the morning.
Better by far the banana peeled, the fresh skin thrown
away for someone else to slip on, and monkey
sitting there in silence, chewing his morning cud.