2 Poems by Brooks Lampe

An Ontological Proof of the Existence of Jack Spicer

What we wanted to know was,
What role does love play for each of us? Does it argue us
into meaning? Does it pull us into or away from
black holes, those portals of the infinite? Does one even need love
in a world where it hails lightly on an afternoon in late May? 

What our subjects said about love:
“It occasionally astonished me.” 
“It turned me upside down.”
“It was like a gypsy religion.”
“I don’t pick flowers anymore.”
“The world offers no solution to this problem.”

Our study suggests love can increase subjects’ chance of finding
the inner lyrical landscape.
It turns them into a cabbage patch, a kind of island
of champagne. At first, it makes one withdraw from private spaces.
Over time, everything becomes a lie. 
Distinctions between concepts soften. Circles become water.
One’s body takes on the guise of a black raft
drifting across the mirror called Hell.

Love appears to be some kind of rubbish heap 
or shrine. We would like to capture it for further study.
We do not believe in magic.

The Damned

It’s five in the morning, and every monk from every age 
has compositely lived the life you imagined for yourself,
a life only possible when one is dreaming, revisiting 
the concept of the good with each new day. 
I lie in bed in June listening to gentle rain
or some other faint nocturnal sound. The melting zombie faces 
are only in my mind, a thought string, an attempt to join 
one thing to another, to mutate small ovules into even 
smaller ovules, inside one of which I happen to live.
It is still not fully understood how to do this,
but the night seems to contain the right sort of air,
have the lucky scent of beer, the rattle
of an insomniac neighbor coming and going in a sportscar. 
The once-human visages dissolve, become receding holes  
in a kind of reverse telos, a descent into an invisible sky, 
which, to us, looks like the ground. The skin falls away half-frozen 
in tragic, accelerated decay. Whether young or old, we recognize the look:
something from the far beyond, an echo of individuality. 
Look—here is a new one, its pallor warmer,
colored with neon shades and well-defined lines. 
Yet there’s that iconic grin 
that makes you wonder what secret pleasure
awaits the damned, how much ironic satisfaction
could be in store, unpredicted by modern philosophy.
It stands there, advertising to the curious, the lonely,  
who would be good to avoid this fate, if only…

Brooks Lampe teaches writing, literature, and philosophy, at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. He is the editor of Uut Poetry, a site exploring surrealist writing techniques. His poems have appeared in Peculiar Mormyrid, Otoliths, and elsewhere.