Fool in the Attic


by David Denny

Go ahead, try to ignore him, that
gregarious wise guy in your head.
Try as you might to bring your body
under the discipline of the breath
and use it as a drill to dig a well
to the soul, again and again his
incessant chatter will haul the bucket
back to the surface. The Buddhists
call him Monkey Mind, recalling
the numbing scat of our hairy relatives
in the canopy as we walk through
the jungle of the post-modern world.

What he wants more than anything
is to see you climbing awkwardly
into the trees after him, narrowly
missing his tail as he leaps
from branch to wagging branch,
mocking you with his screeching
and wailing. Again and again
you must return your gaze back
to the path before you. Again and ever
again turning back, turning back,
imagining a Someday when the nerves
in your legs don’t ache to follow him.

David Denny’s poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Pearl, The Sun, and Radix, among others. His heroes include Jurgen Moltmann, Humphrey Bogart, and Raymond Carver. He teaches Shakespeare and the Bible at DeAnza College.