Two Poems

by C. Derick Varn

Demarcation Poem

“If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories.”
-Sir Karl Popper, “The Poverty of Historicism”

So we can give
you a problem:
The New Year’s
rotting hairs released
in a slurry of gray
and brown. Naval
gazing doesn’t
tell you much

about yourself
except that
your eyes
can’t peer past
lint into viscera .

If “A” is for Apollian,
“D” for Dionysian,
then Nietzsche
botched variables
of the equation.
If you are searching
for answers, have
breakfast first, or
the truth won’t
tell. “Nonsense,”

you say. The
divination of
hair in the sink
or mapping
of veins, no
more scientific
than palmistry.

If “D” is for Death
and “L” is for life,
then the symbolism
is too blatant. We’re
still struggling
for meaning’s
lines to be
clearer, to cut
away the dead
weight, which
may be life
itself.

Looking Awry

There is a joke:
a poet falls in love
with a prostitute,
but there is no
punch line and
the humor relies
almost entirely
in the preposition.
The poem here
is flat, deliberately,
like the plains
of the Ohio
river basin,
rough edges
smoothed away
with only a
dash of irony.

This poem is not
autobiographical:
I love a friend,
who in kindness
asked me, why
I didn’t take
the truth straight
with no chaser,
but then again
therein lies
another joke
without a
punch line
dependent
on some form
of speech or
another. If
someone asks
you to say something
beautiful, the best
response is silence.

C. Derick Varn has served as managing editor for the now defunct Milkwood Review.  He won the Frankeye Davis Mayes/Academy of American Poets Prize in 2003 and have recently published poems in Backwards City Review, Cartier Street Review, Deuce Coupe, Rusty Truck, JMWW Magazine, Writing Disorder and Unlikely Stories 2.0.  He is the co-founder and co-editor of Former People, and also functions as an editor for the North Star.  He currently lives in Mexico.

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