So, Whoever Said Pain is Inevitable

So, whoever said pain is inevitable
and suffering is an option
must have never sat
in church house semi-circle clutching
the Twelve Steps pamphlet like
a batch of white roses,
or felt obligated to let insult
skid off their brains
like poorly aimed
ball peen hammers,
must never have seen pass
some stranger’s funeral parade
and bore the burgeoning yelp
in their own throats,
the one poised in parturition,
ready for delivery.

To be sure they
must never have mulled
Edvard Munch’s pastel
captured in the vicinity
of a slaughterhouse
and a lunatic asylum
overlooking Oslo,
maybe inspired by an 1889 Exposition
Universelle mummy on display
in Paris, which had been buried
in a fetal position, the hands alongside the face.
Notice the tumultuous background,
compliments of an orangey-
red sky inspired by
a helpful nearby volcano.
All our screams
are like the eruption of Krakatoa.
All are inspirations for paintings,
if sound could be painted,
and if sound could be painted
The Scream would be the Mona Lisa
of all lost tribes sitting in a circle,
on folding chairs.

Someone Somewhere is Googling
Someone somewhere is Googling
the meaning of the burnt spoon
found in the sock drawer,
or aluminum foil that has been
missing from the kitchen for weeks.
Mystery solved. Consider turning
a corner where a good part
of your day is spent in nostalgia
for your best friend forever—
fat frumpy ignorance.

All the gold panners
from the old country
ran on hope and hoopla.
All the Puritans came
to Plymouth and to the realization
they were not God’s chosen,
and their only recourse was to rewrite
the covenant, hang the witches responsible.
All the new settlers, appalled to
find themselves lowering oxen with ropes
down gorges as deep as outer space,
eating their families in a few unthinkable
cases, had initially been conned.
In letters home,
in travelogues,
in God suffused poem,
the brass tongues painted paradise,
not mosquitoes as big as all-terrain vehicles,
nor native land holders, wild
with fear and rage.
Plato has already covered that—
bah, poetry, he said,
and bah poets, proxies for lies.

So, small pieces of burnt foil
may be a sign your loved one is lying to you.

In that case I lower my oxen daily
into the bottomless valley.
They are trussed in terror,
and flimsy rope.
In their wild eye is the reflection
of my eye and their flailing hooves
run in air, away,
ostensibly, from the lies of poets
exiled from the republic.

True, the government did not
exactly promise roads–
But perhaps you have seen me?
The one following an ambulance
into a lavish darkness?
The one sitting in the waiting room
of a dead of night hospital?
The one who just that morning
opened that soot smudged,
pre-apocalyptic door?

About the Author

Dorie LaRue teaches advanced composition, and occasionally American literature and creative writing at LSU in Shreveport. She received her PhD in early American literature and creative writing from the University of Louisiana, where she studied under Ernie Gaines (fiction) and Darryl Borque (poetry).

Her previous publications include, Mad Rains, (2015 Kelsay Press), a collection of poems informed by her experiences teaching in Bangladesh; Resurrecting Virgil, (2000 Backwaters Press) a novel which won the Omaha Prize, and Learning Curves, (CreateSpace 2011) which won the Kirkus Award for Best Independent Novel. She has also published individual poems and short stories in the American Poetry Review, the Southern Review, the Maryland Review and many others. In addition, she has published book reviews, and one scholarly article (on Ellen Gilchrist) in the Georgia Review. She is currently collecting her short stories, Only Visiting This Planet, into one manuscript to submit for publication. She was the recipient of grants and awards from the B. Bruce and Steve N. Simon Endowment for Professorships, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council. Recent acceptances and publications include a short story in an anthology (RWP fall 2019) and a poem in the Ekphrastic Review. To view more of their work click below.