:: Article

The Pair of Trees on the Other Side of the Street

By Gene Morgan.

There is a tree.

On the other side of this street is another tree.

There is another tree under that tree.

Under the tree that is under the other tree is an ant mound.

In the ant mound under the coupled trees is a colony of ants.

I can see a line of ants from where I am standing, under the single tree that is on my side of the street, across from the spooning trees that are probably dying slowly from the concrete that multiplies and slowly eats at nature.

When I was eighteen years old, twelve people had trees fall on them outside of my dorm window, and they all died, some of them were also eighteen, and I woke up and looked out my window and they were all dead and I went back to sleep.

No one on this block would care if I killed these ants.

None of these ants care if the trees die or if I die.

A man rides underneath the coupled, spooning trees on a bicycle, and looks a little at the trees, which are probably dying from the advance of concrete over the surface area of the planet.

When I was twenty-four, my cousin was run over by a truck and killed.

The trees do not care about my cousin or the ants.

On the street next to where my cousin was killed by a truck, there is a bar near a few trees.

I can have a beer near those trees, and not know that my cousin was killed on the block, under the trees, until a person I know calls me and tells me “that is where your cousin was killed.”

No one will reflect when I kick this ant bed into the street.

Sometimes, I think about all the people who have died unnaturally in the world, and all of the ants that have died unnaturally, and how they are the same thing.

I try not to get philosophical about my emotions or look for insight or get sad when I think about death, but this is impossible because all I have is my physical life, and when I die, because I do not believe in god, there is nothing, and I think about this and make this into poems.

When ants die there is nothing. There is only a tree that will probably die, and another life and tree and ant bed that will likely die.

At the end of the poem is always something witty, maybe something sad or life-affirming that reflects on the subject of the poem poetically, but this phrase cannot exist with any sort of tact at the end of this poem.

The only thing that can exist at the end of this poem is maybe a reflection of what it means to write a poem and what it means for the poem to end, and still, for a short amount of time, exist as a tangible thought on a sheet of paper, which is, at its most fundamental level, itself a collection of words printed on a tiny piece of a dead tree.

Nothing profound exists in life, only deadness exists. When people make up meanings for meaningless things, they steal from themselves the numbness of reality. There is no such thing as a poetic death.

Gene Morgan is an editor for bearparade.com . His work has appeared on www.elimae.com, www.mcsweeneys.net, and www.terry.ubc.ca, among other websites. His blogs are pompadoured.com, youngrepublic.org, and theageofwinners.blogspot.com.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, August 25th, 2007.