POEMS OF DAVID WILEY  


DESIGN 

FOR A UTOPIAN ZOO 

 

The cages will be carried by their captives,

and their keys. Upon the signal of morning glow,

bright for the purpose of catching eyes, everything

sings in the key of C. All the keepers are also

kept. Every now and then the earth is watered.

The lector sits in a very high chair,

Dispensing words while everyone works. (Just

as it used to be done in Tampa.)

On Saturday afternoon there’s a party. 

 

Those who fly are given permits – good

for the duration. Uniforms are taboo.

Whoever wants to can swim in wilderness,

taking along a host of underwater paraphernalia.

Bells are rung only on days when they feel like it.

Worship is not obligatory,

but anyone can show off his finery;

narcissism is not discouraged.

On Sunday afternoon there’s a party. 

 

Climbers are given a chance to risk bones.

A few of the mountains are higher than you’d think.

Sometimes the news is bad, for instance

when the old ones lose their teeth. Swingers

are provided with a fine selection of vines.

The philosophers peel potatoes twice a week,

but no one ever has to do laundry.

Awards are given for picking out lice.

On Monday afternoon there’s a party. 

 

During eclipses everything stops.

Arguments are permitted when the moon is full.

Nocturnals will often find bones of contention

with those who insist on living by day.

Conflicts are settled by arbitration.

The resolution is a dance till dawn.

By then all sides are too tired to fight.

Music is always a quick solution.

On Tuesday afternoon there’s a party. 

 

Gardens and orchards are by the sun.

Pruning is done with a perfect exactitude.

The principles of a balanced economy, “To each

according to his needs,” as someone said,

Are usually adhered to. Free running water

is provided for a long list of uses.

Omnivores have no privileged position. Everyone

takes turns being eaten. But not before his time.

On Wednesday afternoon there’s a party. 

 

Bounders are given a clear field of action.

Sometimes a crowd will form on the sidelines.

A large patch of earth, sprinkled with obstacles,

is reserved for the diggers and other denizens

of the underground scene. Scratching and licking

are common occurrences. Light shows are given

at certain seasons. Teachers are trained by

their pupils , who don’t know anything either.

On Thursday afternoon there’s a party. 

 

When the week’s work is done nobody is finished.

All that hubbub is dropped like a stone.

At sunset the lectors come down from their perches

And mingle with poems dropped into the shrubbery.

Families and singles are welcome to mix.

News of the day is passed by gesture.

Those who are tired will stay at home.

Everyone else will head for the hills.

On Friday night thank God there’s no party. 

 

 


All images and text copyrighted.  All rights reserved.  ©  Copyright 2002 David Wiley.