Assiduously Apathetic
(after the style of John Donne's "The Indifferent")

I can neither love nor hate.
At my discretion, this or that need not concern me;
Who asks for my allegiance; which ones spurn me;
Who comes too early, and who leaves too late.
The digital binary either/or
Demands we pick the ceiling or the floor,
While more choice waits outside the open door.
Man can love Mr. and Butch can love Femme
They do not involve me, and so I not them.

Why must I name a virtue “vice”?
The complex world, of course, we simplify
To comprehend, yet not too simply. Why
Should not my disbelief, for now, suffice?
What hurry to conclude a guess?
Why force the blameless to confess?
And all to dodge the slightest stress
That comes to those demanding our compliance
When their insistence causes our defiance.

Ares and Athena heard
Mad cries for war from Athens and from Sparta.
Long ages later came The Magna Carta:
Derived, in part, from thoughts the Greeks had stirred.
Restraints on royal power, raw,
Which led to parliaments and law
And constitutions held in awe
These days by no one with the right connections
To money – silencer of all objections.

Why serve as Power’s minion,
Induced to flog a fable others made?
Why not, instead, illuminate the shade?
If polled, we all can answer: “No opinion.”
We’ll formulate our questions to
The riddles we’d like to pursue,
Which matter not to such as you.
Our business. None of yours, for whom we voted.
Just count the ballots, then write: “Duly noted.”

Think me heartless and stone cold.
Your feelings rest with you and no one other.
You’ve no call then to censor or to smother
What you can choose to view as new or old;
As funny, foolish, or absurd.
A sentence, clause, or phrase, or word
Need not compel. A sage concurred:
In foolish constancy he said we’d find
The true hobgoblin of a little mind.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said
“Good readers make good books.” And he wrote this because
The searching mind locates the perfect and the flaws
Which authors leave for them who can unspool the thread
That leads through dark and misty haze
Out of the Labyrinthine maze.
Misleading Minotaurs he slays,
That reading Theseus who does his part
Discovering an equal mind and heart.

Dialectics (disputatious)
Bore me with a “logic” “proving” falsehoods true.
Competing narratives designed to misconstrue
Deserve their sordid sobriquet,“mendacious.”
Harangue me with the threat of “war”
Exhort me to enlist as whore
For predators whom I deplore
And I’ll tell you to go pound sand, assuming
That you can’t tell a beach from gardens blooming.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2020