Paradise / Leda

George Franklin

Paradise / Leda 2017-12-29T23:14:32+00:00

Project Description

Paradise

Each morning begins with an omelet, thick
Slices of bacon, buttered toast. Angels
Tell Him the news, singing, mixing in
Praise. The great dining room of heaven
Is walled with paintings. The old masters
Are still at it in their ateliers among
The clouds. The smell of oil paint drifts
Everywhere, which is pleasing to Him,
As are the new sonatas Mozart composed
Before breakfast. Picasso and Michelangelo
Argue in the garden, by the hydrangeas,
But that’s only to be expected. Poets mumble,
Make last minute revisions on the marble
Staircase, and somewhere around ten,
Mephistopheles arrives to ask, with
Perfect manners, if he can torture Job.

Leda

Later, there were four children, two mortal,
Two not. Their lives all stretched in front of me,
A tapestry of sorts, woven by careless
Fingers, rough wool the color of lapis stones,
Splashed with the red of blood and sword-bright bronze,
A king slaughtered like an unsuspecting
Calf. What there was to see I saw: Helen,
My daughter, staring back from Trojan walls
And Clytemnestra busied sharpening blades.
What is more useless than knowledge of events
You cannot change? Knowing the future is only
A different kind of history, marked by shame
At what you know and how you know it. The gods
Are swans and bulls and clouds and gold. They empty
Their reckless seed into our wombs and leave
Us in return some gift they think we’ll like—
Knowledge, a trinket given to a whore.

George Franklin

George Franklin practices law on Miami Beach, teaches poetry workshops in Florida state prisons, and lives with his son Simon and a dog named Brodsky. He received his MFA from Columbia and his PhD from Brandeis. His poems have appeared in The Threepenny Review, The Quarterly, Verse, Salamander, Matter, Scalawag, Sheila-Na-Gig, Gulf Stream, The Ghazal Page, Rumblefish Quarterly, and Vending Machine Press, and have been translated into Spanish and presented in a dual-language format in Alastor and Nagari. A poem is also forthcoming in B O D Y.

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