Artist's concept of a comet breaking upBeneath the chandeliers,
among the dancing monkey suits
and sequined evening gowns,
Atlas lugs his stack of plates.

The horizon holds and balances
human nature, so the ceremony
rattles any of the bus boys
with memories of their births.

Saturn waits by the stove
in the kitchen for her agile putty.
A universal tear runs along her dress.
Nothing is in her hands.

The juggle of asteroids
clearing table five, a minute
constellation called Neurosis,
creates poetic atmosphere
with silver and glassware.
He stains the carpet.

High societies have no room for emergencies,
no red crosses to patch slip disks,
no nova to numb a changing orbit.
The lame and sprawling move on.

On a shaky dustpan, a city
sifting for gold, feels sorry for itself.
It drills and rivets, pads and suspends,
but the whole affair mocks the backbone.

First published in Mangrove Magazine
Copyright © 1997, Rich Murphy

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

Rich Murphy’s poems have appeared in such periodicals as Rolling Stone, Poetry Magazine, Grand Street, New Letters, Confrontation Magazine, Negative Capability, New Delta Review, forpoetry, Inertia Magazine, Voltaire’s Inkwell, Salamander, and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review.

Rich Murphy’s collection of poems titled The Apple in the Monkey Tree assume that each Western man and woman is a “monkey in the apple tree:” Darwin’s monkey in Adam & Eve’s tree, suffering Christ’s pain in Einstein’s epoch while applying a salve from the East. In an era when we have Catholics, evangelical Christians, Muslims, and Jews on the news and Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and E.O. Wilson weighing in with books, Rich Murphy offers this collection of poems. The Apple in the Monkey Tree has been called “provocative and enticing” and “hypnotic and enlightening” by one contest editor. Another contest editor has said that it “is such a fabulous manuscript, filled with poems that beautifully crafted, wondrously imaginative, challenging, and often quite moving. The manuscript as a whole is thoughtful, affecting, compelling, and completely fresh.”

He is pleased to announce that Great Grandfather, a chapbook of twenty-three other poems from this manuscript, will be published by Pudding House Publications.