The Very Act of Observing Something Changes It

     In a dark time, the eye begins to see.

               God is a concept
                              By which we measure our pain.


               Some god’s breath ripples a fresh path
through pools of my father’s blood, less
and less, his eyes slow their roll, and
less and less credible, justice
retracts its wet tentacles and
sighing, drops them like snow on this
sorrow, blowing out of my hand
what will blow up tomorrow, this
parking lot’s last stand stains, his brains
bathed in what his crushed heart spits up
               as its fist-thickness unfurls, pain
only delayed reaction lips
drain, a lost grenade dropped in vain—
arsenal of wails sharks will just
crush and mix, their jawing making
a new use for trashed tears, run off
the press likes to retool, wasting
no time to retell those vicious
lies and package them as news, when
truth bleeds out seeking to prove his
               existence, some gods laugh doubting
quips and let him go, so I wish
and I manifest and I am
convinced, without conviction, death’s
just a kamikaze pilot
without a mission, that your gods
are not so, but villains killing
off heroes, those whose blind vengeance
has taken away from me mine
spilling his life for a sentence.

1Theodore Roethke, “In a Dark Time”, line 1, originally published in, “Sequence, Sometimes Metaphysical” of The Far Field, Garden City: Doubleday, 1964; page 79.
2John Lennon, “God”, lines 1–2, originally released on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, London: Apple, 1970; side 2, track 10. Copyright © 1970 Lenono Music (BMI). All rights administered by Downtown DMP Songs (BMI)/Downtown Music Publishing LLC. Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.