Schadenfreude

There’s a certain joy in watching someone you hate
suffer. Naturally it took a German
mind to cobble together and join the words
schade and freude, joy at suffering. I see

how easy it happened. Pointed helmet
on head, my great grandfather, Peter Kessel,
seated atop his rust-red Reitpferd in WWI
came crushing over a small patch

of flowers through the forest he guarded.
Yellow dandelions and white Spring saxifrage
had commandeered the fields with their beauty.
Peter ‘s horse snorted and slowed. Ahead,

what had been hidden in small heights
of wild grass lay a man sprawled on his back.
Peter dismounted, pushed a polished boot
into the man. He jerked and moaned.

His left hand, zigzaged like a baguette
conducting the breeze. He began to sing
“C’est la vie.” Grandfather kneeled.
Ungloving his left hand, he touched

the man’s forehead. Schade — he said, too bad
– it was schade. His own supplies
meager, he’d been told not to bring
enemy combatants back to camp.

The Frenchmen was rotten with fever.
Peter trotted on, leaving him. Without much thought
he’d have shot a crippled horse. Behind him,
the man’s cries rose like larks into the meadow.

copyright © 2015 Kurt Lovelace All Rights Reserved

Lost in Space

lis-will-laser

I’ve never felt in control of my life.
So unlike Will Robinson, who walks alone
confident in the dark, navigating rocks

jutting up from soil like jagged giants.
Will moves without tripping, welcomes
vast rivers blocking his way, ahead

where his cleverness already owns solutions
unfolding from his brain, his small frame
skedaddling before the enormous painted

draperies of a B&W planet. Chalk light drowns
on slate grass. Black-glass insects ooze
on skin-black leaves. Undaunted, Will squeezes

his walkie-talkie, hailing Alpha Control.
As if we could call out waiting light years
for an answer to find its vast way back

between the vacuum and the stars
for what is control but the hand’s reaching
out, manipulating, from the rotation

and twisting wheels of the shoulder
the things we love and hate that sit before us
when there’s no one there to tell us how?

copyright © 2015 Kurt Lovelace All Rights Reserved