In Trutina Mentis [poem] by David Simpson

When have I heckled the world with weapons,
whether with the shofar or
powderhorn of words made of all that
long-time-tamped-down misfit feeling
of a man lost at his own party?
I have, like Peter,
preferred to chauffer moi-même
near the flame of some stupid wish
such as, some day, lying
in the Queen of England’s arms or,
Swaz Hie Gat Umbe, tumbling
head to feet with Bloom’s wife
down flowered mountains singing Floret
Silva Undique
, more in love
with the still-point between chastity
and lasciviousness than with the lover present,
all the while swearing by Jesus, at least
three times a day, I do not know
the man I dreamt of being.  Look at this poetry,
references biblical, musical, literary,
when what I need’s to wash
one bloody corpse that got the life shot out of it
for standing up to something, or to wake up
to the crowing cock, take a chance on
only cold night’s cloak around my middle
and welcome the drubbings as they drag me out
of their Mostly Mozart concerts in the park
for shouting my discordant politics
above the orchestra!  I will thrill
to the percussion of their billyclubs
on my noggin, to their boots against the drum
of my ribs as I sing out long vowels
for amnesty.  It’s only a body.  Only
so much dust when it’s over, mine
or Mozart’s, under another man’s fingernails.


*”In the wavering scales of my mind
I weigh lascivious love against chastity. But I choose what I see.
I submit my neck to the yoke: I yield to the sweet yoke.”
In Trutina Mentis,” song from the collection, Carmina Burana.


Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer: This poem refers to Carl Orff’s song, listen here.]

Image by Ian A. Kirk via Flickr Creative Commons

David Simpson was born blind in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1952. After attending the Overbrook School for the Blind through eighth grade, he became one of the first blind students in Chester County to attend public school. Simpson earned a master’s degree in organ performance from Westminster Choir College and traveled to Paris for a year of private study with the blind organist Andre Marchal. He has an MFA from New York University. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, River Styx, The Cortland Review, Verse Daily, and La Petite Zine. He has received grants from the Independence Foundation and the NEA. In 2007, Simpson and his identical twin brother, Daniel, released a CD of their poetry entitled Audio Chapbook. He has read at venues which include The Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia’s First-Person Festival, WXPN World Café, and on Whyy’s Radio Times with Marty Moss‑Coane. He is currently working on a one-person show. A collection of Simpson’s poems, The Way Love Comes to Me, is slated for publication later this year.