Study Guide

Allegory

by Mary Jo Bang

Allegory eText - eText

Text of the Poem

Let us console you.
Music's the answer.
Of couse, we're caught
in this sphere
Where it doesn't much matter 5
whether our song reaches
the ear of Prometheus or not.
He's adamantly chained
to the mountaintop.
Every morning, there's eagle, 10
a beak and a claw on the back.
Such an ache. Somatognosis
is the sixth sense.
What does it feel like
to inch one's way forward? 15
These are the questions.
Dawn on its knees
crawls toward knowledge.
More of us are coming.
All of the adoring. 20
Every day is another broken
tie on a red-leather shoe. A Who-
do-you-wish-to-be?
Tonight we'll be content
with whomever we think we are. 25
The door of the car will click-close
And off we'll go.
In the back is the Jackself
we might have been.
What's the degree of remove 30
between the one at the top
of Pie Mountain
and the tourist motel
at the bottom with its pool
of aqua attitude and blue inflatables? 35
Some vigorous enactment.
Is it three o'clock or twelve fifteen?
Either is only an estimate.
Myth equals fate
plus embellishment. 40
The wheel is set in motion
when our eyes are on the moment.
Later, we drive on four wheels
to the carnival and line up
for a ticket; the air is rife 45
with summer.
The kinesthetic lift of a foot
from the floor
forces itself to be felt.
The actors are standing 50
against a wall and watching
it all unfold. Look,
they say, at the minutiae sutured
to the spine of the climax
when somebody opens the door 55
on the side of despair
and looks out onto death and destruction.