Michael Schein


With what vigor we plumb the unseen world,
the spirit driving the sun across the sky,
the tug at the edge of knowing,
the homunculus behind the curtain.

What if it’s all just as it appears,
the curtain is a curtain
sewn by eleven year old girls
in a sweatshop in Shanghai,

That chair holding you up
is wood or metal or plastic,
atoms without quarks,
something solid against the pull of gravity.

What if death is just the end,
a kiss is just a kiss,
and we are mammals
born live on a beautiful planet,

Floating in an expanding universe,
bamboozled by over-evolved brains
into looking past the wisteria
for some divine plan,

Forever missing the wonder of butter
in our search for a mystery
greater than what’s on PBS at 8.
I’m bored by the ineffable,

By negative capability, liminal listening,
the poem between the lines.
What is is more than we can know,
What is is more than enough to love:

What is is the mystery.


“Plumbing” is reprinted from THE KILLER POET’S GUIDE TO IMMORTALITY by AB Bard (c) 2012 Wry Ink Publishing, all rights reserved, reprinted with permission of Wry Ink Publishing, LLC


Michael Schein is the author of three novels, a play, and a logorrhea of poems.  His novels are The Killer Poet’s Guide to Immortality by “AB Bard” (2012); Bones Beneath Our Feet (2011), a historical novel of Puget Sound; and Just Deceits (2008).  Michael has taught poetry and fiction at a number of venues. He is Director of LiTFUSE Poets’ Workshop.  His poetry is supported by a grant from 4Culture; it has been nominated for the Pushcart twice, and stuck to refrigerators by magnets.  He lives in Carnation.


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