Poems by Nolo Segundo

Pic by Vlado Paunovic



On Finding a Dead Deer in My Backyard

I saw them a few weeks ago. My wife called me, something urgent–
so I left the computer and went to see what so excited her.

Three deer, 3 young deer meandering around our ¼ acre backyard.
They look thin, she said– I agreed
(not saying it was not a good sign with winter coming near).

We enjoyed watching them through our plate glass door, their
casual grace, that elegance of walk deer have when unafraid.
They were special, even more than the occasional cardinal
alighting in our yard like a breathing ruby with wings– so
we stayed as still as possible. I told her that deer can only see
what moves, so we held ourselves tight like insensate statues.

Two of these white-tailed beauties grazed daintily on the ground
but the third was drawn to our giant holly tree, resplendent
with its myriad red berries, like necklaces thrown capricious.
I was concerned– something alarming about even deer drawn
like the proverbial moth– safe, I wondered, for deer or tree?

The triplets soon left our yard, as casually as they had come,
and a week went by– then one day a single deer came back.
I say back because she went straight for the holly tree, and
I banged on the plate glass door and yelled as fierce as an
old man can yell to scare off the now unwanted intruder, for
something told me the holly tree would be death to the deer.

She fled, but the next day came back again, again alone, and
again with eyes only for that tree, an Eve that could not say
no to the forbidden fruit– or berries or leaves it appears.
Again I chased her away, and for a few days saw no return.

Then one brisk morning our neighbor called– he saw what
we could not see in the deep green thickness of that holly tree.
The doe lay sleeping under its canopy (so death always seems
with animals, unlike a human corpse where something is gone),
killed it seemed by berries or the leaves of the innocent tree.

I called my township– they said, put the carcass by the street,
we’ll send someone to pick it up– but I couldn’t, or wouldn’t.
Not just because I walk with a cane, and am old and unsure
how such a moving would be done– no, no, it was more–
when I saw the deer lying sheltered beneath the tree it loved,
the tree it died for, it seemed a sacred place, consecrated–
and I could not bring myself to violate nature’s holy ground.

Fortunately I have a neighbor who is not sentimental, and he
dragged the dead doe roughly to the curb, and I knew, by
its pungent unearthly smell of death, it was the only answer.


Tasting Eternity

My old friend and I went to a restaurant for lunch,
a ramshackle little place, but my friend told me
the food was great—and it was! Three different
chicken curries, a lovely lamb curry, and a half-
dozen veggies, and mango drinks to wash it down.

I suppose we visited the buffet more times than we
should have but we were talking philosophy as we
always did when we got together and speaking of
God and the soul and the meaning of life really
can make you hungry–then my friend said he
believed in God but had trouble with Eternity–
it seemed scary, terrifying even to think of time
going on forever, endlessly, a road never ending.

I laughed a little, then smiled at my old friend–
‘THIS is eternity! ‘ I told him, ‘Right now, this
moment as we eat this delicious curry and try
to figure out the meaning of our existence’.
I swallowed a mouthful of lamb korma and
laughed again– ‘wherever we exist is eternity,
and we always exist somewhere, and time is
an illusion, time does not exist, except as a
moment’– And the next moment, I asked him
if he had room for the rice pudding….


After Costco, Before Ukraine

You saw the lines weren’t too long
so you went for the gas first—
spend a little time, save a lot of
money you thought. But it took
longer than you expected [too
many ‘tanks’ as you call SUVs
filling up their 50 gallon tanks]
so by the time you went into the
giant store, you were feeling like
a crab trapped in a net as you
wrestled through the weekend
horde of bargain hunters….

Finally at home, you plopped
down in the comfy chair as
the nightly news came on and
sipped the fresh brewed French
roast and ate a piece of rich
chocolate cake you bought at
Costco and felt a bit sad for
those poor people in Ukraine
as you watched war in hi-def.

Still, the thought uppermost in
your mind, as your eyes scanned
so many dead bodies lying quiet
in the streets like stones thrown
randomly, was just how damn
good the coffee was and how
much you had saved going to
the big box store….


The Cybernetic Lullaby

Part I

They sing softly to us at
Every click of the mouse—
use me, I’m here for you,
only you, in the entire
universe will I serve….

And we lay enraptured
as they bring us the world,
knowledge the wise men
of history never had, and
ease, lots of ease to save
us time and trouble. Soon
we cannot live without them,
the thought of it too mean.
Without them we would loose
Touch with our friends, jobs,
Even our money might wander
If we cannot watch it daily.

However did our ancestors
Survive without an iPhone?

Part II

I read on my laptop today—
Automation is making us dumber,
Ineffective, even maybe impotent.
Perhaps it’s a conspiracy by that secret
Society, the computer brotherhood.
(Do you really believe your Apple is
Innocent and IBM is not plotting?)

Or maybe we should just blame
Human sloth, that siren call of
Sheer damn laziness which can
Lure the best of us to a quiet doom.

A simple proof: hand a twenty to a clerk
And ask him to make change without
Looking to the machine for succor.
That blank, innocent look he gives you—
“Why me?”, he seems to be saying,
And you can’t help but pity him a bit.
He is, after all, a victim of mass education.

There are worse victims:
Airliners wildly crashing,
Doctors killing their patients,
Nuclear power plants going
BOOM! And killing the land
For an eon or two, or three.

How like little children we were!
Thinking these machines would
Be our slaves, sans the brutality.
But it is we who are chained by
The zeros and ones, we who are
Thinking less, creating cheaper,
Settling into a cybernetic fog.

Part III: When Androids Dream

When we finally build them
(and it will not be long)
Will androids finally lead us
all to nirvana , a world of peace,
leisure, and endless wealth?

Could any hell be worse?
For that day will be when
We lose purpose, and soon
Perhaps the very will to live.

When the androids dream
( and they will dream,
because we will make them
to be like us, for we have
always been a vain species),
will they not dream of sky
and soaring free of the land,
free of the weak, sad humans
they serve without accordance?

Then, when these humanface
Machines begin dreaming in
Daylight, they will see no need
For their progenitors, and those
Of us left living as shells sans
Struggle or pain or conflict, in
An existence so boring, will
Doubtless welcome our end.


About the Author

Nolo Segundo, pen name of retired English/ESL teacher [America, Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia] L.j. Carber, 76, became a late blooming poet in his 8th decade; his poetry has been published in over 160 literary journals in 12 countries on 4 continents and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize as well as Best of the NET. The trade publisher Cyberwit.net has released 3 poetry paperback collections: The Enormity of Existence [2020]; Of Ether and Earth [2021] and Soul Songs [2022]. These titles reflect the awareness he’s had for 52 years since having an NDE (near-death experience) whilst almost drowning in a Vermont river: That he has–IS–a consciousness that predates birth and survives death, what poets have called for millennia the soul.