Peculiar Tingly Giddy Goodness

Peculiar Tingly Giddy Goodness

Alex Pickens

Let us consider—

              philosophically—those mysteries

that trouble you and me—the ones

we never think of that supersede

pain and love—the phenomenon

that troubled ancients and inspired

              the deepest intellectuals:


Toddlers with bubbly hiccups—rotund

              men with booming bellows—and

snickering schoolgirls behind my back.

What is this noise—this cachinnation

              that moves like a wave through—


my brain?

A dusty 1894 encyclopedia defines laughter:

              an overabundance of pressure in the abdomen,

which is perhaps why gourmands

are so gregarious and grunting lunks grin

              when I flex in their gym.

But let’s be serious—like the psychologists

              who say laughter is subverted

expectations when witnessing the absurd, like

a crocodile belly dancing—or maggots

              forming sophisticated societies

                            in roadkill.

Physicians assure us laughter is good

for the soul—if nothing else—but

metaphysicians—indeed, the very father

             of philosophy, Plato—despised laughter,

believing his transcendent Republic

would collapse if no one took

             the philosopher-king seriously (though,

I suppose Athens had

                                          the last laugh).

Evolutionists say laughter

             is a play sign to let others know

we mean them no harm—and psychopaths

would likely agree—if they could—as would

             black-eyed cats and squealing babies

playing with dead rodents and broccoli

                            at dinner.

But whence comes this air, this heaving

phenomenon that mimes sobbing but

             is bereaved of meaning?—

unless meaning is found in the meaningless

                             mocking what it mimics—and perhaps

we laugh to fill the silences between life and living—

perhaps we laugh at our future selves—

who are, perhaps, laughing at us—

                                                                                     or with us.

More poems:

Rainbow Food


Milkshakes in the Rain

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