As Good as it Gets

Why does the Pope’s tall rocket hat point up?
Because God’s will has been removed from matter
so that we might decide what’s right and wrong—
we, who are madder than the maddest hatter,
our every word a snippet of mad song;
who’ve served the heads of people on a platter,
or blood in a tureen for Sunday soup!
Karl Barth said we were no damned good. Yes, he
shared Jeffers’ view of humankind. Karl Barth
was probably correct, if we agree
to measure by his standard. But what hearth
was ever won or kept by kindness? What we do,
if measured by that which we could do, seems
somehow to suit all but the elitist few.

E. M. Schorb has published several collections of poetry, including Time and Fevers: New and Selected Poems (AuthorsHouse, 2004), which was chosen as a 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Award winner; A Fable & Other Prose Poems (2002), Murderer's Day (1998), winner of the Verna Emery Poetry Prize; 50 Poems (1987); and The Poor Boy and Other Poems (1975); and a chapbook, Like the Fall of Rome and Other Humanitarian Disasters (1980). He is also the author of two novels: Paradise Square, which won the International eBook Award Foundation's Frankfurt eBook Award for "Best Fiction work originally published in eBook form," and Scenario for Scorsese (both Denlinger's Publishers, 2000). His poems and prose have appeared in Best American Fantasy 2007, as well as The American Scholar, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Chattahoochee Review, Chelsea, The Literary Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, The Texas Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Yale Review, among other journals. His honors include Fellowships in Literature from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the North Carolina Arts Council, and grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Carnegie Fund for Authors, and Robert Rauschenberg & Change, Inc. (for illustrations in The Poor Boy). He lives in Mooresville, North Carolina.