& the sound of laughter from
   a faraway room, faraway
& having lately emerged from
   some philosophical meanderings
& riding a wave of bitter beer and
   seamy loquaciousness
& as three little ships come 
   bearing out of the Friday fog
& running smack aground in
   an archipelago of lost empiricists
& the world, once flat, becomes
   slowly rounded out again
& he tries to look casual while
   clinging to the edge
& our intrepid explorer inching his way
   through dangerous bushes
& his weed-whacker plugged securely into
   the mainstream of Western thought
& snicker-snacking his way through
   sundry vines and creepers
& a jungle of all-pervasive
   pernicious postmodernism
& questions of the rightness of
   the wrongness of the right
& addressing the dialectic within
   the Christian concept of Trinity
& pushing aside a plethora of
   palm fronds, he saw her
& her friend who bore the omnipresent
   death-gaze of late adolescence
& listening to her pagan chant
   of spacey ambiguity
& he thought she might be something that
   Columbus would be shocked to find
& a potential hazard, some of
   the others might venture
& the Senate Judicial Committee might
   be inclined to agree
& bellied up to the stains on
   the edge of the bar
& sucking back several of
   the trendiest of potables
& painting a vivid picture of
   Long Dong Silver, former porno star
& lost dinosaur from the Valley of
   the Shadow of America
& thinking this couldn't have happened in
   1492 or something like that
& not quite knowing what she meant
   the explorer gave up
& sot off to discover other
   more meaningless parties
& islands of sanity amid
   the sargassum of academia
& never finding them because he was
   more lost than he thought he was
& finding his place in history less
   comfortable than it used to be
& giving up a bases-loaded two-out homer in
   the bottom of the tenth
& losing her amid the little holes
   in the Metrodome roof
& unable to find her again in
   several subsequent voyages
& the Great Navigator driven to madness
   by nonsensical roadsigns
& distracted by the mating calls of the
   thoroughly vacant
& deciding to go back to Spain or Italy or
   wherever he came from
& giving up on his sweet-smelling but
   inscrutable discovery
& being left with hazy memories and
   the miracle of the potato
& that's about as far as explorers get
   in this Enlightened Age
& it probably wasn't actually Columbus Day anyway
   but it was close
& fading sort of quickly when
   they cut off his funding
& waking in the safety of
   Queen Isabella's dungeons
& finding the Universe was unfolding
   like you would.

                                               (Mike O'Brien)