Forbes and Fifth

Monkeys and Itches

The sense of knowing

Is a bottomless depth.

The sense of understanding


Even more so.

       The brain itches with facts

And claws at opinions,

                        Opinions that so accurately grasp the world

       That they become facts.

        And then the brain itches with facts.


•           How large is the universe?


The itches I carry are prickly.

A scratch can grant the tiniest of satisfactions

     A dulling of the perpetual sensation,

But the itches come back.




The itches tingle.


•           Why are humans shaped this way?


Monkeys, I'm told,

Are the culprit.

Our primitive forefathers,

     Drunk on the perceived slight

                                           Of ignorance,

Take revenge on their big-brained descendants.

The itches aren’t anything but

Their screams.


•           How much matter exists in the known and unknown universe?


One monkey cries amongst a chorus of screeches.

Or is it just an itch amongst a sea of itches?


The monkeys,

The itches,

            They sit there

            Up in my head

            Knocking on the door of my peace

With a loud, resounding


•           What happens after we die?



How do you kill a monkey?

How do you scratch an itch?

Do you set a trap for it,

leave a bright yellow banana under some bushes?


•           Is time real?


      Does the itch have a special ointment,

      A healing balm that medicine says will cure all?


What about for thousands,

For millions of monkeys whose howls

   Resound into the depths of the night,

    Shaking your eardrums until they bleed?


Billions of itches that

•           Do aliens exist?


•           Are there multiple realities?


•           Why do we get angry?


•           How do we think?

Itch until

The brain’s wrinkled folds

Give way to a smooth,

Scrubbed surface.


I tell myself

That it’s all temporary.

                       The monkeys have to sleep sometime,

                                                Have to eat the banana I’ve left

 So conveniently under that bush for them.


•           How do we feel pain?


The itches will resolve themselves,

Like a cold that disappears

After a day with a warm blanket.


But I know

That it is not the disease


•           Are fish conscious?


But the reprieve that is temporary.


They say

The only way to get rid of a tumor

Is to kill it entirely,

To destroy every molecule

So that it’s malignant spawn spreads no longer.

        But what if

•           Why do we need oxygen to breathe?


•           Why is the Earth round?



Perhaps then the best cure

•           How did life begin?

   Is to do absolutely

•           Will humanity ever end?

Nothing at all.


To hear the monkeys’ shrieks

As laughter,

•           Is curiosity good for you?

And to feel the itches

As caresses.   

Volume 16, Spring 2020