for Claudia

Why didn’t Sisyphus simply walk away
and climb, unencumbered, up the smooth cleft
worn in the undulant hillside, up and over that crest
bright purple with wild violets one brilliant day?

Could a man who outsmarted death miss
this no-fuss solution and become eternally dumb?
With such an easy path to blue-sky freedom,
why was he now oblivious to the obvious?

Perhaps stupidity was his punishment,
not the grunting futility or eternal strain
of mindlessly pushing his faltering brain
up endless hills…and the crushing descent.

No matter how relentlessly he would chase
after answers, he would never again keep pace.


Alan Toltzis is the author of “The Last Commandment.” His work has appeared in print and online publications including, IthacaLit, Right Hand Pointing, The Provo Canyon Review, Hummingbird, and Burningword Literary Journal. You can find him online at

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2 Responses

  1. Durlabh Singh


    May not the
    Element of space
    Rise against me
    In acrid acrimony.

    From the north
    Arrives green goddess
    Ghanta of serpent head
    Garlanded with skulls
    And in her hand
    Holding metallic bells
    Sounds of the surges
    Deafening eared knell.

    Let me remember
    Infinite compassions
    The past deeds
    For all the things
    Great and small
    And for all the creeds.

    For the white dove
    For the yellow bear
    For fields of worms
    For earth borne cares.

    Let not the
    Element of sun
    Arise against me
    In wandering thirst
    On burning symptoms.

    Yogins arise westward
    Bringing seeds of wisdom
    With wavering garlands
    Amid four coloured lights
    And the scented perfumes
    Moulded from purified elements.

    In all prevailing circles
    Let not the element
    Of the seeded earth
    Arise against me.
    In some splintered segment.

    Durlabh Singh.

  2. Evan Mantyk

    We may be our own worst enemy. How true!
    Sometimes sweating it out may be undue.


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