In the Triplex of Existence –
The Gods lived on Top –
The Evils lived in the Basement –
The Humans – Each a composite riddle –
Hence – lived in the Middle
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion
and published in Perspectives, ISBN 0-9686250-0-2.
Notes to this poem…
I loved this poem and its metaphor ever since I thought of it to write this poem. I don’t get excited to the same extent over the completion of every poem, of course, but this was one that felt great to pen.
I lived in a duplex at the time, but it was two homes attached side by side, not on top of the other. There were no triplex, if you will, where there were three homes attached side by side, or not that I knew of. However, I realized some of my fellow university students were renting in homes with three floors and they each occupied a floor. Those weren’t real triplex, but it led me to wonder if such a word even existed. Sure enough, it did, and whether triplex existed one above another like that described here, I didn’t care… and still don’t know. However, it was a good enough concept to connect it to the concept of Heaven, Earth and Hell in Christianity, in levels one above the other.
Even better was the fact the word “middle” was close enough in sound to the word “little” to qualify for assonance in rhyme to let me express a life belief that as humans, we are neither born good or bad, but that, inevitably, we’re a mix of both. It also said a lot to the extent that I don’t believe anybody is pure evil or pure good, even if that’s hard to accept among some people I’ve known or heard about over the years.
To get an original abstract metaphor and express not just one, but several, life beliefs in a poem just five lines long, for a verbose guy like me… that’s what gets me excited poetically when I write!
Finally, the capitalizations are all correct and intentional. I believe enough in humanity to capitalize “Humans” as the special species populating the Middle realm, which I capitalized in the same way we generally capitalize “Earth” in spelling and using the word in the context of our planet.
The O-series of poems are one stanza poems composed before I got onto writing haiku and tanka, and short poetry while in action or traveling by select means like plane or ferry. These poems are 3-9 lines long with at least one rhyming couplet, and not of the short forms just mentioned. For the sake of elegance, I just called the collection One.