WHEN HELP FINALLY ARRIVED

WHEN HELP FINALLY ARRIVED

Somewhere blank, we don´t know exactly where but
There in that little tropical place,
Whose name we really don´t know either,
Nor care to speak of,
A strangely pacific wind blew through the shades one day
As the spaceship settled into its nest among
The grasses along the edge of the
Now barren hill
Near the stream.

(It might have been a fantasy, but let´s continue.)

After the hurricane destroyed everything, the people conducted a
Requiem for Civilization, using the last embers of the fire they made
To roast a couple of pigs for the neighborhood, to then write
“HELP!” on the bald mountaintop,
Hoping that a century of neglect might at last
Attract some attention among the newly visible millions of stars at night
They became quickly re-accustomed to
Since no one had electricity now.

The catalyst was despair; not that they were unfamiliar with it before,
But all these years’ gritted teeth wore down even the toughest among them
And finally “los desesperados” took matters into their own hands:
Realizing help might come from above, this time.
When that moony night finally came
They all gathered around the silver craft, now
Tilting to its dented side as the mud weakened,
Threatening to pull it down to where the rest of the island´s debris
Lay at the bottom of the ravine, on its way out to sea,

A few of these noble people took to dragging
The many ragged branches along the road
To prop up the ship
So that at least some entente could be negotiated
when at last their meeting came.
Sadly,
Nobody took notes.

However, in the morning it was decided that,
As they shared the same basic anatomy,
We´d all be best served by pairing up in the huts during the hot days,
Splitting the slender catches of fish at night,
Swapping recipes, holding hands,
Looking up at the stars together.

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THE LONG NIGHT´S LAST SONG

THE LONG NIGHT’S LAST SONG

It was all out of proportion:
The whiskey glasses,
The numbers of imbibers,
The slothful sort who rambled in
When the closing hour began,
Along with the usual mean-spirited kids who thought they
Could take a chance by drinking faster and more deeply
Than their health or peers thought appropriate.
Few had any sense that night.
But on stage, just before last call,
When Tommy sang, the first bottles tossed were the last,
And the ensuing silence,
Draped in the vapors of a dozen pipes and pub cigarettes,
Overtook the posturing, the laughter, and the liquor,
Sweeping the last stragglers out
On waves of tears they fought back
As they walked the drizzly streets home.

THE RAISE

THE RAISE

Fully absorbed in his nautilus frame of boorishness
The manager took out a vaguely green-ish tissue and suddenly sneezed,
Mucus running into his Don Ameche mustache and quickly
Sopped up by the old tissue he swiftly dropped
Into the trash bin near his desk.

Uppity as we knew it was, the meeting about the raise began on that foot.
We couldn´t stand on it much so none of us noticed, or,
We pretended not to notice until
Files brought in from his secretary
Were deftly snatched from her hands along with a passing
Gooey hand on her shoulder as he said, “Thanks.”

I winced and feeling weak looked out the window.
The window cleaners across the way were laughing
As my stomach churned between what I´d just witnessed
And what I saw then:
They were teasing each other by rocking the platform and occasionally
Spitting at each other, the thin arcs of the white liquid
Tracing the 60 floors down until they disappeared on a crowd of pedestrians
Shuffling towards the subway.

Upset at the progress, my colleagues tapped my shoulder and
In one sickening motion, I turned quickly sharing my own unwanted liquid spews
In the form of a dizzying wash of brown Coke and barely digested street bought
Mexican chicken quesadillas smothered in creamed cheese and bright-red salsa,
Now a manic mess atop the boss´desk and papers ready for his examination.

You could hear the muzak from the elevator just outside his door as
The secretary stared, standing stone still and pale
Before silently closing the door in her own quite pekid panic.
Gripping her mouth and Making a beeline to the restroom down the hall.

There would be no fluffy labor talks now,
But, just before the Great Upset Howl emerged from his formerly tight-lipped frog face
I began to scream with laughter yelling
“Hallelujah!”
A rude and rowdy jump of joy
Mixed with my former stomach contents gracing my best shirt but
Sharing what I knew were the sentiments we all had
Before the yearly begging rite always began with that pig,
Thinking we´d never get much this time around
But the proceedings next year wouldn´t be nearly as fun.

A USELESS GOD

A USELESS GOD

He once thought that
the weight of his vision could
carry him elsewhere,
where neither pain nor profit prospered,
but then he wondered,
what incentive does God have
to be merciful
when all God loves
dies anyway?

To live in this dark quiet mess,
where the sanctification of stupid
still holds sway,
is to accept the Promethean limitations
of such a being,
making
the very concept
useless.

THE SHAPE OF THINGS AS THEY ARE

THE SHAPE OF THINGS AS THEY ARE
Chief among the concerns today was finding
the right hashtag to carry on
as a full member of society.

This is what it has come to.

Along those vaster Empyrean realms
no one sports in anymore,
noble sentiments now compete with
empirical analysts (soulless pickers of nits
who rely upon conspiracies of
logic and precision where gods fail to meet their muster),
and occasionally we see the wider flights:
the dancers of arts, the pluckers of strings,
the laughing churlishness of mischievous angels,
whose very presence
marks the adjuvant to our daily cocktails
making the drudgery tolerable,
the awful weird, bearable.

There is much work to do yet.

The unsetting sun

THE UNSETTING SUN

Near midnight,
The sun is still there, above the
Horizon, bleaching both books
& thangkas on the walls
Just outside this room
Where the cool golden glow
Sneaks through the door and,
Turning from my desk to see,
I sense the years as leaden weights
Lying under a cold sky.

INFALLIBLE

INFALLIBLE
I wanted something different, dammit, something that would
Upset the powerful and unfurl a twisting dime´s worth of
A chance to tilt it over enough to fall.
It should fall, all of it.
The sparkling shit shows that pass for news,
The grinding crush of the daily lives most lead,
The waking terror of missing a payment, a lunch, getting stopped for a ticket,
Getting recognized in the food stamp office.

Tilt it all over.
Shoot, knock it down now.

As stressful as I saw it, it was worse for the unlucky,
The lone feeders of the ether, living in boxes out back,
Or rotting trailers with flapping doors, hand to mouthing,
Praying for anyone or anything to makes us
As great as we feel we should be
But never will be and we know it.

Call me infallible.
I ain´t got nothing wrong on that last check to the counters
Where the tips are getting smaller
And the stinginess of the damnable writes “US citizens only” on theirs
Praising Jesus on the drive home, saluting the flag still flying
Near the Post Office, now closed.
Whatever becomes of this shit it´s a whole lot better
Than being vaporized in a wash of radioactive isotopes near a playground or
Dropped above your heads.
Every particle there we eat or breathe is another mark the cancer
We´re set for is a cancer we´ll see through alone
Posting prayer wishes on Facebook, crying that it´s all
Too much to bear.
I keep getting it right. Damn.

We got a choice:
We can turn up the amplitude and get walkin´
Or we can light the fires at home,
But it´s going to take long struggle and a lot more misery
Before that belated victory is seen, the better way demonstrated.

The Coming Spring Storm

THE COMING SPRING STORM

Squealing through opaque windows
the whistling gusts sweep papers
to the floor
in a frenzy of mortal chaos
changing the afternoon´s plans to simpler tasks
for now.

Finally gathered together, the desk is set, the window shut,
and, pulling the shades higher to see the storm´s dark blue origins,
the mountains a mile or two beyond stare back,
giving away no secrets, the wind, granting no quarter, the skies, merciless.

WORMSONG

WORMSONG

We overuse everything: apologies, tools for the yard, commas,
Phones, computers, etc.,
Never taking responsibility for the critical mass we are creating,
One so explosive, it will end us all.

We are dying.

We are all walking dead,
Staring down the abyss of inattentiveness,
Oblivious to everything around us:
Kids walking to school, the ducks on the road, a baby crying down the street,
The sun, the moon, the stars above, the rich, brown earth below.
Maybe there´s an answer on Google,
Maybe someone will remind us that
We are here
To be here,
A prophet to tell us to wake up
And kiss a stranger, hug our neighbors,
Be there when we cut the grass or wash the dishes-
Be there, only there, just there.

Maybe some bacteria will infect our hearts
And collectively, we will all suffer from
Affectionis cardiitis,
Walking around looking straight into the eyes of everyone we meet
And smiling, give them a reminder of why THIS is all we have.

Because it is.

We won´t waffle – we´ll see them straight, like we sometimes see ourselves.
Then, in this new sickness, we´ll crawl on the floors with babies again,
Walk with the old people, slap a buddy on the back for no good reason
Except because he´s there, and so am I.

Maybe this sickness will spread and
Frenchmen will tell dry jokes about the water in Paris
Or Germans will imitate New Yorkers badly
While Russians will burst out with glee at something not heavy, at last!

Our favorite past time, war, will change, too.
Instead off sardine packed troop transports,
Fountains will bring people together where
Dangling feet in the cool freshness will get us all medals
And on TV news-anchors and weather folk alike will take calls
Responsive to their viewers and remind everyone
That the sun might be hidden for now
But go outside in an hour and you´ll be able to rest in it´s glow.

Maybe none of this will come to pass…
Maybe we´ll muddle as usual our way through
Until the firmament above opens up
And a voice yells,
“That´s it, I´m done! Time to start all over again!” and,
In a wash of colors we´ll never see,
Everything blank and sudden and filled with nuclear sparkles,
A sprout will one day pop up in that new time
Somewhere between cement slabs that were
Once sidewalks and,
In conversations none of us would have understood anyway,
The worms will pass the word along…
Instead of one weed popping up in photogenic splendor
Let´s all join hands and, reliant on each other
Spring upwards, breaking through the dense blocks everywhere
And take a look at the new sky
Trying once again to get it all right, this time,
Arm in arm, tail to tail, eye to eye,
Right there, right then.