AMERICAN CYCLE

AMERICAN CYCLE

Altruists at heart,
We forgive everything,
Including the latest remix of terror,
Lugubriously fattened at the end
With “thoughts and prayers”
Sent reflexively with knitted brows
And pearl clutching astonishment;
Our uniquely “American” experiment
In thoughtful discourse.

If anything could be done, it certainly wasn´t considered,
But this we have long resigned ourselves to
For want of any reasoned speculation.

Some of the dead were pregnant, some children this time, all
Gathered in Sunday best for their best selves to emerge later,
Hugging neighbors, shaking hands in peace on their ways home,
Now removed from their red-splattered clapboard horror,
Now as statistics on a graph
We will not look at
With any honesty.
The fruition of years of feckless debates.

The other great terror of our times
Is this:
Cowardice is tenured,
Allowing the regular sacrifices of sons and daughters
Without even a disembodied voice from afar promising
An angel to stop it.

It´s all ours now.

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The Tenacity of Persistence

THE TENACITY OF PERSISTENCE

As much as the honey on the blade tempted our taste-buds,
We wanted to focus on other things, but
No discussion of the pain we witnessed needed reminding
Of the main subject at hand:
Why do we keep killing each other?
It was disagreeable enough to gather discussants
(Our program wasn´t settled completely
And no one was willing to terminate it at this late date)
We tried, though.
At the heart of our talk
There was this strange issue of history.
We looked into each other´s eyes,
Seeing little that would answer the question there.
But, despite the inordinate coming of winter
When a gentler summer was needed,
Staying hopeful mattered,
Even if the bullets flew by our heads.

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.

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 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.

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.

MAY DAY MANIFESTO

MAY DAY MANIFESTO

I am not to be ignored
passed over, neglected, torn from community,
discarded, rent from the bonds which bind me to
all others.
I am.
So we are.
And by the dignity of being, I am to be respected.
I am a worker.
A laborer, a crafts-person, a field hand, a driver,
a carriage maker, a cab driver, a shoveler, a digger,
a plasterer, a midwife, a nurse, a caretaker,
a teacher, a driller, and nailer, and a builder.
Only where I am is there “civilization”.

But where I struggle, is everywhere.

I am not the owner of my labor, the beneficiary of my work
I receive paper and coin, forced to beg for more each year
and in the morning I will awaken and begin again until I die.
Today though, is my day,
Today is May Day.
I am not to be ignored.
I will not be oppressed, denied, abandoned or forgotten.
I will stand with others together, raise my fist up high
and welcome the day
when together we will take what is ours
and create a new world.
I am a worker.
Today is for all of us.

SUN TODAY

SUN TODAY

“let the hair down, a little
yes, just like that…”

the belly trembles
her waist wanders
along with her attention
“is he real?”

in defense,
he whispers to the air between them
“now is elevation of concern
walk with me there”

nodding, she turns to the mountain
lifts her hands
cries for something solid
so that the ground will hold her up.

between the trees and the rocks
there will be sun today.

MOAB & the End of the World

MOAB & THE END OF THE WORLD

they die just as easily on bright days
the sun pressing down on hard valleys,
the dirt of the bombed out cars
cooling the doors to the rare touch.

in cities, the old couches in old apartments
are filled with smelly stuffing,
on top, fading dreams are forgotten
as the corpse smells in the summer heat-
the air turned off years ago
the payments ended long before.

somwhere out in the country, trees laugh at the huts
they still occupy, papa´s rummy eyes rubbed by calloused hands
after a day of field work
the water he drinks is brown, like his children
whose sick eyes are flat, day after day.

elsewhere a biblical Moab flattens part of the horizon
making children scream 10 miles away,
their world ending
though they have forgotten
it has ended long before.