WHAT MATTERS

WHAT MATTERS

Does it matter the dead stay quiet,
Refraining from commenting on the state of the world
Where behind black-rimmed glasses,
On shiny tables where soft, pink elbows rest &
Blank eyes tell themselves stories they don´t believe
& sign papers
Commanding another series of
Eyeless projectiles from
Buttons pushed in air-tight safe clean rooms
To destroy targets, always far over there,
& the dead eyes which blankly stare back into the skies
Remind us all that we too
Signed with our silence
Their death warrants?
Does it matter?

Does it matter the mother´s grief howls
Over empty nights
& sucks the life from the dry days
Among the hot sands
Where her children were scattered
Among ancient rocks
Along with bitter & broken fathers?

What matters when those thin-lipped suits & red ties
Stand before the cameras,
Staring at some horizon of history
Speak to the cameras & tell those stories
Designed in a room with paneled walls
& paintings of princes of commerce
Lamenting the carnages they grind with every meal
& the dissonance is heard only
On the cold floors of bloody morgues where
The children are stiff
& the families hearts emptied but for
The heat of vengeance?

Does it matter that when we watch
& when those cries are heard or
Those weeping mothers
Reach out to dead open space,
Their arms in twisted soul pain,
That we click to a new channel, nodding as
Praising statesmen & their suited minions
Reflect on camera, reflect on cue,
“This is for the better”?

If this doesn´t matter,
What matters now?

RESTING PLACE

RESTING PLACE

There are long strings of pain
which fall so heavy on the breast
the heart murmurs in sad discontent,
wavering between a sigh and a cry
of loss for us all.

There were lions of courage who faced the world
with no strings attached
leaving a remembrance
of Time when it shimmered and waved
to us with warmth.

Now, in the grass the plastic stays beyond imaginable Time
choking the land with reminders
of our presence,
never wanted, never really needed
anyway.

All around are the gutted remains of hope:
emaciated reeds, sickly threads
of fabric made from hearts and bodies
now torn and tender
losing their color and their capacity to
inspire.

When the lights turn off, the kitchens silent,
the computers and related tools die,
the rays of warmth from above
becoming deadly fires to take refuge below
the ground, where the damp is dried out and
the night harsh and sterile,
will the plastic bags we find
say “Recycle”?
And what will be done, then?
The strings connecting us in netted
graves, well below the regenerating Earth
will bind us just as tightly,
though with mummified horror.

GARDEN SURPRISE

GARDEN SURPRISE

She walked near the meadow alone, her pen tucked
Neatly behind her ear,
Her inner timer set to ‘soon’. Along the garden path,
Winding in circles she’d remembered as a child,
A stone centaur, half-sunken, glared at her
With scowling menace. In her reverie she’d forgotten to
Affirm her own wit on occasions like this and,
Pulling the pen out quickly, jotted notes to add to her collection
Of nature poesy. A far off whistle caught her attention.
In the midst of sloppily written verbiage she’d later forget to unlock,
Death awakened and, suddenly seeing the Centaur shift
To smile at her, she understood the day would be
A lot longer than planned.

DISTANCE

 

DISTANCE

What is distance
But living at the edge of
That great pause where
The circle gets tighter
And the dust covers
The panes we see through
In irritating burns of
Teary eyes?

 

ANIMAL TRAPS

ANIMAL TRAPS

The hill was muddy, the earth smells,
Sweet as we yakked away the time.
The dog barked for food. Later, for Them.
For now, the smallest of us
Aped the threats, mimicking those
On the other side.
He spoke of them as animals, pigs, he said,
Who parroted what their masters told them.
We nodded, agreeing.
“What´s good for the goose is good for the gander”
Another said portentously, though we faced off without him later,
His head suddenly sandwiched between two bullets,
Spread like a bad Picasso on the walls behind us.
We practically flew away, running
As the hounds cornered us on the cliff.
There we beheld the cows in the far fields
Blithely eating grass,
Oblivious to the night´s upcoming,
More bestial ruminations.

 

A PAEAN TO POISON

A PAEAN TO POISON

“You are mistaken”, he kept repeating,
“From this list, I see nothing”.
“Your son must die”.
The conversation begs for reason.
Mothers beg for lives.

Heedless to her calls,
We storm off the stage in our pissiness:
We are the ones to thank.
We are good, we say,
That is what makes us great.
Her son dangles before her.
We watch the Super Bowl and cheer for underdogs.

It is a wonder, isn´t it?
How many extremists have we now?
How many live in the White House
Year after year to end their days
Windsurfing, called gracious?

It isn´t by happenstance that
Sometimes we lie awake, frozen in
Our terror of Them.
We know…

If only she could deflate their egos,
Their tires would do, but
The hole in her soul begs for more
As she rages inside…
Soon, it is another wonder,
She shares her insides at the gate,
The walls, the windows, all
Splattered with her formless rage,
An artwork to anger.
A paean to our poison.

HOPE

HOPE

I hope you never need
water to be so clean,
you can drink it from the faucet
instead of the toilet tank,
because one night
you were taken, walking to find
something better
and the men who took you,
separated you from your mother,
sneered and lusted your littleness,
resenting your color, your sand burnt feet
and wanting to humiliate you,
woke you up in terror
with their flashlights
until your little brother,
who once knew how to control himself,
now peed uncontrollably, daily, on himself
as your jailers laughed and named you
“Wetfront and Wetback!”

I hope your rent
is paid on time
so you don´t have to wash the
street with your tears
seeing the smelly old man
who lives in cardboard and
who sees your fear,
and knows you could be a shadow too
just like he is,
without a name,
and with no face
others will ever see
again.

I hope you never see the day
you need to leave,
to run,
to flee a country
hardened by war,
so that when you try to get in,
their fingers
poke your privates,
or sweaty hands
and sickening grins
lift your dress,
probe your ass,
pull your pants,
or squeeze your balls,
before they watch you pass
and let you go,
and look at your girls,
your boys,
your tits,
your ass,
your mouth,
with their thoughts
about what you never
ever hope for.

I hope you you manage
to hold that job,
the one where you get paid
just enough
to feed the kids,
feed the dog,
feed the fish,
and buy shampoo
for your hair
and earrings for the night.

I hope you settle down and
live so well
you never worry
that you will be sent back
or sent elsewhere
or sent to jail
and instead
you smile quietly and
nod with the others
knowing that you will find
sun in the morning,
and coolness at night,
and the waves of the sea will rock
you to sleep
near the pier where
your friends hold their boats
so different than
the ones they took to cross the sea
to find
hope,
because people
just like you
can be monsters
who send back,
who close doors,
who rat on other people
so you can
“take your country back”.

I hope you manage
to feel good enough,
because there are ugly days
I hope
you suffer
just as much
as them,
and die
without hope.

DREAM FEELINGS

DREAM FEELINGS

Dream feelings … rich,
elusive:
like a hand which holds a stone
after a walk through
a musty old bookstore
(a smile with the owner
and, at the fingertips,
electric paper thrills), then
on the way out
placing it back on top of a brick
and, when caught,
sheepish, the laugh lines
of its owner stick out as
you walk out the door
into the haze
pulling you back to wakefulness.

Before the moment is lost that sense, that
dream feeling
of another reality,
the eyes look back to catch a glimpse
of the bookstore that now
changes into a scene during a parade
and floats rise high atop buildings
and she is there…
she never has a name, nor is she known
but again she´s there and I say her neck is a draw
and she laughs, asking, “Really?”
while on the couch
(which suddenly enters, they always do)
we crumble together, she
with her dark hair and sharp dream-face
I with my intentions clear
and no one notices us
as the next float passes by
and I try to hold on
as long as I can because
here
anything is possible
even floating away.

SHORT FORMS FOR LONG DAYS AHEAD

SHORT FORMS FOR LONG DAYS AHEAD
I.
Unleash! Unleash! Unleash!
Pour a torrent of soul
Out on the world
That the drippings may soak
Through our inner linings
And wash us all of
The madness of our day.

II.
Below the tarp, a baby, blue, dried-up dead
Beside her trembling mother,
Bitterly swollen with fear and the colds´
Ballooning embrace.
Noted was the sign nearby,
Over them both:
“Closed”,
As every passerby was as well.
She had no name.
Her mother cannot bear more.

III.
Behind the blinds
the walls wrench hate as
five-finger pointed salutes hail
the coming of a new age
and, across the street,
behind the blinds there, sit
others
who watch and wait
for the fires to come.

IV.
The tractor is dead,
the farm is dead,
the farmers are dying;
along the river,
the factory is dead,
the small stores
are dead,
and the people are dying.
The eyes of the dead
who officiously call for retraining
scan the dying,
who call for better teeth for their children.
Sugar makes hunger pass.
Bitter is its taste these days.
Dying is the name.
Death is the future.