Stages of Loyalty to the Kingdom

Our God above says we have choices here.
We have named him the Western King.
He holds his prize slightly out of reach
to see how low we’ll sink.
Our ruler manufactures pleasure
when we beg and crawl for more.
Compete he says and you will win your life—
who among you can survive without love?
Play the game and one day you may claim
the wealth of the civilized few,
a special space within our elegant race
don’t dwell on a victim or two.

Welcome to our kingdom where beauty means praise—
purchase your distorted mind here:
a life of luxury with no money down
masses of bills, but no need to count.
Still concerned about the outliers with no hope ahead?
The prisoners of poverty and pain.
Sometimes shed a tear for a child in the street?
No worries, we can erase all of their names.

Come quick, we have warned you again and again.
It is dangerous outside these walls.
The images of truth can turn you towards death.
Safety is among us, no danger, no threat.
Beware of your heart, it will get you nowhere.
Bury that spirit and soul.
The only real survivors are the ones who forget.
The ones who seek to know nothing more.
Pledge allegiance to our kingdom, its people, its land
the idols who have founded its name.
Never let your heart play a role in this game—
Where humbleness is a product the blessed ones call shame.

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Punctuation

I am waiting for some punctuation
a lonely period, a long lost friend with no place to go.
I would even take a comma, a division of thought
an organized list or a plan for a more predictable tomorrow.
How about a colon? A foreshadow of what is to come.
Follow the dots:
who will be saved by human decency and love
who will be doomed by hatred and fear.
No more questions marks, no more gray areas—
the answer is yes or no.
Check it off. I have created a workbook world.
Someone will end this run-on sentence
it has carried on for far too long.
A never-ending poem representing
our myriad of complexities, the ignorance
of different tomorrows moving backwards
and forwards in bursts of inspiration and grief.
I’ll take them over and over again—
still in search of a beautiful ending to this story.

The Replacements

Celestial magic, the sun, the Earth,
the moon and those who
watch the world in humble thought,
there is no strength in haste, no understanding in fear.
Buds will form, and in innocent hope, we welcome
their final emergence in hopeless abandon,
the transient travel of snow to lower depths,
shards of symbolism, the cyclical reminders of our birth
the inevitable recognition                    the coming of our deaths
the replacements, weighed on a scored scale, our next generation.

What do we know, if only what we don’t of this world,
those who determine the score, demand justice in the face
of this infinite progression of hate,
bring death to the only ones left who know life.
I understand more than I like.
There are no replacements, only more strife.
The cycle continues and again, we forget the seasons.

Morning

I wake.
There is beauty.
It is not the grandiose type of beauty you imagine.
The distorted reality of a passing cliché.
In a golden sunrise along the horizon.
A gentle sweetness in the morning bird’s song.
That window’s edge.
That bright epiphany.
That sweet aroma carried en masse by an eager wind.
I have found its partner in wake.
Its senses in subtlety.
It is momentary
and the shocking acceptance of what is life.
All is good. What is known.
That at this moment I am in the context
of nothing special, out of a paltry dream,
a life better settled and a failure to plan the
possibilities, a growing mind, stronger
in obstacles. Isn’t it towered upon bittersweet?
The years of contemplation—
to arrive at such simplicity,
to embody surrender, the living and the lost.
Give me the moment.
Can I call it hope?
Becoming I, becoming the beauty,
the subtle rhythms of shared breaths
and interrupted meaning found only in silence,
breaks, contemplation, join fire and water with morning light
and you, my remnant, my souvenir,
replace the possibilities.
Let it be all, all sacred at this moment. Risen.
This anomaly,
this latent premise given only a second to live.
Peace of mind sudden. It is worth a lifetime of understanding.

The Voices of Black Friday

Outer Voice

Welcome to Black Friday, Ladies and Gents.
A dollar buys what the Bangladeshi made for fifty cents.
Bath accessories, towels galore.
Electronics, gadgets, infinite items to explore.
It’s the deal of the year folks, the steal of the week.
Just trample a few prospectors for the items you seek.
One died at Walmart, this morning, don’t fret.
All will die tomorrow, if the economy is offset.
Spend like there’s no tomorrow, gorge again today.
Not on turkey and mashed potatoes, but on the ornaments the body can display.
Fill your life with pleasure, forget about those without.
Take it to the next level of consumption and self-doubt.
You think you’re at your limit, you’ve only started on the tour.
The more you buy, the more jobs, the more open doors.

Inner Voice

Or is that really the truth you’ve been told, my dear friend?
Take a moment, take a minute, think about that girl with fifty cents.
No matter how much you buy, it yours and yours alone.
The profit for the master, the one who closes all the doors.
The girl takes her coins, her booty for the week.
Gives it to her parents, so they can have a meal to eat.
Tomorrow she returns again, to sew that shirt for you.
Sweating at the sweatshop, instead of studying in school.
At the register, give your dollar, fill your cart for another round.
But find comfort only in an illusion that there’s absolutely nothing you can’t live without.

written December 2013

Words Take Two

There are two
and you are words
and you ask me what separates us from the animals
and I say not much, if all that is left
is these words.
And what can we conclude about them anyway
if not to use words.
To relish in their stutter, their mumble
their spontaneous laughter.
In vessels of two, of who
they don’t know.
To call upon them, the uncertain.
To stand in order, the possible justice.
Here they are together again
for what matters, for
what is in this and that and thou and what is
in th anyway,
a single sound that may become a pair
a multiplication beyond our control
a reproduction in spaces meant
for only cold air to linger.
We are the expansion.
We, the generators, the pollinators of ideas.
And here I become you, you and your thoughts
for just a moment,
just enough to bring down falsehood
and join for a second in truth.

This is a different kind of animal.

Aging Together on the Porch

Some nights I pray only for silhouettes.
For visions outlined and still motion.
For placid envy resting only in the breeze.
The summer will never rest from itself, it seems,
And my body is still wet from the day.
Too much of what was said lies awake in the streets.
Watch it resurface with the mystics below the mist,
Spindled and snaked along the sweat of our backs.
There are people here, too, you know,
With questions of why the darkness falls so late
When they saw it coming sooner.
Leave them silent on the porch.
Let us languish inside the comfort of other souls
When the night rests still.
Words left them long ago,
And their minds hold questions only for their eyes.
Like the breeze, they speak to themselves.
The ages bring this, tells the night.
The summer day will never rest—
It hides next to the sun.
From the porch we wait for answers.
Questions snake around your silhouette.
The morning will bring more.