so this is how it goes, now,
from here on out there’s always something I need to get done first,
always something I ought to buy;
forever, large things and small things,
needing to be done instead of
the nothing I’d like to be doing,
the nothing I’d trade my life for.
the journey begins at home and ends at home and
different people are there, tapping their watches and
stealing fleet-fingered glances from the clocks; figuring
train schedules and grocery store hours and
what to wear in case it rains, or is foggy, or there’s
a dust storm or tsunami or
the wildfires bring ash down like warm, stinking snow.
can show you all of these places, or none of them,
through circuses or slaughterhouses,
over trenches or under bridges;
the journey can take you there, too, but remember
that it begins at home and ends at home,
and if you aren’t at home right now, well,
you’re heading there.
What worth is a man without fear –
What is there for him to strive for?
Why does he hold nothing dear,
And what would he do or die for?
To the fearless man,
is his boldness mere bluster?
Handsome, vaunted, and
as pokeberry clusters
and equally numb in the skin and the soul
To be born without fear,
to be born as a fool
these are the scraps and thrifts of us
given softness and comfort
by prior use;
these are the rare finds
carelessly lost, the
choice picks in the bin-bottoms,
these are the memories
we’ve rediscovered, memories
we’ve built from
old wood and bent screws, and
still it is livable,
still it is lovable,
still it is sturdy and
still it is.
these are the scraps and thrifts of us
gently disassembled, inexpertly
renewed into something precious;
something that will never be cast away.
Locked away in my mountain,
with swollen throat
and wretched tongue;
I am the monster in the mountain,
hissing only, with cursed breath
that sends brave men running.
No one chooses this, though,
perhaps it’s necessary. They
express their sympathy but
save their breath for flight.
It is deserved, and yet,
soon I will be free
and bear the memories
of how they treated me.
I dream of a world where they let us go slow;
to soften the grinding
to ease on the hoe;
I dream of a world where they let us be free;
no dues owed to anyone
no taxes, no fee.
I dream of small things, that perhaps could be done;
and though I will try,
this fight won’t be won.
They rise early, They sleep late,
They watch with pale eyes:
Styrofoam, plastics, bottles,
tossed loosely into the streets,
like chum, like bait, like
careless lies in a church,
(insulting Their own divinity)
They go unnoticed by some,
sweeping, retrieving, lords of
trash, kings of clean, They go noticed
by some, some real assholes,
rash and rude, who see Them sweeping
and toss something –
a little flake of themselves –
to the ground.
these are not champions;
these are not saviors;
these are desperate gamblers,
just looking for something new to lose,
with no hopes of winning and
no strategy to speak of.
And yet from some angles,
from far and close
you may see in them the image of God.
This year has made hypocrites of us all;
holed up in our homes or forced from them;
demanding to be waited on and refusing to wait on others;
demanding our liberty through others’ servitude
our freedoms are the links of these chains,
our desires, our fears, our egos,
shackling us to eachother,
prisoners in a sinking ship,
rudderless and shattering,
the passengers and the crew drowning
in the same waters, but claiming them divided,
surely the water only drowns those people;
surely the captain has planned for this.
surely, there is a captain.
I used to dream of sprouting wings
I used to, used to dream
of soaring, high and imperceptible,
with all the farmlands –
corn, soy, the flowerfields –
arrayed out like a crazy-quilt,
all splotches and angles.
I did not know what mankind does to dreams;
how hurtling through the sky, heedless,
could require months of planning and half a paycheck;
how tight and cramped the limitless spectacle could be;
perhaps a man should never meet his dreams.