Diogenes of Akron

on the corner of Buchtel and Fountain lives
a man who conquers Want
every day, he
wakes and yawns and
does not hurry to any work,
but has food to eat from passerby
and he does his nothing gladly, and it
benefits none,
harms none,
What Good American
could look upon this man,
with his absence of golf clubs and boating equipage,
his full belly and brandless clothes,
this man with no desire for More,
and think him anything but a lunatic

in deeper earth

farther down, where
most can’t reach,
are hollows – caves, caverns,
full of glittering jewels and
natural poisons,
reflecting lakes and
the bulbous, billowing limestone-
Giant’s Toe,
Titania’s Veil,
things glimpsed in shade and flicker and
named for gods, monsters,
the deep things inside men ripped out
and left,
hidden in the darkness.

that’s not a poet

that’s not a poet it’s
a ’93 Ford with
four-hundred-thou on the O,
whining along the highway with
peeling paint and
screaming brakes.

that’s not a poem it’s
just screeching and noise,
something moving too fast and
slouching to a rest,
desperate and dying and
choosing the road over the junkyard.

them who eat scraps

we sit in streets when
the days are hot, we feel
each pulse of the world and see
slick kids in their capsuled-cars
speed by,
all grins and chill,
and us in the heat,
pooling on the sidewalks,
piles of flesh, puddles of blood,
and melting further

troubled dreams

Oh, slumberous god you
toss and turn and scream and
move your mouth in maddened mash
of holy limericks,
of profaned prayers.
Sleep has robbed your cares,
numbed your limbs,
and set your fingers splaying,
oh, slumberous god,
we do not know,
we do not guess,
if you will awake in a fury
as terrible as your rest

Made to be broken

everywhere, everyday,
the mills whirr and tiny hands
dab and daub with leadened paints,
cheapening touches
on cardboard – softwood – inexpert alloys
shaped by hunger and fear, not pride nor
I see regard for naught but haste;
not an admonition, that saying,
“haste makes waste”, no,
but a holy precept:
the ideal operation of all things –
cheap; replaceable;
and in all things – fast.
and so the great minds are at work, toiling,
on medicines that do not cure and
homes that collapse before resale;
and so we strain towards Utopia,
a Utopia made to be broken.

mind like a clock

the change is so predictable,
the instability so routine –
pliant and impatient, jumping –
one task to another, half day,
then repeating, always struggling in
equal increments;
always circling back on
the same markings, always
desperately scratching the infinite onto a flat stone,
and failing.

did you see

did you see them running, running,
did you see? did you see them
black with blood, did you
see anyone stop to help, did you see them
motionless in roadways, screaming on sidewalks,
did you see them, mouths open and teeth chipped to pieces,
did you see those who did this,
did you see their shiny clubs, their
bright and favored flags,
did you see the smirks they let slip,
did you see?
did you see?

Flesh Imitating Steel

Flesh has its rhythm
in constant self-repair;
the rest from labor enables greater labor,
and muscle builds stronger when strained, so
why must we pretend
to be as steel; unwavering, unfeeling,
ignoring the needs of flesh
(to eat,
to slumber –
to love)
in favor of steel-bound schedule,
approaching our ultimate tensile point,
waiting to twist, to groan and
cast away the mimicry,
do not conform with an inhumane system –
resume the dance of exhaustion and repair,
do not live as steel.