On Silent Days

You may have heard one silence
but you have not heard them all,
you may have heard the nothing of a peak
or the nothing of a valley,
the failure of a headphone or
the absence of birds,
you may have heard one silence but
you were not really listening,
inward-focused, intent and callous,
on the silence within your heart.

To Transcend The Ground We Pray Upon

Alone, in the upper air
with crowd below in transfixed stare
a silvered spear of sleeksome power
(so loud when first it shed the tower!)
crept the cumulonimbus highs
and was swallowed by the skies.

Who knows what thoughts were just then thunk
by astronauts, both deaf and drunk
supping, sipping on torment –
the lash and lager of such ascent .

Were they vulgar – were they base –
the first human thoughts in outer space?
Surely no history would repeat
that our first prayer had been “retreat!”,
or merely the moans and muffled mutters
of a heart that weakly sputters
grasping at means to end the climb,
craving a fall,
complete,
sublime.

Hoard

desks with three legs and
mounds of empty notebooks,
pens with rusted nibs and
clay hardened in the slab;
the piano works, too, sort of,
a few strings missing
the white keys stripped;
and all the plastic bags or
cardboard boxes you could need,
and we’ve skillet-lids by dozens,
though the pots and pans are
dinged and dented, we’ve
learned the truths of treasure and have
followed the precepts of glorious greed,
we have everything we need,
and riches, beyond.

He Did Not See The Redness Of Dawn

He did not see the redness of dawn,
did not smell the blood from
a night escaped by the dexterous and delirious,
did not notice the moon hung low and red-
that crimson light, known by night as
any Sailor’s Delight,
But he did not know this.

He did not care for the opening of flowers,
or know the cost of them,
did not cease to burn
all offerings,
and did not balm his burns,
seeing holiness in the pain;
He did not dream of anything beyond
being swallowed, whole and healthy,
in a pit of mud or amber,
to be preserved, perfectly:
no hunger, no fatigue,
to be perfectly static in the loving arms of
damp uncaring earth,
hoping to be uncovered and revived
when all was right in the world;
and so he remains,
dreaming deeply of dead dreams

Two Men In A Dungeon

In a dungeon,
deep,
dark,
two men reside;
two men apart

one man shrieks,
weeps, moans
and sits
chained to a clockwork throne
of slashing blades, of prickling pins,
of spikes, of saws, of metal fins –
any piece that harms and maims,
that plucks and pries
like spiders playing at their game
to change their prey before it dies;

and the other man,
he suffers too,
as daily he wakes beyond the walls,
and commutes the dreadful dampish halls;
to turn the crank that works the blades,
and bemoans the blister his work has made.

milk

bottle and glass of milk at home

pure white gallon,
plastic shell,
a drop of red in a blinding well,
silken-smooth and cheap as mud,
starve the calves.
ignore the blood.
sieve and filter,
refine and heat,
starve the world
raise cheap meat.
axe to timber
forest to field;
kill the screaming,
and the screams will yield.

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,
unnoticed
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,
thrashing,
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
craftsmanship.
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;
numberless;
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.