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.

Forgetting the Names of Flowers

Lilacs, lilies, roses, still –
marigolds and dandelions and
small seeds, small heads
rising from the fetal position;
pale limbs poking through, hands poised
to claw the surface;
what are these things,
what purpose did they have, what
mastery did we seek over them by
lash and flick of tongue,
what did we drive them towards
when we murmured their names,
their names, lost now in winter –
are they found in these sturdy limbs?
Are there names to view, names to eat?
syllables quivering in the wind, and
names that bring in butterflies?

Tracking Time

I have found the track of time,
in the forest where it dwells,
I have seen it’s willowed prints,
claws fixed, scratching sand,
seen the spots where it was halted,
stooped for names, felt for signs,
I have followed it, relentless,
(as the predator; so the prey)
I have walked where it has feasted,
through the halls of medicated bones-
and have run where it has slipped
in the dimness of delight –
I am on the track of time,
hoping it won’t turn for me.

settling to a rest

we have bowed our heads beneath
the drop-ceiling skies, fingers pecking
crude metal, without knowing why
our works are useless to all, serving only
Mammon’s musters, our eyes are glazed, our
necks are craned, our
joys have lost their luster,
and all of us, sighing,
awake only for our shift,
and squirm, and scream, and dread to think
that this could go away.

Jumping From Empty

The gears are squeaking, grinding, slowly,
slowly – the gears are crunching,
dust and debris between their teeth,
gagging on the thick air and
kept in place by the prod of batons –
the gears are rattling, shaking, slowly,
slowly – grime leaks out as they are beaten,
the foremen ignoring their foam at the mouth –
the gears are wailing, louder, longer,
faster – the gears are trembling against their guards
ready to leap,
even if they must land on concrete.

The Sun Comes Up On Gardens

The sun comes up on gardens
and broken bodies,
it shines and brightens,
even on wrack and ruin,
on dissembled fathers and
deconstructed sons, the sun comes up
and shines on gray flowers, rent
towers, on dainty, bloody hands,
poking through the rubble, reaching –
the sun comes up on gardens,
filled with abandoned shells,
the sun comes up and greets
mortar teams brewing coffee, the sun
comes up, the sun comes up
on gardens

The Hired Hand of Justice

And I know what you know, kid:
three-fifty a week ain’t worth dying over,
and if Justice needs a helping hand, hell,
she should put in a worthy bid
like everyone else.

So let’s you and me just ease down the pistols, kid,
we can talk numbers just fine,
three-fifty-seven, magnum, faster ‘an a whip, hell,
I’ll buy yer’ dinner, and a lil’ something
extra for your time.

And I know, I know, I’m a bad man, kid,
for shooting the man who shot my brother,
now, granted,
my brother shot his wife, hell,
and plenty of other folks, but listen, kid,
if I shoot you dead, or –
Hell, if I shoot you in the leg and the sawbones
saws through the scraps of remnant –
Is it gonna be worth that three-fifty a week?

So let’s just slide these pistols down, kid,
real slow-like, and don’t make any fast mov-

a life lived in shade

What shadow is cast by the light of love?
and what people live in it,
unlit and beyond reach with
eyes rimed by darkness?

What worth is a life lived in shade,
hoping for a break in the sky,
aching for the hurts of adjustment?

What object can block the light of love?
some foul demon with
wings that span the sum of sky,
or is it merely the heart?