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Beneath an Unrelenting Sun

“knowing less than drugged beasts”

–Ezra Pound, Canto XLVII

As we cower

beneath an array of bullets,

there is no forgiveness

for not knowing

the shades within shades

of evil. Yet, in this land

without shade, neither knowing

nothing, nor how to sail, nor

to have a sea to set forth upon,

even if a boat were here

in this desolate land

of sated men, and drugged beasts:

knowing nothing is cherished

as a privileged pleasure;

and so, I raise my voice

without delay, and sing

as if I could sow with my voice

in the cracked earth

some salvation from the sun.

(August 8, 2019)

Things I would Not Wish on Anyone

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after Lucille Clifton

 

I wish them disdain

I wish them questions

in a new town

that does not speak their language

 

I wish them to lose

their beloved stuffed bear

because the dogs can smell

the Rio Grande

 

Later let them learn humility

as the man’s arrogance

drips condescension

like venom

 

Let them think they don’t belong

Let them be turned away

 

(July 11, 2018)

onward into the day

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“Love is the root of everything….Love, or the lack of it.”

— Fred Rogers 

 

like glass resonant in trembled anger

the fear is outrageous and constant

one horrific event erases the next

in an infinite succession of bomb blasts

bludgeoning attention to a bloody slurry

only the noise of the moment matters

and it does not matter even then

but only in the silence it creates in you

the silence of the possibility of dissent

so one must learn to hear without

hearing deafly to see again without

seeing blindly to go with open trust

across the shattered shards of glass

onward into the darkening night

 

(June 23, 2018)

My Son Explains My Poetry to Me

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One does not want to find

the body on the floor,

bits of brain and blood flecked

in patterns on the walls.

 

After decades scribbling

these poems to the page,

reading hundreds if not

thousands of others ,

 

apparently, I just needed you.

So, please, tell me, my child,

what my poetry means

to an ignorance like mine.

 

Keeping in mind, the reader

finds what he wants to find.

 

(May 16, 2018)

Whisper into the Gale

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“I do not hear the scream, […] I am the scream. “ 
—  Edmond Jabès, From the Book to the Book

 

If I scream,

No one can hear

Over the clamor.

 

So, I whisper here

To pierce the fray,

Which fades to fire—

 

A burning to sear

The air free

For us to breathe.

 

Our throats gasp

The flames like water

Without redemption,

 

Except as syllables

To parse truth from lies.

 

(November 26, 2017)