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Surface Tensions

“stop, children, what’s that sound

everybody look what’s going down”

—Stephen Stills

Another day spreads across the sky

as the flood waters continue to rise.

There is little to stand upon now

that does not tip into complicity.

Ice melts along its edges. One moment

we are there watching the turmoil

below our feet, then the ice is gone, 

and we are all breathing water, 

floundering in the lies we live. 

Our words fill our lungs, and

silence gurgles past our lips

as we slip slowly deeper

beneath the cold gelatinous sea,

to drown in our undeserved comforts

(June 8, 2020)

politics of fear

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (33)

as i drive to work each day

at eighty miles per hour i slip

between concrete meridians

and rattling White Freight Liners

the eighteen wheelers heave

and pitch in the next lane

like fat cattlemen at an auction

on the radio news of war

and poverty of graft and greed

play out like melodramas

without an easy denouement

the girl remains on the tracks

the train bears down the villian

laughs world without end

among the grass beside the road

my ghosts slowly sing in whispers

this is the time we have become

this is our time to overcome

(March 4, 2020)

Fairy Tale Endings

from an untitled serial poem (2)

tufts of dark fur

scraps of red cloth

broken glasses pools

of wine the remnants

of someone’s meal

are splashed across

the cottage like blood

on a butcher’s apron

she is not here

neither is he

one fled

one’s dead

birds hop and sing

on the window sill

a family of rabbits

nibble grass

along the path

the door lies shattered

on the ground

dry splinters of wood

punctuate the grass

with unvoiced cliches

(January 3, 2020)

Pompeii

Always nearby, Fear hangs back

floating like the hint of smoke

on the horizon. The city lies

in that direction. Home lies

in that direction. We are not

going back again. Still, it comes.

Its tongue insinuates the air; soft

words clot our ears with ice.

This is the time which we live in:

slow lumbering ideas, empty and angry,

tumble through the streets like rocks

tossed by giants from mountain tops.

No one notices the viscous fire

burning the flesh from our bones.

(September 4, 2019)

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)

Before Completion

from “Rendition of Change,” a work in progress

The old tortoise-shell cat slips

cautiously through the grass

as the storm approaches.

This-too-shall-pass provides

small comfort in the moment’s

chaos and fear. Lightning strikes

often and nearby. As rain

starts to fall, the cat watches,

motionless, from the stair.

(July 3, 2019)