Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Other Side of Elaine

A black-and-white photo of you, energizing 
me like warp drive on Voyager. I need you 
now more than ever as I stumble toward
oblivion. Where are you? I speak to you, 
include you in out-loud toasts when I drink 
a beer, but you never respond. Have I been 
misinformed? I revolt against the acceptable, 
then the acceptable revolts against me. Many 
fester in stability when there is no stability. The 
earth will persist, I’m sure of it. I hear sirens 
from its four quarters—no, nothing metaphysical 
in that there’s a hospital nearby—and I wear the 
flannel shirt you gave me. It’s a size too small, 
but its tightness swaddles me in your memory.

Brown Study

The sycamore (older than civilization, a sapling
when declarations were signed in wooden lodges 
behind enemy lines by periwigged and powdered
aristocrats, tended to by black slaves and new
nations were initiated in blistering confusion)
now deadly, extended, quadrupled in size
but unpredictable in that it might have 
outgrown its roots, and as steady as it appears
is actually teetering in every breeze, and, like 
a neighbor, not to be taken for granted. 
The teen diva impressive, a white face in a sea of 
darkness, not taught about brutality yet must 
sense the incongruous when celebrated as a benefactor
by equally uniformed children of the oppressed. 
 And so it goes that history is 
sanitized, made palatable, twisted, so symbols 
replace truth, and I, frustrated by a fear of reaction, 
hover over a computer, reduced to signing petitions 
that go nowhere.

A poem with cryptic and self-indulgent riddles 
that scholars can make their living with or couplets 
banged out on a empty paint can that have the aesthetic 
of a laundry list. The authentic a consistent fatality 
come to life thoroughly in the old-age complex I live in, 
with those who have not given up breathing but seem 
to have perished ages ago, and if not, have kept themselves 
shrouded for so many years, they no longer have the 
capacity to be otherwise.                         
                            And I like them—although not yet 
dormant. Self-censoring, yes, but short of effacement,
but knowing when not to speak. Not a state of denial,
but of dying.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Art For Revolution

Put you in terms of nature, although nature is no 
more natural than a city where people nest. Bring 
nothing to an artwork, nothing representative, put 
you in terms of not the street you live on, but pebbles 
crushed under car tires, shot up often into passing 
vehicles, leaving quarter-sized dents on doors and
fenders. Life is an emulsion, the sirens, the silence, 
six chords on a guitar you memorize, play resolutely. 
Come with nothing familiar but colors or words and 
make something occur that wouldn’t have. If you 
do something do something more. If you haven’t 
said it then say it and keep moving. Urges, hues, 
stay raw, as an ex-friend said of me, be a colossus, 
larger than that, be treacherous, be everything.  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Pay attention.
A situation is creeping towards
a conclusion. 
You might miss it. It might terminate
seconds before you’re aware it has. If so, focus on
a parallel situation, although conclusions
never actually occur. One merely says “enough!”

A war ends here, begins there.
A love story ends with a marriage, a marriage
ends with a divorce, kids, remarriage, new families,
new friends, new un-friends, And in
this constant shifting, we live, eat, and work.

The road goes to the left, to the right,
in the future up, at an angle,
GPSs become three-dimensional
There is no end to derivations.
Dislocation will thrive—those dwelling in a box
will be driven over, crushed, Protesting
a must—tyrants look like they’re winning, 
they’re not. They never do, but they 
leave bodies everywhere, including 
their own.

Quibbling over tactics is not unity. But one
person can’t do it alone. The human race
sparkles, yes, but is also laden with fools:
people who reject their own bodies. 
Centuries of misery will not stop. Living 
is a constant blossoming, erosion. Wars
are life, too. Many need to be fought, 
even if you have no weapons.
Just so many people can be shot down. 
The time is now. It’s always now.