Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wrapped in Silk

In this web of yours you keep me around,
lifeless, handy for a whim.
I cannot move, I cannot do the
things I must if you are to be satisfied,
yet too insecure are you to release me.
And so here I exist,
less than you insist,
unable to resist,
You seem surprised when this corpse does not dance;
I wonder how many corpses do.
Look into my eyes--
what do you see as you suck the life from me.
What do you want, what do you expect--
you have taken away my energy.
I begin to understand;
you are not in it for us,
you are in it for you,
and I am too weakened to resist you.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It saddens me. It saddens me, and frightens me. Good people I've known all my life sounding off against the president as though he were to blame... To blame for what, exactly? Averting a Depression? Saving the auto industry? Oh - health care, that's right. Giving people who have little or nothing, something? Do they really blame him for the economy? Don't they remember 4 years ago - before he even took office - how that "D" word - the word never uttered in my lifetime as a real and viable threat, but only in reference to my parents' generation, the era of the Little Rascals, the Dust Bowl, dance marathons, and food lines - how 4 years ago we were all discussing it not only as a possibility, but a probability?

What are they afraid of? - for make no mistake about it - this is fear. Fear of Mexicans? Fear of another 4 years of enduring a black president? Entitlements, they say. Too many people getting things for free from hard-working folks like themselves. Hm... I don't recall how the Mexicans, or blacks, or "free loaders" steered us toward the "D" word 4 years ago. I seem to recall a whole lot of greedy investors, irresponsible bankers, and people spending more than they could afford. Too much government control - that's what they fear. They want to allow those Wall Street geniuses free reign to do as they please - everybody knows how efficiently and equitably trickle-down economics works. Too much government control - that's what they hate about that man...

Let's eliminate Medicaid. Snub out NPR. Slash investments in schools. Increase defense spending so we have enough weapons to wipe those Muslims off the planet - they're going to be the end of us if we don't watch out! Here, my sadness turns to fear. For, their fear - fear of the immigrant, fear of blacks (still), fear of homosexuals who wish only to love one another as everyone else, fear of those who are not precisely like them in their religious beliefs - it brings to mind two things from the past: Early fascism in Germany, and the novel, 1984. And what was the common thread between these two monstrous societies - one real and the other imagined? Fear. Fear used as a tool. Fear used to rile society to perform unthinkable and institutionalized acts of cruelty and cowardice against their fellow citizens. Hate Week reminds me very much of Fox News. It reminds me of these past two days - post-election - as some of my old and dear friends have been unable to contain themselves, as they have spewed, well, hatred toward the president, the Democrats, and anyone who has ever received an entitlement in his life.

A long time ago my ancestors came to America from northern Ireland. Scotch-Irish, they were - but worse than that, they were Catholics. I've only heard stories, read in history books of the fear protestant America had against these vile, grubby, free-loading mongrels from that barren land. Worse than blacks, they said. A plague spreading across the nation. Laws were enacted against them. Institutionalized prejudice was set up like roadblocks at every turn, thwarting their pursuit of happiness. It's been the same with every new ethnic people, every nationality, every religious group - we've feared them, put up barriers in their way, and in many cases oppressed them. Blacks, Catholics, Jews, Italians, Germans, Hispanics... The same scapegoat wearing a different jacket. THEY are the source of our problems. They are to blame. If only they'd go away, things would return as they were just a few years ago - this nation would be paradise.

The most mystifying thing about the hatred drumbeat is how those who profess to be the most religious, the most American... are in fact simply those with the most hatred in their souls. They frequently tout their knowledge of Jesus, yet I seem to have missed the Sermon on the Mount and How We Should Turn Our Backs on Our Fellow Man. I don't remember Jesus cursing interlopers crossing the border, seeking a better life (isn't that what His ancestors did for years and years in the desert?). I don't remember reading about Jesus' bitterness toward those seeking medical attention - those who had no money to pay. I'm sure He must have turned His nose at them, but I just don't recall...

I am afraid. I am not hyperbolizing, I truly am. I am afraid of where this nation is heading. I've read too much history. I've seen it happen in places just like this, to societies who were the paragon of progress, innovation, and enlightened thinking. Look no further than the 1930's in pre-fascist Germany. Like us, they believed themselves immune to cultural decay. They thought themselves - and were in many respects - the highest point in the civilized world. All it took was an economic downturn, a convenient group of people to blame, and a charismatic madman promising a return to glory.

Hatred fosters returned hatred which leads, eventually, to a disconnect with humanity's moral pole. I do not hate those who hate our president. I don't hate them for their views. I don't hate them for any of their beliefs. I wish only that they would act more like their savior, Jesus Christ, instead of those who demanded His death on the cross.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Yearning

The yearning gets intolerable,
inside my chest is tossing,
though I don't know what for.
Sometimes I think it's for the love that only drips,
when I ask for a faucet flowing freely.
Sometimes I think it is for success,
finally, and I can break free from my bondage.
It seems to be worst in bed when I am
defenseless to still unbroken dreams of mine,
and I sink into it and it plays me,
though in the end I am betrayed by it,
and am only an empty pipe.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another Day

When we lie in bed together
nearing sleep, there is no other
place I'd rather be. In the morning
I hear the birds. You hear them too
and you say it's the loneliest sound
in the world. You rise, not so gently,
rolling the bed and making a grind.
If I am awake I watch you,
for I watch you whenever you
turn aside, pass through the door
out into the hall, to begin
your shower for the day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Two Dimples

The dimples above your
behind are symmetrically placed,
disappear in the glare when you
move forward, are made dark when
you push back against me,
your behind flexing,
constricting, two opposing apostles
in epileptic orgy.

The Sand

On the sand, on the sand, on the sand.
Where it all began,
and the place where I will end.
I can see her running,
I can see her joy--the sand.
In the surf, then out again,
sweatshirt clinging long and wet.
Ours, or our perception of it, then;
for hours and hours upon the sand,
our lives wonderful and without end.


Sometimes we have no time
and you open for me,
hard to get in.
I see you wince,
I take short steps,
intrusion that I am.
But once I am taken full for the measure,
once the beads of passion's pleasure
have slickened me in words and pricks,
you wince no more,
I lose the guilt,
we find the time to settle down.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Willow Branch

I am waiting, my love,
on the weathered willow,
bleached and battered from its violent past.
We'd straddle the willow,
and watch the waters,
and dig our toes,
and clasp our hands.
I am waiting, my love, for that second chance,
I am waiting, my love, on the willow branch.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Learning to live with five hours of sleep,
night after night and beyond disbelief,
so my eyes burn out,
and my back feels tight,
my biceps have moved to my once narrow waist,
banana peels lie on the floor in the space
where she and I used to play games,
or make beer,
or lie tangled winter Saturdays with nothing to do
but flip through the channels and think,
as if still children,
what we could do;
those idle hours,
I know they were grains in an hourglass,
and it went as if we traded them for some beans—
oh no—not at all. . .
yet still,
today, a sliver of that hunk of capricious skyway—
what we would give for it,
if only it could be bought. . .
Here, in the ring,
among the throng of bottles and bibs and numbering and,
Lord, those 2:00 am wakeups when it can’t be teething,
it can’t be hunger or mother’s breast she wants—
what then?—
how to read the subtle intonations of your toddler’s wail?
Learning to flop for the sake of self-preservation,
and thus the family’s sake.
Learning to re-learn to fit these evolving needs,
not my needs alone now,
but those of the other three who lie in their beds,
unlike me, asleep, only to waken when
I’ve finally succumbed to the drag of the day and
lay my head,
with ice pick in my temple,
on my pillow beside her.

Sunday it snowed again just as the
sun, so faint in these first days of winter,
skimmed like a stone over the breadth of
earth, and after our little sister went down,
you and I sat at the table and sketched,
and whispered things between us, and we watched the
window pane, starting in the corner, spreading up
like birth itself, turn white with frost, and then
the just-landed eyelash flakes from the north
lay down quietly in randomness,
making beauty before our eyes.

We planted seeds in March when
the ground was still bare,
the ground was still cast as plaster all
out wide and desolate as far
as we could see.
You sat on the counter.
You too sat in my right arm.
I dripped the water into the bucket of
dirt, and mixed it with my free hand,
and you asked your string of brazen questions,
and you too wanted out of my arm,
but not on the floor,
but not on the counter opposite you.
I poured the dirt in the tray,
And we three spread it,
the earth of our home,
until it was smooth and even.
The seeds you, and you too, picked out
at the nursery a week ago.
I showed you how to make ruts,
and then drop the seeds in,
and then cover them up.
We watered them.
Earth flowed in the flood—
but a week later when the first ones emerged,
the rows were straight,
to our surprise and shared wonder.

We ran in the yard first mowed in this heady spring,
around the towering evergreens of peace,
and down the hill where the apple tree stump stands alive with suckers,
then across the weedy plain of my former garden—
to the sprouts and leaves still clinging on,
kicking balls and rolling in crabgrass,
chasing the sun as it set beyond the old farmhouse waiting.
We ran, we three, we ran with all we had today.
We ran, you and me, giving me something to dream on in the morning.
Our sky, our gusty wind, our dandelions.
Ours, they were this day,
ours they’ll be again.
We ran for hours into the hands of bliss.
We ran as stallions across the bluffs of time.