Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The King

His realm depends on those who do the work
who show up every day, unlock the cage and
wash the floors and walls, prepare the food
(what kind of food? the lion doesn't care
—just that it's there without a fight)
who show up every night to medicate the sick
and tend the dying
to trim the hedges, sweep the pathways clear
(shards of a thousand childhood memories)
and open wide the doors to where
the next wave of excited faces waits
bobbing like balloons beyond the iron gates.

And when the crowd comes crashing in
the parrots lift their wings and shriek a greeting in return
the elephants eye each other wryly
(the otters roll on oblivious in their watery bliss)
and the lion sighs
and closes his eyes
and dreams of a kingdom on the veldt
surrounded by those he calls his servant-wives
(unaware they have their own internal lives
—he never listens when they tell him of their dreams)
inside his mind he strides across the plain
with hunger satisfied he leaves his wives behind
amid the scattered bones
licking their claws clean after the chase, the kill
(what animal? the lion doesn't care
—just that they kill one every night).

The females start to move into the day
stretching low to greet the sun
rising tall to sniff the air
turning their minds to tasks to tend to—

the male rolls to his back, legs splayed, belly to the sky
(deep in his dream he lifts his head to roar
the bull-seal bellow of a fierce unconquered heart)
head lolling to the side, he moans
and settles into sleep with one long fleshy fart

—they pause; muzzles wrinkle in a quick communion
we must start begging for the chakobisk again; you know he'll eat them all
then, item added to their mental list, they pace towards the artificial grove
to meet the sulphur-crested cockatoo who brings
a message from the matriarchs of all the primate clans:

some day
the gates will open out the other way.

"The King" (September 28, 2017)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Injust Spring

in this
spring when the sky is mud-
colored the raindrops
mute the shrill of

dogwhistles far and wide

where Patsy and Dick go
running to cheer for acts of
piracy perpetrated on their unwitting selves
by one who has lost his marbles
and this spring

when the world is muddled and awful

the queer
are hiding in the middle of the crowds
of women who have gathered to protect them
their children dancing

and hopping and hoping but

this spring
a club-horned goat foots it
across the hushed and verdant plains
between sea and lake
bleating terse epistles

set
us
free

"Injust Spring," March 20, 2017


Thanks to the Nasjonalgalleriet in Oslo for my 2012 photo of "Spring Flood" by Gustav Adolf Fjaestad (Sweden, 1909). Apologies to e.e. cummings for my 2017 poem.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

These Be Thy Gods

They worship a god that they created
Choosing their holy words with care
Stitched together from scraps of scripture
The form of Christianity, but not the function
The message lost beneath the messaging

When he is dead his hands
Will grow ten thousand bones
A golden reliquary in each town square
Where workers kneel beneath the choking sky
And mumble half-forgotten prayers

blessed are the rich
misery me
hollow be thy name

If only they had waited a little longer
To hear the wisdom they had walked so far to find
Impatient for the promised land
They cast their gold into the fire instead
And called for wine, and danced, and sang

Now we will never know what might have been
A paradise found and lost again
In Armageddon

"These Be Thy Gods," February 19, 2017


"I go [to church] as much as I can, always on Christmas, always on Easter, always when there's a major occasion, and during the - during the Sundays, I'm a Sunday church person."
"When we go in church, and when I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that's a form of asking for forgiveness."
"And I, I asked Jerry [Falwell Jr.] and I asked some of the folks because I hear this is a major theme right here, but Two Corinthians, right? Two Corinthians 3:17, that's the whole ball game!"

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm ... [T]hey that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
- 1 Timothy 1:5-7, 6:9-10

image source: Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Signs Of The Times

I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old Revolutionary maxim. “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” - Susan B. Anthony, in Federal Court being tried for voting (June 18, 1873)

Resistance is feasible even for those who are not heroes by nature, and it is an obligation, I believe, for those who fear the consequences and detest the reality of the attempt to impose American hegemony. - Noam Chomsky, In American Power and the New Mandarins (1969)

Resistance to tyranny is man’s highest ideal. - Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays, 3rd rev. ed., ch. 3 (1917)

You may either win your peace or buy it: win it, by resistance to evil; buy it, by compromise with evil. - John Ruskin, The Two Paths, lecture 5 (1859)

The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it. - Woodrow Wilson, Address to the New York Press Club, New York City (September 9, 1912)

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Resistance_movement 01/29/2017

Women's March, 21 January 2017, Portland, Oregon