Friday, February 29, 2008

Three Haikus (Shi)

Little girl, unwell,
pulls herself onto my chest.
My love enfolds her.

Sunlight paints our house,
we exult in our blessing;
winter means nothing.

A storm-wracked planet,
ancient sins predominate;
there is still faint hope.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The sickness wraps around you

in many different ways.
For a lot of you, it began in
Sunday school, or the madrassa,
or Hebrew school,
when you learned
(or thought you had learned)
that God only loved people like you
and that everyone else was simply
pitiable,
misled,
deluded,
trash
that was meant for the Fire.
And the fate that was waiting for
the heathens
was really unfortunate, of course,
but it couldn't be helped,
because it was His Will. (Amen)
Everyone outside of your own belief
became The Others, Them, the Infidels, the Terrorists,
the Jihadists, the Zionists, Great Satan, and worst of all
the Eternally Damned who would suffer
shrieking agony every second of eternity
because they didn't embrace the same
absurdities
you did.
And some of you have the sickness to the
terminal degree.
You're the ones who are waiting for
praying for
hoping for
watching for
the End Times, and the mass
killing,
and the victory of Your God
over all the hated unbelievers,
and the Eternal Victory of You--
I mean, God's justice--
over everyone outside of your
righteous certainty.
And I'm standing on the sidelines,
watching in fear,
hearing you damning each other,
and throwing anathemas at each other,
and threatening each other,
and seeing you tear up each other's "Holy Books",
and hearing you invoke His mysterious name
against the ones you loathe even more than your
mythical Satan,
the ones who dared to believe something else.
My only hope is
that in trying to "help God's work along"
or "do Allah's will"
or "interpret the signs"
or whatever other damned fool nonsense
you call it,
you don't end up
killing the people
I call sacred
in the process.
And that last possibility
seems a lot more likely to happen
than anything in your terrible, demented
eschatologies.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The cast changes

at terrifying speed.
At midnight last night
multitudes still drew breath
that now lie silent and motionless.
At that same hour hosts of new
biographies were still waiting to begin,
and they have since burst forth
onto a world that will only know
most of them
in the abstract.
Sometimes I imagine standing
on some impossible precipice
on one of those midnights
and seeing billions of
individual lights glowing in a huge
dark valley before me,
looking like an immense city
in the desert.
I imagine
that I can distinguish each of them
by their individual colors,
ones never seen
before those particular lights
started shining, and never to be seen again
after they are extinguished.
As I watch, some of the lights go dark
forever
and many more new lights
shine forth
for the first time.
It doesn't change the picture
too very much, I suppose,
if I just look for 24 hours.
But if I come back in ten
years, I would see
half a billion of the lights I saw before
now burned out,
and a billion more I had never seen
now radiating.
And if I returned after a century,
very few of the lights that
I recognized at the start
would still be displaying their
unique colors.
I would look at a picture of the
valley taken on that first night,
and hold it in front of me as
I saw the galaxy as it looked
36,525 nights later.
And I would know,
perhaps, that my light
may have been just one of
many, but it had never
been seen before,
and its like will never be seen
again, and
that that is enough.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In my dream he was

alive again, but only sporadically
(or so it seemed),
resurrected spontaneously
and randomly, popping up alive
at unexpected moments
and then vanishing once more.
We were seated in a restaurant
(cafe? bar? Who knows?)
He looked better than I had ever
seen him in life.
He was happy, relaxed, at peace,
smiling warmly all the while.
I asked, "Does your family know
you're here?"
I wanted them to know the good news
that he was back with them, however
unpredictably, so that his
sudden appearances,
like those of the ghost at Elsinore,
didn't surprise them too greatly.
Later, awake and immersed
in the daylight,
I remembered the odd vision,
and hoped
(even though I know better)
that it had not been just mere
random nonsense tumbling
through the weird landscape
of night time,
but rather that it had been
(perhaps)
a particularly long-distance
call.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Many would say that

he was unusual, or even
unsettling
in some ways.
He often gave subtle
(and sometimes blatant)
signs that he was being churned
and roiled by demons of
an indeterminate nature,
and it seemed as if he was always
involved in an argument
somewhere in the recesses
of that eccentrically organized
brain.
Maybe he was crazy, after all.
He embraced no gods,
but was often moved to prayer,
if only to plead for the safety
of those who were irreplaceable,
even though he wasn't sure
just who (if anyone) he was talking to.
He had the opportunity now
to rest on his past life,
but he still felt
an amorphous challenge,
emanating from a half-remembered dream,
to complete some final task,
which he was approaching
in a haphazard,
halting way.
He knew a great deal and still felt like
it was the first day of kindergarten.
The Finish Line was now visible
and yet he was just getting started.
He understood less than he did
when he burned with that
diamond-like fire
all those brief decades ago.
Words were his life, and yet they were
now increasingly hidden, as if they resided
on a murky, darkened hill.
He sighed for the lost, torrid vigor
of a young man in stud,
but he saw the newly minted adults
going through
the anguish of being the New Players
in the Oldest Game, and he wouldn't
trade his comfortable Peace Settlement
for their romantic trench warfare
for all the pages in The Joy of Sex.
And he had been wrestling, like Jacob,
with a stranger, not just all night
but since he could remember,
and he was beginning to suspect
that his opponent
bore a striking resemblance
to a face he had seen many times
before, and
would not be someone
who would bestow a new name
upon him.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

You think you can fool me

with a day right out of the Pastoral Symphony,
and a wife who is better than I deserve,
and a surfeit of glorious food,
and the fellowship of countless people
of gentle good will and friendly disposition,
but I'm too fast for you.
The nicer you make it for me, the more
I'll prove you wrong.
I'll let in all the midnight thoughts, latent
fears, babbling nonsense,
and bad drama I damned well want to.
You think you can make me forget who I am
by making my life blessed every day?
HA!
I earned it, pal!
You're trying to make me finally take that
barbed wire shirt off, the one that represents,
to an audience of exactly one,
all of my mundane, utterly ordinary suffering,
so I can be a Happy Idiot and enjoy
what 99.9% of the rest of the world
doesn't get to have.
You think you're so smart,
you think you're going to get me
to put down that globe,
accept what I can't change,
take those nails out of my hands, and
stop starring in my own (long-running)
version of Days of Our Lives.
You even want to take away
the most real satisfaction
I have, which is the fact that you will
never, ever make me look only at what's
in front of me
and love only that
and revel only in that
and be at peace, if only for a while,
only with that.
Well, I'll show you!
I'll show...you...
I'll...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Its folds and valleys

didn't evolve in order for you
to comprehend the Ultimate Truth.
Its multitudinous, spindly little branches
aren't there so you can contemplate
the whole Universe and embrace it
in your grasp.
Its contentious family doesn't exist to prop up
your philosophy
or your gods.
And most of all, it didn't become what it did
in order for you to figure out
all the tricks it pulls
when you're not looking
and the hocus-pocus it performs when you are.
It's there to help you figure out
how to get enough to eat
and how to find allies to protect yourself
and how to kill anything that threatens you
and how to convey a part of that continuous
river running through your head
to others.
And it does all this
so you can survive long enough
to find someone to screw regularly
so that others like you can come into existence.
It's a jerry-rigged, jumbled up collection of
parts that proved useful, and nothing more.
It's a shack surrounded by a house encased in a mansion,
and you live in all three.
So stop expecting it to make you Happy,
and stop your absurd game of telling yourself
that you've Figured It All Out, and most of all
stop your village idiot proclamations of Certainty.
All the noble aspirations it's given you
are an afterthought,
and the more you try to figure out the gifts it gave you
using the gifts themselves,
the more you will become Alice
falling down the rabbit hole.

Friday, February 22, 2008

He ran to the basement

as soon as he heard the water splashing
riotously against his expensive fitness equipment.
He just barely had gotten the breach stopped
when he heard the roof groaning in protest.
He hurriedly brought beams to the attic to
shore it up, and was just about finished
when the furnace began thumping and
banging in loud protest.
He brought out the battered tool chest
and spent the rest of the evening
calming its metal innards down.
Exhausted, he slumped in his trusty chair
only to see cracks spreading up the walls
like vines driven by radioactivity.
He furiously spackled until he couldn't stand
any more, and fell asleep right on the floor.
He was awakened a short time later by
zapping and buzzing electrical outlets.
They were sparking dangerously so he cut
the power and lay in the dark thinking
about when the house was new
and everything worked perfectly
and it had been his pride and place
of perfect contentment.
Now the upkeep was taking all his time,
and he was wondering how long it would
be before the whole thing collapsed.
Hell, he thought, maybe I should just let it.
There's only so much weather any house
can take.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

They got away with it.

Every damned last one of them.
The withered armed, pockmarked Georgian,
the Wagner fanatic who began dreaming
of murder while listening to the opera,
the big peasant from Hunan province,
the twin-loving Angel of Death,
and all the rest of them.
None of them is standing in front of
an ominous judgment seat,
cringing in dread and
panting in quick, shallow breaths
as an impossibly long
and vividly detailed
bill of particulars is read to them.
And none of them
is trembling at the thought
that the jury has been drawn
from the sewers of the Lubianka,
the ash pits of Treblinka,
the fertilizer of Szechwan province,
or the children of Block 10.
Death rescued them
from the trials,
the searing testimony,
the universal public damnation,
the dank prison cells,
and being hanged in civilian clothes
(the final humiliation) as the reporters
looked on.
I never bought the idea,
born in the revenge-filled minds
of bronze age shepherds,
of the place of eternal fire
and ceaseless suffering.
But in the absence of justice
on the terrestrial plane,
shouldn't there be at least
some place where these men finally
have to answer, have to be brought
to account,
have to be confronted,
have to be grabbed by the shirt
by angry, unstoppable hands,
made to see what they have done,
and where they are forced to repent,
down to their
last atom,
for everything?
No one deserves eternal torture,
not even them; their guilt
would be expiated long before
infinity had passed.
But no one deserves to escape
being forced to see the face
of every person whose
humanity they spat on.
There should at least be that.
There should at least be that.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I was walking

down a road toward a destination
I didn't know.
The boundary between
earth and sky
was nowhere to be seen,
and everything was suffused
with a faint, grey light.
On either side of me,
and twenty feet off the ground,
suspended by the sheerest
of green threads,
there stretched a line of
jagged granite boulders, rocks
so huge it was as if the violence
of the entire Earth itself had been
required
to tear them from their ancient
mountain sides.
The boulders moved on the threads
as if they were
jagged, rotating
wheels, grinding and
scraping against one another,
yet making no sound.
The threads couldn't possibly hold
the boulders' crushing, overwhelming
weight, and yet,
horrifyingly,
they did.
There should have been hideous,
ear-destroying sound
but the silence persisted,
and the boulders continued their
impossible procession.
It was so far beyond any understanding
that it gripped me
in a fear so terrible
that I wasn't sure I would
survive.
I couldn't speak.
I couldn't run.
And I couldn't leave the road.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

You would go down into

the basement to cry
when everything got too much
for you to carry by yourself.
You didn't want us to hear you,
but I always did.
And it was like a slow corkscrew
going into my chest every time.
Life had dumped on you
with such brutal callousness,
taken so much away from you,
smashed your hopes so often
(and sometimes brought out the worst in you,
even though you didn't want it to)
that I, the youngest one, the weakest one,
the sickly one, slipped on the
harness and became the nicest one,
the one that was always on your side,
the one who would try to never let you down.
(I was trying to use the
thin reed of me
to prop up the struggling, falling
tree of you. )
I know now that it was easier for you to
shout in rage
than to fall back down
into that dark crevice, the one you had
already worn your hands raw
crawling out of so much.
But I also know why
you just had to stand downstairs
by the washing machine sometimes
when there was no one to be angry with,
and your only recourse
was to let the river
of your overwrought
sorrow
course again down
its well worn channel.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"It's time to leave",

she said as her husband took one last look.
"Do you have all the records with you" she
asked, trying to keep her tone business-like
so the tears wouldn't grip her throat again.
He nodded slowly, still drinking in the
windswept, dessicated scene, resigned,
consumed by sorrow, and yet convinced
that it was necessary. They climbed into the hold
of the ship, and were soon rendezvouing
with the others in the fleet that was
spread out so many miles in all directions.
A red sun flooded the scene with fierce light
as the thousands of vessels
united as one.
As soon as the last stragglers were in place,
the behemoth was gone, time enfolding around it,
and the last of home was only a scorched memory.
And as the huge vessel
plunged into elsewhere
and elsewhen,
she held the little cube in her hand and thought,
we can add the last chapter now.
Time to start a new book.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The man had built

a wonderful contraption, a huge float
that would have put anything in Pasadena
on New Year's Day to shame, festooned with
bright, flashing lights, animatronic cartoon figures,
and devices that generated bright sparks
like a Roman candle spurting on a driveway
on a drunken Fourth of July.
The whole thing was on springs that shimmied and
jumped up and down in perfect rhythm
as Sweet Georgia Brown blasted from eight speakers,
and from time to time
brightly lit, fluorescent-colored streamers shot out
from the mouths of the hilarious-looking gargoyles
that lined its upper rim.
He stood at its apex, on a big, rotating platform,
wearing a sharp three piece suit
that glowed brighter than a neon sign
on the Vegas Strip, topped off by a nifty bow tie
and a hat any guy could get laid for wearing.
He said, in an exuberant voice, "Well, how the hell
d'ya like it?"
A man covered in sores and lying
near the sewer opening
propped himself
up in slow-motion agony on one elbow
and said, "Very nice."
He then coughed up blood
and passed out,
as the huge throng that was
gathered there cheered wildly
for the float and a beaming
delegation pinned a huge blue
First Prize ribbon on it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The old men at the VFW

bar never talk about it with
anyone else, the people
who weren't there, the ones
who wouldn't understand a
goddamned thing, because none
of those people
saw the frozen blood on
the torn bodies of the GIs
that the Waffen SS had gunned
down near the edge of the forest.
It was in that nightmare December, when
you had to cling to the walls of the
burning houses to keep the cold
from eating you alive.
The ones who've never been there
would ask why you made the next Germans
you captured walk barefoot in the snow
until their feet became solid, made them
walk until their toes began to fall off, made
them walk despite their gravel voiced pleas
for mercy, made them walk until the
surgeons at division had to amputate their
blackened Kraut feet.
It was a different place.
It was a lifetime ago.
It was between them and the men
they had captured.
They knew the deal.
And no one else can say
that they would have let those
Germans put their boots on
if they had been in the place
of the men who now sat
drinking beer and talking about
the ball game.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"Quick! Over here,"

the deep voiced man commanded,
signaling with his right arm in a powerful sweeping motion,
the well-earned sweat on his face glistening
in the platinum desert sun.
A dusty group of 10,000 pilgrims,
covered from head to toe in gauze,
stumbled over each other to
get nearer to the one who
Knew the Way.
"Follow me! We're almost there",
he said with an authority that made their hearts clench
for a moment in awed obedience.
The pilgrims linked arms and
began singing an off-key but joyful song.
They swayed in unison as they
followed the confident man over a cliff,
still singing as they descended,
their bodies spontaneously forming a giant cartwheel
as they bounced en masse down the side
of the rock-strewn gorge, their song echoing
happily as they gained speed,
their bodies now a contented blur
as they hurtled toward the
unyielding canyon floor.
Two hundred yards away, another man
sighed and shook his head, saying,
"I knew those poor bastards
would end up doing that."
And with that he herded his black robed,
serenely gazing followers
toward the slowly widening fault line,
the earth's temper growing
increasingly short as they
strolled toward the promised land.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

He was out walking around

in the forgettable world
of people talking, laughing,
eating fast food,
and shopping.
The picture was in sharp focus,
all senses lazily engaged
in the eternal present,
as he manuevered aimlessly,
noticing braided hair, a blue cell phone,
a little mutt panting in the warmth,
an orange, hand-lettered sign
advertising a local reggae band.
He stopped by the little green
restaurant with the sun-faded
menus on the outside wall.
He noticed they had three kinds
of shrimp, and he remembered
how his Mom would always deep
fry them in that old Kenmore fryer
she had for about a hundred years,
and she always made those
great french fries in it, too
and he thought about that
little tiny kitchen, and all the lives and dramas
and laughs that had flowed through it,
and a multitude of voices and faces and smells
passed by like a faded home movie.
He stood quietly, amazed as always,
at how fast he could drift back into the
dimly lit, sketchy world behind his forehead,
and at how quickly he could conquer
not only distance
but times that would never come again
as well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

He stands on a balcony

ten thousand light years distant,
and looks out upon the cityscape
as the binary stars are setting,
the sky turning a deeper shade
of magenta as the shadows encroach.
He's wondering if anyone
beyond his world exists, and
whether any other species
has ever
spoken
thought
calculated
imagined
argued
meditated
built
created
fantasized
planned
anticipated
remembered
hoped
struggled
explored
laughed
loved
or written.
His fear is that the answer is No,
that his people are the only beacon
in an indifferent, all but eternal ocean.
And it fills him with despair
that perhaps nowhere else
has life erupted into mind,
and that nowhere else has
the unconscious
brought forth
the conscious.
If only I could let him know...
If only he could let me know...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"All great literature",

my well-read
and Falstaffian friend said
(with jovial authority)
"is about sex and death".
I laughed because he was
right, and I sighed
because he was right.
Haven't we worn these ancient,
tiresome subjects out
yet?
Are these really the greatest
of all dramas, the ones
that happen when
either genitalia are
thrusting
or knives are?
Haven't all the myriad
secrets of the heart been
laid bare by now?
Haven't all the terrible
paths of glory been trod
a hundred times over?
And then I realized that Reptile Brain
and Dog Brain still rule the world.
Ape Brain simply tries to figure out
how to cope with them
and to clean up the mess
they always leave
behind.
And Ape Brain will
always like trying to
explain
what the hell happened
at least one more time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I try to lift them

off the ground,
but they're so heavy
I can't move them.
So I lie down next to them
but their faces are
opaque
and their eyes cast downwards.
So I sit on the ground
with my hands
around my knees,
talking to them as if
they were coma patients
drifting through the silent
deep space of unconsciousness,
waiting for signs of life,
and waiting also
for them to know,
in some way,
that I am here,
that I'm not going anywhere,
and that when they
awaken again,
that I will be with them.
And when they do awaken,
however long I have
sat with them, even if it's
been more years
than I can count, if they ask me,
"how long have you been waiting?",
I will, without a moment's pause say,
"Not long at all."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

"OK, we could go for

the heavy metaphor here,
and then zing 'em with the
ironic ending."
His partner tore up the sheet
in disgust.
"Well, how about a neo-romantic
sort of thing, you know,
tra-la tra-la isn't it
a nice freaking day,
something like that?"
The partner spat and looked at him
contemptuously.
"Well, we could always do stream of
consciousness, just start stringing
together watermelon fish head basketball
sneakers, you know, that very
chichi kind of crap."
The partner laughed and then
reached out
and smacked him in the forehead.
"Uh, how about limericks? They're
always fun."
The partner then took out a gun
and shot him.
Bleeding but undaunted, he said
(while on the floor)
"Yeah, you're right. We shouldn't
do blue stuff."
And the night continued.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

He waits on Mt. Erebus

in the depth of the Antarctic night,
plunging the surrounding air
down to absolute zero,
scourging the landscape
as he roars out his final rage
in a voice that freezes sound
itself.
His gaze stops the motion
of the starlight in its tracks
and the earth becomes as desolate
as the far side of Neptune.
He is one with the dark matter,
and no living thing
will survive being within
a trillion miles of him.
There he will wait in the
motionless deadness
forever,
annihilating all that is
foolish enough
to challenge his
infinite
self-exile, aware
of everything
and nothing
at the same time,
and indifferent to all
of it.

Friday, February 8, 2008

If I experienced it

I wouldn't recognize it,
I wouldn't understand it,
I wouldn't know what was
happening,
and I wouldn't be able
to put it into words.
Lao-tzu told me that if I could
explain it, I hadn't touched it.
The Cloud Man of Athens
said it was all just forms.
And the old sage of Konigsberg
said the prison I'm in wouldn't let me
see it anyway.
It's there somewhere,
(the very definition of "there")
free-standing,
existent,
essential beyond all purity,
that which is,
and yet it will forever
dance enticingly
beyond my grasp,
like a butterfly
flitting away from
an awed two year-old.
I'll never be able
to do anything
except sit in the cave
watching the puppet shadows
on the wall, knowing that
at least,
I'm one of them,
and contenting myself
with that.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Three Haikus (San)

Cacophanous songs,
Sea and sky harmonious,
A tender morning.

Two young strong lovers,
Private longings now unleashed,
Fierce passion entwined.

Lost in reverie,
A chiaroscuro day,
Night slips in softly.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It sits there,

poised to spring into action,
its antennae fully extended,
pulling in suspicious signals
from even the
remotest places,
its muscles taut and flexing
involuntarily,
its 20 eyes and ears
as wide open as a screaming
baboon's mouth.
Its skin buzzes like an overhead
high-tension line, feeling the movement
of every molecule on its surface.
Its terrible razor-like teeth
and vicious, unsheathed raptor claws
are ready at a moment's
notice
to rip, with berserk fury,
into anything
that gets
its attention,
however "innocent" looking.
It is fully prepared to explode
into bloody, jaw-dropping
action
at the slightest provocation
or hint
or imagining
or whisper
of disagreement.
It has caused
irrevocable damage
more times than I can
count, although now
it tends to act out its ugly
slasher dramas in private
more than in public.
Some of its victims deserve it;
others turned out to have been
wrongfully executed; most of
its targets, oddly, never know
they are under all-out assault.
I've worn out a number
of leashes on it, and now,
at last,
I think it's finally getting
weary of the war against the
shadows and
papier mache monsters
it's been waging
all these decades.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

She is someone

I would gladly, laughingly, joyously
die for
(if I had to),
all 25 pounds,
two feet tall,
17 months old of her.
She grows more beautiful to me
every day, even though
I was convinced yesterday
that it wasn't possible.
She thinks everybody is nice.
She smiles at everyone,
and will walk up to someone she
doesn't know
and offer up
the impressive gift
of one of her cookies.
I watch her gleeful, uninhibited
play, and later feel her baby head resting
on my chest as she heads into
a dream land populated by teddy bears
and pacifiers, and I want her to
stay this way always,
even though I know she won't
and she shouldn't.
I don't want her to know what I know
about what really lies outside of
her door.
I don't want her to feel the
disappointments, the betrayals,
the jarring collisions with dark realities.
Not yet...not yet.
Let her world be our house and yard
for a while.
Let every day be filled with people
being sweet to her every minute,
and let her live in her all-too-tenuous
innocence for a few more years.
Some day, let her shoulders grow with
her burdens,
and let the gifts of the outside world
compensate her for all she will
have to give up to earn them.
But right now, let her rest
in my aging arms,
and let me hold on to her
for just a while
before she starts the journey
away from me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I was going

to ask nicely.
I was going to be humble
and soft spoken.
I was going to say, "Oh well"
and just put on
the cement shoes
again.
I was going to be a good,
well-groomed,
polite,
courteous
little boy.
But I can't
and
I won't
any longer.
This war is over, pal,
and you lose.
You're not going to beat me down with
your damned terror tactics
and horror shows any more.
You won't make me lie there
in the dark
trying to figure out
how to simply
will myself dead, ever again.
You won't show the people I love
to me in a funhouse mirror
any more.
You're going to let me out,
G-d damn it,
or I'm breaking down the walls
of this stinking cesspool
myself.
You've had me in here
long enough.
You've taken away
more from me
than you had
any right to,
and I'm saying
THAT'S IT.
I'm sick of hating that
poor kid.
I'm sick of only seeing the bad parts
of the movie.
I'm sick of losing just by
walking on to the field.
I'm sick of believing every
lie ever said about me,
especially the ones
I told.
I'm sick of you,
you rotten son of a bitch.

Yeah, I screwed up--a lot.
I admit it.
I don't blame anyone but me.
Are you happy now?
But I always had you
wrapped around my neck
like some rotting carcass,
and I won't put up with it one more second.
I'm not letting you fatten your pile
of ill-gotten loot any more.
I'm leaving NOW.
I'm kicking your worthless ass
TONIGHT and walkin' out of here.
I still have time for a big finish.
And no useless scab like you
is going to stop me.
Your prison is being blown up
with you in it.
And it's about time.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

"Now remember, leave those

boulders right where they are", he said.
I looked at the huge, convoluted field
in bewilderment, taking note
of the profusion of rocks strewn about,
some jagged,
others smoothed by erosion, some imposingly large,
others minor and seemingly unimportant.
My guide seemed older and yet unsettlingly
familiar, with deep lines on his face and hair
gone almost completely grey.
All traces of the boy he once was
had been eradicated, like the streets
of prewar Hiroshima.
We trudged onward, the shadows
alternately lengthening and disappearing
as an uncertain sun danced erratically.
I bumped into a medium sized-boulder and,
being irritated by its presumption at being in
my path, shoved it aside without a second thought.
Suddenly, a geyser of scalding water erupted from
under it. The horrible stream was already dropping
searing mist on me, making me cry out in fear of
the hell that was ready to fall on me full force.
Just as I was about to be boiled,
my guide, furious, willed the
stone back into place and pulled me,
with a head-snapping lurch,
out of harm's way.
Abashed, I could hardly look at the
old man. He simply glared
with a look like a clenched fist, and said,
"When are you going to believe me?"
We continued our wandering through
the prehistoric landscape, and I seethed
in my shame,
my helplessness,
my ignorance, and
my curiosity about the boulders
as yet unsighted.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I can't be sure

(because I can't be sure of
anything much any more)
but I'd be willing to bet my life
(and yours, too)
that there's a reason prophets
don't like you to check
last year's
January 1 edition
of the National Enquirer.
I'd also be willing to bet my life
(and your dog's, too)
that there will be no
Great Cosmic Bailout
when we've finally succeeded
in screwing ourselves
so badly that he'll just
laugh at us
and shake his head.
I'd further be willing to bet my life
(and the lives of your Betty Crocker cake mixes)
that the Late Great Planet Earth
ain't so late,
and ain't so great,
and that it's not going
to do us a favor
by hosting fabulous televised battles
between rampaging
horned gang bangers
and celestial John Waynes.
I'd also be willing to bet my life
(and the lives of both Batman and Robin)
that no savior is going to give you
an eternal life
that you'd just be bored with anyway,
that no Day of Requital is coming
(so stop looking in Wal-Mart for those big scales
to weigh the souls of the dead in)
that there are no Enlightened Ones
(because what the hell did they know?
They didn't even like to get laid)
and that Nirvana is probably nothing more
than a really, really good
pizza.
But hey,
what do I know?

Friday, February 1, 2008

All his life

he ran after it,
desperately elbowing his way
forward, all the while
saying "Bless your heart"
as he drew fresh blood,
vacuuming up friends
and spitting them out
like fish bones when
they had no flesh left
to give.
He cultivated a charming smile,
a winning expression,
a confident demeanor,
and a left hook nobody ever saw
coming.
Everyone else became
an appliance, either
useful or not.
And after a mountain
of wonderfully creative lies,
ruined benefactors,
suicidal wives,
shattered Johnnie Red bottles,
and the soul crushing despair
of anyone
who got too close to the white-hot
betrayals,
he HAD it.
And it was at that moment
that he decided that everyone
else's suffering
had really been
worth it.