Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tower of Fire, Tower of Smoke

Will he dream all his life of falling through siren-howling dark
or flying through fire and shattering glass?
Miraculous safe landing in the arms of a stranger
cushioned by an angel’s wings? Will he remember the figure
gesturing from the window? Did Moses remember
the hand that launched the boat?

This tower of smoke squats against the London sky
unmoving, guiding to a Land of Promise not kept
not kept. This tower of fire marks no sanctified sacrifice.
No Exodus. No exit. No escape for you. Throw your child down.
Did you see the miracle? Was it the last thing
printed on your eyeballs burnt lidless?

When the names of the dead are told we’ll know
little more than we know now. A falling baby
with no return address. A figure in a window
with flames behind.

Wordless we stand under
a tower of smoke.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017

To be Read on Memorial Day

One was a veteran of his country’s wars,
the other, a youth just barely out of college.
Neither had ever met the other before
nor had they expected—more intimate than marriage

to die side by side, making common cause
protecting still younger youth from hateful rage.
Brothers in arms for one moment’s pause,
one instant spotlit on the world stage.

Today, speeches, parades, fireworks after dark
and every regimental flag is proudly borne
in sacred honor around the city’s parks.

So much is true, but this is also truth:
not all our heroes died in uniform.
On the MAX platform, Death stands at salute.

Ricky John Best
Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche
On them be peace


Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Friday, May 26, 2017

Midlife Crisis

You cast your life behind you
like a chameleon casting skin.
Like in some YA fantasy, where
reality turns slippery, you fall into
the tapestry you’re eying
and have adventures to the din
of worlds colliding.
Where a dying unicorn
sings to save the world.
Lives are cheap; you can always
invent another.

With apologies to Alan Garner.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Spring at my building

clouds and wet sidewalks
rain on the rhododendrons
breeze tosses the leaves

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Monday, May 01, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

Drowned Spring

Fall betrayed us. Winter shattered us.
Drowned spring brings less hope than anger.
Our fields wait for burning summer

to raise some crop that can feed the heart-hunger
of betrayed women. Of those to whom
drowned spring brings less hope than anger,

condemned for the crime of carrying a womb.
Witness the truth and shattered surprise
of betrayed women, of those to whom

luckless losers told loving lies
and raised shadow-fists in the name of love.
Witness the truth and shattered surprise

of men who swore by some God above
whom they had raised in their own selfish image
and raised shadow-fists in the name of love.

The year turns against those who batter us.
Our fields wait for burning summer.
Fall betrayed us. Winter shattered us,
our hands reach out for the handle of a hammer.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Monday, April 24, 2017

Deadlock Victim

Rerun the transaction. Another process
claims the same resources. You have been chosen
as the deadlock victim.

It’s nothing personal. The optimized queuing algorithm
says you are the lowest priority. Resources are insufficient.
You have been chosen as the victim.

Deadlock. Rerun the transaction.
Blame system resources,
not the algorithm. Blame the pie, not the slicer.
Denied insurance? A loan? Foreclosed ahead of schedule?
No appeal. Resubmit your application.
Still the deadlock victim.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Epic Protest Poems

is an ongoing poetic project at epicprotestpoems.com. Check it out. My contribution is today's: epicprotestpoems.com/2017/04/13/tiel-aisha-ansari
Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Manhattan Beach, 2064

Cedar log burns, fragrant, smokeless
splash of light, heat
on cold dry sand.

Ahead, surf gleams in starshine,
whispers chill salt to my cheek
where warm flannel scratches.

To my right, waves growl
along the jetty’s broken riprap.

Tiny sand fleas rustle in dry seaweed,
hop on my feet where I sit
smooth pebble in my left hand
rough shell-shard in my right.

It would be 2064, if there were still calendars.
It would autumn equinox, if there was still time.
This place would be Manhattan Beach, north of Rockaway, if there were still maps.
I would be a hundred years old, if I’m still alive.

No clouds. No moon tonight. No smell of gasoline, exhaust, sound of traffic.
Only firelight picking sand-ripples out of the dark,
limning my footprints, only mine on all this beach

once strung with cotton candy, salt-water taffy, sunscreen flavored with coconut and banana oil.

Behind the low bluff of sand. Behind the dune grass. Something rustles in the dark.
I tell myself skunk. I tell myself garter snake.
I am alone.
I smell the urine of the wolf.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Monday, April 03, 2017

Coral Justifies Bleaching Itself

... as the algae provide the coral with 90% of its energy, after expelling the algae the coral begins to starve. –Wikipedia on coral bleaching

We have to expel these foreign (colored)
elements. Although we benefit from (can’t do without)
their labor, they are a threat (essential)
to our way of life.

So out with them. Our body politic, purified (whitened)
stands ever stronger (bleached skeleton
starving
dead).

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Agate

polishing agate
white fades like a cataract
revealing an eye

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Reading: March 26th 2017

Joan at the Lane Writer's Guild very kindly recorded the reading and posted the video.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Monday, March 27, 2017

Newspaper Taxis

Newspaper taxis appear on the shore
Waiting to take you away
Climb in the…

“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” The Beatles

Newspaper folds to Boeing silhouette
taxis down a runway where the jets
appear and disappear: a liquid shimmer
on asphalt, mirage or something dimmer.
The business changes. Technologic ruses
shore up circulation, but the news is
waiting for a savior like Godot
to rescue it from being thought too slow.

Takeoff’s late, reporter on the beat.
You can’t catch the talking heads who tweet
away like birds in midair conflict zones.
Climb into your paper jet. Launch drones
in search of next hour’s topic. You can’t write
the copy ‘til you have it in your sights.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Friday, March 24, 2017

Character and Intensity of Precipitation

Moderate intensity; mostly benevolent in character. Raises flowers and nourishes crops.
Heavy. Spiteful. Comes with high wind; damages trees and power lines.
Light. Languid. Can barely be bothered to dampen the sidewalk.
Moderate, freezing. Malevolent. Sneaks up on you. Avoid driving.
Heavy without wind. Indifferent. Watch for local flooding and rising rivers.
Changeable with strong wind gusts. Mischievous. Eats umbrellas for lunch.
Light, with bright sunshine. Playful. Throws rainbows.
Heavy, with bright sunshine. Dangerous. Throws large hailstones.
Heavy disguised as moderate. Untrustworthy. Monitor voting record carefully.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside