Rat Kings (And Queens)

Tail to tail tangled together
and making nests of whatever trash
they find online, outrage ever
turning clicks to revenue—to cash.
Always excreting where they eat
in forums, comment sections, twitter,
knotted as one, their marching feet
in unison, their hearts bitter,
they seine the sewers for feces
that flow ever downstream,
and are a spiteful species
whose legion of followers teem.
They seek the stinkiest manure
with rodent teeth to gnash and gnaw,
thinking themselves so good and pure
as they chew all other creatures raw—
all whom happen to cross their ranks
of hate-cliques amassing their hate-clicks,
a group ungrateful, without thanks,
rioting in sewers and attics.
And sooner or later they purge
themselves of those not pure enough in
their circle, a crazed demiurge;
a cannibal circle of vermin.

Hodge Podge Poems

To Grip The Truth
A knife whose blade was made
from the blade of a plowshare, the handle a
bone antler, its grip offered to me
pommel-first
so
blade may part pelt,
flaying another skin
from a corpse hanging
by steel hooks
to bleed the slick meat dry
in the cool, ramshackle shack
where fluorescent lights reveal all
in clinical detail.
Old antler-handled knife…
freshly butchered buck…
what must be said is that
Life will eventually turn you against
your own kind,
one way or another,
until the blood mixes with mud
like wine poured spitefully from the
cup of peace
and we all are tools, all
hanging upside down and
headless,
bled dry for someone else’s daily meal.

Outrage Room Argument Theory
What is going through the head
of the person in this Chinese room
where we slip online text to be read
only for the outrage machine to boom?

An innocuous comment on a post
is misread by the command program
as an attack on those who are most
oppressed in their limited RAM.

Context and nuance do not matter—
only the buzzwords are comp[<ed>];
he, or she, is thus a Mad Hatter
always “/t’ed” off at the code prompt.

So, take what anyone innocently says
and crunch out preconfigured outrage
like dispensers spitting out PEZ—
they fail the Turing test, page after page.

Nothing but intentionality in their box,
they follow codes in their operating system—
but is there really outrage on the VOX
or are they simple machines of algorithm?

Don’t Tread On Me
The snake struck fast
at the dive-bombing eagle,
its spring-loaded coils
shreaded by a
taloned tread
and its gun-oiled body
now hanging limply
after a misfire.
The bird rose once more,
unharmed and
unimpressed
by the venomless mottos
spoken by saber-rattling snakes
shooting off at the mouth.

You Can Leave If You Don’t Like It
I am riding
with a loved one
who speeds along the busy road
and refuses to stop at flashing red lights.
It is frightening
and I try to tell you to
slow down,
to
obey the rules,
and you tell me that I should just
leave
if I don’t like it.
Sure,
I could leave;
you could just
drop my ass off at the next corner
and I could ride with someone else,
but I am really hoping to change
your mind
because I care about you
and
because even if I did leave
I would still be sharing the same road
with you
as you recklessly drive
along these global crossroads
of history,
smashing through everyone
with your red, white, and blue negligence.

 

Three More Poems

Geryon
Pay a few bitcoins
and climb on top of this
Monster of Fraud
to circle a few laps
above it all,
making you feel like you are
flying high,
his honest man’s face
as deceptive as
cryptocurrency itself.
Despite however many
blockchains
he is tethered to,
he will buck you when he
gets the chance,
dumping you headfirst into
a river aboil with
financial bubbles
and frothy fraudulence;
a serpentine cauldron
stewing overlong.
What are you shouting
from up there?
Market growth potential?
Yes, he grows larger everyday,
feeding well from his
investments
in liquidated soup stock.

Democratic Primary Debates
You may think you are now
radiant,
but you’re just hitting the atmosphere,
burning out as you come back down
to earth
after twinkling complacently
among the flashing-camera stars.
You are the type that
smacks a man in the face
with a chocolate pie
and then tactlessly accuses him of wearing
black face.
But blood is in the water
after everyone has thrown
chum-miness
overboard,
and there is a media frenzy.
How can any of you
hope to defeat the trumped-up Jester
and would-be King
when you all play the Fool?
Cartwheel round as much as you please—
in the meantime
Lady Pax is walking the gallows
one clown-shoe step at a time.

Shady Lane
At night the lamppost leans
toward the lane,
angling its sullen spotlight
as if glaring at its own
black post
and wondering how it came to be
rooted there.
There is a
“Flood Area Flood” sign
and
a fog rolling around it
from off the distended river
while the silent railroad tracks
lurk, ready to
rattle
to life at any moment.
A muskrat hobbles by,
humpbacked and snout raised,
its long black tail dragging
wetly
behind it; it sniffs at discarded
fast food trash
and moves on,
an amphibious pilgrim in the night.
The black wolf-dog
runs restlessly in and out of the
spotlight,
to and fro,
too excited by the
countless deer in the glimmering
moon-washed fields
to choose any one doe to chase,
sprinting toward every pair
of luminous eyes.
Frogs gurgle in the
flooded yards,
making homes of new swampland,
and black crawdads mosy down the road,
lost from the river,
yet carrying it with them
as a pungent, fishy fragrance.
A roar and a screech
and a Mustang races
out of the darkness,
splitting the quiet lamppost corner
apart,
bursting the pensive, gloomy silence
with a squealing proclamation of
being
before blaring down the road
and disappearing beyond the
shuddering railroad tracks,
the swollen river,
the cowled knobs,
and letting the lamppost glare
solitarily once more,
undiluted by headlights,
carving out its own silent
space
in the sleeping world
just before Dawn awakens the
neighborhood
with cars and trucks
and hurries and worries;
with all things that threaten
the outpost of peace
it resentfully keeps.

Media Stream

The river can be
diverted
with watersheds and dams and
media floodgates,
but we, the people,
are the ones dumping our
outhouse ideologies
into the eddies,
contaminating the flow,
thickening the sludge, feeding into that river
that divides us, and, so,
when everything flows
downstream
we should not be surprised
that when scooping out water for our
hearty family stew
we find ourselves eating someone else’s
shit
from farther upstream,
nor are we blameless
of flavoring someone else’s
cloying broth.

The New Colossus, Now Grown Old

Like Lazarus awaiting a new day to dawn
to awaken him from his darkened crypt,
the Mother of Exiles sleeps, now withdrawn
into dreams; shut-eyed, silent, hard-lipped.
She does not speak, nor smile, and her fire dims
while all around her sound the self-righteous hymns
of spoiled children clutching at her rusted gown,
climbing upward to steal her weathered crown,
screaming, “I am the ruler of the Land of the Free!”
and seeking to bind with chains all they see.
And still their Mother sleeps where she stands,
worn by birthing pangs, Caesarean operations,
and dreaming of grateful children from other lands;
children unspoilt in their third-world nations.

Dark Age Rally

How boldly they step forward
into the twilit streets,
naked in their ignorance
and blindfolded with perfumed gossamers
of propaganda,
screaming loudly
like town criers
slurring an anthem
whose words they understand
not, their voices drunk on
feeling
but deprived of meaning—
like waterlogged, rusted music boxes
playing war songs
to proclaim their riotous joy
in their
benighted prospects.
Living in their own personal
dark age
they cast their shadows forth
to swarm the candlelight of humanism
with the raven cloak of
superstition,
ethnocentrism,
misoneism,
quilting together their rabid, rabbling multitude
of darkling souls
like Stygian shades
to form a fabric
stuffed with the shorn wool
from among their fleeced ranks
to bind the heavy pillow
upon which a weathered, hoary head
unfurls its restless nightmares
and beneath which they
suffocate the
American Dream
as she shivers and fades
upon the sickbed
of Nationalism.