Just Walk Away

Even now I remember

all the times I walked away,

each memory an ember

ready to flare day to day

with the fire I felt in rage

when wrongs were done unto me,

but I chose to turn the page

on a scorched-earth policy —

yet rage remains, even now

when long removed from those days,

burning brazier, ashen brow,

aglow and blind in the blaze.

Stubborn, I clutch to cinder

and blow on it with each groan,

growing thus wrathful tinder,

but burning myself alone.

(A variation on the Buddhist quote about hatred being a poison you drink, expecting the object of your antipathy to die.)

Two Poems

His Prayer
He prayed with his thumbs
crossed,
throat brimming bile,
spittle spraying from snarled lips,
forearms flexing like the forelegs
of a panther in pursuit of prey,
hands straining to the tendons
with an eagle’s grip,
veins pulsating rapidly
with quickened blood;
he prayed with thumbs
crossed,
a vengeful garroter
strangling his exwife
or his chuckle-head coworkers,
his estranged, ungrateful children;
prayed with his
thumbs crossed,
choking the whole world
until only the sound of his
grinding teeth
remained.
He prayed everyday
breathlessly
to a god of death,
his thumbs crossed
around the bulging cords
of his own empurpling neck.

Firm Grasp On The Matter
His painter’s hand had been ruined
by the relentless teeth of age,
crippled in the grinding gears of
arthritis, and so his grasp enfeebled
by a sacrifice to Art and Beauty
yet
he painted such Beauty into the world
with his gratitude for life—
even as his body fell apart around him
he could paint the world with his
gratitude
and none could paint better
than the workaday wonders that he saw
in the passing of routine things
juxtaposed with the inevitable finality
of death’s imminent grip
so close at hand.

Wreckord And Rage

The bear still chases me
in my dreams
following me from the car wreck
more than a year later,
roaring loudly
with my own voice
as I get cut-off in traffic,
or grinding my teeth
when I have to
work overtime on my days off,
and rampaging
as another submission is rejected
by another publisher.
They say a bear chasing you
in dreams
signifies uncontrollable rage,
and I know this to be true
because I took a hard knock
to the head
and it woke that grizzly bear
from its primordial hibernation in the cave
of my skull,
and I try to tame him,
but every time I try
Zen meditation
or yoga vinyasas
the bear still stirs
and goes chasing me around,
denting doors with my knuckles
and hurling furniture with my
impatient paws
or threatening to maul
a flippant punk in a store.
How many times, I wonder,
have I attempted to lull the beast
with koto melodies
only to growl at the piping of a hichiriki,
or calm him with smooth Jazz
only to snarl at the intrusion
of a noodling saxophone
upon the pitter-patter of the piano?
I must hate wind instruments
and sometimes wish to slash
windpipes,
especially when someone prattles on and on
with self-important conceit.
No lullaby can soothe
the savage beast
of head trauma.
My insomnia, too,
is the bear’s insomnia,
and melatonin pills don’t mellow him out
enough for a long hibernation.
Meanwhile he follows me
from my dreams
into the waking world,
snapping in rage
at friend and foe alike
as the circus of Life twirls on,
the bear handler mauled
by his own mismanaged anger.

Pot Holes

How often he compiled his
grievances
against other drivers,
the rabid spittle spraying wildly
while he tallied up with his snarling mouth
the cut-offs, the jaywalkers, the
tailgaters and the distracted
phone-jockeys
only to find
in his wrathful hour
that he had collected nothing more than a
bellyful of furious
pot holes,
otherwise known
regrettably
as
ulcers.

Grudge Campaign

How tempting, this oft-trodden warpath
with its scenes of carnage and of slaughter,
and so I strike out upon it, a fire-forged wrath
as my armor, a knight inevitably brought here
upon a steed called Memory, a saddle called Will,
the road lined with splattered forget-me-nots
and a clarion calling more blood to spill
while each crucified foe rages, dies, and rots.
The wolves of vengeance stalk the distant shadows
and carrion birds spiral in triumph overhead.
But for whom do they circle, those buzzards and crows
whose beaks are well-fed upon the hated dead?
It often seems I cannot discern between
myself and my foes upon their crosses,
and as I travel along this holocaust scene,
I feel the weight of this armor, and of their losses—
all rusting in the rain, decaying in the sun,
and my burdens breaking the back of my encumbered steed
until I cannot remember but what wrong had been done:
the grudge, the crusade, this self-destructive creed.

Rage

Rage exerts a gravity
from its exponentially expanding
critical mass,
sometimes a supernova
devouring all in orbit around it
and sometimes a condensed
dwarf star
in flare states,
and rage is
inward-collapsing,
like a black hole
that may, eventually, destroy a man’s whole life.
It is nuclear fusion
and nuclear fission,
the splitting of atoms
which explodes into hydrogen death,
burning shadows on the back wall
of one’s skull;
a desolation of meaning
within a lurid white glare.
It is the
blood moon,
the hunter’s moon
wherein the wolves howl
and gnash teeth
and war steads salivate
as hoofs hammer headlong
into the frenzied fray,
canons roaring
in random mortar dismemberment
and a sword is gripped intimately
as it enters the bowels
of the foe.
It is shredded accords
and a blasphemed truce.
It is a stone-knuckled fist
cracking a waggish jaw
with the sweet lulling song
of violence.
And what a song,
such as would sing an eagle
as it crushes the hawk’s spine
in its clutching talons; a song
sung if eagles sang songs
through their bloody
hooked beaks.
And the Furies, once unleashed,
cannot slake their own thirst.
An ocean of blood
is never enough.
To
baptize a man’s head
with his own blood,
curbstomping his brains
so everyone can see what he’s
made of
is the most honest expression
of the self;
an act of pure expression
that cannot be undone
and, so, lives on
ad infinitum.
After all, rage is
a primordial beast
breaking bones in its fangs,
not for feeding hunger,
but to feed the desire
to see its most hated enemy
reduced to mere
shit stains
on the forest floor.
It is the emotion of
dissolution,
of negation,
of unmaking.
A special kind of art
for destruction’s sake.
It is
Shiva twirling
to a bladed dance
in our hearts;
Old Testament Jehovah
smiting cities
to rubble and ash;
Heracles destroying all that he loves
to please, at last, Hera
in the only act of worship
she would ever accept.
They may say
you only live once
so “Why waste life raging?”
but it is because you live only once
that rage is so
necessary.
It is the rawest form of
active emotion,
besides sex, and sometimes
sex can be rage—
rage against the cold, indifferent
universe
as we press ourselves together
in furious acknowledgment of each other,
one entity to another,
to scream our worth,
our love,
our rage against cosmic forces
that would unmake
all that we hold dear.
Rage is Love
expressed with the smashing
of skulls, the slamming of loins,
the collision of hearts divided or unified
in the war beat
of Entropy.