Brother, you must stand tall
even when all others
lean on a crumbling wall
like woe-stricken mothers;
stand against the headwinds
shouted by cold tyrants,
whichever way it ends
stand tall in defiance.
Stand tall within the flood
and tides that pull afar,
and as they sling their mud
remember who you are,
for to stand tall right now
as they tear all else down
is to gild your stern brow
with a luminous crown
that will guide others hence
as a beacon of light;
stand tall with the good sense
that you will win this fight.
A midnight too cold, I do declare,
as I tremble in such air
as breath of a frost titan
while stars shine, but do not lighten
with the twinkle of dreams thus outcast
in dark gulfs that last and last,
and I wonder, in such chilly air,
if they twinkle and they glare
because of prevailing ingratitude,
wishing me a change in attitude.
But I cannot, anymore than they,
being ever-fixed as night and day,
and so I think they have no right
to judge me this or any other night
for they, too, in darkness shiver
as if alive and all aquiver
though grown bright each as the sun
and hypocrites, every one,
they are too distant to know of woe,
being far above, and me far below,
but should they wish to condescend
then by all means, come on, descend,
and let us have a sun at night
to warm the hours as a sun might,
but if they should, please be so good
as keep some distance, or they would
burn the earth to blackish cinders
with their resplendent splendors—
indeed, keep thou to that great star chasm
or wither the world, not unlike sarcasm.
Am I belligerent as blood-red Mars
that I should begrudge such long-dead stars?
No, more so Saturn fully crowned
with the ringed dust I have found.
But enough! Hear now the truth I give
and know the truth withal I live:
I clutched at stars once, quite defiant
and thought myself a looming giant
only to find a firefly therein dead
in my hand, a streak that bled
a constellation, a glittering stain
to remind me oft, and to oft remain
so I might know the truth of such dreams
and all above that gleams and seems.
Pardon my breaststroke
but the undertow will take me
not with my eager acceptance, thank you,
but with mortal fatigue,
meanwhile your undead body
to ashen shores
so you may make
after having razed the world
and all of its myriad “illusions”,
attempting to delight in the
joys to be had
rather than throwing yourselves
upon the pyres
and giving resolution
where your philosophy’s resolution is due.
You wish to beat us down
with the bones of the departed,
striking our hopes with a cruel
“You too! You too!”
as if we were not aware
that even headstones crumble,
and, yes, we know that
we ride determinism’s
along the continuum of life—
it is no hollowing revelation.
but while you numbly nestle
into the shoreline’s ashes
after you have smote all meaning
in your estimation,
and while you stubbornly mutter
your mantra of “malignant uselessness”,
I cannot help but note the irony
of your continued existence;
for while you champion mass extinction,
the puppet does not burn himself
to rescue himself from the supposed
“conspiracy against the human race”.
Actions speak louder than words,
and you seem quite disingenuous
while you gleefully lob
Molotov cocktails into the sea
like bottled letters
meant to reach distant shores.
It is an ironic joke, you know—
the one about the
who refuted his own thesis
by showing up
for the book signing.
we are meat puppets
tangled up in our own strings,
but only you seem to be
high-strung about it.
strumming other people’s
has always been lucrative,
even if money and ambition and
further the delusion
Perhaps you should use the ashes
for your late-term
I will make my sand castles
as I please.
Somehow I doubt your
ash castles will last long,
and, besides, wet ash
burns the hands
which shape it,
yet will never clean the hands
of the hypocrisy
that stain them.
Sometimes I feel as if
I can conjure whole worlds
with the merest of words,
like a wizard with illimitable power,
or a king at whose summons
his subjects hastily gather
and at other times I grope
like a blind vagrant
for coins spilled from his
the words roll away from me,
impoverished as I am
of the rich tributaries of poetry.
even when the floodgates open
and alms are offered in
with gratitude’s cornucopia,
I manage to conjure
cannot muster the worth of a
with words alone
and, so, I return to the
to grind my own bread
from a wealth of wispy, unwelcome
Slow swimming upstream
through badly clogged sewage pipes,
To gamble against that grand extortionist,
as he continues his protection racket,
and to inevitably lose,
exchanging the going rate of
dust and cobwebs,
mildew and mold,
faded paint and creeping cracks,
with the punitive rate of
cinder and ash and crumbling stone
is a hard payout,
especially as beautiful stained glass
melts again into sand
which we cup futilely in our hands.
Time is not only thief,
but judge, jury, and
the repo man,
and to expect anything else
is to expect the sun to rise
at nightfall, the skies
to lay down like the oceans,
and the dead to live once again
to embrace us as in days of old.
Time is our landlord
as well as the vandal.
Criminalize the graffiti
and he becomes an arsonist—
begrudge the insatiable blackmail
and bemoan the black smoke as your
beautiful lady’s soul
wafts darkly into the heavens.
She has gone under the knife
to remove his careless scars
only to be smote by his
And yet, even as Time
ravages with his blade and his fire
we join together,
hand in hand,
to suture tightly the hemorrhaging wound
before it can bleed us dry.
Together we hold each other up
even when the world is burning down.
We cannot hope to conjure again
a cathedral from the ashes,
but we can seek sanctuary
beneath the pediment of the human heart.
Like Quasimodo in mourning
there is a beauty to be found
in so much ugliness.
I was once similar to you,
a young man caught in the undertow of a
self-loathing feedback loop.
I did nothing but scowl
into a mirror-bladed guillotine
and cut myself down, day after day,
while glaring at my own warped reflection.
It was carrion comfort,
a devil I knew
that clutched me back from the waking world
and all of the uncertainties, and the rejections,
so I could escape the hypothetical abuse
of the caricatures you would call
while I indulged my all-too-real
meat-grinder masochism in solitude.
I understand why you wish to
publicly share, and shame,
typing up confessional posts that read like
war cries for a
You crucify yourself to your
so that you may mouth maledictions
against passing women
whom you would fain believe
have hoisted you up and nailed you there,
but you are the one who condemns yourself
pillory yourself with keyboards
to welcome scorn from
other prophets of misanthropy,
then you decry the rest of humanity
as fools oblivious to the unfairness
you can so plainly see
with your body dysmorphia.
But look beneath the hood of the headsman
and you will see yourself staring back at you.
Despair begets resentment,
like rot in a wound,
and resentment festers into hatred.
But you can choose to cut the rot away
and purge the gangrene.
Know that by confining yourself to an
you are confining yourself to a
You are not suppressed by a boogeyman named
but depressed by your own medication:
a black pill which you want to believe
somehow wakes you up
to what Normies can’t see,
but which is really just a
nightmare you choose to dream
The sleep of Reason produces monsters,
but Love has never been a
demon of Reason—
it is a demon of
and you have to give Chance a chance,
otherwise you are rigging the game against yourself.
So wake up.
Spit out the cynical cyanide pill.
Love can capture you
when you least expect it.
when Chance is just right,
being caught by the right person
can set you free.
Don’t think that a game never played
is never lost.
When you don’t play the game of
you forfeit so many delicious victories
for the rest of your long, lonely life
that it becomes a long stretch of losses
from the sidelines.
I was like you, once,
but then I gave myself a chance,
and I worked on my own compatibility,
and it took a lot of patience,
but then I found that I loved myself.
And when I started to love myself
I started to love the world.
Amphora of demons
masquerading as angels,
lifting us upward
from our holes of despair
only so we may fall farther,
crashing into the hard turf
the impact deepening the
so it is more difficult
to reconcile ourselves
with our new level of suffering.
Hope is Pandora’s
the joyful quickening of the heart
It is the
to a dead end.
To hope is to
plant the seed,
split the wrist,
and pray rain comes
ere veins bleed out
for the dry-rooted crops.
It is the mirage
in the vast desert, an oasis
as it fades between
the endless, arid dunes.
the flaring light of Heaven
in the dying neurons
of the Little Matchstick Girl
as she huddles in the
falling from God’s
And all gods are hopes
embodied so we may affix
praise, or blame,
instead of confronting the
blind, imbecilic hand of
of cosmic determinism
which hears not, thinks not,
but fumbles idiotically as a
blind, dumb, deaf, mute
of hopes and disappointments.
Because hope is the seed planted,
the roots anchored,
the vines entangling a foot
so you cannot flee,
cannot abandon the futility, but instead
forces you to look to tomorrow,
mishearing its whispers
as if they speak of
even after countless
and fatal famines.
It is the shovel
digging into shallow earth
and striking upon rock instead of
and then the pickaxe striking
the same scalped spot
in search of
the pyrite glow
leading us upon a wager
against that randomized gambler
that is Life.
And it is because hope is
the stalled adolescence
of our species,
it is arrested development
inborn into all humans;
a willful naivete
that has us hearing
someone in the house
in the month of July
and telling ourselves,
with a shiver and a moan,
that it is
It is the carrot
that leads the donkey
and it is the stick
that beats the donkey
long after its death, believing
that it might rise
and plow the fields
if we just strike it one more time.
It is acute accouchement
yielding nought but
the birthing pangs
the crops go unplanted,
civilization goes unpeopled,
the canine mother
kills her pups
in fear of Winter’s wasteland
and we do not rise again
out of bed in the morning
to face the humdrum drudgery
of a woefully workaday life.