The Beast Remains The Same

It is a curious circus trick
to force a lion to leap through rings,
not done by books or reason or logic,
but with a whip that snaps and stings.
A natural predator is thus tamed
only through the promise of violence,
not education or being shamed,
but by Nature’s basic commonsense.
Try to read to the lion a book
about the innate worth of a human being—
try to raise him from a cub to look
at a woman as an equal, seeing
enough to emote and to understand,
to empathize with potential prey…
He will not listen, and will eat the hand
that flips the page, despite your dismay.
You are but meat he has his eye on
and he only understands brute force;
and, no, this is not just about a lion,
but all creatures without remorse.
If you think you can tame the breed
through intergenerational reform
you are in denial and you really need
to look at history, and its norm.
The lion has always ruled the lamb,
despite whatever Jesus might have said,
and if not a lion, the strongest ram
ruled with a bellicose, horn-crowned head.
Tyrants, pharaohs, psychos, thieves,
kings and queens and bishops and popes—
they rolled up the bloody cuffs of their sleeves
and rarely washed their hands clean with soaps.
Look: the beast reigns if not whipped each day
nor is this a Beauty-and-Beast case,
and sometimes not even a whip can keep at bay
the beast salivating close to your face.
Nor is the lion-tamer always spared—
he is often the first that is mauled;
too complacent as fangs are bared,
lamenting his career as he is clawed.
And the lion-tamer has in his own heart
a fierce lion roaring in equal measure
so he may fulfill his grandstanding part
and rein-in other lions for your pleasure.
The point remains: no book has ever
halted the fangs of a slobbering beast,
nor education or beliefs, however clever,
so do not trust Life’s circus— not in the least.

Upright Or Twisted

This vast field beneath the glorious Sun
is brimming with honey-sweet light
that glitters with soft fingertips on the tall, golden grass
that billows its head in a loving wind
like a Mass come to pray.
Few trees are scattered about this field’s face,
but these few trees are strong of branch, straight of trunk
and spread wide with canopies proudly dressed in summer leaves.
These few trees are courteous to one another
and do not war with distant neighbors;
not only because they cannot touch each other,
but because they do not have to.

There is a dark hollow beyond the field
which moans deep between a rolling hillock
and the swelling rise of an umbral knob.
The trees within its mouth are gnarled of branch,
twisted of trunk,
crowded for space,
and reach crookedly around each other with covetous intent
to steal the weak slivers of light offered by the negligent Sun.
They war with serpentine branches not because they want to kill,
but because they are naturally inclined to try to survive,
for not every tree is sprouted in golden fields,
nor is it to blame for where its seeds are planted.

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

2019-08-10 04.56.39

The seastacks stand tall above the tides
like Hellenic pillars sculpted each day
while a small seashell, dragged ashore, collides
with my bare foot as I walk upon the bay.

The seastacks have been proven through eons past
to endure Time’s erosive ebb and flow,
whereas the seashell shall never outlast
the night, broken with the sea’s careless catch-and-throw.

Yet, while I stand in the shadows of Time’s temple
I admire the quaintness of such short-lived creatures,
the shell at my toes being a thing seemingly simple,
yet taking eons to craft with such finite features.

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.

 

Two Poems To John Keats

Blood Vessel
What god did not genius grant
without a price beyond recant?
For Keats rode his daydreams swift
unto the empire of his gift
and in return gave libations full
to quench the god that bore his hull
with a cascading sanguine surfeit tide
upon which Despair rode astride,
reaching for the farthest protean shore,
his wish thus granted, and such much more
that lyrical currents carried on and on
his fame, his name, with each new dawn
and though his bright star was ill-borne
upon red wavelets he did but mourn
his name was never written on the waters,
but in the hearts of England’s sons and daughters.

The Moth-Time
He wrote hurriedly at the darkening eve
and yet his life was ever at the moth-time,
hand and quill fluttering fast at lantern’s reprieve
while oil and ink bled out for a lasting rhyme.

Crickets and critics sawed a mocking song
to hasten the falling shroud of Night,
but though the sun lasted not so long,
a bright star was raised to a new height.

For far above and aloft it shined and shined
where neither voice nor quill might impugn
the tragic poet whose lustrous life declined—
he became companion to the moon.

 

(Recently I resumed reading the poetry of John Keats.  One of the premiere English Romanticists, Keats lived a tragically short life, dying at the age of 25 while mourning his own presumably insignificant contributions to English Literature.  While Keats was often possessed of a brilliant acumen for observing and encoding Truth with beautiful imagery, he was thankfully quite wrong concerning his own legacy.  He died thinking himself nothing more than up-flown dust on an errant wind, and stands tall as a titan in Western poetry.  I simply wanted to show my appreciation for his terrible tragedies and his enduring genius.)

Lost and Found Free Kindle Giveaway

For a limited time my children’s novels are free in their kindle format. Though written for children, they also touch upon deeper themes and adult subtexts. I am rather proud of them, though I wish they would gain greater traction (and readership). Below is the link for the first novel. The 2nd novel is titled “Stormy Within The Strawberry Patch”. It is listed on my author page.