Turn-Styles

Trimmed Excess
As a bonsai tree
trimmed of cluttering branches;
so, too, poetry.

Enochulum
Firstborn in the cold lands of Nod
to a killer exiled by God,
in a place abandoned by love,
forsaken by Father above—
and yet how is such nascent sin
borne by a boy hapless by kin?
Enoch, child from an outcast seed
and guilty by blood of his breed,
whose father envied a brother
for God’s love, more than another;
Enoch, son born to roam the earth
without hope, joy, mercy, or mirth,
who roams while the wilderness wide
beyond the vale of Edentide
and neath a God who should begrudge
Man as made by his cruel judge.

Parasites
Cleptocrats never believe
that they have ever stolen,
by sleight of hand or up the sleeve,
for an empire fat and swollen
on the blood of their employees
upon whom they feed,
never knowing themselves as fleas
on a dog they slowly bleed.
They believe they built the edifice
on their own, and all alone,
blind to the truth, as Oedipus
upon his shameful throne.

Good Jazz
Not that busy jazz
where instruments trip and tangle with
one another
in a confused, rambling clamor
of crazed pedestrian traffic,
but jazz removed from the hustle and bustle,
as slow and moody as the haze
of smoke lingering long after
she has gone to bed,
the ashtray breathing thin
while its sultry plume is aglow
with the insomniac skyline
of a restless city—
while she turns in her dreamful sleep,
mumbling a name
like a wish in the cold blue twilight
of endless longing.
Perhaps piano keys
dripping like raindrops
off the eaves of the somnolent stoops
and trickling along the
black-gloss streets, alight with
the city’s neon blood,
or the steadily pulsating drums
that lull with their thumping ease,
the distant rhythms
of faraway apartment life,
and that soothing bass
echoing up to the ceiling of the soul
like a subway train deep in the
heart of the city
felt at the cloudy heights
of a slumbrous skyscraper.
Nothing is so fine
as sleepy jazz
reverberating in the
dreaming glow of the midnight city.

Rising Wind

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Wherefore the cock doth crow aloud
as doth a man vainglorious and proud
to fancy rise of gilded sun
as if a deed he hath by his breaths done
with lungs soon fit to fill a sail
so may his pride expand, a seaside gale,
and enterprise forth by high wind,
his voice a conceit unto fatal end—
for how shall puffed pretense prevail
if not by measure of lie he doth tell?

Three Poems

Contrast
Snowflake flashing amidst the darkness
as white from black, a startling starkness,
a speck catching light within the void,
twirling, lifting, drifting, downward, buoyed
and returning to vast darkness yet;
a white moth fluttering in vignette
without a cry, a voice, nor a yelp,
fleeting, countless, and hopeless of help.

Blind Faith
The self-sabotage
of a belief system
is not unlike an otherwise good man
playing William Tell
blindfolded
as his son trembles and flinches
and the erratic arrowhead flies
while feathered with what is presumed to be
an angel’s quill;
the forbidden fruit of knowledge
rolling off his head
and falling to the ancient earth,
slaked once again
by the blood of innocence.

The Theseus Ship Paradox
Always on the lookout for new lands
while adrift on the exotic seas,
running aground shifting island sands
to beach upon new discoveries.
Seven years may seem so very long
when charted afore the christening
with the winds and currents flowing strong
and a hale crew keen on listening,
but by such stars in aft retrospect
it is rather short and fleeting brief,
though grateful for not having shipwrecked
on a Siren-haunted coral reef.
Yet, wear-and-tear ages ships as well
as they drift along with wave and wind,
weathering both tsunami and gale
while navigating toward World’s End.
Thus, to starboard, larboard, stern and prow,
the old timbers are replaced in time,
and nonetheless afloat somehow
in Protean storms as the waves climb.
Death and rebirth, this seven-year course
with figureheads at prow and at stern
whose Janus visage changes and morphs,
yet true to the blueprint— the pattern.

By This Color Divided

The one color that divides
America into “sides”
is not Black or Brown or White,
Red or Yellow, dark or light,
but the color that is Green—
that is the color between
the one side and the other,
between sister and brother;
it is what gives some more rights
while most squawk in petty fights
that accomplish no more than
idle talk, or prayer, can;
it is the power of wealth
that divides all from oneself;
the othering of the bank
and thus the false social rank.
Similarly, it was gold
that was the demon of old—
it was greed that took the lands
from the Native tribal bands
and it was greed that enthralled
peoples from Africa, hauled
to America to build
the dreams of men who so willed
without care of soul or heart
or the lives they tore apart;
nor the migrants near the turn
of the century, yet to learn
that the green of one’s greed
did not care about their need—
though they were just as White
as whom deemed them “parasite”
and used them all as prey
for cheapened labor, and pay,
as like those of modern times:
Latinos from Southern climes,
for Race is just an excuse
to divide us so we lose
the real war of the classes
as one percent amasses
more money, more power,
everyday, hour by hour,
while we raise a wayward fuss
about tribal “them” and “us.”
Divide and conquer, they say,
and it does work, day to day—
the poor so obsessed with hue
while shortchanged for their due.

Deathless Drama

Drama never dies a natural death,
but resuscitates at the drop,
rising again to eat the scenery on-stage,
without cue
in woodchipper expediency
like some theatrical Lady Lazarus
slobbering rabidly
and throwing up
in the audience’s faces all of the
paint chips and other
pregnancy cravings
she has devoured,
having poisoned herself with
histrionics
and sprawling out to her own dirge,
flailing arms and legs and shouting wild
accusations and rapid-fire monologue gossip
about her own murder,
about her own resurrection,
never happy with life
and never settling down to a
permanent death.
The only way to properly kill drama
is to ignore her
and walk out from the theater.
Do not even ask for a refund.
Much Ado About Nothing
should always be a play
and never a way of life
or death.