Sword And Sorcery Politics

Words can be as a sharp sword
grasped by the adept tongue
to cut down many a horde,
yet therein among
are foes defter at the thrust
when they fight you, those skilled
beyond your means, so you must
use truth as your shield
to deflect their subtle lies
and such black magic spells
that can kill heroes, likewise,
when a true tongue fails;
for such warlocks can conjure
phantasms of falsehoods
to overmaster hearts pure,
but lost in the woods.
Such conjurers breathe black smoke
to suffocate swordsmen
till they cannot see, and choke,
lost to dark lords when
they use the truth against you,
their alchemic spellcraft
warping facts until untrue—
a dizzying draught.
All you can do, then, is bow—
bow to truth’s fickle blade
and maybe survive, somehow,
perhaps by the aid
of a good PR wizard
whose power extends
to charisma points, his word
a spell that rescinds
the curse that has unmanned you,
whether from your false foe
or by your own false hand, too,
for he may well know
the coveted counter-curse
to restore your honor
or keep it from getting worse…
Nope, you’re a goner.

Medley

Viewing
Most human thought is
best left unseen, like a closed
casket funeral.

Prayers
Never had he once prayed for rain
to strengthen the crops in any field;
but to mock the tears of the slain
and drown the graves of the men he had killed.

The Sailor’s Curse
“Cranky Christ on a crook’d cross
wi’ a crotch full o’ itchin’ crab!”
he said after tasting her special fish sauce.
She punched him in his belly flab,
at which he was at a complete loss.
She said to him, “Watch ‘er goddamn gab!”

The Biggest Predator
The twin seastacks rose from the salivating surf,
pale, jagged sandstone towering above the earth,
and through the frothy ocean, like a tongue between,
the ghost of the world that was could be seen
in the backwash waves that thrashed up and fell away,
terrible creatures swarmed within the spittle spray—
they tore at one another within a bloody tide,
bickered and bit, fought and fed and died,
all dissolving within those tumultuous waves,
even the largest among them but simple slaves,
for they were the feast and the furor of Mother Nature
who devours all creatures, despite her nomenclature.

Simple-Minded Stories
Rinse and condense—
no space on the
bumper sticker
for nuance or context;
black and white bullet points should proliferate
but reiterate only one thing:
we good, they bad.
Let me tell you a farfetched fairytale
easy enough for a child to follow:
Once upon a time
in a faraway kingdom
we good,
they bad.
The end.
People throughout history have loved such
tribalistic myths,
but I fail to follow the bandwagon.
The stakes are so high,
yet the plot so thin
and the characters dehumanized
beyond any personality.
I cannot suspend disbelief
as the contrivances compound
in the lazy storytelling.
Here’s a truer story
with more substance to it
than the cliche plot
that has been told again and again
throughout history:
Once upon a time
some people thought life would be
easier
if they had to think less—
the end.
Except that last part is fiction
because this story has never ended.

Bible Babble
You
renounce Babylon everyday,
but should it truly displease you
take up hermitage in the
Appalachian Mountains,
comforted by the holy works
you cherish
and never bludgeon the brains
of others with your cherished Book;
do not banish the vices or voices
as if misremembering that
Jesus overthrew Caesar;
no,
rather,
he banished himself, outcast
in ascendance.
So, run to the hills
and in your sacred pilgrimage
keep a vow of silence,
otherwise you profane the Word
with that which you would
condemn Babylon.
For when in
Babylon
you are a Babylonian
even as you preach against its temples,
but worse,
for you are a holier-than-thou
hypocrite.
You have a
stained-glass heart,
and how easily shattered
the panes are—
as easily as any glass house
David might live in
as he readies his stones.
Stop cowering in the skirts of
the Great Whore
and venture out into the
Wilderness
should you be in earnest—
do not return.
Do not preach, at one moment,
against the sins of your Mistress
and at the next moment
sleep in a Babylonian bed.
Become the martyr to your purported
puritanism.
Go now:
go steeled in your faith.

Uncomfortable Truths

Priorities
A racial slur has never
killed a single person,
but one must wonder
how many Third-World people we have all
curbstomped
with our carbon footprint.

“Pocahontas”
Just one word and the Wall Street
iconoclast
crumbles, the kitschy tomahawk falling
from her pale hand.
Meanwhile the false gold idol
remains, leering as he slouches
atop the idolater’s pulpit,
untouchable beneath so much
praise
and pigeon shit.

Tax Write-Off
It is as sad as it is
true
that only wealthy middle class Whites
can afford the
guilt
of White Privilege,
whereas for the working poor
it is just another luxury item
cut from the budget
until good times come again
to broaden their purchasing power
and their
overtaxed sympathies.

Pocket Change
The feminist theory book was
closed upon itself,
thick with sermons against ancient
wrongs
in a cobwebbed corner of the room
while the pink pocketbook
changed the world
one purchase at a time
to a more
feminine shape.

Sokushinbutsu

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Try reason instead of
resin;
try moving from your position of
embalmed stubbornness
and grow rather than
mummify
within this mountaintop shrine of
isolated ideology.
You are not a disciple of
Enlightenment,
but a squatter huddling around the sutra
of your own willful
Ignorance.
Changing your mind will not
kill you,
but to cease all intake
except your obstinate beliefs
will make you a lasting
monument
to undecayed
foolishness.
Repeat your mantra of
denial
over and over again
until you assume the silence of perfected
oneness
with your antiquated ideology
while the world moves on
without you.
You could step through the
torii gate
to see a new plane of awareness
but your eyes have been petrified
shut.
The way outward
has been closed
by the way inward.

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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.

 

Beach Stranding

Strapped to the fabled White Whale,
Ahab rode his flanks inland
where waves wove a trail
along golden beaches of sand.

The ebbing tides receded quickly,
leaving the carcass now moored
and the stench rose so thickly
that Ahab struggled and roared.

“O fickle leviathan of Fate!”
he cried, all futility.
“You took my crew and firstmate,
but I’ve seen the end of thee!”

Along the golden coast of Cape Cod
rich families gathered together
as if to behold a dead god
while the captain cursed the weather.

“How hot Summer’s winds often blow
when a man is at Hell’s door!
Pride cometh now, well I know,
before the Fall to this shore!”

The sun baked the sand to gleam
as to be freshly shaved gold dust
and Ahab, within the whale’s steam,
growled as an engine gone to rust.

“Full market value for this bounty!”
He cried. “Ere true worth be enjoined
with apt reward, I’ll not count thee
entitled to a foe so finely-loined!”

The families looked on two thus bound
and pondered how came they from the sea—
this bloated, wasteful pair, pound for pound
equal to their own profligacy.

Innards soon exploded outwards,
festooning that private island shore
with a banquet for squawking birds
which glided in to feast on the gore.

And so strong was the gaseous blast
from the swollen sides of that whale
that it minced the families, all amassed
in the rotten blubber of a morality tale.

Shallow Wave

We rode a surging wave
all the way from Hawaii to the
White House,
but now we are just coasting dubiously
in the coral-fanged shallows
of the Trump presidency,
and I can hear the sirens of
Wall Street
singing
while the waters upon the shoreline
recede,
their sloshing foam of bursting
bubbles
revealing the scattered
bones
from the last
Recession.
The carrion-feeders
will glut themselves
as they have not glutted since
2007.
If you look down
you might think the sky
is the limit,
but that is just its
reflection
breaking before the orange-faced, false sun
goes down one final time.