Carried Away With Oneself

The townsfolk worried when the river would crest,
knowing it would flood their precious farmlands
and ruin crops before the Summer harvest,
all so fearful it was out of their hands—
that is, all except Donnie, the local fool
who lived in a white house all fading fast
and didn’t know how to discern a plain mule
from a jackass, or from a looking glass.
Anyhow, Donnie had it in his dense head
that he would save the town from the great flood.
“Give me all your buckets,” Donnie loudly said,
“and I will reduce that river to mud.”
Townsfolk thought this a hell of a hoot, all right,
and so they gave him every bucket,
and so Donnie took them to pail, day and night,
at the river, walking far to chuck it
away from the river, out toward the swamp,
where he fancied he made a difference,
even as the locals would laugh and would stomp
to see him so taken with such nonsense.
By and by, the river crested and then ebbed
as the floodwaters flowed farther on South
to the tributaries, watersheds, all webbed
until the river ran dry at the mouth.
The townsfolk were amazed to see such a thing
and praised Donnie for his supposed feat.
“If you are so grateful,” he said, “make me king!”
The townsfolk all knelt down to kiss his feet.
Thereafter Donnie saw to the floodwaters
whenever the rains fell in a torrent,
and he had much to eat, and many daughters
from the townsfolk, though it was abhorrent.
Each year the river rose, Donnie would bear it
with buckets, scooping it by the liters
as proof of his practice and pledge and merit
as the river rose, or fell, by meters.
But then came a year with such heavy rains
that they feared a forty-day flood was nigh
while the river swelled and broke over the plains,
the current swift, the whitewater crest high.
“Donnie! King! Save us!” they all cried out in woe.
Donnie scoffed at the river, wide and vast.
“I’ll right it,” he said, his orange cheeks aglow.
“You just wait and you’ll see! I’ll fix it fast!”
And so he took up his bucket, and his crown,
and he went to the rabid riverside
where he dipped his big, greedy buckets down
into that roaring, racing river tide.
For days he bailed at the river, growing tired,
yet the river only swelled larger still,
the farmlands and the town becoming but mired
in the bloat of that Leviathan swill.
“You are a fraud!” the townsfolk said to their king,
but he never lost faith, too much the fool
to ever doubt himself in any one thing
as he sought to solidify his rule.
And so Donnie worked at his usual pace,
which is to say, slow…lazy…no swifter
than the Hare when sleeping in the fabled race
against the tortoise, that steady drifter.
But the river was both the tortoise and hare,
for it ran swift while staying in its bed,
or else moved steadily outward, here and there;
whichever way its swelling excess led.
And Donnie waded out in the deep, thinking
he needed to get to the river’s heart
to pail out the most, although he was sinking
to his neck—yet still thinking himself smart.
“You won’t ever beat me, river,” Donnie yelled,
choking on whitewater as it tumbled
like the frothy fury of millions that swelled
until Donnie tripped and gagged and fumbled.
And, at a blink, Donnie was swallowed from sight
beneath the currents he thought he mastered—
his crown and buckets were found the next night:
the river will always have the last word.

Lord Of The Golf Rings

Lord of sparkling pyrite illusions,
like Saruman with his many cloaks
projecting power through delusions
and defying the Shepherd of Oaks.
He seeks the end of the Age of Man
and is false idol, and false wizard,
and pollutes all those whom he can,
corrupting Middle-Earth with his word.
Having power through what is believed
by those who kneel beneath his tower,
it is a sleight of hand shadow sleeved
as a showman’s at his premiere hour—
not a power of intelligence,
but of lies, deceits, a con’s bluster
ensorcelling those deprived of sense
as they gaze on a false-gold luster.
And what forces may vie against him
when Mt. Doom rumbles at its distance?
Good men lose faith and the light grows dim
while the elder race flees hither thence.
For Gondor has lost its favored son
and sulks in the shadow of Mordor
while Rohan wastes without direction,
king idle behind a wormwood door.
The Rohirrim, too, ride without aim,
flanking the enemy, to and fro,
almost as if playing a child’s game
rather than defeating their sworn foe.
Wherefore Gandalf? To the very small,
yet for who knows what wizard’s reason
as Hobbits rise to the horn-blast call
for a time in the easy season.
For comfort is the worst evil spell
and is far worse than the Uruk-hai
as it halts the hero from his tale
and aids the tireless, triumphant Eye.

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.