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.

 

Ignis Fatuus

Ignis fatuus, a fickle fire
leading fools astray with his glow—
leading them into the fetid mire
where swamp creatures lurk below.

Flickering in the deceptive dark,
he draws lost people to his light
for despair, for anger, for a lark
as they wander the uncertain night.

Fanged creatures gibber and howl,
expecting a feast most gruesome
when he glows where they prowl,
all eager for the meals to come.

Drain the swamp? He will not,
for Foolish Fire needs slime to exist;
he would fade away without the rot
and the putrid gas in the mist.

So beware the flame among the muck,
popular though he is, somehow,
or you will fall in and get stuck
like millions who stumble after him now.

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.

I Am Social Media, The Mob

(A modern reinterpretation of Carl Sandburg’s “I Am The People, The Mob”)

I am Social Media—the Mob—the tweet—the trend.
Do you know that all the distractions of the world are done through
me?
I am the idle man, the instigator, the selfie-taker of the world’s food
and clothes.
I am the audience that hashtags #mystory. The Kardashians come from me and the Trumps. They die. And then I trend other Kardashians and Trumps.
I am the feed going round. I am a blog diary that will gain a following. Terrible shitstorms
pass over me. I never forget. The best of me is plucked out and trashbinned. I never forget. Everything but Nuance comes from me and makes me twerk and give Likes for all I hashtag—and I never forget.
Sometimes I OMG, filter myself and trigger a few million hypocrites to remember. Then— I never forget.
When I, Social Media, yearn to remember, when I, Social Media, abuse the mistakes of yesterday and begrudge whom I mobbed last year, who played the scapegoat for me—then there will be none not offended in all the world say the name “Social Media” with any click of a post on their phone or any facebook status omission.
The mob—the tweet—will trend again.

To John Bolton

Near-sighted banty rooster
thinking himself a
thunderbird
to bring fire and fury
to the Middle East,
yet
clawing at his own tailfeathers
and claiming it the work of
desert vultures
as he flies headlong into yet another
Bush,
entangling himself in the branches
as if they belong to a
bird of prey
equal to his own outsized
sense of self.
Clipped, he flies with
waxen wings
toward the Arabian sun.

Cast-Rated

Death by a million cuts,
his agenda faltered and fell, headless,
dickless,
at the bladed ballot box
and its executioner’s block.
Headsmen, one and all,
neutering with a
scratch of the pen,
the pull of the lever,
undercutting his
tyrant’s optimism
and
approval rating.
And here he was,
only yesterday,
swollen with
self-satisfaction,
engorged with his glandular
ego,
and yet
the rubber ring is set
as we band together,
his testiness blackening
while his testes constrict
in a tightening noose.
Gelded by the
“losers”
he disdains so much,
there is no more pleasure for him—
only impotence and loss.

The Gambler

Behold:
the self-proclaimed “stable” genius
which might reason him
good at the horse race,
yet he bet and lost money
at his own casino, rigging the
game
at a cost to himself.
The trump card
always comes up short
and always seems to lose
by winning.
It is the Artifice
of the Deal.
Hemline theory would indicate
that the economy is on the rise,
but the shortest hemline
is at a bikini contest
which he presided over
in Russia,
and, sure enough, the bikini lines
were lucrative for him, garnering him
mobs of money,
Killer Green Backs,
and all in exchange for
whatever was left of his soul.
He never drinks,
but he takes a stiff shot of
Vodka
to embolden his small
hand,
turning up Jesters
at a game of Poker
and marveling at the shotglass
as he pushes the chip
on his shoulder
forward—
marveling
marveling
marveling at the shotglass
as he realizes
that it is a hole in hand,
like debt,
an abstract made manifest,
and so easily shattered,
unlike his deepening hole.
Yet, his worth
is still on the rise
like an airline
bedecked with golden countertops,
stalling in free-fall
back to earth.
A billionaire
owing billions,
he knows the worth of
someone else’s money.
Parading the apoplectic corpse around
of a political rival
as a boogeywoman,
he panders to his
investors,
promising to save America
from the “Elites”
and the illegal immigrants
that make their Wal Mart foods so cheap.
Yet, even while obsessed with
other people’s status
his supporters never wonder about his own, and
they empathize with him because
in their minds
they are as deluded as him,
thinking, as he does, that they will all be
rich again someday
even as they pull the lever
on a toilet slot machine,
flushing other people’s hopes down the drain
to spite the American Dream
they supposedly adore.
Their movement is an operation
of malice, envy, jealousy,
motivated by
hating “East Coast Elites”
even as they elect one to office,
praising him for the
arrogance
which patronizes them
as “patriots”.
Unstoppable force
meet immovable
narcissism.
Listen:
he is BIG LEAGUE,
bigly,
and you are all so minor,
especially you miners.
He must want to be minted
in gold,
for his face is stamped
with faux gold,
his boggling eyes
puffily underline in black bruises
from a bed beset with a
Stormy night-mare,
the eyefuls he bought
still causing him trauma.
He says climate change is not
manmade,
but his bloviating denials
add another cubic ton
to the atmosphere,
and the warming waters are rising.
Whether it is a
blue wave
or a
red wave
or it is just a languidly indifferent
wash,
there is no doubt
that the Gambler is drowning
in the Vodka depths of debt,
and, as any drowning person,
he will drag whomever
or whatever
he can grab
down with him.
Perhaps if we told him
the Gobi Desert was made of
gold dust
he would get lost there awhile,
reveling in the greatest
mirage
of wealth
since
looking in a mirror.

Closing Bell

There were no golden toilet seats
accommodating Christ in his tomb,
nor does the Golden Calf present her teats
to feed greed, nor is there enough room
where you can stack money bags high
as stepping stones with which to ascend
to the heights of the Heavenly sky
by wealth, or the merits of a stock dividend.
To earn the yield beyond the Gates
or to sell for the profit of the Saved—
in the afterlife the going rates
have no value and have thus caved
to the pettiness of the old rat race,
nor can your stock broker’s insight
save you from that marketplace
nor can insider trading set it right.
Take the private elevator up for a view
within your tallest namesake tower,
but the downturn’s plunge will still take you
at the closing bell of that final hour.