Heirlooms

To shroud yourself in the flayed skin
of your ancestors, your past kin
who bore the harsh kiss of the whips,
and now to flap your sneering lips
as if you were, yourself, a victim
to the woes that did inflict them,
and to steal their woes for your own
like a thief on Agony’s throne
so you might claim with the blood shed
their rights, (rather than mere blood bred)
is just as bad as feeling guilt
for ancient sins, to drive to hilt
the hate-bloodied warblade which flayed
the kin of others, a sword made
among countless other heirlooms
which all peoples have to bear, blooms
of crimson buds, vines thus amassed
and rooted in yesterdays past.
We should not take pride in the rust
on such heirlooms, nor should we trust
in skins which were taken by force
or else we belittle the source,
nor should we supplement the toil
in such gardens with “blood and soil”.
Sheathe the rust, bury the old skin:
do not presume to be your kin.

Three Poems

Suggestive

The fairies played among Queen Anne ’s lace,

flirty, flippant, flitting, and flying

beneath the white garters, each red face

buoyant with winds, happily sighing.

My, the laughter was so very loud

within the petticoats of flowers —

an orgy amidst that floral crowd

while they quivered, shameless, at all hours.

Such perfume and musk glutted the nose,

all fairies being fragrant creatures

amongst hills and vales, the highs and lows,

and the untamed wildflower features.

Then fox rain fell from bright Summer skies

and gushed over the hot countryside;

Queen Anne opened her delighted eyes,

for she found herself quite satisfied.

 

Rope-A-Dope Politics

Circling and circling, rope in our teeth,

knife in hand gleaming, seeking a sheath;

tethered, as we once were in the womb —

soon buried together in a tomb.

Come!  Speak a petty jibe, begetting

a messy fight, a ripe bloodletting

as easy as a sharp blade that cuts

and spills a man ’s whiskey-rotted guts;

rope in mouth, see the resentful lip

and we unsheathe blindly from the hip

to 86 the opposing side

as two worlds careen, contend, collide.

Scalp them, skin them, flay, debone, and burn

rather than let them have their fair turn!

The battleground is stained, yet does hope

demand we grit our teeth on the rope

while we circle, bleeding at a glance,

lunging and plunging to stake our stance.

 

Soul-Storm

Lives that came and went in a flash

like the radiance of a lightning crash,

a downpour plummets, weeping heavy

as if the rain-man danced upon the levee

to break the floodgates and to flow

the world ’s memory of wrongs and woe

trees tossing in mournful despair

as gusts bellow with raging air,

thunderbirds flapped resounding wings

and screeched of many unjust things,

aloft, high, sundering the skies,

blinding unwary, shameless eyes,

smashing low the tallest towers,

fulgurous with heaven ’s powers,

a twister spun across the plains,

a reckoning of deathly pains.

After all these forgetful years,

rains still fall from the Trail of Tears.

Why Poetry?

Because when poetry is good
it is as a fairy-haunted wood
full of shadows and foxfire
which burns in glade, thicket, and mire
and fireflies in hinted flashes
while, at a distance, lightning crashes
and rain coos its gentle music
along the canopy, its dew thick;
because the wood is known, yet wild
and I wander as an elfin child
in want of magic and insight
between the gloom and the bloom of light
that sparks with such breathless surprise
and wakes the mind as it blinds the eyes;
because it is, too, the splinter
caught neath the fingernail, and Winter
blowing cold through the frosted trees
to bring famine to all families,
and it is the pookah, so crazed
it trammels its rider till glazed,
it is the wendigo, hungry,
and the charlatan, his tongue free
to charm off the chastity belt
of the princess whose soft heart doth melt
at the gold song of a cuckoo
and then her own song: that of “boo-hoo…”
It is the dagger in the bed
as she cradles so gently his head,
it is the will o’ the wisp aglow
to lead astray another John Doe;
because it heals us when we die
each day of our lives, wondering Why?
And it resurrects us anew
when the woes of the world hack and hew
at our hearts, our bodies, our minds,
gutting us like fruits unto rinds;
it helps us to understand ourselves,
and our feelings, those tectonic shelves
hidden away in our secret depths
whose quakes come with our quickening breaths
while we seek the words of solace
to shelter against pains that toll us
in an old crumbling barn’s facade
against the wrath of a jilted god.
Because it is innate, this need;
as inborn as to breathe and bleed,
and we know no better way
to heat the night and to cool the day
with but few of the choicest words,
nor how better to compete with birds.

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.