Monday, January 16, 2017

Dopamine Fix

Dopamine Fix

No matter how much I scroll,
Facebook will not fill the hole
though dopamine
and oxytocin offer an illusion
of sustenance for my soul.

But the pre-verbal
losses and deficits
play on a loop
that never quits.

This is not a blame game
as Tweedy’s Happiness suggests,
but merely a statement of fact, at best
cold and hard like steel.
No warmth here
nor when I hear
the sound of my name on your lips.

You did the best you could
and I never would
accuse you, though I have
and will.

For now I return
to my silicon substitute
and wish for connection
beyond abstraction.




Slender Alotment

Slender Allotment

In the hallways of downtowns,
behind the drowning
drone of computers whirring,
beneath the chafing stiffness
of crisp clean shirts,
below the surface
of the freshly showered skin,
beat the hearts
of men and women,
blood running thin,
the rhythm of time
slowly drifting by;
amid reams of paper and reports,
coffee-stained and rearranged
daily output and input streams
of information regarding
wickets and widgets
or dreams coldly reduced
to predictions of profit and loss-
this is where our lives occur,
this is where we pass the time,
our shallow slender
allotment of eternity.

Friday, January 13, 2017

This Poem Is A Lie

This poem is a lie;
nothing about it rings true,
neither meter nor rhyme.

I walked a mile in my own shoes
today. Am I free now to judge
this poet as a bastard?
There. I said it.
Someone had to.

Standing on the corner
of Wabash and Randolph,
she shouts,
Is anyone listening?!
No one is, of course, until
she shouts.
Now they are
warily eying her
every move,
wondering,
waiting,
moving past quickly.

Our poet friend
drops a coin into her cup,
lifts his eyes to meet hers
as if his gaze were enough
to fix her. She scowls and mouths
God bless you.
He thinks, Fuck you!
then chastises himself
for his whiteness,
her blackness,
his privilege,
her impoverishment,
his relative sanity,
her relative madness.

Relative to what,
one might ask.

Relative to one another?
Absurd. In what way do they relate?

Relative to an accepted norm?
Again. What is normal?

Relative to oneself?
That, my friend,
may be true.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Loss of Narrative

I have no mythology
to carry me
through the day.

The Lord Jesus Christ
is not my savior.
And neither
am I.

There are no epiphanies
in my past
that I can remember;
I can’t remember,
period.

My body tracks
the quickening slowness of time:
soft belly, receding hairline.

And the scars left behind
mark old battles –
appendicitis,
the flattened last knuckle
of my right hand,
a lost boxing match with my desk.

But my mind failingly grasps at all
but the tastes and smells,
the most vivid and primitive senses –
the taste of my grandmother’s coffee bread,
the smell of Ivory soap and cold water
at the sink behind her woodshed.

Even those have faded to facsimiles of memories –
I remember the remembering and not the thing
itself.

Images are a thing of the past,
faded snapshots at best.
Even the present disappears into a fog.

Perhaps it is the drugs I use to stay afloat,
perhaps it is the depression and anxiety they treat,
perhaps it is merely a product of age and genetics…

Whatever the reason,
I long for a season
of memory.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

On the Election of Donald J. Trump

On the Election of Donald J. Trump

The genie
can not be re-
bottled;
Go back
to your country!
he shouted,
attacking
the Muslim officer
and her
teenaged son.
The law and order party.
Right.

The hate
can not be
bottled and sold, or
can it? For
hasn’t our
Tweeter-elect
done just that?

He sold
the white man
a load
of crap
about Other
and Self,
us and them;
how was America
not great, again?

Right:
the white man
is dying
and no one cares,
or nobody?
You too?

Opiods,
suicide,
drink -
these
are the methods
of choice
for the chosen.

No jobs in Appalachia,
but there never were.

Coal country
is dying
and nobody cares.

The planet
is dying
and nobody cares.

Make America Hate Again
Make America White Again

But there is no again about this;
the genie never had a bottle,
just drifted underground
with his sheets and crosses,
heil salutes and lügenpresse.

And now? Now
he can rear his ugly head
in public again,
prodded awake
by the Pussy Grabber-elect.

Alt-right indeed. Simply
a lifestyle choice
for the dying;
by twenty forty three
America will be
majority-minority.

These the death throes
of a once great race.

As if.

We killed
the indigenous.

We enslaved
the black (wo)man
and her children’s children’s children.

We interred
the Japanese. We
invaded,
mutilated,
raped,
scalped,
pillaged,
burned,
hanged,
imprisoned,
beheaded,
whipped,
strip-searched,
waterboarded,
poisoned,
amputated,
the bodies
of Other.

People.
The earth.
It’s all the same to us –
means instead of ends
in,
and of,
themselves
as we were admonished.

But Kant is dead
and so are we;
our insides hollowed out.

What of my life,
asks the poor white.

True enough,
but you don’t get there
through hate and rage;
Other is Self
and Self, Other.
Our mother,
the earth,
demands respect
and so must
her children.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Post-revolutionary Poets

Post-revolutionary Poets

Gil Scott-Heron was right:
the revolution
will
not
be
televised.

It will be live-
Tweeted or Facebooked.
And the Times will write
pithy thought pieces
for online subscribers
to consume
while their cities burn. And I
will walk the streets
in the waning days...
well, not me per se for I
and my ilk will be killed,
strangled with the cords
of our Bose headphones
while listening
to the comic rantings
of other elites' podcasts.
But perhaps one poet will survive,
an immigrant of color no doubt,
to chronicle the aftermath.

There will be no country
to be an immigrant in or of;
the fatally flawed fantasy
that was ’murica
will be woke,
some new thing
in its place,
a burned out shell
from which to begin.

The bodies of the dead
will burn acrid and unmourned,
for didn't they deserve it?
Or die defending the true America,
no matter which side they were on?

This multi-faceted
intersectionality
we call identity,
merged and tangled,
woven
from the fraying fabric
of a million gagillion,
as my newly
dead young daughter
used to say
was how much
she loved me,
DNA
narratives.

But what of it,
I hear you opine?

True enough.

The dead
have gone before us
and their
volumes die just
as readily,
unread
by most.

Shakespeare too
will one day
be forgotten;
Beowulf already a bore.

But time is
slipping in this
verse and I
compose this
prophecy
on a train
with prying
eyes and asses
in my face, asses
on my shoulder,
once again
confronted
with the false
privacy of public spaces.

Or does my ego deceive me?
After all, they say
as you get older
you
realize
no one was
thinking of
you
in the first place.

But I am
thinking
of Other.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

How the Drumpf Stole Democracy (and Christmas to Boot!)

Every Lefty in Leftville liked democracy a lot . . .
and even some Righties had given it a shot,
But the Drumpf, who had moved recently from Leftville, did NOT!
The Drumpf hated democracy! The whole twenty-one month season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
Some say its because it had chosen a Black,
though he’d say, I love the Blacks, it’s citizenship he lacks!
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his skin was too white.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his (cough) hands were two sizes too small.

Whatever the reason, his hands or his shoes,
he ran on a platform everyone thought would lose,
I’ll deport all the Mexican rapists, he said,
with a flop of orange hair atop his head.
I’ll build a wall, a wall so tall. It’ll be really tall, folks!
And I’ll make the Mexicans pay for it all.

The satirists called him an ass-clown, a fool!
Little did they know one day he would rule.

He stood there at podiums across the land,
flailing his tiny manchild-hands
claiming to be God’s gift to the working man.
Us versus Them, and Them versus Us,
there was no more room for adults to discuss;
he raised the bar for civil discourse
by encouraging violence at rallies of course,
and in a Republican primary debate
saying the size of his penis was great.

And the Press, where were they?
They were lapdogs and sycophants,
laughing as he shot at them shouting, Dance!
Some caught on too late
to the Drumpf’s
sociopathic narcissism,
and the vast American
demographic schism.

Working class whites came out in throngs,
to vote their beliefs about who belongs
in America and who does not.
Some had previously given the Black man a shot,
but the manufacturing jobs were not to be found
and the proud ignorances of poor whites abound;
they went to the booths and put their trust in a man
with a heart three sizes smaller than his hands.

Then, suddenly, to everyone’s disbelief,
Drumpf became the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief.
Democracy was dead, and everyone knew it;
Drumpf had won and the rest of us blew it.

So now it’s December and Christmas is upon us,
I lie in my bed and desperately want us
to turn back the clock and drive Drumpf away
for I hope and I pray we will rue the day
the Drumpf stole our democracy away.

The Grinch is redeemed at the end of Seuss’s lyric
and rides down the mountain filled with Christmas spirit.
But there is no such story to tell of the Drumpf;
the only hope left is in four years we may dump
his billionaire ass out into the snow
for we can’t hold out hope that his heart will grow.

We must keep on speaking
and speaking up loud;
we
Must.
Not.
Quit.
No matter the cost
or all will be lost.
Not just a little, not just a bit,
but every last little bit of it.

Freedom and decency demand
that we stand up to Drumpf,
that we not let this stand.
So, do what you know,
do what you can
and then do some more
for we can’t let this man
determine the fate of Man.

You may mourn the fact that this verse
has taken a rather serious
turn. No more rhymes about penises,
or hair that is orange.
No more rhymes at all.

America is not sing-songy anymore,

if it ever was.