O Irreducible Landscape

July 22, 2018

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Envelop me in your immensity
lick the stamp damp

with your oceanic seal
and mail me to seashores
unnumbered of grains

reduce me to one element uncompounded
by the threat of vertiginously
replicated multiples

promise me limitless
assurance of great wall boundaries
bordering on isolation viewed

through one-way mirrors
fractalling topolocially

tally horizon horizontally
vertically diagonally dimensionally

your destination irretrievably surrendered
of human cartography
(to trust that smug metallic voice chip)

yet diabolically crammed with flesh
and its requirements dancing the watusi

on the heads of pins consuming voraciously
expanding astronimically
hoarding desperately

Can there be enough souls
for all these bodies?
names enough for face
book identities unduplicated?

a field undepleted?

a vista unreal estated?

enough trees for all these coffins?

enough dust to return to?


Ice In July

July 22, 2018


How do we live brokenhearted?
Welcome – asylum seekers
to electronic shackles

Crinkled sliver blankets
Spoiled survival rations
ICE cages – the new man-made disaster

Welcome – to failed big box store
revenue re-purposed
as 2 billion dollar profit detention
for children guilty of being born brown

The wind riffles through pages
of the day calendar
suspended between action and reaction

No toothbrushes – no soap
No plan for re-connection
No mother’s milk
The panicked drugged to stupor

At what angle does the tipping point
require severe counterbalance?

From whom do we cower
in the land of the brave?

Did Shakespeare foretell Sessions?
The devil who cites scripture for his purpose –
an evil soul producing holy witness –
villain with his smiling cheek?
And his complicit minions in the marble chambers?
And his bigot in chief?

Touch to console – forbidden
for caregivers to children
Forbidden for a father to his daughter
Forbidden for a brother to his brother

Scrub toilets for recreation

Welcome – huddled masses, who yearned
Learn to breathe scum and lies

Time, obviously, is going by
Babies in cages are still crying

Before Your Twelfth Birthday

February 28, 2018


nearly solid fog this morning
but not
the foggiest one
in my memory
before or since

we grabbed suitcases huddled
in a three week vigil
beside the telephone
still vibrating with the news

we plowed through
the sunken cloud dawn
at quarter speed
trusting that nothing
in the late January landscape
would be consequential
until you were revealed

and then –
still deep pink
from your placental home

no further from your mother
than the other side
of her skin
softly she introduced you
by your name

your father – hand cradling
your head –
whispered the story
of your emergence

hushed and awed
your grandparents’ greetings

you appeared to be sleeping
and listening all at once
absorbing the first
in a world of sounds
you would one day compose
into your own music

Le Seul Mot Juste

January 28, 2018


Once when I was fidgeting in church
my grandmother inquired –
“Must you move your bowels, dear?”
I did not have to poop
but felt I had to move something.
I had no idea what she was talking about.

From eavesdropping
on my older brother and his friends
I learned a more visceral word –
Shit. perfect onomatopoeia.
Slick and rank and expulsive.

As a teenager I worked at Hammonasset Beach
slinging hamburgers while classic camper shithouses
were scooped out by Honey Wagon Boys
who smelled like shit
but were more egalitarian than the lifeguards
and more pleasing in all other senses.

Later I discovered ancient Buddhist monasteries
in the Himalayas have shitholes,
as did Basilicas in Tuscany.
I replenished my spirit,
strengthened my hamstrings and perfected my aim.

Hunters and wildlife biologists
prefer the word scat.
Farmers spread manure.
Medicine favors feces-
“discharge from the anus.”

Are we grossed out now? Hypocrites!
Every human generates shit
– once a day, optimistically –
and a great deal of nonsense and expense
is wasted in pretending we don’t.

Civilization advanced by developing agriculture
fertilized by shit.
It is neither useless nor shameful,
though whole branches of psychology
are still swimming upstream against the flush.

Which words should offend us?
Final Solution?
(Yes the tone deaf DHS secretary
actually used this phrase
to assure DACA would be resolved)

Regardless into what class, culture, or generation
we were born
let’s stop squandering our moral outrage on usage
to consider agenda

My mother had five older brothers
which may have informed her scatological proclivities
particularly when offended by hypocrites
who preferred lies and complicity to calling out injustice:
“They wouldn’t say shit if they had a mouthful.”
Cotton, Perdue and Nielsen
must be gagging on it.

There is an Obstruction stuck in the Oval Office,
But who will wield the plunger
before we are all covered in

Wise and older

October 17, 2017


still awake
in the great green room,
in the little toy house.
moon throws prison bar
shadows from grandmother’s
empty rocker
— goodnight nobody

red balloon looms
inflated threat cloud
over patient rotary telephone,
anachronistic and black
— goodnight nobody

young mouse skitters
across floorboards, leaps up side table
to sample abandoned mush
before cats pounce
— goodnight mush and good riddance

rhymes and myths and fables
triad themes – bears and gods and kittens
soiled mittens and splintered chairs
and holy ghost
— goodnight flying cow

you weren’t listening last night either.
I didn’t want redundant clocks,
I didn’t want the comb and brush,
I wanted the light.
might as well say
— goodnight nobody

goodnight hurricane and flood
goodnight earthquake and volcano
goodnight tiger and shark
goodnight monster not under the bed
goodnight plagues and wars and
madmen and tyrants
— goodnight nobody

beyond the curtain — stars and air
no uber-Hare watching over all
as my real father did
goodnight nobody
and hush up noises

A Long Stretch

August 7, 2017

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At the edge of the Rockies
the micro-brewery self-guided tour
displayed an operational beer bottling line

Remarkably similar to the line
I worked assembly on third shift
bottling cloying-scented hand lotion
forty-five years ago in New England

The conveyer belt delivered containers
the product tubes pumped in product
the capping hopper feed-release mechanism
spring-loaded with coiled wire and —

a rubber band

In all that time – structurally unresolved
that stretchy achilles heel
that saboteur’s dream
unscheduled jammed-feed downtime
with the flick of a fingernail
No telltale bolt cutters — no sabots flung — undetectable

Enter the hero
moonlighting auto-mechanic Line Technician
in cahoots with Line Operator Tootsie
miming confusion and dismay
ferreting between cogs and under bolted steel
brandishing wrench and ratchet
with mock-Kabuki scrutiny
flexing Lucky Strike sleeve-shrouded bulging pecs
ever mindful of his duck’s-ass pompadour
in tight three dimensional space

The pair exchange numerous salacious innuendos
to entertain the captive Assembler audience —
who, grateful not for their hackneyed dialog
and soap opera delivery
but for twenty minutes off our feet at four A.M.
before eventual discovery
and painstaking replacement of —
the red talon-severed rubber band

The year before OSHA arrived
though perhaps in distant mountains —
they snap, even now

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