Daily Archives: March 1, 2017

Battlefront

Suppose you find yourself
to be a battlefront
in an unconventional war.

At night you’ll ring your bed
with sensors to prevent
incursions.

You’ll wake up each morning
rubbing bullets
out of your crusty eyes.

Walking in daylight:
dangerous. Walking
at night: dangerous.

Somewhere else, politicians
shall argue about how best
to resolve you

without ever lifting a foot
to come down off their hill
and really see you.

Pieces of your soul
will become refugees from you
and you’ll wonder if they’ll ever

return, even in the peace
you would hope will come
once hostilities have ended.

If that day comes soon enough,
you might become whole
more swiftly.  None of this means

you’ll never smile or feel love
or joy or even a dash of silliness
now and again, more or less often,

but you will always know
the cost of being the site
of a war you did not choose to fight.


In Fire

A wildfire roaring
beyond the river 
that will protect my home.

In the middle of flames,
improbably there,
incontrovertibly there:
a door. 

Through the door —
can you see it? It’s what might be
Paradise

as described in my long-disused
Bible.  It has it all: flaming sword, angel,
fine strong tree with a serpent
lounging among its roots.

It’s so dangerous, scream some
onlookers. It’s so clearly
not real, scream others.
Stay put, idiot, that’s a real fire
over there,
scream even more onlookers
less eager for 
spectacle. 

From this side of the river,
it’s a glory door, all that was
ever promised is through there,
right down to that exciting
and vital snake. But seeing the fire
— what if I burn? What if I don’t burn
and can’t turn back?
What if the door closes behind me
once I’m through?  What if
the angel strikes me down
before I even approach,
saying, “you know the rules…”

Smoke rising, flame rising.
I’m safe here for now
on my side of the river

and I can’t help it,
I stare down at the water
accusingly, furious
that it makes it so easy
to hesitate when
all that’s at stake is
how I choose

to burn.


Keep Sleeping

Keep sleeping,
says the White Prince.
It’s not safe out here.
We have work yet to do.

If while you’re sleeping
you see something,
say something, says
the White Knight. However
your particular dream-fever
manifests, if it brings you
to a crisis, we want to know
about it. How else to keep you
safe — how else to keep you.

If you reach out in your sleep
for a body, a warm heart, a generous
soul, speak up, says the White 
Lord, and we will slip in beside you.
Spoon you in our mighty arms.
Protect you from being touched
by any but the most pure. 

Keep sleep holy, says
the White Hierophant, who
are we to question the needs
of the body as it longs not to know
what the waking might bring? You
are one of us, one of the Whites
yourself. One of the stunted
royal family, those not properly
exalted yet for dark reasons. 
If only you will sleep, we promise
to wake you when we have finished
making the world ready for you.

Keep sleeping, says 
the White King.  Keep sleeping,
so say we all from Prince to Lord,
from Knight to High Priest and all the way
to King. If you do not sleep
we cannot maintain this luster
you’ve granted us. See how we shine
like the sword we will, one day,
ask you to hold for us,
ask you to carry 
into battle
even as you continue to sleep.