Daily Archives: March 7, 2017

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time
there was

a little colony that
robbed the land blind,
stole whatever 
and enslaved whoever
it needed
to maintain, then
went feral, declared itself
free (it meant “free”
in the same way

that a clipped wing
can still flap freely),
got huge and bloated,
and now

we are here,

and we get to decide
how to finish the story.


How To Survive A Poetry Slam

Originally posted 8/13/2011.  

How can you deal 
with it being so loud?

Recall the times
you went unheard.

It seems, sometimes,
that the words form
a powerful flood.
What is there to do
when you’re drowning in it?

Recall how the air
you pull into your chest
when you break surface
is cleaner and fresher
for having been riled.

But they use so many words!
How are you supposed to hear them all?

Recall your toys
and how they all got time
from you in turns.
Move yourself among the words
in that same loving way.

It seems, sometimes,
that the passion overpowers
the poetry.  How then
do you worship the craft?

Recall the difference
between rock and jazz,
how each 
trips
a different trigger.  

One does not do
as the other does.
Each suits its time.

But it seems sometimes
that it’s been said before,
sometimes right before.
How do you 
tell the difference?

Recall the story
of Cain and Abel,
how hearing it once
did not stop fratricide.

Are you saying it’s all
a matter of memory?

It is all a matter of memory.

Recall the campfires,
the hunt and the grief of 
how new we were once
to simply having tongues
that could do this —

every time,
it is new to a new listener;
every time,
memory lodges in one ear,
even as it goes out another.

But even after all that,
it seems so 
overwhelming,
so unnecessary.

Recall the first thing
I told you,
that you should recall
what it was to be
unheard.

What part of being human
is so lost to you
that you should feel
so uncomfortable
in the presence
of a need
such as this?