Daily Archives: October 19, 2017

Overwhelmed

As if every melody
is being played at once
and you have to sing along
unerringly to one from that 
swarm of sound and if you don’t
you lose, you fail, you die.

As if every movie
must be watched at the same time
and you must answer questions
about the credits for all of them
and get all of them correct 
or you die, you lose, you fail.

As if you were clutching  
a lifetime’s worth of photographs 
of you family, friends, lovers, haters
and told you must reduce the pile
to the one picture that holds all for you,
you have an hour to choose that one
and memorize the rest as best you can
or you fail, you lose, you die.

As if for a decade or more
you’d woken up and stretched
and reached for the phone at the bedside,
dreading the blinking light that says
you have mail and news and messages 
and you were about to be inundated
with urgency and insistence and importance
and no matter how you stand against it
you must fail to stay upright,
you shall lose your footing,
to stop it from hurting you must die.


Getting Past It

Three fractured heads 
in the crotch of a tree.

Dog-torn infant arms
strewn in a ditch.

On a dirt road, 
dark wet sand.

New genocide and massacre
glimpsed on a screen.

You can’t look away
even as you say

“it can’t happen here.”
It has happened here.

Here is here because
it has happened here.

You didn’t do it. You had
nothing to do with it.

But you are here, in part,
because it has happened here.

This is why 
you can’t look away

even as you say
“it can’t happen here.”

You want to know
what it looks like,

want to toughen up.
It can’t happen here

but who knows where
it will happen tomorrow

and if you are there
by chance or design

your today could be gone
when your tomorrow gets here.

You keep an eye
on the screen

and make plans and promises
about what you will

and will not do 
if it happens

where you are:
how you will stay upright

if the road runs slippery
with blood, how you will avoid

tripping over flesh
on your walkway, how you will

get past it. How you
will thrive in the aftermath,

how you will raise a family
there.