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A phrase
that stabs safety
to death.
Some shudder

whenever it’s uttered — say,
when they are stopped
by a roadside, knowing
that to reach for them

too quickly
or too slowly
or to question the need
to show them at all

might be fatal.
Others shrug, say
it should be routine
and if nothing forbidden

is happening, why
worry at all? These
are the folks
who do not understand

how much has been
forbidden to so many
in order for them
to live so snugly

in their cocoons,
ignorant of such fear,
such pervasive,
grinding fear.

Those who shrug
do not understand
how much depends
on that lack of understanding.


Concerning Your Enemies

Until they fear you
as much as they make you fear them,
they will not feel you at all,

will not feel you as human
until you fell a few so they can see
you are as capable of mayhem as they are.

This is a blasphemy, you say?
A spiral down to their level?
You can’t be serious.

Once they were as you.
Once they understood. They did not
come to this on their own: they were

guided to it. Do not forget that
even as you tear into them
and teach them to fear.

They see you as insects,
pests, vermin;  you must see them as
human, even as you strike them;

only if you feel no pain 
at having to do as they have done
will you join them at their level.


Raising Voice From Long Silence

Animals
know long chants
we have forgotten.

Our Mothers
learned of singing
from animals,
turned it inside out,
joined them in harmony.

The long memories of animals…

a black coated figure
walks out of memory,
out of the forest, the desert.
Stands on a beach
among waves dissolving.

A black coated figure
singing with animals.
Their music is soft,
persistent, threatens
crescendo, then swells
and drowns all.

A black coated figure
transforms before you
into its long-concealed song.

Will you join in? Raise
a voice from ancient silence?
Do you genetically recall
where you fit and
how it should go?


Old Gods Awake

Did you ever imagine anything
could creep up on you
as this time has done?
Or did you expect it,

as many of us have,
understanding how the original gods 
of this land were stripped
of honor and turned into

marketing tools and silly icons
for the Colony to use
as it saw fit? Those
shocked by the soul insult

of that revelation, step back;
there are so many here
who watched the rising and,
knowing what was to come,

built their lives under armor
and raised children so wary
of the future they believe 
it may kill them early — 

and if it does not, 
their lives will be hard
but filled to the rim 
with moments of tough beauty

and bounty formed of luck
and grit in iron bond.
Your continued shock is insulting.
Your paralysis is not surprising.

Those who know old gods
know they do not die.
That you didn’t know this
tells us who may survive.


The End Of Dominion

First posted in May of 2018. Revised.

Ten thousand years from today
there will still be equinoxes and
ocean currents. Most mountains
will look identical from a distance —

less snow on the peaks, perhaps;
certainly the glaciers will be gone,

but the jagged horizon will be the same
and that which is highest will still be highest.

There will still be beaches. They will still look 
like beaches, although they’ll be in different places
and it may not be pleasant 
to stare too deeply
into what makes up the sand.

Trees, yes; flowers, yes.  Creeper bushes
and stinging nettles, yes; creeping insects
and stinging beetles, yes.  From the dunes
beings will be seen leaping 
in the ocean

near shore. They may no longer bear any name
we would know. Language itself 
may or may not last,
even if people do. 
If people have survived,
they will have to have changed.

Instead of naming what they see, they will instead
have listened 
and learned what other beings
call themselves. To survive,
they will have had to learn that — 

and as for the God they imagined
gave them the power, the glory,
the dominion: who knows where He
will be, if anywhere at all. Instead

of Him there may be Her. Instead
of Her there may be Them. Instead
of Them there may be None, or
if Something Of All Of That is left

it may be shrunken, cowering
among the rotted rocks of obsolete
foundations, pleading for someone
to empower it again 
in a voice none will hear.


Pause in the moment for some music…

I’m taking a small break from poetry at the moment to concentrate on a couple of other projects…

While you’re waiting, thought I’d take a moment to suggest that you give the other side of the creative coin some time by listening to the work of my band, The Duende Project, on Spotify.  

Here’s a link to our latest album, a live set recorded just about a year ago in Providence, RI.  

The Duende Project Live at AS220

We are also on all the other streaming services as well.  

Enjoy!


As They Do

my morning flock
on my freshened feeders.

my starlings, my grackles,
my mated downies, my bully jays,
my seldom seen but much longed-for
goldfinches and cardinals.

I call them “mine”
though they flee me 
whenever I approach

as my family does,
as my friends do,

as my city
and country do.


Paradox

In there, whistling winds, rain.
Out here, stars are cowering.

You think this is backwards,
contradictory, silly? Learn the world:

a series of twists and folds,
a model of mountains rising

and caves underneath that hold
secrets and paradoxes. You, here,

are meant to learn this,
not understand it: not yet.


Childless

Muted as joy is for me
in this now of gray day
and shit-dark news, still
I can see how for others
there is still some hope
that there are paths to it
for their children and those
beyond them in some future
they trust will exist. I see them
holding out their hands
urging these kids to stand, 
to walk, to run toward light
and purpose and whatever
may come after, while all the time
I sit alone, empty on that front,
thinking of what we all will endure
along the way to this Magic Time
assumed to be ahead, thanking 
my genes and my body for holding back
the small desperations and little angers
I would have unleashed upon this world.


Moment of Truth

From a poetry prompt by Andrew Watt: #50wordpoem 

Ten lines, five words per line.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is our not seeking
the Mystery that pushes us
into the poverty of Spirit.
Wake up before dawn: see,
on the lawn below you
the Dark Mother looks up,
catches your eye, smiles, beckons.
Your choices: deny her and
turn away, or climb down
and go where she goes.


New City

If only a city
could magic into
tunnelled space
above ground,
tree light as found
under leaves;

every street
greenshaded glow,

walkers holding
themselves sacred
as they flow.

A city that could be this
could feel like
a true home and not
temporal temporary.
Forever forest 
of somehow eternal.

Life and death
mix, turn synonym, 
demand new names

in the language 
of this new city.


Your Dead Sleep

When your ghosts 
put their guns 
to your head
as you wake,
chanting your faults,
grinning your fears,
how you slept
the night before
might save you.

Get yourself coffee.
Get yourself breakfast.
Get settled in
upon the couch,

close your eyes,
chant SHUT UP
SHUT UP until
at last, silence.

Still, their guns
press your temples
so don’t relax.
Take heart. Breathe.
Sleep will return
with dead comfort
later. Hold on.

On nights when
sleep fails you
and the ghosts
await you after?
Hell days, those.

You itch and 
nod and snarl
back at them,
or you hide,
head buried away,
if you can. 

You’ll sleep hard
when sleep returns.

You hate them,
those armed ghosts.
They define you,
limit you, exist
because of you.
You lose sleep 
because of them.

Whenever you don’t,
they smile broader,
cock those pistols,
take their time
taking your time
until it’s time
for dead sleep.


Two In One

What others do not understand
when they say they see me as 
“half White and half Indian”
is that it it not like that at all
in here. In here 

it is crowded, no easy match of two
complementary parts;
two stunted, solid beings
instead trying to fit into one
tiny room and make it work
forever. Now and then 

they manage not to tangle;
usually this happens when
there is bounty for a short moment: 

right after making love or
in the presence of some other
exaltation of nature 
they find some briefly held comfort

and then the larger Me
who barely exists, who lurks between them
as mere shadow, feels substantial
for a second, maybe two; 

then again comes the jostling,
sharp elbows, awkward forgiveness,
sad angry damaged voices trying
to drown each other out
and claim the room.

Today when my body
read the news
of Notre Dame burning 

one of the ones within cried
while the other thought
of all the carved
sacred mountains
that have forever gone
ungrieved

and the shadow Me inside
cowered as they drew knives 
forged of blame and guilt,
held them to each others’ throats
as they have so many times before.

My body did not know 
how to hold it all.


Blip

Long distance view:
everything we know
is a blip

on a screen. Every

frog, bird’s nest,
painting. 

Smooth-lined
automobile, vintage guitar,
handsome face, tender hand
soothing a rough wound.

Up close
our own enthusiasms
loom. We loom back.

They offer us
dominion of our preferences
but long distance view,
cliff top perspective view?

We loom like ants loom
over sand-specks.

Blip.
Blip.

Then we
vanish

with our things,
our loves, our
artifacts. We

blip into
smoke and 

go.


One Of Many

Sometimes blue,
always thick. Takes
a while to get it;
not everything sticks.

Dark in voice,
light impact, gray
as dusk or dawn —
full-on night and day

mean nothing here.
Stands alone when
together might be 
sweeter, clumps

with others when
solitary would better
suit the moment. 
Low importance,

soft puncher, soft
speaker, really quite inaudible
and numb to consequence.
Any name offered

to mark this one
would be superfluous;
just one of 
many
out of place. O
ne of too many.