Briefly, Your News

I’ve been looking at the news for a while now, trying to find something that happened somewhere but that’s like counting the grains of gunpowder in the bullet with your name on it.

There might be one in there that isn’t going to light when the firing pin strikes, but that’s not going to slow it down any.

All that mad space on the airwaves. A dozen papers a hundred websites a thousand articles a million words.

Each one distinct and identical and individual but fired all together from a three-letter casing that tries to hide its intent. It succeeds wherever we let it and it does what a bullet is supposed to do – it makes a hole in us.

Oh my god I just can’t do it.

I’ve been looking at the news for a while now, trying to find poetry, though I know I should have known better. By the time I had my breakfast all I knew was exactly what my opinions should be.

All I knew was that it was wrong to stereotype (except by voting preference)
and that it was wrong to discriminate (except by skin color and gender)
and which kind of prejudice would get me high fives
and that love is both love and a very oppressive weapon

and I am far more certain now that there are some very hateful ways to say that hate is a very bad thing.

I’ve been looking at the news for a while now, trying to find out who we are and it has become very clear that if everything we say we are working so hard to eliminate – the hate the prejudice the racism the sexism the violence

my God I think especially the violence!

if all of those things we march against and wave signs against and rally against and throw rocks at and beat people up over and lie to keep alive were somehow magically eliminated tomorrow

we would bring it back yesterday because we wouldn’t recognize ourselves without it.

If we won we would be lost.

I’ve been looking at the news for a while now, and my family still sleeps somewhere above me and I pray that when they wake up I don’t somehow take this all out on them
the way I see everyone else take it out on each other, every day, for love.

The Ill-Fitting Armor of Light

Big snow coming, they say.

I’m slowly becoming a very old man
and with such tiny wings
what could I possibly
carry away from my mountain of things
to map my brother’s black path back
from the graveyards and laundromats
and his rattlebone rests on cardboard flats?

To map his path back
to a place where
the roof shakes less and
the needs aren’t hard.
Where the outside’s out
and the inside’s in.
Where it’s only the dog
that shits in the yard.

Could I, knowing his rot,
issue the call and huddle him here
though I’d know the chill chatter
of his sourmash teeth
and fermented bones
would shake loose the joints
of my safe-steady home?

Could I, knowing the curelessness
and depth of his rot,
don the secondhand suit
of an imprecise Christ
that I find every night in the recycle bin
in a faithless attempt
to faith heal him?

I could do that, yes
and take fake comfort when
he says (all over again) that
I love you, brother
and
This time I swear it’s for real.

But still he’ll just gnaw at the mortar and beams
until he brings down the whole god damned thing

and here comes the dog

and there go my wings

Ghostmeal

Quit loafin’!

A cold kitchen warms until
risen dust simmers
barely a breath above a bonesmooth table.
If, later, you ask the mouse he’ll

say that he’d swear that he
heard at least one wood chair
scootscrape the stone floor
over there, and that he didn’t

have the nerve to come out
after that. He’ll say that only he
can say how, for an hour every
day, your kitchen stirs time into

silence, how it kneads a dough
of what you’ve known and lets it
rest there by the stove. How it never
hurries…never worries…that you’ll

come home before it’s done. In the
paledark air of that vacant space
where a low flame’s at patient work,
your old kitchen feeds its ghosts

Prompted #2

We’re not still writing about heroes, are we?

Cubby has provided another prompt, this time asking to finish the poem that she started like this:

A hero is born not from the laurels
Of glory but from

Here’s my effort this morning.

Who Wants to be Sung About, Anyway?

A hero is born not from the laurels
Of glory but from the dull
bloodless stories
scrawled on the walls
of ages-long labors. Stories
more boring
more slow
more common
less told.
Stories so quiet you don’t
hear them unfold.
A hero is born not from the laurels
of glory, but from prints left behind
by old boots and slippers.
A hero walks mutely through
history’s whispers.