Saturday, May 31, 2008

He held the shiny glass object

in his 13 year old hands and raised it
into the sultry air.
A spectrum of multicolored light
emanated from it,
astonishing one and all.
Many voices expressed delight;
others looked at the miracle
with thinly veiled fear, as if
a darkly magical force
were at work
in the world of the everyday.
However they reacted, all knew
that a door had been suddenly
pushed open
into the Divine Mystery.
They knelt before the boy
and raised their arms to him
in tribute to his command of
unseen powers.
The boy-man was at once imbued
with sacred nobility, and he
knew that the turning point of
his no-longer humble life had now
been reached.
He would show them The Way
and reveal the Nature of Him
who sent the glassy messenger
of prophecy
to his hands,
hands that had been destined
to receive it
since the creation of time

She haunts the old office,

kicking up the dust and laughing
at the ones who sneeze.
She glides like Ginger Rogers
through walls
and twirl dances on the
desks of the infamous.
She looks at all the "secrets"
and stifles a yawn
before flying into the
Van Gogh night
to stand staring through
the picture window
that used to define
the sodden limits
of her world,
before her real birthday
finally arrived
to liberate her.
Smiling, she vanishes
like rainwater drawn down
by sun cracked ground
into the memories
of those who think
they knew her.

Friday, May 30, 2008

It takes me into its arms

and erases every desolate Monday morning.
It converts the memory of knife-cutting
Siberian wind into confetti.
It urges me to walk out of
the dessicated lake bed
of my stale anger.
It quietly gets me to turn off the
endless reruns of scenes that
cannot change however many times
I stab myself with them.
In its ever changing light
it reveals eternal verities,
and in its genetic Mardi Gras
it dares me to hope
of what might be.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The damning indictment

intensified into tornadic fury.
"He once used the word anthropology!",
the Prosecutor cried out.
Involuntary gasps issued forth
from the confused spectators,
who sensed the presence of sin.
"He knows the days of the week in order!"
"Bastard", a frustrated voice shouted
from the rear
as the judge gaveled
for calm.
"He once ate with a fork!"
Several women in the room
spontaneously turned into
pillars of salt.
And the final thunderbolt was
now hurled.
"He knows who's buried in
Grant's Tomb!"
And with that, the judge
rose from his seat,
walked sternly over to
the filthy miscreant,
shoved him down
on his knees,
pulled out a .357,
and converted
the wretch's head into
a Rorschach test
right on the courtroom floor.
Deafening cheers erupted,
and when they subsided
the smiling jurist announced
his upcoming campaign
for Governor,
the gun smoking merrily
in his hand.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It jumps and whirls

from tree to tree,
riding an electrochemical wave
like a crazed surfer on a big board,
zapping a whole forest
into a cerebral firestorm,
blasting open a bank vault
of shuddering introverts, and
ripping off the top of a circus tent,
exposing its weird, energetic denizens
to the shockingly bright sunlight.
Groups link up and shake hands
at a hundred summit meetings,
and suddenly the place looks
livelier than Reno on a hot night.
And with that, she leaps out of bed
and writes them an ending
that'll have 'em
begging for more

Monday, May 26, 2008

The pile glittered

in from of him,
its dimensions a rival
to the death house of Khufu,
and its appearance
no less breathtaking
in its exquisite obscenity.
Its construction
had drained
the mitochondrial fever
of every cell of which
he had ever been composed.
And now, it lay before him
on the windswept plateau,
the reason for his being,
and the consolation
of his solitary

Friday, May 23, 2008

His name was on everyone's lips

and from them praise that would
embarrass Caligula
flowed in a quacking river of
obsequious syllables.
He was "Great Leader and
"Our Inspiration",
"Towering Genius",
"Glorious Father",
"The Greatest Figure
in History", and
"The Pinnacle of Humanity".
His face adorned every bent-backed office,
every frozen classroom,
every starving farm,
every grimly hustling factory,
and every obedient home.
His statues graced every empty public park
and every darkened village square.
His words were heard everywhere,
pounded into the heads of the people
in endless hammerblows.
Delegations of fearful peasants
in colorful garb
crawled to him, clutching
declarations of fealty
in their decimated mouths.
Robotic parades, shellac-smile festivals,
coldly synchronized athletic displays,
and deafening rallies proceeded each
other in a continuous orgy of
groveling worship.
He Who Smiles Upon Us
had the power to show his love
for The People
in a dozen polar labor colonies
and a thousand torture chambers,
and a multitude of eyes and ears
and three million submachine guns
were ready to do his bidding.
And still he stood trembling
before the bedroom mirror,
fearfully suspecting that the
withered old man
that stared back at him
was ready to betray him
at any moment,
the one treacherously disloyal
he had never been able
to purge.

They dreamed of how it would be.

The young man
who had spent too many nights
in choking loneliness
pictured endless rounds
of erotic ecstasy, with himself at the
center of every erect fantasy,
a submissive, enthusiastic harem
at his tireless, red-hot command.
The woman who had struggled all her life
to be what other people thought she should be
dreamed of endless, sumptuous banquets,
of never-full days of exotic dishes offered
in endless, gloriously indulgent procession.
The man who had worked himself
into premature old age
only to find himself clinging to the edge
with calloused hands
imagined a jaw-dropping mansion
with a hundred servants at his
beck and call, a life of ease
and fantasy-levels of comfort,
surrounded by every object
the hungry imagination could
conceive of.
And the woman with the sunken eyes
and the body ravaged by the
never-ending outrage in her joints
and bones,
simply wished for some place
where it didn't hurt any more.

The huge, stumbling mass

careened down the road in a
deranged zig-zag
that bore no resemblance
to a planned direction.
They crashed into walls,
stunning those on the outside
of the seemingly eyeless flock and
splashed through muck-drenched
rivers, drowning the shorter ones.
All the while large numbers of them
shouted at each other
in rage, neck veins bulging,
teeth bared,
muscles tense and at the ready,
roaring out their opinions
about where they were
and where they should go next.
And the great mass moved on
toward the twilight,
most of its stumbling,
weary members
just trying
to keep up
as best they could.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I was an alien there,

a stranger in that chill, tired place.
It was as if the half century
spent there
had been a hallucinatory dream,
a vaguely remembered vision,
a series of black and white pictures
from an album lying dormant
in an airless attic.
I walked familiar halls and felt
no nostalgia,
only relief
that they were no longer
my day to day reality.
I reveled in the company
of those I knew and loved,
but I could no longer
be with them;
my true home insisted
on my presence,
and I was overjoyed
to obey its green, flowering

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'll Be Away for a Week

Back at it on Wednesday, 21 May.

(Not that anyone will notice.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

I will venture back

to Flatland
(if only for awhile)
to see if it's recovered
from its winter
and to let my story
(if only briefly)
with those who
are still real in
my heart and mind
(if only sometimes
in distant memory).
It is now the
Temporary Destination;
I have escaped its
exhausted gravity,
and when I return
to the Garden,
it will be a homecoming
made more blessed
by the reminder
of what I have left
(if not who).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

We shield their eyes

from the death camp images
and we erect as many walls
as we have mortar for
to keep the shapeless evil
of the lurking, unknown
away from them.
And if we're the people
we say we are,
we shield them from us.
We put our own hurt
and own fear
to one side, and we try not
to let them know about
the things that would make us
choke with shame
were they ever
to be revealed.
We want that nice, glossy picture
in the living room
to be their image of us,
no matter how much of a lie
it really is.
And they would be frightened
and confused
if they knew how fiercely
we pray for them
(even if we think our words
merely drift into an uncaring night),
or to hear us make a desperate offer
while lying in sleeplessness
(as if we were in any position to bargain!):
if there is any suffering you demand of
us, put it on me.
And if you need to take someone
from our family,
please let it be me.
Their time for understanding
is not yet;
their epiphany
is still being constructed.

Friday, May 9, 2008

At first the line was flat

as the laughable little superapes
flailed at each other with long-haired
fists and sharp finger nails.
It budged upward a little when
they learned what a rock can do
to a man's head.
It was jolted when what was
once used to bring down a deer
was now used to tear through
a leather covered chest.
But muscle power bound the line's
rise, and even the gladius's
colorful career was
simply an elaboration
on a hoary theme.
The night labor of the
alchemists began the line's
ominous ascent.
Soon the missiles
became noisier and nastier,
and then, after the machines
began their deafening reign,
the conical demons became
monstrous in their
demented rage.
And when the man
with the ever-present pipe
became Death, the Destroyer
of the World,
the line shot straight upward.
The moment had finally arrived--
our greatest accomplishment
was finally
in reach,
and that which we are truly
best at
was about to receive its

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It is the moment that exists

at the cusp of forever,
in the microseconds just before
the act that can never be undone or
the words that can never be unsaid.
It is the moment
when a single kiss
may change the future
of humanity,
a single turning away
may seal the crypt of a heart,
when a hand is slowly
forming a taut fist,
or when the phrase,
"Go ahead, they'll never
miss it"
is being weighed.
hold their breaths
at these

He is now deliciously

He ponders great issues
related to the breeding of
fruit trees.
He is in crisis consultation
about that annoying lawn vine.
He is thinking outside the box
about the problem of getting
all 10 blocks piled up
before she knocks them down.
And he is going to write that
epic work
no one will read
that will explain
The Mystery
once and for all.
Ah, the poor fools.
What they will be missing
out on.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The unremarkable book asserted

that indeed it had all been done
in 144 ferociously action-packed,
miraculous hours
a few thousand fleeting years ago
in the not-so-ancient past.
It ridiculed the notion that
the great apes and we had shared
that vine-covered house
down the street
a long time ago.
There was nothing I hadn't seen
and laughed at
a thousand times before.
But then it said
that God would someday reverse
all suffering,
and make everything just as if
no scourge, no fire, no rack, no rape
had ever been experienced.
I closed the book in horror,
not only because I suddenly
hated whatever fool
had actually written that,
but because my resistance
to seductive madness
was low that day.

It can only be borne

(if it's to be borne at all)
by refusing to see
or recognize
most of it.
It can only be borne
by living in a space
so tight
and sweetly-spirited
in its gentle obliviousness
that the rest of it
just rolls off of you
like a wave to which
you have
your back turned.
The mirage of right now
and the gameshow
of right here
help keep the idiot cruelty
hidden from our
wishful field of vision
and let us
believe that the knife edge
cannot find those
who refuse to acknowledge

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wasn't everything supposed to be

taken care of by now?
Weren't we supposed to be drinking in
the earthrise from our homes on the
Mare Imbrium and bidding
tearful farewells to neighbors
headed for a now human-friendly
Red Planet?
Wasn't the savagery of the age-old
battle for control of
pieces of the earth's crust
supposed to be the stuff of a now
discarded barbarian epoch?
Weren't the ravages of disease and
senescence supposed to be as archaic
and incomprehensible
as Stonehenge?
And weren't all the infinitely
false caricatures of others
embraced by
of our pathetic ancestors,
manifested and elaborated in
blood-soaked detail over
countless centuries,
supposed to be receding into
a thankfully remote past,
as we basked in the glow
of Universal Brotherhood?
My God, what sort of idiotic,
were we?

I look down an ill-defined road,

its contours and extent
obscured by shifting patterns
of light, shade, and chance.
Its downward slope has not
escaped my practiced eye,
and I tread it warily.
I know that as I walk forward
my steps will become more labored,
my body will ignore my wishes more
and more,
that the irreversible law
of return to that
from which I emerged
will assert itself
without mercy.
And yet as I surrender the last
reflections of what I was in the
high summer of life,
my hope is
that I will enter into my true adulthood,
that I will know simple gratitude
more fully than I ever have,
that I will accept the losses
which now must come with something
resemblant of grace,
that I will treasure laughter and
the singing of the trees
with a fervor that belies my age,
that I will finally be able to
forgive and be forgiven,
and that I will know that even
though I never figured out what
all this was,
I never gave up trying to scale
the infinite cliffside.
And if I can have one last request,
(and isn't a condemned man entitled
to at least one?)
it's that when they find me,
I'll have a book
on my lap.

Friday, May 2, 2008

They spoke in hushed tones,

lest they violate the solemnity
of the timeless ceremony.
They watched in awe as the dancers
hopped around the striped pole
while slinging
hog entrails at each other.
The ritual toe wrestling contest
held them entranced.
The presentation of the
initiate in the deeply traditional
outfit of
clown shoes,
ballerina dress, and
a goat's head mask
elicited short, excited breaths
from both of them.
And the pinnacle of the service,
the ritual immersion of the initiate
in a vat of
honey and chicken feathers
(to symbolize his newfound
right to borrow fishing gear
from the neighbors)
was even more moving than their
professor had promised.
There were tears in their eyes
as they chanted "Great googlie mooglie!"
with the others,
and prepared to go to the
post-ceremonial feast,
the smell of the Ritz crackers
and assorted Jello molds
practically making them swoon
in anticipation.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

They keep looking for him

to return with a shout
and an airborne embrace
for those who have held
true through all the
Gethsemanes of doubt
and fear that have rippled
through their kind
for so many expectant
But I'm betting
his return won't be
in a blaze of triumphant
glory that overwhelms
us with the blinding light
of the earth-melting divine.
If it comes at all,
it will come as a quiet
arm around the heart,
one by one,
and the realization that
what matters
isn't whether the clouds part
and the angels sing
and the seals open,
but whether we
see a six year old
The Thousand Yard Stare
on his face
and say,