Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Young Astronomer

One night a young astronomer
Did gaze upon a star
And saw it glowing brightly there
Like the antithesis of tar

He gathered up his scholar peers
To ask what it could mean
But they all said, “it’s meaningless.”
“Ask again if it turns green.”

They jeered and mocked him as they went
Not looking with their eyes
To see a star in daylight blaze -
What could it symbolize?

Yet two did stay to speak with him,
The young astronomer,
One who studied the histories
The other literature

They spoke of tales and prophecies
In some far western land
Of a coming king and saviour
Who would rise to God’s right hand

They asked the young astronomer
If he could lead them to
The place beneath the star’s zenith
Without further ado

The boy surprised to hear all this
Began to hesitate
But in the end he chose to lead
Their long adventure great

The men they packed their camels high
Provisions stacked in cliffs
And yet the boy said, “One more thing!”
“A king deserves some gifts.”

The two rich wise men thought to give
And spare no small expense
Thus they found the most lavish gifts
Purest gold and frankincense

The young lad wished to give as well
A kingly gift like myrrh
He worked and saved and sold his scrolls
His small means did not deter

He bought his gift and then they left
Just guided by a star
And through the desert and the plains
They journeyed from afar

After questing lengthened days through
Lands barren, burnt and wild
They came to a small Jewish town
And found a Jewish child

“This child,” said they, “Will one day be
The King above all kings
Great joy and mercy, justice too,
Love and hope is what he brings.”

They laid their wealthy presents down
At the small boy’s tiny feet
And Mary with her husband watched
Them give a royal greet

And then the young astronomer
Said “these our meager gifts
Laid at his feet are naught compared
To He who heals our rifts”

And if they entered in that day
Two magi and a boy
They left that place on homeward paths
Three wise men full of joy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Forgotten, Forgotten, Forgotten

The air is dark with approaching death
And I hear it in the silence
Of forgetting and forgetting and forgetting
Wars, past and present.
Televisions and movie theatres
Add to the dull hum of silence
The sound we all make as we ignore
That which we thought we left behind.

It was not left to burn in fallen Troy
We did not leave it at Thermopylae
At Jerusalem’s gates
Or Rome’s hills.
We did not leave it in the dust of Carthage
At the yurt flaps of Khan
Or the bottom of The Channel
Gorged with the husks of ships
And the fragments of men.

We did not leave it on Abraham’s plains
The bloodthirsty dirt of Gettysburg
Or the long road back from Moscow.
We did not leave it at the door of the Bastille
The fields of Somme and Passchendaele
The skies over Britain
Or the waves in the harbor of pearls.

We did not leave it at Berlin’s feet
Or in the husks of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
It does not wander alone in Korea’s no man’s land
It does not lie dormant in the jungles of Vietnam
Or the killing fields of Cambodia
It is not broken as Yugoslavia

It has not sounded its death knell in Rwanda
It does not lie dead in the deserts of Iraq
Or exposed on the hills of Afghanistan
It is not gasping for breath in Sudan
Or falling into a coma in Somalia

It lives and breathes forgotten
Like a crawling parasite
Behind the eyes
Burdening the mind of humanity

We forget and forget and forget
That war is not left on the battlefield

War remains with us
And in us

War is in our souls

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Screen Glow

The glow of screens will light our way
To happiness, we’ll seem content
The shine of screens will make our day
As all our times are nearly spent

And as we write our tales in books
We take a retrospective glance
To see the times and he who took
Them all without a second chance

Look! there he laughs so full of spite
A shapeless thing of blue aglow
The one who turns our days to night
And wastes our times to bring us low

All the hours he greed’ly drained
To gulp and swallow down our days
While we, deceived, were safe restrained
Our books contain a single phrase:
“I lived to be just entertained.”
And all that our frail lives contained
Will not be worth a mocking praise.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Sounds of Fate

A roll of the dice
A flip of the coin
Red plastic cubes bouncing erratically
Across a felt-lined table
A metallic coin spinning end over end
In over oxygenated air

They come to a stop
And you find yourself here
Free to flip or roll
Or stay and choose.

Yet perhaps your choice
Is but another’s roll
Across some cosmic table
Or flip
In some darksome void
I choose to flip or roll.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Across the Strait

I begin to see the raindrops
In the distance.
I can’t hear the pitter-patter
Or feel the soaking dripping cold
Of the remote pouring.
I’m in the warm sunlight
Watching rain across the waters.
This strait—
Seeming a gulf—
Here and there
I and you
Us and them
Perceptions from reality
Scattering the truth like raindrops
In the distance.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Mark of the Raven

Ah, I see in your smile
A recent visit from the bird
Who marks our faces

Crow’s feet
Or raven’s
Around the eyes
He lands
And leaves his mark
Then flies
Shattering the sound
Of safety

Show your mark
Show your raven-scar
Show where he stood
And printed
Eulogies to come

Show your crow-scar
With a smile
And a wink
Laugh along with
The black-winged joker
His sign was known
Before it marked your face
His sign is hidden
In the soft skin
Of babies
He even lands on the womb

So do not fret
His constant flight
His cackling
His dark aspect
Do not worry
When he comes
To mark your eyes

But laugh
Laugh with the crow
And raven
Laugh that soon this coil
Will unravel
And release
Its tainted captor

To what?
To where?
Perhaps some distant shore
Some sunrise
Or sunset
But never

Sunday, November 28, 2010

On a Diamond Fringed in Dark

Biking home from class one night
Through an empty city park
Glimpsing gave me quite a fright
On a diamond fringed in dark

Calmly sitting on the mound
In dark gloom’s obscurity
I was shocked at what I’d found
Staring fearless back at me

Two black eyes in shadows gleamed
Also twitching black tipped ears
Took me in - I thought I dreamed
Both of us forgetting fears

I stood beneath a harsh park light
While under moonless clouded sky
He sat regal, that feral sprite
So I thought to coax him nigh

And to my complete surprise
After I just clicked my tongue
He came close with watchful eyes
That small red fox so brave, so young

And when within ten feet he came
He sniffed and watched me close with care
Head atilt and tale aflame
He wondered at my prolonged stare

But then some noisy passers-by
Startled brave but wary fox
To his throne he sauntered spry
Upon his noiseless white-trimmed socks

And when I told of what I’d seen
Speaking of our short rapport
Their lack of interest was obscene
They said they’d seen it all before

Perhaps those passers were correct
Our odd meet was not the first
But is it best to just neglect
Beasts in urban lands immersed?

When the park was once more free
And I in thinking silence stood
The fox came back to question me
To see just what a strange thing would

Looking downwards at his grin
I threw this city fox a bite
He poked the crumb with his white chin
And sniffed to check if it’s alright

He wolfed his tiny morsels down
And opened wide his mouth to chew
Vigilantly he checked around
To see if I had more to strew

Once I’d lingered long enough
I left hardly making a sound
He watched me closely from the rough
Then strolled back to his noble mound

How long he stayed upon his throne
And watched over his whole domain
That I know I will not own
Perhaps I’ll see him once again

We all need silent stops at night
Inside gardens, beach or park
You never know what waits your sight
On a diamond fringed in dark

(I wrote this for my creative writing class, it's also a true story. Photo by:

Friday, November 26, 2010

How It Feels Sometimes

I cling, white knuckled, to this supersonic freefalling animal. My fingers strain, in tufts of hair, to hold on. When my grip seems strongest I find out it is weakest. I nearly let go but still I hold on. This mad beast, this psychotic animal does not heed my call. I try to guide it, I try to direct it. It changes direction constantly. Its twitching leaps and jolts thrash me about. I do not know where it is taking me. The heavy shadow of an insignificant future weighs upon me dragging me down. Everything before me is dark. Yet the rampaging speed never falters as I cling.

I pass places I want to stop at and linger for too long at places I would rather pass through.  I learn things I should have remained ignorant about and remain ignorant about things I should know. This spastic creature drags me face down in the mud. I see the people, the skies, the buildings, the birds. They make no sense to me. The dirt is in my eyes and the mud is in my mind. I am travelling at breakneck speeds with no control.

I can survive the lack of control.
Not knowing the destination is what gets to me.

(I wrote this last year, the title is all the explanation that is necessary) 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Them, In One

In darkened shacks on blood soaked soil
Warm and cozy in caring arms
It lies

In twilight hours of punishing poverty
Wrapped in blankets bundled
It sleeps

In sparkling towers of reckless riches
Woken at the sound of singing
It smiles

In hovels built by hurting hands
Warned calmly to be careful
It crawls

In fungal homes of suburban sprawls
Weary from playful pouncing
It sits

In a chill cave full of assorted animals
Waiting for its momentous mounting
It cries

In them all
In one more

Monday, November 22, 2010

Over the Void (With Apologies to The Pixies)

The clock keeps on tick, tick, ticking and I think about thinking.

I juxtaposition my thoughts against my actions: One makes a glorious mountain and the other a dark desolate valley; One ablaze in sunglow the other fuming in dark ruminations. And I ask that aging question: Where is it? Way out in the water, I see it drowning.

Is it water? It’s so hard to tell when there’s no light. Perhaps it’s alcohol or gasoline. It certainly smells. The vapors drape their heavy tendrils around my nostrils like fish-hooked chains. Oh the cutting stench! A smell of dried vomit and stale excrement wafting from listless hours and indolent acts.

Act I: The clock keeps on tick, tick, ticking. I can’t think about the thinking when the clock keeps tick, ticking. Or thumpy, thump, thumping like a burdened train over the tracks. The tracks are disappearing over that swampy miasma. All aboard the time train! Next stop: fate.

Hey look down there! Beneath the strained struts and warped beams. There, in that bubbling potion, it’s my mind. Ah! But if it’s there then where am I? Am I not there with it in that poisonous froth? But if I know it’s there am I not here and it with me? Or does it remain, loosely connected by tenuous nerves across the void of air and darkness and time, still in that thickly pitch. Does my notice of it bring it back or is it just a self-awareness that there I am, in the moonlit waves of unknown horror, drowning. And time keeps on tick, tick, ticking and thumpy, thump, thumping over the void. And I think about thinking and thoughts and actions and mountains and valleys. Can one be there while the other is where?

Where is my mind? Way out in the water, I see it drowning while time keeps on ticking I’m thinking of thinking. That sunglow memory must have been self-delusion. You never can tell down here. When will this thinking of thinking move to thinking of acting and on to acting on thinking and then to thinking on acts. Or will I just stay in Act I while the clock keeps on tick, tick, ticks—like a buried head in my skin boring in for blood and who knows what else. Think about this while looking through a scratched and smog slimed train window:

Time, like a tick, bores.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A mostly incoherent rant on the state of the world and how I see it

So, I was sitting at my computer going through an interesting comic. It is an ironical cultural comic that spends most of its time making fun of/lamenting the state of the world. Check it out: Warning: It’s not always appropriate or clean and often it is immature so if you are sensitive to those things you might want to give it a pass.

Anyway, so I got to thinking about of the state of the world: For example, sometimes I think it was better in the middle ages… I wonder why people constantly refer to them as the dark ages. Sure, they had their scary looking torture devices and heretics burning at the stake but really the biggest killer in those times was disease and famine. Percentage wise they probably weren’t killing more people by violence then. Now here we are at the peak of scientific development and we have gotten way better at killing and torturing people than the medieval people and we still have disease and famine.

Sure, maybe nobody you know is dying of a disease or famine. But look around you: Africa and Asia are plagued by malaria, poor water conditions and malnutrition killing millions upon millions per year. Scientifically speaking this problem is completely solvable: We have the money, we have the resources and we have the technology to virtually eliminate deaths from malaria, contaminated water and even malnutrition. But what does the world spend its money on?

The lists of most profitable companies I could find online were dominated by: Oil, banks, car companies, utilities providers, insurance agencies, and credit providers. No surprises there, basically all these companies attempt to maintain the status quo. They are governed by one motivating factor: self interest. Yay, self interest. Ayn Rand get bent, you took the American Dream and whored her out to the world in the rags of “Me first”. Ah, but Rand you are not to blame, I know that. You simply told the people what they wanted to hear. When the world has 97 percent of its wealth squarely focused upon a mere three percent of its population it falls to the individuals in that 3 percent to decide what to do with the wealth. If the computer you are reading this on is your own or your relative’s then you are probably in that top 3 percent. And if you are human you are affected by the so-called ‘American Dream’.

Americans spend money on insurance, credit, oil, cars etc. And continue to buy more than they need which props up the giant credit companies, manufacturers, etc. thus maintaining the status quo.  Now, I did just say “Americans spend” but I really mean the rich (middle class included) in general; for to be rich is to be American. The American identity is no longer what it was around the time leading up to the establishment of the constitution: It is no longer that mysterious journey of finding your way in a new world, it is no longer a rejection or reformation of old ways by establishing a new society, it is no longer the desire to pursue happiness for all in a land of exploration and possibilities. Those ideas have been thrown out. See the new America—or shall I say the nouveau riche—of the world: a people based upon a different set of principles (or lack thereof).

There was a ‘once upon a time’ when wealth came with a sense of responsibility—if you were born rich it was because you were born a noble and were therefore part of the leadership. But alas, no more. Now, if you are rich—born or become—you have no responsibility whatsoever. You’re only responsibility is that to yourself, the individual, the self is what matters most and everyone else should worry about themselves (Rand is only one of many authors who have promulgated that dogma). This divorce of wealth and responsibility can be traced back to the self-interested monarchs and lords back in the feudal era and before. The divorce began when the nobles and lords started forgetting the responsibility and just saw the wealth part of their leadership positions. It boiled throughout the middle ages and nearly came to fruition with Cromwell. Yet, Cromwell was not to be successful. The Nobles remained in power (although thoroughly humbled and put in their places—er, somewhat… at least in England). Do I seem ridiculous? Perhaps, I do. Do I actually presume to trace historical self-interest like it was a political or philosophical ideology? No, certainly not, I realize that wanton self-interest is inherent in all individuals. I realize that it is not an opinion that waxes and wanes on the shoulders of social progress. However, looking around myself, I can’t deny that self-interest has indeed waxed into some luminous monster that dominates all western societies and is threatening us all with economic destruction. Can it be traced in history? Perhaps not, but can it be simply disregarded as ahistorical?

No, I think this idea—putting individual before the mass of individuals—came to historical fruition in the Declaration of Independence. Yet, not in what is said upon it but rather in what is left off of it. Thomas Jefferson’s original document (before a whole room full of politicians got their hands on it) said some pretty strong words condemning slavery. Now Jefferson was no modern man; the best alternative he could come up with was shipping all the slaves back to Africa and setting up a “free” “negro” colony. He wasn’t perfect, yet I still appreciate his intentions. Jefferson realized it would be pretty hypocritical of a nation to talk about democracy and free men, etc. yet have hundreds of thousands of people in a state of permanent servitude. He saw that maintaining slavery in America was just switching the Kingship of George with a new American tyrant. Here, at the birthing of the nation, the “founding fathers” had a choice. They had the choice between setting up a nation built on the principles of justice and freedom or setting up a nation that maintained the status quo and made life easier for the whites. Unfortunately, the founding fathers chose the second path.  They placated the southern leadership who demanded to retain their slavery. Thank you, you cowardly politicians. This would lead to the civil war, the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Malcolm X’s assassination, years of lynching and prejudice in the south. This whole process of emancipation and the winning of equality was retarded by almost 200 years because of the lack of principles held by the founding fathers. Thank you, you cowardly, worthless founding fathers for ruining the promise of America before it even got started.

This American compromise has now become the global compromise of the “free” nouveau rich. Sure the rebel colonies wouldn’t have had the support of the south if they went against them at that early stage. But they could have fought a civil war right then and there. The death toll would be much smaller and the British would have had to choose either the side of slavery or the side of freedom. Even if America had of lost that war she would have won in the end. The right principles fought for become more powerful the more they are repressed.

Yet now here we are: In a world where all that matters is me and my own transitory state of highly subjective ‘happiness’. Yay America, Yay world, Yay Rand, thank you all for contributing to the current dystopia. The rich and middle class people of the world have swallowed this ‘utopian’ ‘American dream’ hook line and sinker and now we are all shocked that we are choking on it. We are in some disintegrating world from the imaginations of Orwell or Huxley. Orwell’s horrors of the totalitarian state don’t look very frightening to us now but Huxley’s Brave New World is a little closer to where we’re at. Neither however captured the sheer mind numbing ignorant, apathetic, selfish, narcissistic world as it is today. Why are dystopia novels so popular right now? Because we are living in a dystopia!

The medieval era was “dark” and “backwards” and “intolerant” but at least they cared about shit. They didn’t just sit there on their flabby backsides changing the channel every time a fly-eyed African boy came on T.V. asking for the money they spend on their weekly trip to Starbucks. No, people in the medieval ages had to worry about survival under the constant shadow of omnipresent death. They loved more, hated more, worked more and celebrated more than we ‘immortals’ are even capable of comprehending. And there lies the difference: We act as if we are immortal as if we will live forever. Yet one thousand years of technical advances still haven’t pushed us beyond that mystical 120 year peak. Immortal? Pshaw. There are more ways to die now than ever before. If you aren’t born an African in the Congo or Sudan then you can still easily be punching your final ticket from cancer, aids, nuclear war, domestic violence, car accidents, drugs, alcohol, earthquakes, psychopaths, terrorists, etc. etc. So what? Live in fear? Hide in your basement watching cable? Watch make-believe people live make-believe lives on a piece of electrified plasma sandwiched between two sheets of backlit plastic. Yay you! You are worthless. You might as well go die this moment. You don’t contribute to the world at all. You merely suck its life like a flea or a leech. Aw, but a leech is too good for you; even leeches can be beneficial when removing poisons from the blood. Hell, even a flea is too good for you at least they follow their “evolutionary impulse” and breed. What do you do? Live and die for yourself so that after you are gone you won’t matter. You will quickly be forgotten by all the people you supposedly loved and the people you could have helped but never did will not think on your passing for a moment. It will be as if you never existed.

Ah, but I realize that the people I am addressing this to would not even get this far. Perhaps they will not even endeavor to begin to read this rant. They are probably glued to their screens: iPods, TVs, computers. Glued there not doing anything but taking in dross while the short seconds of their stunted lives count down to nothing. Pathetically proving a point I wish would be proved wrong.

But therein lies the hope. There is where the truth resides. I will not wait to see my point proved right. I will go out and prove it wrong. And I know that there are those miniscule few among the wealthy going out and proving it wrong as well. Those people who demand more than themselves. Who demand community, who demand peace, who demand love, who demand things so much more important than transitory prosperity. I will stand with those few who defy the army of the apathetically indolent. We will stand not for ourselves but for the other: For the poor, for the neighbor, for the sick, for the brothers, for the weak, for the sisters, for the oppressed, for the mothers. For all but ourselves and we shall forget ourselves focused solely on our goal: to love, to help, to build. We will not compromise. We will not give in. We will not be tempted by the slow wasting of our lives but we will go onwards against the currents of apathy up river to a new land. Not to a utopia but towards a conscious rejection of the dystopia’s hold; A conscious effort to attempt utopia in spite of our weakness and in spite of almost certain failure. We will aim at perfection and perhaps attain some piece of it here on earth.

Either remain in the dark-age lethargy of self-interest or throw down your mirror-walls and look out to see a window upon the world. This window is not a position from which to watch the world unaffected; but rather a view that informs and demands action. Look, see and act.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ode to the Soldiers

The bells! The bells, they toll for victory
Hard fought and won upon the heaping fields
Of mud scorched black by emptied armories
And blood of bodies brave who would not yield.
To them, to them they toll for all but naught
Who fought and died there in the worst of hell
Those dead; the brightest of the hope-lit souls
To walk the twilight of ’shrined progress fraught
With blinding pride and hubris great to knell
The gongs of war: the bells, the bells, they toll.

And throbbing now upon November air
A cry goes up and mingles with their sound
A scream of joy, perhaps, or bold fanfare
To ’nounce the end of war and loud expound
Relief for lengthy tension snapped at last.
Yet there among the joyous clamor bright
A sorrow note clashes ’gainst glad revel
Dragged slow through sky, its wake: a silence vast
Just broken by a wailing wordless fright
Of dreaded news now brought long to level

A heavy blow upon the grief-bent head
Of one lone mother who long wrote and hoped
To see her son return from war to wed
The girl who short would find her throat tight groped
By wracking tears and strangled falling moans.
The bells toll hollowly for past-known sons
When war yet won is lost when best is burned
On pyres of pride and greed that flaming groans
Beneath the weight of sacrifice in tons:
The lives not lived and futures never learned.

The bells! The bells, will ring for something bright
When men and sons will die for more than naught
They go forth bravely who for others fight
And stand upon freed lands that their blood wrought
Where peace will spread across a land once bound
In fears, despair and mercy lacked by those
Who led for gain to self and not the whole.
Those men who died in wars some base, some sound
By duty called decisive they arose
To fellows guard and reach the crucial goal.

The bells! The bells, still toll for mothers' sons
And daughters brave who gave their essence all
Against the threat and thund’ring of the guns
And raging death where they did lastly fall.
So lift the mothers and the dead sons high
And Daughters, fathers we remember too
Write fading names upon your mournful soul
Lest we forget the past in last goodbyes;
Do not erase that bleak November view
Of fallen souls for whom the bells, the bells,

They toll.

(On this Remembrance Day I dedicate this poem to all those who serve, or have served, in the military. Also, I dedicate this to all those who have relatives who serve or have served. Your sacrifices will not be forgotten.)

Friday, November 5, 2010


The birds have flown to Florida
And we begin our quick ferment
The days are falling faster dead
The cresting light is nearly spent

The failing sun long rests his head
So looking westward we still wait
Not trusting he will rise again
We’re in the waxing night of fate

The veil of darkness hides our plans
But thinly from nocturnal eyes
In pitch we’re strewed forgetting light
In love with bright but rotting lies

And when the winter meets its height
We frozen in a death unseen
Horizon’s edge of glowing sun
Will bleed out warmth on the obscene

And there will burn on all and one
A blaze to light the dark afar
But most with eyes fast shut will fear
The dawn so bright it leaves a scar

And sad it is in all this sphere
There will be just a remnant few
Who overjoyed will stand at spring;
Most will long for winter new

So they will crawl far from the ring
Of sun that burns their frostbite faint
Preferring just the dark of space;
They hide enamored with their taint

Yet those who stood in warmth of grace
Will find they’ve grown new leaves and roots
And not lament the night’s demise
When tasting winter’s ripened fruits

(The birds flew down to Florida
But will to reborn trees restore
Ferment is foiled in the rise
Of spring that comes forevermore.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

H is for Heirloom

The sun is setting on All Hallows’ Eve
And here on the suburban heath
I watch what happens when horror walks masked
Through half-lit streets up to front doors.

Harmless tricks on family yards and hearth stones,
Boys in warm red hunting caps,
Young girls in pink making hearts beat nearby,
Costumes, homemade haunted houses

And hearing hounds howl to the hunter’s moon
 The horror lies here but hidden.
Housed in offices, homes and certain heads;
A havoc of hopelessness and hurt

“How?” we ask from hill fortresses of bones
Suits can’t clean the bloody stained hands
When knowledge of dire hunger demands haste
And we hearken not to a “Help!”

Just heeding the hum of dull screens and honks
Of car horns and heckling hedonists
Within hectic lives pursuing happiness
The hawthorn bushes and hedgerows
Wither before the coming hour of doom
When we will be heaved into wealth’s hecatomb

Friday, October 29, 2010

Our Loss (Leavetakings II)

She was surrounded by those who love her
Her life stretched behind her like a red carpet
Leading onwards and upwards
It could have been much longer
But it got into her bones
It stole into her lungs
And robbed us of her
She was gone but not into the dark
She had left the shadowland
To live in fields of light and warmth unknown
Leaving us darkbound, black clad grievers
To ponder mourning

I know
And he knew
And son
“How did you mourn her?”
Someone so good, so pure
Yet so aware that she was not
Aware of the stained rags she wore
Yet still smiling upwards into the face of heaven
How do you mourn her?
When she is somewhere better
And you are left alone?
I don’t know how

I cried at the celebration of her life
That euphemism stuck to my tongue
Like the hot wax of the candles burning by her coffin
I cried because I miss her
Because I will not hear her warm sonorous voice again
Because she will not wake me up
By gently rubbing my back
I mourned the loss of her
I mourned the state of the world without her
I did not mourn for her
For what she might miss
She traded her ashes for gold

“I don’t know if I ever properly mourned her”
He said
Son to grandson
And I understood