War Overdrive

We live in a world drawn by the impact

of modern technology

every news cast is sure to alarm you,

bodies and limbs at 8 minute intervals

we’re told the devastation is awful

yet we watch anyway,

we are told there are gruesome stories

yet we listen anyway

we are told again that immigration is an issue

yet I have to believe you are kidding me.

~

I listen to the news

I can only handle around 10 or 12 minutes before

I begin to check out,

I cannot breathe anymore

I find the movie disturbing

I suddenly realize it is not a movie

~

Our reality is on the news,

you might suggest it is not your problem

given the geographic separation,

but then you remember that sage

just the other week in the coffeeshop

saying outloud

that anything you might say today

could be heard across the world.

~

Indeed when we imagine our hardship

having enough gas to make it to work

making sure our playgrounds are safe

for kids to climb on climbers

swing on swings

while in Gaza

oh yeah, there’s that place we want to forget

while in Gaza

kids are playing like kids are playing,

yet their playgrounds are blown apart

walls and ceilings

decorated with blood and limbs and shadows

of death, that becomes a way of life

their playgrounds are the exposed

infrastructure of buildings

and exposed ceiling holes

brought to you in CNN overdrive.

Our Lives Mirrored

funeral

***

We all have lives,

this cannot be argued

no matter the girth or the slight

however, the notoriety or discretion,

each idiosyncratic measure of

who we are

can only be truly defined

internally.

~

But, you knew that already,

that’s why last night downtown with the boys,

you made an ass of yourself,

went up to her and told her you thought,

she was a slut,

because just minutes later

you wagered with your inebriations

that you could score with the rudest commentary.

Why she smiled,

it turned you on,

you glanced back at your problems

hinting a forward motion.

When you looked back in her eyes,

her delight just made you swoon,

forgetting about that initial commentary

now recognizing she really is pure elegance…

~

Damned if she didn’t give you her number,

even I sitting nearby was disturbed by that.

You walked away smug,

she joined her girlfriend and you physically disappeared in her mind,

even though you could still see she was

maintaining her sort of human condition in the crowd.

The boys, the posse, the conquest moved

to the other tavern

where the sure thing had been told.

you crammed the napkin with her number in your tight jeans,

and forgot about her for the rest of the night,

because along came Jenni, Sarah, Michelle, and anon …

~

Laundry day,

sorting out pockets

where when unfolding the napkin,

Jill’s name appeared in a scrawl.

It took you a minute or two to recall

who she was.

Who she was.

Who she really was!

Then you dialed the number

to reach a disconnection,

blew her off and called her a ‘bitch’

for giving you the wrong number.

~

A few days later,

while stepping off the train

to go to work,

your normal morning routine,

there was a delay,

a procession of sorts,

they were all sort of familiar,

each wearing the same veils,

another typical gathering that occurred

nearby your building, in that park,

where families grieved,

never any reason to bear notice.

Though today

you wanted to glance further,

there was a familiar elegance,

that couldn’t really be defined,

some energy, that asked you,

refine your arrogance

just this one time.

~

Turns out she did give you the wrong number

a purposeful gesture for a woman protecting herself

from the constant barrage of harassment,

yet tonight when she went home,

she couldn’t get the word out of her head,

too mindful of four years earlier in college,

when the hot breath of that stranger

impelled her world forever,

leaving her cold and barren,

she knew tonight with your clarity,

she could never really let go.

~

Today there appeared so much love in that gathering.

Dry Ice

That’s what I imagine when my mind shuts down,

a cold reality, that is caustic to the touch,

unable to move,

frozen yet hot with immediate passion.

I stand here

alone

together with my family

wondering

just how I ever made it this far

material things

beckon me, and tell me they’ll help me

feel good

sitting in the comfort of my threshold

the place where I seek solace

my mind is reeling

unable to track a single notion

further than a couple of minutes.

My greatest fear,

might be that state of mind

carries me out into my community

and those around me that I don’t care about

suddenly notice.

Imagine the steam that surrounds my

every thought – ruthless and course

cold as my … save this wrenching heart.

Panic Storms

the sky will not shake its grey clouds

seems a terrible reckoning

standing in the yard

watching the arc gradually move

knowing the danger exists

yet, not understanding how to move.

inside the hours of a day,

a storm can pass through with a wreckage

profound to our eyes.

much like that fury, relentless

in its swath across the valley

so might an anxious moment in my mind

strike fear in my heart with every turn.

for it is the simple truth of anxiety

like waiting out the pounding hail

that state of mind takes over

holds me like a strong wind against

a silent wall.

how might I break through the marble stone

of this imaginary space that steps in front of my

happiness, at every turn, little might the mind

do when lost in the flurry of the eye,

storm waters pour from reservoirs

while the desire to step forward becomes more muddied

with every notion of grasping the unknown.

We never quite understand the immense power

of Nature’s wrath on a pristine moment of clarity.

Stop the Conversation

A lot of theory being tossed around

about who is responsible,

what monster is bombing our children

yet, no answers being readily made,

only accusations,

shallow theories,

don’t hold a candle to the shallow graves

our children are laying in.

Day after day the reports are grim,

we can’t turn on the tube without

analysis, anger and angst,

yet, nothing can be done over here,

except, no not accept, simply except.

~

We pray a lot when helpless death comes around

when cancer strikes someone down,

while our lives as human beings are being tossed around,

rather, split apart by the terrors of war.

We like to hope our prayers are reaching those in need,

when all we can really do is ready ourselves

for the pain that lies ahead, and learn to accept

we have absolutely no control over His plan,

or maybe its Her idea, I haven’t a clue.

Stroll outside and glance upon the sky,

know its beauty is only borrowed time,

for some, for many, for those that don’t

make it to your Saturday barbecue.

~

Life has a different face when the cameras are off,

when Johnny on the spot is ‘embedded in war’

My God isn’t that a little ludicrous,

to imagine we will put a reporter in harm’s way

just to show us all the ugliness; hear what human nature

Created.

Far different than that Utopia, Nirvana, Peace …

we all strive for peace, then, why do we not listen to each other!

A Mortar Shell Fell Today

Coolest thing this afternoon,

I was playing in the school courtyard,

with my friends,

had my eye on a special girl,

she comes to play all the time,

we were happy little kids,

skipping rope and playing tag

when a fireworks went off

right at our feet,

the smoke was intense,

and pieces of metal flew everywhere.

It all happened so fast that when I looked over,

she was gone, I didn’t get a chance to say hello.

She was lying on the ground,

a sea of red fury enveloping her young body,

the smoke was heavy

we were done with playing in the school yard for the day,

our parents arrived to take us home.

our parents arrived, a few of them, to take us home.

Vintage Concern

When I was a child,

my mother,

whose influence upon me,

lasted for many years,

still does,

when I think about what I want to say.

She didn’t believe in war,

didn’t understand Vietnam,

when I asked her one day what the fight was about,

I was ten,

she said, ‘sugar cane’

Seemed rather simple to me,

a solution appeared ready,

let’s just share the wealth.

~

I am an older man now,

have experienced the wars of our times,

never first hand, only by the news,

so I still don’t really understand,

I haven’t stood on the front lines,

haven’t sacrificed my limbs, my brain, my heart

for something I just don’t understand.

I do know this though,

too many lives,

too many children,

are becoming young martyrs for a cause

they simply don’t understand.

~

Even when I reflect back on being ten,

my mom wearing rose colored glasses,

she taught me then about love,

I still believe in that part: love.