AMARYLLIS

 

 

The bulb Carolyn gave you years ago
rose between three boulders
where we lay the headless rattler

               to get young Katy
               to pay attention—
               running, dancing,
               always on her toes.
               Her shriek and cry
               cut to our souls.

Huge, bright-orange petals,
like tongues aflame
among adolescent coals—

               Summer Solstice,
               105 degrees—

saved to the shade
on the cold woodstove
to bloom for days,

to hold my eye
and expose
a slice of memory.

 

SCIENCE FICTION

 

 

The future descends upon us
with new magic for old maladies,
like the greed and lust for power

science can’t dissuade or make
invisible, can’t deport to asteroids
spinning towards black holes in space.

Not even the best Boy Scouts
can be prepared for tomorrow dangling
like a spider from its thin filament

waiting for the wind to move it
towards fuzzy, unknown realms
where human nature remains the same.

 

 

artist: Chesley Bonestell

 

ROADRUNNERS, RATTLESNAKES & SNAILS

 

IMG_0218

 

Light feet at dawn
inspect Iris and Aloe Vera
to crack shells on the rock
border between gravel and lawn.

She curtsies like a ballerina
in a low, feathered quivering,
teasing, anticipating
the dance in a garden arena.

CHORUS:
               Beyond the reach of Covid-19,
               the divisiveness and hate—
               beyond the crazed confusion
               the fools among us imitate.

Birds multiplying here to a dozen
as watchdogs for the unwanted,
the rattlesnakes and snails,
beyond the reach of poison.

CHORUS:
               Beyond the reach of Covid-19,
               the divisiveness and hate—
               beyond the crazed confusion
               the fools among us imitate.

 

OR NOT

 

 

Hard to be a good guy, find
a melody for wannabe lullabies
overwhelmed by hard-rock thoughts

to make things right
or left, red or blue dominions
as if ordained by God

laughing up his sleeve
at the idiocy of humans
fashioned in his image.

We are merely ants in the anthill,
sub-atomic specks of insignificance
trying to get along—or not.

 

DEPENDENCE DAY

 

 

The shelves of supermarkets
are dependent on farmers,
               both foreign and domestic
               dependent on bankers—

               on tractor drivers, irrigators and brown skin labor,
                              both legal and illegal
                              looking for a better life

               to fill the trucks for grocery stores
               that fill our families’ bellies.

We are dependent on the weather and electricity
               to pump the water
               to grow the crops for harvest.

We are dependent on our phones and Internet
               to keep in touch
               with skewed news and friends
               lest we find ourselves alone
               for an hour—lest we begin
               to know our minds
               or even reason for ourselves.

We are dependent on the politicians
               dependent on corporate donations
               as they campaign to stay
               close to the feed bunks,
               instead of representing
               the workingman trying
               to pay for his consumption.

We are dependent on the planet
               as we carve up the heart
               of its landscape, as we spend
               its resources today
               instead of saving for tomorrow.

We are dependent on one another
               for love and understanding,
               for common sense
               and compassion.

And lastly, we are dependent on God
               and hope to hell
               He’s paying attention.

 

ONCE UPON A TIME

 

 

Yea, once a great nation of statesmen and orators
forging principles, annealed by fire, an ethic
shaped with hammer to anvil. Yea, we once were

the envy of the world, yeoman and scholars free
to speak the truth despite their fears—despite our need
to be greater than we are, we fool ourselves.

Four percent of the planet’s population, we are small,
leaving the elite to run this country into the ground
as we consume like feedlot cattle with credit extended

at 25 percent—we have become vassals to the bankers
on Wall Street—our greatness measured by their numbers
with little else left of value to speak or be proud of.

Once a great nation, we are an embarrassment
to humanity, to a once common sense—
we follow the pack like scavengers praying for a bone

until we blindly consume ourselves without wisdom
or compassion. Where are our senators and statesmen?
Have we forgotten who we were, once upon a time?

 

JUNE 25, 2020

 

 

Our day never done
discussing cattle
instead of politics:

all the pig-headed
pontificators hawking lies
like sideshow barkers.

A nation sick to death
trying to get back to normal
we’ll never see again.

We ride this wild earth,
hang-on with gentle hand
feeling for a familiar rhythm.

 

KILLDEER NEST

 

 

Brand new day
in some places waiting
for the last egg to crack

from the inside out.
Metaphor for everything
that matters, exploding

to the four winds,
blindly finding legs
hard to corral

with shrill words
they’ve never heard
‘til now.

We waited ages,
marked it with a rock
in the gravel drive.

 

TO MAKE A HAND

 

 

Only the lesser man regards himself
as superior, assured and measured
by the whims of fleeting fortune—
he clings to hackneyed slogans
like jetsam in the raging river’s storm.

Beef dressed in a layer of white fat,
you cannot tell the color of its hide
on the rail, when cut and wrapped
in butcher paper, or ground to satisfy
your convenient consumption.

In this global herd of humanity,
fear is the currency of exchange
rekindled with falsehoods
propagated by impromptu scripts
to be played by bad actors.

This is not the only show on earth!
Do not be afraid to respect a man’s
hands and heart, learn to look him
in the eye and listen to a rhythm
common beneath your skin.

 

APPETITE FOR ANARCHY

 

© Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

 

                      Son, they all must be crazy out there.
                           – Michael Burton (“Night Rider’s Lament”)

We get the news as black or white,
reckless words that conceal the truth
reduced to red and blue enamel.
No sage advice from Washington,
no common sense to right the Ship

of State, and no one at the tiller
to face the tempest’s hate—too busy
painting enemies to blame
while adding anger to the storm.
We get your craziness in colors

with the rising smoke and flames
on a planet waging war
in the cloud of a pandemic
neither understood nor cured—
a collage of clashing colors

without a brushstroke for compassion,
discipline or pride lucrative enough
for the media to cover
with an appetite for anarchy
where only self-righteous ride.

 

 

“Night Rider’s Lament”