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Dreaming of Paradise

12 Count

The poet bade me
to keep still and silent
as he counted to 12.
So I obliged him. I
shut
my mouth and I
stilled
my being.

In the stillness
in the silence
I was overcome by the shadow
of death.
It was everywhere.
I thought I might drown in it.
Instead I wept
for all those who were drowning.
I wept for those
who could not breathe.
I wept for them.
I wept with them.
I loved them.
And the darkness seemed less
threatening
less palpable.
It became fleeting.

But I seemed alone in this.

All around me people were
Silent but they took their
Smart phones
Also on silent
And took pictures of people
Who were silently
Taking pictures of people
Silently taking pictures of people.

War Porn

Men are told that the women in glossy magazines
Lose their appeal when you think
“That is someone’s daughter.”
But when the photos and videos are on
The Nightly News
When instead of makeup they wear dust
and dried blood
When the lighting is from fires
Instead of flash diffusers
And the videos show faces
Captured in perfect stillness
Stillness that doesn’t make any sense
For a boy
A boy like my boy.

I have a boy that age
He cannot be that still.

When the background is devastated
Instead of devastating
The idea, the thought that
“This is someone’s child”
Stops my heart.

Only it doesn’t stop.
Not really.
My sons will wake up tomorrow
And they will play their imaginary games.
But the still faces
The too still faces
Will not.
And tomorrow night I’ll turn on
The Nightly News
And see what new pictures
And videos are available.

Winter is calling

Winter is calling.
You may think the sun is too hot.
You may think spring is in the air
Or summer is still too close
Or we are not so deep into fall.

But still Winter calls.

And she does not call like a lover.
There is no alluring cadence
Or seductive tone.
There is no promise of
Infinite joy.

She does not call like a friend
Eager to go shopping
Or to the movies
Or just anywhere
For the sake of it.

No.

Winter calls like a mother
Who,
Having just watched her baby die
For no reason
At the hands of some fool
Whose only answer to her question is
“at least it’s summer outside”,
Now climbs the tallest tower
And sounds the clarion
Stored there.

That is the sound
Of Winter’s call.

Heads are rising at the sound of it.
Swords are sharpened
And armies mustered
At the sound of Winter’s
Clarion call.

Do not pretend that you do not hear it.
Only ask if you dare to answer
Or if you dare to refuse.

Once more unto the breach

It is the beginning
The beginning of hatred
The beginning of loneliness
The beginning of fear
And suspicion

So we say

But they have always been there
Always simmered just under the surface
Just out of sight where we

Where I
Thought I could ignore it
I thought it would die there

And the hatred
The loneliness and fear I feel now
They felt it before
They felt it because I didn’t listen
Didn’t understand

I still don’t understand
I’m listening now (I don’t have a choice)
And I still don’t understand

So don’t let anyone say
“it began this day
Or that day”

It never “began”
It was always there
And I fear what it will do
With 60 plus years of hidden
Or not so hidden
Resentment built up
I fear what it will do
And I fear that we will
Still
Not learn from it

I fear that it has always been there
And always will be

So once more unto the breach dear friends
once more
or else fill up this whole with our dead

Song of the Valley

The valley below me is full life.
The broad and fertile floor bears fruit
and milk and honey.
It is a wonderful, beautiful, place
overflowing with life. Continue reading “Song of the Valley”

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