Eight out of ten cats prefer

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Of late

PBS has woken me up

furious with their hypocrisy

purporting to be fair when clearly they are not

and half-an ear to the news

I thought of all the times I refused

to hear the truth

sloshing in the saucer beneath the china cup

so breakable

if we step backward and review ourselves

why we did what we did

it is as if someone else steered the wheel

avoiding black ice

I could no more tell you how or why

than the neighbor who hears me in the morning

feeding the strays

tuts under his breath, taking a drag

of menthol cigarette

because the strays you see

piss against his wall leaving

yellow stains on his brick work

and I did not consider that

when I opened the tin

Superficial

16708220_10208952052418165_5456016437649641167_nSkim the stone on the surface

watch it butt against reflecting light

until falling through surface

out of sight it drops

to a darkness

or a peace

depending upon your vantage point

I for one would welcome

a life spent below, than above

listening to the mocking calls of unseasonal green parrots

filling trees with their envy

they make everything brighter it is true

yet something about the jarring

competitive nature of their plumage

strikes me as less sincere than

the drab and disliked pigeon with

old face and white circles around

his rumey blinking eyes

who can always be relied upon

to lose a toe in Winter

I think of how often I have watched

something curl to the side of a street

and wait to die

how a part of me felt helpless

inhabiting stages where stories

rent through armor and pierced

my conscience

after the third pigeon in a box

tucked beneath my office shoes

my boss told me

look, this is enough

he preferred I collected his shirts from the dry cleaner

bagfuls of shopping for his wife

my perk was

one day I could grow up to be like him

ignore dying birds in the street

driving silver BMW to my Thursday mistress

whilst another slave worked after-hours

filing life upward like blind builb

it came to me then, ungluing my eyelids

leaving behind one word

WRONG

written in magic marker on his desk

I took the cooing box I’d hidden

and the pigeon and I went home

to a cold flat with no furniture

where he proceeded to try not to die

and I watched understanding very well

the hue of his life

for I am a stone who sank before

she saw the sun and only the moon knows

the way to lift me up

Take the high road

piedpiperI was a child once

perhaps we played together

were you the friend I helped climb the pear tree?

were you the friend who said jump over the puddle and we both missed and came home all muddy in time for trouble?

were you the one who got to the top of the hay bale first and said ‘I can see all the world’ from here and in that moment we really thought we could

or did you grow up in a nice apartment on the Upper East Side, sent to the best schools and expected to do well

which you did in that idle and coveted way of those who have purchase of a velvet lining

did you ever wonder what it was like for the rest?

did you ever wonder why so many famous people are the children of?

did you ever stop and question if ‘life is what you make it’ still stands true?

did you drink dirty water like the kids in Flint?

did you get poisoned by copper like the babies of El Paso?

if you went to a demonstration did you go so you could make change or to show off your $400 Free People outfit?

when you got your first job was it from hard-graft or the friends of your parents?

I went to university with you, I was the one who had a bicycle whilst you drove a Jeep

I wasn’t jealous except when I was hungry and that suited me because I couldn’t afford to grow

when you sat like King on your throne and your acolytes bowed, you crowned yourself head of our year and published the first zine

did it reflect truth or the diamond shanty of your ideals?

good for you that you had a pretty life and long vacations

many of us worked for a living and got up at 5am to empty kitchen tables

parents who stared through the rain at yet another long day

ground down by platitudes that didn’t apply

I’m not bitter it’s just that when we sit in the same room and you tell me

‘I’m sure you can understand Candy, as an owner of a small printing press I have to make ends meet’

I can’t help thinking how fake things that are meant to be real are becoming

we lost art to the debutante, we gave away our souls for front covers with dazzling lies

we have an election that denies the people and computers who act like surrogates

jobs if you’re in China and expensive degrees that promise nothing but loan re-payments

it is said there is no better time than now, and the past was harder when ancestors danced in death in ditches and were blown up

it is said there is no better time than now, we are the proverbial fatted calf, glutted on luxury, we don’t know how bad it used to be

for our grandparents who broke their backs and discolored their lungs in coal pits and the basements of rich homes

back in time we didn’t have flat screen TV and cell phones and fancy jeans but it’s swings-and-roundabouts

now we’re in time where not being online 24/7 can lose your job to someone who didn’t mind being beholden

we had vacations whilst now everyone’s too afraid to be out of the office and checks their cell phones at the dinner table on Sunday’s

where is our sense of self? Did we buy into the belief we are free and rich because we were told that by a meme or nodding head?

did we forget what George Orwell or Rachel Carson said?

Because when we’re young we think we have it all if we have sex and firm thighs and the right to protest

but what good is protest if nothing ever changes? ask the pipe lines who cut through our country if they have heard us yet?

or the profits garnered to keep the 99 percent out of the front lawn

but oh wasn’t it always that way?

sure I read Dickens too and the Little Matchstick Girl

poverty isn’t a modern-dilemma

however maybe apathy and delusion is

wasn’t Marx talking about that when he mentioned Opiates?

we don’t need to take our Big Pharma pills to know

cancer comes with a price tag and you’d better not be poor

the cost of ‘getting well’ is only one part, the other is the creation of the disease

ask the petrochemical industries, do they let their kids inhale or eat that?

does anyone think of the future? Or should we change what Marie Antoinette said to

let them eat lead

what does it say when you’re glad you don’t have kids to inherit these times?

I wanted to write poems and get published and you owned the rights like you always had

glutted and fat on your marble pyramid

you look at people like me, like the street cleaner regards bird shit

something it takes some elbow grease to clean and even then

the outline will mark the pretty pavement where you wanted to hold

your procession proclaiming the world is good and just

I suppose I didn’t fit in with that then and I don’t now

this world is made of dust and sweat, we toil even when we think we are not

against haters, against cruelty, against disregard, apathy and the unexpected

sometimes I think we got it very wrong when we called these Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin may have had a point there

as many who are gone now did, we’re in another incarnation of delusion

hurry up children take your medicine, sip, sip !

so …  I won’t win a trophy or even get my name recalled when I’m gone

and that’s okay with me God

I just want enough to live on and to be unmolested by those who seek to tear down

an honest heart or a man who prizes integrity above fitting in

lest we follow a prophet who says he’s the one, and all fall off the cliff

did we ever figure out if the Pied Piper was evil?

down we go

you cannot find truth looking into empty crystal

you find it by noticing the hypocrisy and stepping out of the casting coach

it will be a harder road they always said

but a high road is preferable to one paved in gold

Dowry

surrealist_art_by_ray_caesar_5There were no shotguns

no contraception necessary

the sterile

marriage was secret

rushed through with hands in front of mouths

to spare the blush of court-house staff

unaccustomed to women without men

they looked down as if crestfallen

it was fortunate I had not enough time to purchase

a dress

for it had always been my desire

to marry barefoot with knives in my hair

carrying your child to the altar

squirming in my belly

this didn’t come to pass

squinting down lashed road

I see where I dropped myself

in the desert without my shoes

like old coinage without power of purchase

I watched the purple sky

reduce in cold boil

until amber filled horizon

night creatures stirred without sight

I didn’t have a way back

I didn’t have a way forward

this was my dowry

the sand blowing without mercy

scratching at the door

The surface

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Play the chord

fingers synchronized with musical word

if it could music would

speak her ache and exchange seats

pass the parcel

good children canceling upbringing

she was told early in life

click your heals, come what may

stomach flu for those who try

cucumber eaters reward the beguiled

not everything hot seeks to be mild

she has shorn her hair

she had snipped her tinny heart

a changing in need of firm foothold

women flock together

temptation to condemn grows bold

she wants to say

do not condemn her

because she reminds you of a hated sister

or provoked in her fist toward the sky

some outcry

the cantor of what ifs

rich healed but poor in charity

make do with petitions nobody reads

can you eat paper?

served empty stomachs before bed

you liked her for the very things that tried to kill

a blue jay lands in her hair

she is beholden of magic in mosaic hour

nobody talks to the lax or those who having lived say

i am tired do not stone me for my wish to sleep

they tell us to wake refreshed and give thanks for every day

as the woman with tumors can attest

we never know our last act

but she is unappreciative according to modern science

she has only felt horror in the divulge

show me purpose in this false world she cries

show me meaning on the flat tyres of transport

choking concrete eyelids

she never spoke her own language

she spoke through bandages

swaddling true message

could it be for some this world is too much?

the refuge of the underneath bewitching

thronging temptation far across water

she smells just like your childhood girlfriend

capturing applies in her cotton frock

go back through time

give your place to another

let them pluck the skinned chord

tune the piano with violent glove

close audience’s raptor with honest stare

beyond them and the sweating lights

disrobing in darkness

stirs

a familiar urging retreat

come

bow your striped head

step away in foil

take your now

it is all right

to seek to let go

and skip

senseless below

the surface

Regain

love-takes-off-masks-that-we-fear-we-cannot-live-without-and-know-we-cannot-live-within-18I would wear a mask

made of fur or hide

that would mold its outline to mine

until they were fused indistinguishable

you would say

why do you wear a mask?

don’t you want people to see your face?

and I would reply

no not yet

not even afterward

I wish to exist outside of definition

do not mark me with your label

I wish to be and not be

I wish to hide and be seen

in the eclipse we call

reality

no more honest

than compartments

are capable of containing whole facsimile

or props can be used for their pretence

a make-believe globe cannot a world lend

they are hollow beasts, the mounted heads

glaring from faded walls

it seems at night they can

growl but it is merely

a trick of light

like a magician from emptiness

pulls

delusion

we all of us are conjurers of reality

deciding our avatars with fickle choice

and where lies among our pretending

one brave enough to bare

themselves to elements of judgement

without veil

without succor

they are naked before storm

approbation beating their rendered limbs

like headmaster lifts the cane and repeats

swish, swish, say after me

I am not worthy

who shall stand despite the welt

defy the master

revive our guilt

till truth be told and masks set to flame

we need not hide, we need to regain

 

We grind by hand, our own language

16174706_981106892025147_8125778488863439956_nIt was the bees.caught in walls, drunk sweet on fig nectar

humming beneath plaster, sounding like colliding voices

pieces of me calling out on repeat, tapestry in postponement

the last stitch incomplete

seeing her round the corner, raspberries breathing pink air

blue footed like china luminescent in spring water

her eyes hazelnuts over cream, bore into me

we grind by hand, our own language

discovered intimates beneath tables

swapping lace work, scuffing soles

you come on your almond knees, bold and fat cheeked

moss, ivy and peat through high headed daisies

breathing deep whistling distance

keep still, as hush of light rain mists

like sitting children gathering silver, grow vociferous

look

resting on clasped fingers

the turnover of keeping, your strengthening faith

furnishing with still grace, as no-one could contain

the descending stone of woman’s will

but you who held up the world

with one deft movement

a silhouette among gouache doves

rendered in raven, as lovely as permitted

sung by myth and fable, beyond this plain place

where such is the drift of pirouette dream

beholding slim waisted girls gathering fruit

staining their wet mouths in ripened eagerness

Letting blood

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When you give up

asking for direction

rely instead on

guts reflection

letting blood

may leach strength

we give too much away

in hesitation

though long known truths

hang like skinned souls

making music

often I would like to ask

for a map

or braille

to guide me

where I fear to tread

fingers first, feel the weft

for the path is narrow

and lonely when

you reach highest point

over the world see

patterns becoming outcome

like rain nourishes earth into harvest

sun urges life to flourish

we who are willing

can know the answer to ourselves

stop still and feel within

the mystery of

foresight bidding

Only one fall

loureedraven13

When we met

you treated me as if

all the world did no longer matter

so long as I

was within your sphere of sight

you said

sunlight was always

warm on the top of my head

turning me golden in your regard

as echoes of reflections

cast like arrows from dark windows

reaching up, tall glass shining down on us

I knew

a person on a pedestal

has only one fall

a fracture deep in marrow

hurting more than broken bones

when you finally

stop seeing my light

I will love you more

when you finally toss me aside

it will hurt me greater

such is the game of chess

of uneven love

a synonym of unevenness

two people who thought

hurt and pain could never

be part of their bond

becoming the greater sound

like blood in my ears rushing

filling up my cries

into pillows not stuffed enough

to stay dry

(art by Lorenzo Mattotti)

Mandala

girl-in-nestIt was her habit

to keep secrets

never betray a confidence

and

find it hard to trust

those who were over friendly

with compliments and kind words

often the first to loosen arrow

better then to step back

stifle trust sufficiently

take time to know the measure

best found

when things are not golden

but a helping hand is needed

to pull the drowning man from his wet

fall

then we can be sure

they’ll not let go so easily

the bearers of trust

turning softly against

intention like a water

wheel will clothe itself

in the voices of the well

and rise up

shaking itself off

to the turn of life again

breaking spells

of divination and miracle

all ephemeral against

the reliability of turning

in circles creating ever

increasing circles

cast like spring flowers

against the frost