If ever there was an era
to inspire a revival in poetry
and scare us out of our anxiety
then this horrid decade’s
sense of impending doom should do,
I’d paint the page with sunflowers and marigolds,
But Wordsworth’s nature is long in its grave.
We have forgotten the cold mountain stream,
The little birds in the blueberry bush,
The worms wiggling beneath their hungry beaks,
And the sound of the forest is deafening for us
As the chainsaw’s roar over heavy machinery.
For us nature is a conversation,
A metaphor for human care and change,
and a political questioning of the trees
in search for meaning when we bludgeon a rose
and all the beauty that it has stood for.
Go now and build your grave
against your life’s pitiful cries,
and when the end is drawing near
Where did they go
when the capstone was finally fitted
and the labor contracts were off in the garbage?
Where did they go
when the Taj Mahal had absorbed its last marble
and the laborers were without their paychecks?
The king still sits on golden throne
drinking our blood as wine;
he needn’t skippers to sail the ocean’s tides,
he needs our hearts and minds.
I wanted the world, and I found it,
I poked and I prodded with certain glee.
What I had found was youthful and free,
A boyish desire for wild
And wildernesses within me,
But the world was wicked and cheap
And myself so dumb and naïve
That I had found pills and gold drink.
We are now so tolerant,
so willing, that intelligent people
are unable to speak freely
Around we go again,
around this ancient dance with plague,
and though we have no rose
blotches to mark our perfect skin
You won’t write me down in books
or read my words with a rose
colored gloss over, or toss paint
as white as I on picket fences
I see beggars suffering silently
uncounted out in the streets,
these old rags slumped over plead
but only each to each
You are not an arrow,
nor is your path
flowing like time itself
from birth to death.
I am foreign and do not understand.
I burn my dead
or lower them into the pit.
How is it that these people
I will predict that all could end.
That time should slip
and suns should burn
razor wire fences ascend
as phoenixes from the ashes
Even as newborns
we are defeated
by our very own nerves
There is a language dead
that grips the heart
from deep within its crypt.
Time cares not what the clock will say
of the foul pit of yesterdays,
because a truth strikes its chord
They are very small things, the small plankton,
The atoms of oxygen, the words said
I have owned words,
owned them all,
owned them as a suit–
Among the world’s most pressing ruins
artifacts come rising as phoenixes
parting their form from the fierce driven wind
and sand that whirls around in its dying
hour of enjambment with earth and sky.