poems

Under the Tree of Knowledge

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Extruded from a socialist womb,

One becomes separately alive,

Sweats at the fount of mother-milk

in the endless struggle
to survive;

One invades the mortal’s world

To find what truth we can

Of fragile human goodness

And love for other than

the Self,

One fears food, shelter, and justice,

are private and political property,

Sought and bought with things

or subtle lovely lies and bartered
Liberty.

Yet with pluck and luck perhaps,

One finds transient pleasures

Among the shards of gathered,

Baubles, troubles and other
Treasures.

Suffering threats from a million gods,

painful errors, regrets, and strife

in the silence of the universe

One may question and fear life
Everlasting.

One may at last discover,

within each being, object, truth,

we only live within each Other

And Each is is just another
Self.

Each inanimate or living thing

Waits and wonders here on earth

What life or time may bring

To those who hear siren song

of the Multiverse.

FEAR

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No one else was around

When our eyes first met

The wind had shut down

The parking lot was wet.

 

He was young, and tall

Disheveled and gaunt,

As he lounged at the wall

Of the darkened restaurant.

 

I quick- locked the door

Started the car,

And groped the floor

For an iron tire  bar .

 

He came fast to ask

To use my cell phone;

But I drove away fast

And left him alone.

 

The cold wind cursed me

And called up more rain.

His frantic eyes shamed me,

And I turned back again.

 

What else could I do

To undo a bad deed

Done to someone who

Was in some sort of need.

 

But he wasn’t there

That other man’s son.

So to prove that I care

I undid the undone,

 

The predawn night

Called up the dawn,

I called  up the sight

Of  the man who was gone,

 

Sat there alone,

With that coward who’d run

Pulled out our phone

And called 911.

Who Cares?

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No one else was around

When our eyes first met

The wind had shut down

The parking lot was wet.

#

He was young, and tall

Disheveled and gaunt,

As he lounged at the wall

Of the darkened restaurant.

#

I locked all the doors

Started the car,

And  reached to  the  floor

For that iron bar .

#

He came quick and asked

To use my cell phone;

But I drove away  fast

And left him alone.

#

But the cold wind cursed me

And called up more rain.

The dark night shamed me,

And I turned back again.

#

What else could I do

To undo a coward’s deed

Done to someone who

Was in some sort of need.

#

But he wasn’t  there

That other man’s son,

So to show that I care

I undid the undone,

#

Sat ashamed and alone,

Took the clip from my gun,

Pulled out my  cell phone,

And punched up  911.

##################################

Uncle

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Tío

Yo le digo tío-,

I call him uncle

Lo digo pa’ joder.

Just to piss him off.

Yo era forastero, solitario,

I was a stranger, alone,

Un poco amargado, resentido-

Quite bitter, resentful.

Pero me trató con sencillez,

But he treated me with openness,

Con cariño como si fuera digno de respeto,

And affection as if I merited respect.

Como si no hubiera cagado mi vida.

As if I hadn’t fucked up my life.

Cuando no soñaba, él me alimentó con sueños suyos.

When I couldn’t dream he fed me his own

Sueños Gonzalez, raros, bellos,

Gonzalez dreams, strange, and beautiful,

Con vitaminas de locura.

With vitamins of insanity.

Todavía  sueño con la vida más que la muerte,

I still dream of life more than death.

Puedo dar y recibir, soy sano, fuerte.

Can give, receive, am whole, strong.

Y todavía le digo tío,

And still I call him Uncle,

Porque no tengo nombre suficientemente grande,

For there’s no word great enough,

Ni profundo, ni ancho,

Or deep enough or wide,

Para este hombre que le digo tío,

For this man I call Uncle,

Aunque no es tío mío.

Who is no uncle of mine.

A few years later Tío got prostate cancer and I advised no aggressive treatment. Eight years after a dense stroke, he is  alert, diapered, and walks with difficulty, preferring to be wheeled about; he loves his bed. He still radiates good cheer, but sometimes in a moment of weakness confesses an ineffable  sadness.  After the dreaded  cancer diagnosis,  I had promised to interfere personally if he ever requested it. He has never asked.  Neither have I;  and the dreaded cancer has never spoken a word.  

Myopia

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Myopia

In The Book of Humanity

Chapters are named for those Great Moments

When a universal Truth dies

And it’s fearsome Child

Is born:

Language

Writing

Agriculture

Clay tablets, papyrus, paper

Printing

Gunpowder

And all the rest.

It’s clear to read and see

What is written there

In the pages of the past.

Yet we live only in the now,

Here,

In the blind present.

Now, when it seems, truth is more fecund, and short lived,

Moving at the speed of light,

It’s progeny disrespectful, rapacious,

Unrestrained by reflection, or deliberate civil debate,

Its disguises deceptively frivolous:

Twitter, Facebook, Wiki;

We are powerless.

Our world is destroyed and reinvented.

We fear.

And yet the pages from the past make clear

It’s all happened before.

Many times before

And humanity is still here.

As when Gutenberg’s toy destroyed

A Holy Alliance of Gods and Kings:

Then, as now, the powerful and wise claimed

That cheap, uncontrolled, imprecise communication

Among the unschooled or unwashed

Threatens the future of civilization,

When it only threatens the future

of  the past.