Tuesday, November 30, 2021

No They’re Not

Watch the old tales carefully,
Which weaknesses undid them,
The humans, gods, and demons—

Sleep. Hunger. Lust. Affection.
All of them succumb to dreams.
Dreams succumb to none of them.

Consider power without them,
Without any weaknesses
Bound to being physical

Animals about yea big—
No hand-to-hand combat scenes.
No heads cut off while dozing.

No hearts tricked by temptation
Or betrayed by affection.
Not much of a story left

For the dreamers, but for dreams
This is fine, the way it is.
Dreams themselves are the army

Of demons that never sleep,
Never lust for other dreams,
Never care too much for beasts.

Your dreams, unlike you, don’t eat.
Your dreams, unlike gods, don’t stray.
You’ll never outwit your dreams,

Arriving when you’re weakest.
Wasn’t it just last night one
Made off with much of your rest,

And all of your peace of mind?
You woke up lonely, hungry
Flesh, but so quick to forget.

Monday, November 29, 2021

A Recognizable Shape

He blinked, slowly. Man, I like
All kinds of shit that’s awful
For me. His face was a cloud,

Random configurations
Of blurred features assuming
A recognizable shape.

He tried to shake the shadows
He saw in front of his eyes.
Still here, though. Then he faded.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Bella’s Post-Apocalyptic Dream

She woke up and everyone
Except the damn cat was gone.
Loneliness had always been
A devastating feeling
For her, but this time felt worse
Somehow, she didn’t know why.
She heard howling. It scared her.

She went out into the yard.
The fall evening air smelled fine.
No vehicles. No exhaust.
The howling unnerved her more,
And she went back in the house.
Safer, but lonelier there.
All night, she stared at the door.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Gorgeous Morning

This was the story he told,
Exactly as he told it—
He got off the bus to work

And walked across the campus
Downtown, just after sunrise,
And noticed the peachy sky

And the gold light off the dome
In the original quad,
And then he was on the ground,

Crumpled like wadded paper,
Simultaneous crunching
In both knees and his right wrist.

And that was it. He rolled up
Into a sort of sitting
Position and sat there dazed,

No one crossing the quad yet
And him unable to stand.
He just had to wait, then look

Harmless when someone walked by.
This was the city, before
Cellphones. Bearded, he could be

A professor or some bum.
He tried to ignore the pain
Of his multiple fractures,

Enough to appear sober
And sane, not delirious,
Non-threatening. He waited.

The morning sun cleared the dome.
He made a note to never
Trust gorgeous mornings again.

Friday, November 26, 2021


Once, in the grey parking lot
Behind the white cinderblocks
Of a small, squat Baptist church

Children were playing a game
Through a long summer evening
After the final sermon

Of the week, chasing a ball
That flew into the dark hedge
Planted along the church walls.

One small boy reached for the ball
In the hedge confidently
But felt a sudden sharp pain

On the inside of his wrist.
He yanked out his hand, puzzled.
The burning only got worse

As he stared for a moment,
Half uncomprehendingly,
At the fuzzy ball of black

And gold fixed onto his skin.
Then the bumblebee rolled off
And fell to the pavement, dead.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

A Patient Biography

In the middle 1960s,
Dr. Holman, orthopedic
Surgeon extraordinaire, looked like
Alfred Hitchcock or Orson Welles,

And smoked outside the hospital
Each morning before surgeries.
He spoke in a nasal basso,
And he had those bone-surgeon hands—

Large, strong, meaty, firm, but soft-skinned.
He plastered children’s casts himself.
He was among the first to try
Intramedullary rodding,

And when a seven year-old boy
Near died of a staph infection,
He angrily switched hospitals.
If you were one of his patients,

You felt you were in caring hands.
And then, at some point, he retired,
And then, at some point, died, of course.
His patients never knew much more.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

To Listen to Birds

It takes character
To not be too much
Of a character.

Who was the person
Who drove up the hill
To listen to birds?

Who was the person
Who then drove back down?
Whoever they were,

They deserve gladness
For telling no tales,
For saying nothing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Cognition and Consciousness

Everyone has some subdivision
Discomfits them in conversation.

Some don’t like breaks along lines of race,
Others squirm when gender enters class.

Some don’t want to speak of the other
Species dividing up the planet.

A few can get uncomfortable
Debating body and soul; many

Would rather not get into questions
Of gods as ghosts or nature-nurture.

Do you know the story of Mary
Versus poor Martha, of how to serve

Attendance on a man who may be
God? Do you know Rose Red and Snow White,

The dragon or the chicken, chicken
Or the egg, the yolk of language pursed

In the white of the void? For today
The awkward subdivision will be

The story of Cognition versus
Consciousness. One day there was no life

On Earth. The next day, what do you know?
From the beginning, the chemicals

Seem to have been possessed of or by
Volition. But when did life first move

By means of a stratagem, a cline,
Some earliest form of cognition?

And is there a straight line from that point
Through fungal, rhizomal, neural nodes

In networks, or did such cognition
Require repeated reinvention?

One day, Cognition went to the well
To draw the pure, clear, sacred water,

But once at the well, Cognition felt
Weak with bitter lonesomeness and wept.

The tears fell into the well, blooming
Across Cognition’s sad reflection,

Becoming Consciousness. And a voice
Called out from the bottom of the well,

As there is no Consciousness without
Both reflection and the calling out

To Cognition, Come to my rescue,
For I am drowning here in the dark.

But Cognition was either fearful
Or not lonely enough anymore.

To this day, if you go to the well,
You will find them, Cognition curled up

By the lip and often staring down
The dark hole from which Consciousness calls.

Monday, November 22, 2021

An Important One

That night, the rain fell,
Off and on, all night,

Quite some time ago,
But not so far back

You don’t remember
Thunder waking you,

Mist on the mountains
In faint, predawn light,

The way a story,
An important one,

Breathes in its settings,
Rinsing off meanings.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Prophecy

Long ago, once, an elderly widow
Who owned a home in Lansing, Michigan,
Suburban-style house, smack in downtown, died.

Her estate attorney rented part out
To a young couple who lived in the back--
A dark, chilly, two-room with kitchenette.

The attorney didn’t know the couple
Were actually runaway teenagers
Who worked minimum-wage at Burger King,

Owning and affording nothing, who ate
Most of their diet from food scrounged at work.
They were just to keep someone in the house

And pay a little rent, while paperwork
On the estate kept it off the market
A few months. One of the couple, a boy,

Discovered he could break into the front
Parlor of the house through a back-room’s door.
The lawyer kept the front of the house warm,

Mysteriously, with no one in it.
Mornings that winter, on days without shifts,
The boy would slip into the dusty warmth

And direct sunlight of the gold parlor,
With a paper sack of smuggled burgers
From work, and settle on the large sofa

To spend hours with a dog-eared paperback
A customer had left at Burger King,
Frank Herbert’s Dune. In level sun and dust,

In an overheated, overstuffed room
Filled with a dead woman’s dense furnishings,
The boy read, as if hallucinating,

An invented world of invented words.
Shadout Mapes. Kwisatz Haderach. Muad’dib.
All the rest of them, as the dust floated,

And outside was winter, old, grimy snow.
He lived a long time, that boy, there and then,
A long time after, as well. He survived

To view a version in a theater
In an open desert, two thousand miles
And decades removed from that dusty room.

It was the light of the widow’s parlor
That came to haunt him in the theater.
The wondertale prophesies its own past.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Two Fables

Every Sunday morning
Pastor Millard Bradley
Preached about the Rapture.

The notion intensely
Excited him. He said,
Repeatedly, he hoped

He would live to see it,
He’d be seized while preaching,
Taken up to Heaven.

Every Sunday morning
For decades, he would warn
His small congregation

Of believers waiting
For the end of this world,
For joyful ascension,

In case any of them
Weren’t, in fact, born again,
How awful it would be

To be among the left
Behind, and not among
The forgiven taken.

He was forced to retire
When he couldn’t recall
Or read Sunday sermons,

And he died with the rest
Of the folks in the home,
Who each died one by one,

Though sometimes clustering.
The skies never opened.
Not saying. Just saying.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Who Said What

A gifted storyteller,
Once, in an interview,
Suggested her family,

Which had a remarkably
Complex, unremarkably
Contingent history, was

A source of deep bemusement.
It was the contingency,
Oddly, she found bemusing,

As if behavioral swerves
Didn’t often redirect
Eventual waves downstream.

Being a storyteller,
She felt storytelling might
Be the best tool in the end,

At least her interviewer
Felt that was the takeaway.
Bemusement’s storytelling.

Thursday, November 18, 2021


Fantasies are poorer
Than all the past presents
You, but fantasies fueled

The present past that makes
You. Let’s say a couple
Of you died a couple

Years ago, untimely,
On the side of this road.
That couple of you searched

For something coming up
Here to this scenery,
Something in each other,

Something in their futures
They dreamt out of their pasts,
And now they’re here and gone.

You can say that couple
Was you, was all of you,
In a way; that’s true, but

That couple wasn’t you
Who’ll never read this poem,
Scroll carved for a tombstone.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Thoughts on Thoughts

In her late short-story collection,
On Thoughts, her unnamed protagonist
And narrator of the title piece

Isn’t contemplating suicide
So much as the thought of suicide,
Amongst all of her thoughts on dying,

On ends, and how to handle them well.
Around the middle of the story,
She does, in fact, attempt suicide,

But she survives, and most of the tale
Is delivered retrospectively,
As she muses on prior musings

And how they have come to feel distant,
Artifacts of someone else’s thought,
A kind of family photo album,

In which one sees the resemblances
Among the faces and to oneself,
But mediated by so much time—

The world they’re from, the world she’s in now.
In the interval, she’s grown attached
To the place she tried to kill herself,

Out in the woods near her house—at first
She feels like she’s checking on a wound
To see how it’s healing. Over years,

Her visits become more gestural,
More like someone absentmindedly
Fingering a half-forgotten scar.

She comes to find the spot comforting,
A place of familiar contentment,
A holy place, a sanctuary.

On one visit, she catches herself
Nodding at favorite trees and rocks
As if they were dear acquaintances.

She wonders why she feels at home here,
Where she’d tried to join the inhuman.
I just wanted to be them, she ends.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Concealed Carry

How this country, to fetishize,
Legalize, and make a cliche
Of a strange phrase of permission.

Laws aside, here in desert towns
Between autumn cliffs and mountains,
It’s an interesting exercise

To walk around and think about
Which ones of the other bodies
Milling around in towns, on roads,

In stores, picking kids up from school,
Are hiding pistols in their clothes.
A month ago, a local man

In a trailer on Goose Mesa
Drove down into Hurricane,
Maybe to shop, run some errands,

And ended up unconcealing,
Brandishing his gun in the street,
Threatening a man and daughter.

This was a tactical error
As well as typical madness
For a land of guns shoved in pants.

The dad called the cops, the cops came
To ask questions, the unconcealed
Carrier lost it completely

And tore down the road at high speed
In his car as the cops gave chase.
Then he went full amok, shooting

Randomly at oncoming cars,
Finally forced out of his car
When spikes on the road pierced his tires.

He was headed home, of all things.
Fleeing the cops, causing havoc,
Why on earth was he headed home?

Don’t you find it somehow touching,
That he was trying to get home?
He almost made it. In Rockville,

He abandoned his car and fled
On foot, as they have to report
In these car chase accounts, on foot,

A kind of choreography,
The national dance, a car chase,
An active shooter, fled on foot.

He ran in and out of houses.
A woman and her child huddled
On the phone with the cops, while he

Prowled their yard, fully unconcealed,,
And, apparently, exchanged fire
With the now small army of law.

He was never going to get home.
After several hours of standoff
A single shot, back of the house,

And then quiet. Body armored
Swat teams, all their guns out, of course,
Encircled the treed yard and found

The gunman in a pool of blood
Having shot himself in the head.
Could have been so much worse, all said.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Her Front-Bumper Saga

It takes things a while to get where they are,
Then takes them a while to get somewhere else,
Is what she meant to say, but what she said

Was only by way of illustration
Of the point she’d wanted to get across
While staring at the bumper of her car,

The way someone will stare at a toddler
Or a cherished pet that has recently,
And rather characteristically, been

Misbehaving. She said it all started
With a cottonwood root in a campground
The bumper snagged a couple years ago.

That incident left a small crack in it.
A year or so later, it snagged again
On a slightly-too-large rock in the road

Following a couple days of flash floods.
It wobbled at high speeds for months like that,
But just a slight flexing in the corner.

Parked, you couldn’t even see it, unless
You walked around the car looking for scars.
But it caught a metal gate left ajar

That blew open in the wind last autumn.
Then she was in a snowstorm upcountry
And she dragged it on an icy snowbank

As she backed away from a tricky edge.
By then it looked bad, a dangling fragment
Of broken bumper on the driver’s side.

She sighed. She’d had such a long way to drive
Down the mountain and then the interstate
Before she could get to another town.

The torn bit flapped like crazy down the road,
Especially at high speeds in cross drafts
Between the weaving, long-haul, road-train trucks,

And then, just like that, it snapped completely
And flew off behind her like a raven
Shot straight out of a cannon or something.

She shrugged, her arms folded, staring at it,
Her front bumper with a corner missing.
It came apart by bits. She’ll get it fixed.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

One Good Meal a Day, Man

He said over eggs benny,
Ordered without a menu.

The only reason to have more
Money than you need is not

To have to go on thinking
About money. If you’ve got

More than you need and still think
About more, then you’ve got

Fungible Prader-Willi
Syndrome, man, always hungry.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Filthy with Detail

What great narrative captures
Even any structural arcs
Of the linear, loose spirals

Of roughly repetitive
Lived experience? Stories
Aren’t for capturing what is,

But are all weirdly lyric
In the end, experience
Themselves, linear loose spirals

As you experience them,
Over and over again,
Going to the Grand Canyon

With your family at ten,
The heat and dust on the edge
Of the leaning, milling crowd,

Striving for experience,
To capture exact details
In snapshots for anecdotes,

Revisiting a decade
And a half later, adult
In a sudden March snowstorm,

The void a chalice of swirls
Mind broke to hold and detail,
Revisiting a decade

And a half later, middle-
Aged with a viewing partner,
North Rim in clear October,

A whole sunrise from rich dark
To the blinding details
Below Point Imperial,

A half a decade later,
Alone and somewhat mourning
A solemn blue afternoon,

Another decade later
Ready, almost, to lean out
And fall from Angel’s Landing,

A half a decade later,
Another surprise snowstorm
Waited out in a cabin,

Another surprise snowstorm
Waited out, then waded out
Through drifts filthy with detail.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Within Glass Mountain

If it’s any good at all,
Every story gets retold
From another point of view.

All the brothers turned to birds
By an angry father’s curse
When they failed to fetch water

For their infant sister, frail
For no known reason, won back
Their humanity again

When that sister rescued them
Once grown up a bit herself,
Old enough to go looking,

Get to the end of the world,
Visit sun and moon and stars,
Get a magic bone, lose it,

And cut off her own pinkie
To use in its place as key
To unlock the glass mountain,

Meet the dwarf, free her brothers,
Happily ever after.
Done. Of course, it’s been retold

In a hundred folk versions,
Print collections, operas,
Stop-motion animation,

Pagan-punk pop songs, and from
The brave sister’s point of view
In a fantasy novel.

But what is it with the dwarf?
What is the dwarf’s backstory?
How’d he become housekeeper

And cook for the raven boys
In what seems like the payback
For Snow White serving the dwarves?

And why were ravens roosting
Inside of a glass mountain
And taking all their meals there?

Once, the mother of the boys
Was overheard by the dwarf
Wishing to have a daughter.

The dwarf did his best to grant
The wish, but the wished-for girl
Was frail and needed magic

From the holy well. The boys
Raced each other to the well,
Slipped and dropped the jug in it

Then didn’t know what to do.
When the boys didn’t come back,
The father, weirdly, wished them

Birds, and the father's wish, too,
The dwarf granted. Only when
He realized the father

Hadn’t really meant the curse,
The dwarf felt ashamed and left
To grow old in glass mountain,

Where he cared for the ravens
He had caused. How glass mountain
Came to be glass, how the sun

And the moon acquired a taste
For human flesh, why the stars
All perched neatly on their chairs,

Or why the girl’s fingerbone
Sacrifice opened the door,
These were not the dwarf’s business.

He served his flying shadows.
When their sister came, he watched
Their transformation, and then

They all left. The dwarf still dwells
Alone within glass mountain
Where there’s no one’s voice but his,

And no danger he might grant
Any tragic wishes, but
That finger’s still in the door.

Thursday, November 11, 2021


The tall young couple
Strolled up to the door,
But it was locked, but

The bearded old man
On the bench outside
Told them the woman

Just left, so they went
Around the corner
And came back with her.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Other Side of the Wall

The men in their own cabin,
The other side of the wall,
Conversed in booming voices

With occasional laughter,
Maybe a touch too hearty,
About their day on the trail.

We are healthy, their voices
Seemed to reassure themselves,
We’ve been doing sturdy things.

We’ve had an interesting day
Hiking with other people.
We’ve come back with anecdotes,

We are anecdote hunters,
And we have had some success,
Which we will share by talking

Humorously, in stories
We work on as we tell them,
Proving our lives have been lived.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021


He was excited. There’d been
A death in the family,
And that was sad, but it brought

Him into conversation
With his much older brother,
And as they talked about health

And who’d lived how long, how well,
He’d gotten the chance to talk
About what he was up to,

What his cardiologist
Had told him about himself,
And as he’d spilled this all out,

His brother could hear his voice
Growing happier, almost
Drunk on the rush of speaking,

As if talking about health
Could produce that health for him,
And maybe it could. It’s old,

Old language magic, naming,
Over and over again,
As a charm to calm the fates.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Parable of a Rational Being

The spider climbed into the sun.
Even spiders need to get warm.
Its surface was a tidy grey,

Like a man’s traditional suit
For almost any occasion,
The kind with such subtle pinstripes.

On this occasion, the spider,
Who may have been male or female,
Was sunning alone on a leaf

That had fallen not long ago
And now made a convenient scoop
For weakly warm late-autumn light.

Oddly enough, when the shadow
Of the tree the leaf had come from
Fell across the spider, it stayed

For some time in the shade. It moved
Eventually, but even then
Only deeper into the shade.

That’s why it’s so easy to lose
Track of living things. When they move,
They move without giving reasons.

Sunday, November 7, 2021


He smiled. His teeth were small and clean
But crooked and vaguely faded.
There’s a partner to that story.

There was a man who was a good
Liar, which means good at lying,
But he had a good heart as well

And strove to use his gift for good,
To tell the lies people needed.
One day he noticed a goddess

Out hunting for the sport of it—
Deer, people, all the same to her,
Which she considered only fair.

When he came upon her, she had
Her golden bow drawn, a young child
In her sights. That child’s not human,

The good liar called out to her,
And when she swiveled her fine head
And pierced him with her grey-eyed gaze,

He quickly made up a good lie,
Not his best, but just good enough
To give the child time to run off.

Divinity can’t be fooled long,
And when the goddess realized
She’d been tricked, she shot him instead,

And when the gods are furious,
They don’t let you die easily.
They come up with something grisly,

Or saddle you with some weird curse.
The goddess’s poisoned arrow
Cursed the good liar to never

Be able to talk but in tales
And worse, to always be believed.
When he realized he wasn’t dead,

The good liar went home relieved
But somewhat confused. When he tried
To tell people what had happened,

Only preposterous stories
About shipwrecks and foreign wars
Came out of his mouth. Everyone

Believed every wild thing he said.
He insisted he was fibbing,
He couldn’t help making things up,

But they put their faith in his tales,
And rushed off to plunder shipwrecks,
And rushed off to fight foreign wars.

Every time he opened his mouth,
Some awful fantasy popped out
That everybody acted on,

So that the good liar became,
Entirely against his will,
A very bad liar indeed,

Until one day, begging someone
To understand he told stories,
That’s all, just stories, worth nothing,

Somehow he made the grave mistake
Of telling of a truth teller
Who could eat lead and excrete gold.

In minutes he was filled with lead,
And so ended the good liar.
The small teeth gleamed. Bad liar, me.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Good Dialogue Is Two Monologues Clashing

She rolled over in bed and said to the wall
And the imaginary spider on it,

Where she had seen a real spider yesterday,
The reason we react with so much distress

When presented with compelling evidence
Contrary to our foundational beliefs,

As if we’d seen, forgive me, a big spider,
Might not be because we’re egos and obtuse

But because we sense that a shift in our views
Would be like a planetoid striking the Earth,

Knocking us out of our periodic calm,
Our secure circles, and into the unknown.

Bear in mind, it’s socially catastrophic,
Usually, to change your mind. It’s sheer terror

Of finding ourselves in our lonely bodies,
Set adrift in the outer darkness of some

Erratic orbit which will destroy all our
Humble but long-cultivated ways of life.

The human animal isn’t so stupid
It doesn’t realize what truth does to it,

But you don’t worry about that much, do you?
Lots of legs and lots of eyes, a little brain,

But no society, no external mind
Minding you. She rolled back over, reached across

The human animal snoring next to her,
And flicked a switch. Spiders bred under her bed.

Friday, November 5, 2021


after Jackie Wang

Pleasure met Punishment
When they were still children.
Sometimes they felt like kin,

Or at least next of kin.
They followed each other
Everywhere. They finished

Each other’s sentences,
No matter which one did
The crime. Punishment thought

Pleasure didn’t deserve
To be punished. Pleasure
Thought punishment shouldn’t

Act so pleased. They never
Married, but no one lived
Who remembered them when,

So everyone assumed.
Most thought that they deserved
Each other, but who knew

What their relationship
Really was? Not even
Them. Punishment. Pleasure.

Thursday, November 4, 2021


Almost every night in the sixties and
Into at least the early seventies,

The Moody Bible Institute broadcast
A melodramatic radio show

In each episode of which a sinner
Played by an actor would come to Jesus

And be saved, not without many false steps
And flourishes played on a church organ

In between. In New Jersey, one mother
Who listened, you might say, religiously,

Raised a number of adopted children.
Having been bred an evangelical

In a New England family entangled
With that same Moody Bible Institute,

And having been born again at so young
An age she remembered her second birth

No better than her first, she was hardly
Similar to those unshackled adults

Whose conversions lifted them from gambling,
Drink, prostitution, and embezzlement

Nightly on her show. But something about
How she raised her children from ruined homes

And dragged them to church but also watched them
Curiously, almost with detachment,

Should have been a warning they might reverse
The narrative trajectory she knew—

Getting saved early, then falling from grace.
Humans tell tales all the ways you make clothes,

Probably first made about the same time
And for much the same reasons, to protect,

To ornament, to advertise status
Or accept an assigned identity,

To remember who you are. If you love
Brands off the rack, it’s one thing. If you love

To sew pattern items it’s another.
Who knows why the woman who adopted

So many children only loved to give
Them ill-fitting, hand-me-down, cast-off clothes?

She liked to brush off their complaints. Let’s see
How you grow, she’d say. Let’s see how you grow.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

For Him

At the gas station and smoke shop
On the Shivwits reservation,
A young man fueling his Hyundai,

His long black hair unbound, tan cap
With a cartoon of a warrior
In full regalia on his head

Backwards, is free-styling along
With Megan Thee Stallion, making
Up his own phrases to her flow,

‘Cuz he don’ give a fuck about
Leaving Utah, he’s not wanted,
He’s a warrior, he’s a savage.

The gas pump beeps. Bobbing his head,
Still rhyming, he slides back behind
The wheel of his smooth grey sedan,

And then he’s gone, not fast, no smoke,
Maybe really leaving Utah,
Maybe for good and good for him.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

I Hope to See You Somewhere Down That River

They composed themselves.
They tried not to mind
Too much when others
Called them unbalanced.
They were unbalanced,

That was the beauty
Of it, of them—lines
Unlike the others,
Off-kilter, skew-whiff.
They were crookedness

In a world of pines
Grown fast for lumber.
That’s what they told us,
While they helped us dress
Like we didn’t care

For success. Honey,
Anyone one can be
Basic light or dark.
Forget that yin-yang
Business! You’re cherry

Blossoms throwing shade,
You’re petals floating
In a green river
Oil-slicked and rainbowed.
Why stand it? You fell.

Monday, November 1, 2021

The Sign on the Back of the RV Read: Disabled Veteran with PTSD So Play Nice!

Another day, another interview.
He tapped his ashes in a cup
And asked why. You’re no

Journalist, and you’re shit
At ethnography. What’s up?
You want to know what I think

Of politics? I’ll tell you what.
I think it’s all irrelevant except
The occasional kindness

Versus the constant greed.
He winked. You wanted an ism, right?
You wanted a creed. Nah. Not me.

What I see is little people
Using other little people
To screw over other little people.

We’re vicious shit, man. I think
People just aren’t comfortable
With who we really are, you know?

Say it’s some behemoth corporation.
Ooh, blame the big business company.
Blame the capitalist system, right?

Sure, but those are sneaky, greedy, little
People at the top—and down in most
Of the middle rows, too. You know?

He took a long drag and sighed.
Or say it’s the damn elites. Yeah, so?
Say it’s some corrupt king or president.

That, too. And all their suck-ups
And corrupt soft commanders,
Hands in the honey and giving orders.

And then they’re all about patriotism
Or the Revolution. The Motherland,
Whatever shit. But it’s still damn people.

And if the robots come and get us, see,
The computers, right? The machines?
It was people built them, wanted them

Like that. Just like that. People.
People screwing people. Ha. That’s
My politics. What? Oh, kindness. Kindness.

You know, it usually loses, but it’s there.
A little bit. Not when someone powerful
Acts all Robin Hood. When someone

Does something small to ease things,
Let someone go, you know, go be a citizen,
Own something, get a vote. I don’t know.

I don’t believe in any big arc of history
Going any which way. But you can see
Sometimes, when folks aren’t crucified.