Category Archives: Strife

“The Chihuahua”

“The Chihuahua”

The Chihuahua’s spectre holds no great respect for persons;
Howls and growls his vowels at high and low alike, and stands
His ground against a world that must retreat. His consonants demand
Attention even of the greatest battery of vocabulary. The phrase thus spurned
Learns quickly that even if withdrawal for the moment wins,
These syllables tire easily of petty games,
And, yielding, go their way; interest wanes,
You see, and comes again the senseless peck at heels and shins,
The unabated chutzpah, the vicar of prolixity, the heretofore
To the other side, the space above, the all
Or nothing victory of the hundred glottal fricatives. Heed his call,
My friends. He will prove the greater in the war,
Because he prides himself on having nothing but himself to wager,
The short but sweet ambition or the long but safe advantages
of nothing minor to accomplish and evidently nothing all that major.

“A Moment To Reflect”

“A Moment To Reflect”

A moment to reflect, these several when
The job is done, and there’s no real choice
But rest and celebration; tasks, the last of many, voiced
Throughout the years of work will one day send
A massive missive of relief, and thanks
With weighty sentiments and fond farewells; cheer,
And weathered tusks to see me on beyond, and further than fear
To take a few steps–arrogantly, yes, perhaps–down paths that rank
Above all present trumps and peculiars of this earth:
I have the fewer moments through to the end, I know,
And will it so or else the hours, the weekly flow
Of days and nights, prove life’s lavas might well have spent their worth.
And what of miseries in days beyond this present strife,
Born within the present, laced with beauty
in the shadows of the latter life?

“They Make Such Declarations”

“They Make Such Declarations”

They make such declarations, don’t they? They bet their lives
On all they see and we’re inclined to give
Them credit for’t, and…perhaps they’re right, but then of course we live
As they do, fully eased, appeased; put on and off expressions
as if they were utensils, knives, or possibly our wives.
Production far exceeds the numbers, bounties burn by definition into
wastes along the warm Caribbean shores.
Invoking freedoms–as we who have are wont to do–
The sanctified continue to enjoy eternal noons
In this world’s latest bloated day. With upraised palms,
the intensity of incense fails to mask the telltale odour;
A mile beneath, the ooze is upward, vapours restive here and there,
And as the Titans yawn, Egypt bellows, shaking gown and hair
In all directions, scattering the saints of more than latter days, who dared
Her only yesterday to state her case, and lay her precious assets bare.
Migrants in the fault-lines smile, regarding who must rise and fall,
but when the prayers have ceased and denizens of Cairo weep
Surely, even Isis bleeds. Her boils drained, her coffers fleeced,
She voids another thousand years before she sleeps.

“The Girl Had Been No Problem”

“The Girl Had Been No Problem”

The girl had been no problem at the start;
She was never late, she did her work, she raised
Her hand from time to time to disapprove or praise
Whatever happened in the class, a spark,
An edge in almost every session, eager to propose
That what was studied could not please
Her more, and as she rose, the breeze to ease
The burdens of her classmates–I supposed
Them all to be her friends. Then in time a rage
Came over her: she was absent from her seat,
Arrived at times so much more than late, she asked me to repeat
What had been covered in her absence. Clouds evolve, change;
I forced a meeting with the lady, “What is it you’ve discovered?”
Said she, “I may not pass this course, but neither will the others!”

“You’ve Got to Walk”

“You’ve Got to Walk”

You’ve got to walk, you know; you’re going down;
You don’t know when, but you can bet you’ve blown
It out and without a match, and nothing new
To breathe. The body’s there, but you left town
A moon or two ago, and when you stare
Through windows in the train, you know, you can’t
Be where you are. That doubting slant
On things, the way you’re forced to care
When care’s the last thing you need to do
Makes a sign of wonder at just how far you’ve come
From where you were to where you are tonight. Outdone
By every least distracting, petty issue, smoke to warm the flue,
Perhaps, but not your shot to make the call:
Once aversion shows its face, there’s nothing left at all.

“Dinner’s at Six”

“Dinner’s at Six”

Dinner’s served at six, and so’s the evening news;
The writing’s clearly on the wall and while the Constitution stalls, the gist
Of nothing from nothing sticks to banquet tables, chairs, and the guest list
Of the average home in Baghdád while the views
Expressed in measured fractions there amongst the factions
In the House feed increasingly on mediocrity and courtesies of strangers
Sporting cellphones where reporters point the finger at the signs of danger,
Motorcades, and armies on an ever trivialised darkling plain. Reactions
Blog communication lines of press and presidents who bear such striking
Poses and resemblances to Dr. Goebbels and his precedents that modern sooth-
Sayers need not wonder where all of this must lead. As Congress votes for truths
To fit pragmatic means, the ends, of course, are guaranteed from spiking
Needs dispensed in sparkling cocktails served each night along with dinner,
Presidential dim sum, cartoons, genocide, and Oprah classed as winners.



“The First Mistake”

“The First Mistake”

The first mistake, aversion. Primal anger twists,
Isolation glorifies mortality as eternity moans;
He told you nothing of it, then, but knew the ember blown
Was his, and further, that because he’d missed
Your words and pleased himself, another deep desire–
An anger–found its voice within him and the same
Became a mirror, and again the same a mutual denial while the aim
Of what he did was never seen or heard. You kissed the fire
Together, and in that flagrant fetid moment, she withdrew
To furnaces within her breast, the abyss, the lower rooms
Reserved for her and her alone and the chasmal maw he saw
Beneath them both. Righteous claims disguise the cause,
That borrows breath too long and suffocates within its iron grip;
The mirror of the heart then obscured, complaisance rules the lips.

“Oh, I know”

“Oh, I know”

Oh, I know it”s been said before but bears repeating:
Unless a man embrace estates, his sense
Of eternity, his gifts of endless strife and goals of regret intense
Enough to merit periodic casual to shameless open weeping
In the corridors; unless the deadly abyss of every night’s sleeping’s
Prone to breach and rupture within his dreams or by the clock;
unless ‘neath the lens,
His page is thus combustible by the light focused upon a spot,
his joy depends
On something well beyond his own heart’s contumely,
his gates–his paradise, his weeping–
Fall well beyond the storehouse of his eyes and its catalogue of fears,
His light is changed to fire in tragedy and myths of talismans that guide his way.
Again, unless all this is welcomed well before the final hour, his pride will swell,
His vanity implode, and circumstance becomes
a euphemism for all he sees as hell.
Remember please that breath and breathing signify that death is ever near
And in these final years, satisfaction’s just another word for nothing left to pay.