The Sky in January: A Poem

A butterfly flutters by

A breeze with enough daylight left to enjoy it

Before the sky falls in January.

There is a hammering behind us.

Someone fixing something broken.

A newly painted house across the street.

More Black Lives Matter signs nearby to go with ours.

A “Sale Pending” sign next door.

Democracy pending signs everywhere.

The wife was filled with hatred and jealousy.

She didn’t like seeing our old car parked in her line of sight.

The quiet older husband. She left months ago.

Our old car has been replaced. The house is now empty.

The sale has been pending for a few weeks.

We see no furniture, and wonder if he sleeps on the wood floor.

Neighbors will move in before the sky falls in January.

The dawn was heavy with fog. A chilly morning soup.

The day moved oddly. Students gathered together in protest, walking out.

I wanted to join them, but our staff stayed, planning something for a later date.

I had eight students in the morning. Later, only two.

I want the students to gather their strength and stay committed.

They will need more than anger to sustain them in a struggle for their rights.

What will it feel like for them when the sky falls in January?

There is a heaviness now. A sense of impending chaos to the days.

Another news item about the transition team and the uncertainties of tomorrow.

When the sky falls in January.

The people have only spoken to their like-minded people.

The people have not spoken in any universal tongue.

Not with any notes to sustain their vile rhetoric.

A dull thud doesn’t reverberate.

There is only silence until the sky falls in January.

Give him a chance, they say. We have to, they say.

But our conscience is never wrong, we say.

Four years is much too long, we say.

Who will hold up our sky, when it begins to fall in January?

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The Weathered Blues

There are no answers. No paved roads. No North Stars. What guides the wandering minstrel? The lost poet? The seeker of truth? The fire burns, but the candle is low. There is resistance on this Earth. There are force fields around us, but they won’t protect. Lava flows amidst stone emotions.

What guides the ethereal dreamer? The give? The change in atmosphere. The world nestled in a palm. The wonderment of the sky at dawn and dusk. The rising ocean. We make the world a better place for those that came before us. Each generation dropping a rung, sometimes two, this frayed rope ladder of a species.

And what of the periphery? Anarchists clinging to the edges, personalities dried up in the sun. What of the land-locked, the grid-happy urbanites, the reclusive ones that build themselves into the hills, the sides of a mountain. What of that dreaded concept…potential? We’re only coming out because we came back in. The insurmountable is only seemingly so. All has been done once, despite the wildest imaginations. The patterns in the darkness, the grays colliding, merging with the weathered blues.

The transcripts of the delicate, patchwork souls of creativity. The power of the asterisk. The wandering unit of change. The undertow that engulfs the hungry. The unknowable, untrustable, unending, unsatisfying, unrestrained, unintended, the unencumbered, the drifiting, the drifted, the moments of clarity surround the confusion, the windswept parking lots of the future, the buildings slowly sinking deeper, the foundations of logic and territory upended, bewildered, lost and safe.

This history lesson lives on in spirit. This catastrophic melody is anchored in an inhuman cacophony of beats, pulses, switches and slaps.

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Everything and Nothing: A Post-Election Poem

 

We are here and not here.

We have never been one country, only the experimental idea of one.

We have socially constructed our ideas of identity and constructed mostly isolated lives.

We are segregated in ways that combine race, class, and hope.

We are hopelessly addicted to myths.

We are cracked glass fragments of possibility within a rickety frame.

We select only what we want of our past, and refuse to acknowledge all that we don’t know.

We live with a sense of dislocation and fear about the changes we cannot control.

We paint our futures with only shadows and light.

We are forever polluting the present with fear and anxiety.

We are not we, but only a collection of me, me, and me.

We share everything and nothing.

We believe everything we want to believe.

We worship disruption, without a collective vision of how to reassemble the shards.

We love escape.

We binge on escape.

We forget what time it is.

We find new ways of self-medication.

We do not own our mistakes.

We refuse to judge our friends for fear of losing them, and prefer to laugh at those who are not.

We refuse to be shocked until we are shocked out of our complacency.

Even after the stunned moment, we attempt to rationalize the shock, to close the drawer of despair, instead of digging hope out of the rubble.

For flickering moments in the last decade, we say we want real change.

But few of us will fight for it.

We will only fight against.

We refuse to fight for.

We share everything and nothing.

We have turned up the noise, and lost all signal.

We have stopped talking to each other.

Why are we surprised most have forgotten how to listen?

We are told to keep an open mind to this wrecking ball as it heads straight toward us.

Take cover and protect each other.

And then prepare to rebuild.

This ongoing experiment.

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