You are going to die

You are going to die.
This much not even the Pope can deny.
So why do we try to deny this truth,
Tree’s  fickle roots clinging to eroded soil
Though Death comes and lops you off at the trunk.
Leaves and beetles and birds and all
Come crashing down.

Do the others even care?
Do they witness your downfall
And congregate in hushed meadows?
Whisper “the grizzled logger won’t come
For us, solid and well-rooted, right fellows?”
Observation: he comes for us all.
We are going to die.

But you are going to die.
That’s the point. You are going to die.
So why scramble and struggle and horde
Plastic trinkets and metal widgets,
And fidget and grab at gold nothings,
And wear them on your exoskeleton.
To the grim reaper: it’s flimsy armor.

Does St. Peter at heaven’s gate
Exclaim: “oh my, how your 401k swells with riches!”
Explain: “how deep and wide the ditch in which you rest!”
Insane.
St. Peter, if he exists, insists the toys you’ve left
Your bereft children don’t. Fucking. Matter.
So dim your insufferable chatter. Just live. For now.

Because you’re going to die.
Try as you may, one day your neurons will stop
Firing along highways of memories of houses,
Byways of fear of mice infesting walls,
Toddlers dashing through halls,
Of waking up to a rooster’s calls.
You won’t be waking at all.

You’re going to die, so why fly
Along your brief existence with closed eyes,
Head down, powering through lunch meetings,
Parental beatings, assigned seating,
Cheating on SAT’s just to get by?
Speeding on a train, going slowly insane?
Got off that track.

You are going to die.
So smoke up, stroke up, and eat too many burritos.
Let your impulses crowd surf you
Over grubby grease-stained fingers,
Don’t linger, take nothing with you,
Lose your shoes on beer-washed floors,
Chat up mokawk’ed freaks. Be one yourself.

You already know it – don’t lie.
You’re going to fucking die.

get lost

You find life so dull, perplexing, unjust,
Tapping at keys for someone told you, “you must!”
Lift up your arms, observe streaks of rust,
You mustn’t stay still, this much you can trust.

So cast off your chains, and go for a stroll,
Forget your life’s station, discard your dull role,
Scour the earth’s soil, dig through like a mole,
Just take it right in, you’ll find there your soul.

If your feet carry you to a balmy dark wood,
Sit down on a stump, and ponder, and brood,
For there’s no one to tell you to do as you should,
The squirrel and its nuts know not greater good.

Go live on a street, and forswear your home,
Curl up in an alley and read a great tome,
For Leo Tolstoy cares not where you roam,
In cobble-stoned roads or some sacred dome.

You’ll surely go on, in dull heat or frost,
Whether bullied, insulted, directed, or bossed,
Forsake creature comforts, whatever the cost.
You don’t need that shit, for God’s sake, get lost!

the man

It’s not exactly that he had no face
But he lacked any hue or insistence of race,
With any distinction of God’s fickle grace,
Like a bland empty jar, a flowerless vase.

He had no tattoos, fancy clothing, or scars,
He drove a Ford Escort, or one of such cars,
He’d rarely be seen galavanting in bars,
But instead might be found gazing up at the stars.

He had smallish lips, his ears were just right,
His expression was one of mild shock, or fright,
He lacked any aura, and was rarely in sight,
But if asked, would respond “Oh, I’m alright.”

It was an ordeal to pick him from a crowd,
For he’d never be there, it was far too loud,
He dwelled by himself, ensconced in a shroud,
He was a gray man and of this he was proud.

He was neither a follower nor a leader,
Nor was he a deplored bottom-feeder,
But his life did not wane, subside or peter,
He found purpose in novels and was a great reader.

As for ladies, well that point is moot.
He had none, didn’t want none to boot.
To him, a girls curls were not all that cute,
They might as well’ve been a fistful of soot.

He lived like all do, slowly ambling along,
But unlike the rest, felt no need to belong,
Would rarely be found in humanity’s throng,
Or chant, fist raised in the air, humanity’s song.

here and meow

I’m hungry and thirsty, in need of a poop.
What’s that on the wall? A hairball? A fly?
My sand smells, it’s dirty, in need of a scoop.
Could I reach that there shelf if I gave it a try?

I’ve seen all these spaces, I’ve been here before.
I’m bored of this house, and its slick hardwood floor.
I yearn to stalk, wander like a gruff outdoor
Cat who hunts his own mice, spews them out by the door.

What’s that in the corner, with a fluttering wing?
It’s a moth! It’s a moth! I’ll pounce on that critter!
I’ll nab it and swat it and chew on that thing!
I got it! I got it! Though it tastes somewhat bitter.

What’s that on the floor? A long piece of floss!
I’ll fling it and chase it and toss it about!
I’ll show that damn string who here is the boss,
And chew it and swallow in case there was doubt.

Aha! A great sound! An intruder’s approaching!
But alas, the sound fades; this won’t be the day.
If ’twas a great feline who attemped encroaching,
I’d hiss and I’d spit, watch him slither away.

But hark! A sunbeam appears over yonder!
I shall lay belly-up, and bathe in its ray.
And later that napkin will I tear asunder,
A fair way as any of passing the day.

Oh where is my human? I need a good chuckle!
I’d walk on his chest and yowl in his ear
And rub my fierce canines against his bear knuckle.
Though I loathe my oaf captor, I wish he were here.

survive

Smoke wafts up and fills his trailer
From a cigarette whose ash burns to the thumb,
His hand, pointed, shudders and shakes,
Inked with the fading anchor of a sailor.

Big-block engines outside send a bass
Note rumbling through the home,
Plastic forks and tic tacs chatter
Like frantic mobs eager for chase.

Spent, tarnished tanks of propane,
Strewn, askew, on a floor of magazines
Dated nineteen seventy two or before,
Haphazard calendards of a mind insane.

Outside, a raven perched on a bottle caws,
Something resembling tumbleweed rolls,
Old bones dug up and re-buried piled in heaps,
Like chewing gum wrappers in spring thaws.

Lines cross his face, busy off ramps,
Life’s changing highways and byways,
Eyes set deep wander randomly,
Settle on a long-obsolete book of stamps.

It’s all about survival, he says,
Picks up a snake from near his foot,
Rubs his parched lips against its forked tongue
While the snake writhes in tortured malaise.

He strokes its neck with one scabbed finger,
A gentle smile coaxed onto his face,
Whispers a raspy breath into its scales,
Falls silent, though his whispers linger.

He opens his mouth, bites off the snake’s head,
Its body, held tight, flops limply;
He says, it’s all about survival,
One of us was fated to be dead.

a word can tell a thousand pictures

A palm tree sways gently in the breeze,
Grains of sand, like socks, hug your feet
As you meander through these looming trees
And you gnaw on charred, fragrant meat.

A distant guitar strums,
You strain to hear,
Joined now by echoed drums.
Tourists, lobster red, appear.

Hitchhikers shuffle along some shoulder,
Kicking up dust in scuffed sandals.
Some hide in their hats against a boulder
Labeled “CHILL PILL!” by vandals.

You stop and squint, say hello,
Talk of crustaceans and the ocean,
Listen to the tunnel’s hollow bellow,
Await some indication of motion.

A bonfire now, flames lapping at the moon,
Covers quiet faces in its haunted glow,
Bodies huddled as if about some ancient rune,
Heads on shoulders and the sea’s ebb and flow.

Men with beards down to their toes,
Lounge in rusted train cars,
Recount lives of highs and lows,
Thrown out of countless bars.

kids

One worries so much for the self-serving teen
Who gazes all day at bland fast-flashing screens,
When confronted with life, so harsh and so true,
One wonders, in fact, if he’ll know what to do.

Has he felt a strong wind, blowing fast through his hair?
Does he know what it’s like to kiss girls on a dare?
When he sees a man’s pain, curled up on the street,
Will he pause for a breath, give him something to eat?

Will he impart to a girl, the gift of his love,
Or will he decide “ur hawt” is enough?
Can he sit on a train, and ponder his life,
Or are terse fleeting texts the extent of his strife?

Will he race on the streets with his friends for no reason,
Or is unfettered motion the height of all treason?
Will he lounge in a meadow and play silly games,
Will he idly state, “hell naw dude, that’s lame”?

Can he stare at a bug for hours on end,
Play cowboys and indians, just for pretend?
Can he throw back his head, guffaw ’til he’s numb,
And laugh at dumb jokes, just ’cause they’re dumb?

Will he lie in the grass, and point out a cloud,
Or seal off his ears and play music too loud?
Is he really impressed by films in HD,
Though he opens his eyes and see that for free?

Can he sit on the ground, cross-legged, and read,
And turn the book’s pages and relish with greed
New faraway worlds, with lovers and passions,
Or will he still worship the vapid Kardashians?

He must unglue himself from his much-too-smart phone
Or he’ll look up one day and find he’s alone.
If he looks at these words and derides this description,
He’s probably right, life lacks a prescription.

an ode to north carolina

Fuck all the fem’nists who think they know best,
A girl’s only gifts are her pussy and breasts.
So leave all the thinkin’ to smart men like me,
Them bitches can’t even stand up to pee.

My friends call me “C” but to you all I’m Cletus,
And, though I like sluts, I’m protecting the fetus.
I was born in America and damn I’m proud of it!
Fuck all of these lib’rals who clearly don’t love it.

Let’s discuss for a minute them flaming fag homos
Who want to get married and show TV promos,
Butt fucking their way across this great land.
‘Bout time a true patriot was making a stand.

You ‘Frisco dem libs, say’n the Earth’s gettin’ hot?
Don’t say shit in the Bible, so it’s def’nitely not.
Go ride your fag bikes, and shut the fuck up,
Don’t care what you say, I’ll fill my truck up.

To England and France, you think you’re so swell?
If it wasn’t for us, you’d be German as well.
So pay some respect, or better, some fear,
Or we’ll send troops your way, and make that shit clear.

Ain’t no army as strong as the US marines.
Fuck Arabs and Chinks, Ruskies eating sardines,
Don’t go round explainin’ how our best days is passed,
Or we’ll blow your shit up with a big fuckin’ blast.

What the fuck is all this about fighting for rights?
Christ knows that this country belongs to the whites.
I know I am right, ’cause I stand up and shout.
And I say, you don’t like it? Then get the fuck out!

So fuck all you Muslims, Latinos, and Queers,
My friends all agree when we’re pounding our beers
That America’s the best, and always will be,
But only when y’all are exactly like me.

Faggots.

purchasing power

Buy it.

Buy it now, for a limited run.
It’s shiny! It’s new!
It’s powered by sun!
We insist that you do!

Really, we do.

What else can you hope
To fill out the hole
In your rambling soul?
Religion? The Pope?

Go on and grope.

But you’ll never find another
So lovely, its whirr and its spin,
So why even bother?
Immerse yourself in its mechanical din.

Give in to the sin.

You need it.
You crave it and want it.
You desire to flaunt it,
To show to your neighbours
The fruits of your labours.

And it comes in six flavours!

Bubble gum, grape, melon, and cherry,
And lithium, rust, compost and dairy.
You want them all to collect,
Ignore its unknown side-effects.

It’s better than sex!

Take up your card,
And tap in the digits.
Was that really so hard?
Now buy some more widgets!

Renard and the rabbit

Renard once pounced and snared a rabbit
And splayed out its neck, preparing to stab it,
His hooked fangs ripping its soft supple skin,
When the rabbit said, “Wait, just breathe in,
Before you take my life, before I am dead,
Before my warm blood stains your chin red,
I have an intriguing proposition for you.
Why not listen, then decide what to do.”

Renard was hungry, hadn’t eaten in days,
But a talking rabbit did much to amaze
Even the most cunning of creatures,
And cunning he was, made clear by his features.
“Speak now,” said Renard. “But do beware,
For I am a fox, and you are a hare,
And devouring you is, as far as I see,
As natural as the mountain lion who aims to hunt me.”

“You can surely eat me, and sated you’ll be” said the rabbit,
“But there is juicier prey about, and I can help you nab it.
If you’ll follow me into the wood, beyond those two creeks,
You will find plump flightless birds with worms in their beaks.
They are dumb, ambling beasts. And how slow! And how fat!
All day a dozen rest and feast.  What do you think of that?”
The rabbit paused and nibbled at the air, perhaps its last meal,
While Renard sat on his haunches and considered the rabbit’s appeal.

Renard opened his snout and snapped it shut at the tiny hare,
Whose gentle whiskers trembled in the damp autumn air.
Renard let out a sigh of rotting flesh as he spoke,
“You will lead me to this flock, but know that I will choke
Every ounce of breath from your meager frame,
And I will find your rabbit brethren and do the same,
If it appears for even a second that this a trick,”
And Renard grabbed the rabbit by its fur so thick.

And so Renard carried the rabbit in his mouth by its scruff,
His grip, while firm, was gentle, not rough,
But by his dripping drool it was known that this kindness was brief,
“If this is a ruse, rabbit, you will die,” he said through clenched teeth.
They padded in darkness and emerged to a murmuring brook
In a moss-filled meadow where wind-swept birch leaves shook.
And there, still for all to see,
Stood a single wide-eyed turkey.

“My part of the story,” said the rabbit, “is done.
Why don’t you drop me here and off I’ll run.”
Renard, a fox through and through, was much too cunning.
“I think instead,” he said, “you’ll not go off running.
For I can gobble you up here first,
And drink from the brook to quench my thirst.
Then, at a snail’s pace so pleasant,
I will sink my teeth into that there pheasant.”

The rabbit, shaking weakly in Renard’s chops, said,
“Far be it for me to tell you how dine, Mr. Red,
But wouldn’t munching on my too slight figure.
Spoil your hunger for that bigger,
Rounder piece of meat over there?
To be fair, I’m mostly bone and hair.”
Renard, grudgingly, was forced to agree,
Unclenched his jaw and let the rabbit free.

And so Renard stalked, as only a fox can stalk.
His tail dragged along the ground while he walked.
The bird stood numb, a worm dangling from its dumb beak,
While Renard creeped closer and salivated in his cheek.
The turkey’s eyeballs swivelled left and right,
But it showed no sign of any fright.
The only sound to be heard,
Was the clucking of the bird.

Suddenly, there came a loud snap.
Renard had stepped into a human trap!
The jagged metal pressed, crushed Renard’s ribs,
When he noticed the rabbit scampering back to make some jibs.
Renard squirmed and squealed and kicked in convulsive shocks.
“There is no lesson here,” said the hare to the struggling fox.
“Only that it’s unwise to make a habit,
Of trusting a rabbit.”