Month: September 2016

The War is a Class War

 

This war is a class war

Because he could not find a girl to love

Or a friend to greet,

Because his father left after one night in his mother,

He took a gun to school

shot at those he thought were happier

those once happy teens

dying in the halls, screaming with terror.

The boy with the gun had nothing to lose

So what could be done to stop him?

 

 

Because he saw his father lose job after job

And turn to drink

Because his father hit him

As he was hit by his father before.

Because the time the police stopped him on his way home

And he was already angry.

He pulled away and struggled and was shot.

No hero, bad enough to knock you over and rob you

But the hungry need a place at the table.

 

 

The prisons stand as warnings

Like bells in the night

Like fires licking out of windows

Each iPhone sold, each interest dollar paid

Tips the scales once more toward

That flood, which cuts down each man and woman

Regardless of wealth or colour.

 

I, who you thought drowned by God in the great flood

Have returned.

There was no room for me at the Caesars table

But there was room for me in his army

And it was there I learned to cut with knife and sword.

In the forest I see the collar on the hind

That reads ‘harm me not, for I am Caesar’s.’

But I, having seen Caesar cut down, cared no more for any life.

 

They put me to the guillotine as well

The blade took off my head, but I lived on.

I saw those who watched the executions

In their turn executed,

Now, in my age, I stand on the street of your city.

I see the gun in the hand of the man

I see the children kept from school

I see the woman with the bloody wound.

This war is not one of religion or race

It is as it has always been what it is now.

A class war.

Where one has too much

And many have too few

No number of guns can keep that door closed.

 

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Angie of office 93

She works in office 93,

A third floor view of a parking lot and a tree.

It is nice enough. At least she can see something.

A cold cup of tea upon her desk

A telephone and a computer

Stare her in the eyes

And ask her, ‘what is the point of all this?’

He left her last week, emailed her a note,

‘Get checked,’ it read, ‘I may have given you…’

She shudders.

‘I got it on the night I didn’t come home.’

She thought about the email and sighed.

Now she looked at the cold cup of tea

And dreaded having to get another

She didn’t want to have to talk to anyone.

The street at five was terrible and cold

The clouds hung on the tops of the buildings

And the advertising signs glowed redder than hell.

She let herself into her small cheap room

with no space for a proper kitchen

The bedroom just off the hall.

She puts on some music and cooks some food, enough for two.

At six a knock at the door

And she lets him in; she hasn’t seen him in years.

He was handsome when she knew him in high school

But now he’s turning fat

And his eyes are watery and always red

But she is glad to have company.

They ate in the cold room,

He looked from her hair to her breast.

She watched the clock near the door.

They sat on the bed and turned on the television

And soon he made his move.

She let him go, and he went all the way.

She was awake when he left, but she gave no sign.

He didn’t lock the door.

She turned to the window and looked at the darkness

A glow came from the city ten miles east.

Outside the street lamps glowed,

The man, his clothes wrinkled, his long hair over his ear

Tried to keep out of the puddles.

 

 

A life ended in Bower Road

The room is cold,

Shadows hide like devils.

Ben has died and lies in his lounge chair with the television playing still.

 When he was a child, he spent one summertime building a billy-cart

And racing it down the hill against his brother

Who didn’t fear the slope

But could not build as well.

 Once a man working for his father

Hanged himself in the shed.

Ben found him in the morning.

The man was well dressed, clean,

But his head was crooked at a strange angle

And a queer look of death pulled at his relaxed face.

Ben never forgot.

 The room is quiet in death,

Paid bills sit in a pile,

Unpaid are clipped to the refrigerator door.

 When Bill married

He cried on his wedding day

And turned his face from his bride, who smiled and touched his face

So gently, so kindly, the world took a breath. A kindness between two people

So gently expressed

And Bill never forgot her kind touch.

 In the kitchen, a chocolate Ben had saved sits still on the bench.

He will never enjoy it now.

 

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For Stella, who makes the stars fall.

A star fell in the field behind our house

But it fell silently,

Only lighting up the sky for an instant.

I was lucky to have been watching the night

And see the flash come.

I went to see our son

Asleep in his bed

He slept softly, gently, unaware of the universe.

His mother sits reading by a window.

When she was young, she fell in love with a statue of Jesus

In Saint Patricks

She took me to see the church, and I looked at the statue

Jesus stood, thin, melancholy, beautiful.

She told me the story of how she would come and pray

Because she loved his face.

She looks up and smiles at me

And the world spins as if I am drunk in a dream.

I walk out into the night field

And look for the star.

I find a glow in the woods, but as I go there, the light flickers and disappears

Like a fairy, fleeing mortal interference.

I stay a while by the pond, listening to the frogs sing.

The stars, less one, burning and secure in the blue-black sky,

Reflect in the water.

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Below the city clock

She has a dream in her eyes

And heaven in her lips.

 

Treat her gently

So her love will grow.

 

The window, wide open

Allows the breeze to wander in,

Lifting the white curtains and reminding me of childhood.

She has a pair of jade chopsticks on the dresser.

Her books line the windowsill

And fill her bookcase.

The time has come to go,

Rain falls gently in the street

Turning the world black and shiny.

When it rains

Go to your window

And watch the drops rush down the pane,

They race and join, until they disappear.

Breath on the glass, my love,

And see the world mist.

Your sweet breath, your sweet touch,

Hides the world and I can rest.

Walking home to you

 

Along the streets of the city

I pass the open windows and see the yellow lights

Blazing in the cream rooms.

I can smell dinners cooking,

I see the children running to the front doors of home

after playing, the afternoon sun lighting their games,

but now the long shadows of the buildings create pools of darkness.

I hear music playing as I pass, someone speaking Russian,

A young couple fighting, their shouts rattling and short,

I hear two people making love, somewhere upstairs.

These are the sounds of the city.

Nothing is happening that will make the news,

But these are the things that keep the city rolling.

Roll on great city,

With the dreams of teenagers in their rooms, eyes of their idols on the walls.

The cars are parked

Pray in your Church

Hold your eyes to heaven

And remember your room as a teenager

Where you had dreams

And you played in the street until the sun fell behind the walls.

What happened to the time? It went by like the evening train.

 

 

Please look at:

My latest interview

The search

She held me and searched my body for a tattoo

And found one.

It sits on my right hip

It reads

Age Quad Agis.

She laughed and ran her fingers over the words.

“What does it mean?” she asks.

“It’s Latin,” I answer. “It means, what you do, do well.”

She looked at me, listening to what I said, listened still

After I had finished speaking.

The wind blew the curtain back and we could see down into the city.

 

There is something changing out in the streets

The world is moving toward something new

A world where every phone sings the same warning

To twelve million at once

Where every eye is fixed on the end result

Where incompetent and mad Caesars strive to rule the world

Where Augustus and Lincoln have died, and we wait for another great person

But what wars, what insanity must we live through until that time?

The times are changing, but they are the same.

A dark night gives rise to a bright dawn

A madness heavy on the world gives rise to greater genius

Hold tight my love, hold tight to me.

I need you more than you know

I would die without your love.

 

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